(a) A person desiring a change of his or her own name, or that of his or her child, may apply to the circuit court or family court of the county in which he or she resides by a verified petition setting forth and affirming the following:
(1) That he or she has been a bona fide resident of the county for at least one year prior to the filing of the petition or that he or she is a nonresident of the county who was born in the county, was married in the county and was previously a resident of the county for a period of at least fifteen years;
(2) The cause for which the change of name is sought;
(3) The new name desired;
(4) The name change is not for purposes of avoiding debt or creditors;
(5) The petitioner seeking the name change is not a registered sex offender pursuant to any state or federal law;
(6) The name change sought is not for purposes of avoiding any state or federal law regarding identity;
(7) The name change sought is not for any improper or illegal purpose;
(8) The petitioner is not a convicted felon in any jurisdiction;
(9) The name change sought is not for any purpose of evading detection, identification or arrest by any local, state or federal law-enforcement agency; and
(10) Whether or not the petitioner desires to protect his or her identity for personal safety reasons.
(b) After filing the petition and at least ten days before the hearing to consider the application, the person shall cause a notice of the time and place that the application will be made to be published as a Class I legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code. The petitioner shall in the notice set forth the name to which his or her name will be changed, unless as shown in the petition to the court, the name change is being requested because the petitioner desires to protect his or her identity for personal safety reasons: Provided, That upon good cause shown, there may be a closed hearing. The publication area for the publication is the county. The publication shall contain a provision that the hearing may be rescheduled without further notice or publication.
(b) The court may not grant any change of name for any person convicted of any felony during the time that the person is incarcerated.
(c) The court may not grant any change of name for any person required to register with the State Police pursuant to the provisions of article twelve, chapter fifteen of this code during the period that the person is required to register.
(d) The court may not grant a change of name for persons convicted of first degree murder in violation of section one, article two, chapter sixty-one of this code for a period of ten years after the person is discharged from imprisonment or is discharged from parole, whichever occurs later.
(e) The court may not grant a change of name of any person convicted of violating any provision of section fourteen-a, article two, chapter sixty-one of this code for a period of ten years after the person is discharged from imprisonment or is discharged from parole, whichever occurs later.
(b) It is unlawful for any person required to register with the state police pursuant to the provisions of article twelve, chapter fifteen of this code to apply for a change of name during the period that the person is required to register.
(c) It is unlawful for any person convicted of a felony to apply for a change of name during the period that such person is incarcerated.
(d) A person who violates the provisions of subsection (a), (b) or (c) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars or imprisoned in the county or regional jail for not more than one year, or both fined and incarcerated.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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