(Note: for those cases in which the father's name is desired to be inserted in a child's birth certificate, and to change the child's family name from his mother's maiden name to that of his father, see Paternity.)
American Samoa law does not contain a statute providing a mechanism for changing one's name. As a result, the High Court relies on the Common Law, which allows people to change their name as long as the proposed change is not for an illegal purpose, such as evading law enforcement, legal process, or creditors.
The name change process begins with the filing of a Petition for Name Change and a Notice of Hearing. The Petitioner swears to the truth of the statements in the Petition in the presence of a Notary Public, who then notarizes their signature.
The Notice of Hearing is returned to Petitioner with a date on which the hearing is scheduled. ASLA will then forward it to the Samoa News to be published twice, the first publication being at least 30 days prior to the hearing.
A brief hearing will then be held in court, at which time the attorney representing the petitioner will put the petitioner on the stand, under oath, to affirm the statements in the petition. The judge will then make a ruling.
It is not recommended that any lay person attempt to file a Petition for Name Change without the assistance of an attorney. Drop by our office and one of our staff will interview you to determine whether or not we can assist you in your name change.