In Missouri, a person may change his/her name by filing a petition in the appropriate circuit court. Once filed, the court will inquire to see if the petitioner is a child or an adult (i.e., over 18).
An adult petitioner must be shown that the name change is not detrimental to the interests of anyone else (e.g., a person is not allowed a change of name to escape a debt or other legal obligations). The petitioner must give a brief explanation of why he/she wishes a change of name. Courts usually do not place much scrutiny in this step; what, they’re really interested in is ensuring that the name change is not fraudulent. If the Court is satisfied with all of this, then it will grant the requested name change. Within twenty days of this Order, the Petitioner must publish the change of name once a week for three consecutive weeks in an appropriate newspaper or publication. This Publication is required under Missouri law.
A child seeking a name change has some extra hurdles in the way in addition to the above requirements. Just to give an idea: the parents, and legal guardian, if any, must file written consent to the name change or proof of service must be filed with the court showing that the child’s parent or parents were served with summons and a copy of the petition at least thirty days prior to the date set for the hearing. The summons must advise the parent or legal guardian of the date and time set for the hearing.