Utah Name Change Law: Who Knew That Santa Claus Actually Lives In Utah?
With the holidays fast approaching, we are devoting this month’s name change blog discussion to the Utah Supreme Court’s decision in the case In re Porter, 31 P.3d 519 (Utah Supr. Court 2001). The Utah Supreme Court’s decision demonstrates the permissive approach that the Utah courts have taken toward name change petitions. In general, a petition by someone to change his or her first, middle or last name (or all three) must be granted by the court unless the factual record before the court shows that the petition is brought for a patently inappropriate motive (such as to commit a fraud).
In its decision, the Court held that the petitioner, David Lynn Porter, was entitled to change his name to Santa Claus. The Utah Supreme Court held:
Petitioner had the right to change his name to “Santa Claus,” as there was no sufficient likelihood of confusion, misunderstanding, substantial mischief, or concern that some would be unwilling to sue a person with such a name; petitioner conducted charitable and business activities in the Santa Claus persona, and the name change would allow him to better conduct those activities, and he already told others he was Santa Claus. U.C.A.1953, 42-1-1, 42-1-2.
In its decision, the court noted that Mr. Porter’s although Mr. Porter’s proposed new name might complicate matters for him in his personal and professional life, his purpose was entirely lawful, and was not an effort to commit fraud or engage in any other misconduct.
In any event, the Utah Supreme Court’s decision gives Utah the great honor of being the official state of residence of Santa Claus! Happy holidays from UtahNameChange.comAll rights reserved.