I changed my child’s legal name when he was two years old. It was a whole entire process, but my husband and I are so glad we did it. If you’ve ever considered changing your child’s name for one reason or another, you’re not alone. I wish I knew I wasn’t, so I’m sharing our story in hopes of letting another mama know this. Also, it’s a pretty interesting fact about my child.
Selecting a name can be a very difficult thing to do. I mean, it sticks with them for their entire life! Or at least that’s what is supposed to happen. From the moment we knew that our second born was a boy, we began thinking about names. My husband and I would toss names back and forth and it was rather typical that one would like it but the other did not. We also had a lot of fun coming up with outrageous names. My then 3-year-old was pretty fond of the name Batman for his new baby brother.
When Baby Boy was born, we were still unsure of what to name him. We had a short list but just couldn’t come to agree on any of them. The only thing we agreed on for certain was that his middle name would be David, after my dad. I delivered Baby Boy by C-Section so I was in the hospital for several days and each day, the records person would come in and ask if we had a name yet. Every nurse or doctor who came in to visit would ask what his name was, not to mention all the phone calls and texts from family and friends who were all just dying to know. Oh, the pressure… of a name. (Quoting one of my favorite lines from Pretty Woman)
On day 3, my husband came up with the name Weston. Weston David? I loved it! Our families loved it. My husband, who came up with the name, was not convinced. What ended up happening was that we named him David Weston, although that wasn’t even made official until over 2 weeks after his birth. Why? It’s like, the longest story ever, but also, I just cannot even talk about it. Names are hard, friends.
We only ever called him by his given middle name, Weston. There was always an air of confusion about his name at the doctor’s and dentist’s office or anytime I needed to do that “mom scold” where you summon them by first and middle name because you mean business.
Around the time Weston turned two, my husband began to look into changing his name; flip flopping his first and middle names. I was 100% on-board for the name change but I told my husband that he was going to have to take it on and see it through without my help unless when required by law. Honest bare soul confession… I was upset that we named him David Weston in the first place but had accepted it. When it came to changing his name, I just didn’t have the emotional energy to take part in it.
To get the ball rolling, my husband went to the website for Superior Court of Maricopa County and searched for “name change of minor.” The step by step instructions are listed there, but basically, there’s a packet that needs to be completed, then filed with the court, along with a fee. At that point a hearing will be scheduled and you plead your case to the judge. As the mother, I was required to give my consent by signing the documents in the presence of a notary. On the day of the court hearing, I did attend with my husband, along with our little guy. I took time to dress him up in a button-down shirt and dressy shorts for his big court appearance. The judge spoke to my husband, who filed the petition, and asked for the reason of the name change. My husband basically explained that we felt it was a mistake to call him by his middle name and we wanted to correct that. The judge asked me if I agreed with the name change and wanted to know if I had anything further to say. I said that I agreed, and that scolding him as Weston David would be a lot easier, although I was certain that he would not ever need to be scolded. The judge laughed about that, granted us the request, banged his gavel and that was it. After we received the official paperwork from the court, my husband had to go to the Social Security Office to have a new Social Security card issued. The next steps were to contact the insurance company, doctor office, and preschool. As a side note, I was surprised at the number of people who were appearing in court to have names changed. We were not the only ones there who were changing names of children for various reasons. One parent was changing the spelling of a name after realizing that it was too difficult. Another parent was there to change the child’s name to something altogether different from what was given at birth. There was another family who was flip-flopping first & middle names just like us. There were adults changing last names. There was a same-sex couple changing their last names to reflect a merging of their surnames. So many different stories were represented in that courtroom. I was profoundly moved by some of the stories that were told.
It was recently the two-year anniversary of the name change and as we look back on that whole process, we are really glad that we did it. Our son has the name he should have had all along and my husband and I are both in agreement on that. Weston doesn’t even know the difference because he’s only ever gone by Weston, or affectionately Westie, and sometimes Dubs. We are at peace with the tumultuous drama that surrounded his name in those first few weeks of his life. William Shakespear asked, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Yes, this is true, but there is a lot of power and energy that goes into selecting a name for your child. A name is tied to a person’s identity. My husband and I took this task deeply to heart. In the end, we both got the name we wanted and it fits our son perfectly.