Under the laws of the State of Virginia, it is legal and proper for an adult individual to adopt any name that he or she chooses, so long as there is no fraudulent purpose intended by the name selection. It is not necessary to have a one’s name formally changed by formal court order to use the name.
However, most governmental agencies (e.g.., DMV, SSA, IRS) and most banks will require formal documentation in the form of a Name Change Order from a court before they will change their records.
Considerations For Changing A Child’s Name
To change the name of a child in an “uncontested” fashion requires the consent of both parents, or the consent of one parents and no objection from the other parent after reasonable notice has been provided to him or her.
A child’s name can be changed over the objection of a parent in limited circumstances, and generally only if the name change is proven to be in the child’s best interest (as opposed to the desires of the custodial parent). Examples of cases where the name change was shown to be in the child’s best interests, and therefore was granted over the objection of the absent parent include: absent parent abused child; absent parent-committed notorious crimes that make retaining name potentially or actually embarrassing to the child; the child is of sufficient maturity to express desire for changed name; total abandonment of child over a long period of time.