Greensboro, NC asked in Adoption for Puerto Rico

Q: Do I need an attorney in Puerto Rico to get name changed on birth certificate after adult adoption completed in NC?

I adopted my husband's adult son (born in Puerto Rico) in North Carolina. The court sent a report to vital records in Puerto Rico to have his birth certificate updated with his new last name. We are being told that Puerto Rico won't recognize the adoption without us appearing in court there and that we have to have an attorney to do so. We already paid the court costs and such to finalize the adoption in North Carolina. Do we really have to pay $1500 in attorney's fees plus court costs just to get his name changed?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nelson Jose Francisco Alvarez-Aponte
  • Family Law Lawyer
  • Carolina, PR
  • Licensed in Puerto Rico

A: Hello and thank you for using Justia. In order to changed any information on a certificate registered in the Department of Demografic Registry (Office of Vital Récords) a Court Order is required. The Court must issue a ruling authorizing the change of information stated in the certificate. In order to changed a name on a birth certificate you will need to obtain a certified copy of the North Carolina Court ruling authorizing the name change, a Police good conduct report from his hometown under his original and new name, color copy of a State issued picture identification with the new name and the original copy of his birth certificate of Puerto Rico. With these documents an Attorney will then file a petition to the Court requesting an Exequatur process under the Full Faith and Credit rules of law that allows a Court from another jurisdiction (out of State) to accept a ruling from another jurisdiction as if issued in thier jurisdiction. The Attorney will need to appear at a Court hearing for this purpose. This will result in the Puerto Rico Court to issue a ruling authorizing the name change. The Attorney will then visit the Demografic Registry Office to have them issue a new birth certificate with the new name and eliminate the old certificate as per law. The cost of this entire process involves the writting of a petition justifying the Exequatur process, a visit to the Police Department to get a Good Conduct certificate under his original name, appearance at a Court hearing to argue in favor of the Exequatur process and name change, return to the Court two weeks latter to get a certified Court Resolution allowing the name change and then visit the Demografic Registry Office to request the issuing of a new birth certificate and eliminate from the récords the original birth certificate that had been issued. This takes time and work, thus the reason for the legal costs and fees. The average cost of the entire process runa about $ 2,000.00 to $ 3,000.00 depending where in Puerto Rico the filings and process needs to be done. The fee of $ 1,500.00 is well under the average fee that an Attorney charges.

If you need additional information please feel free to contact me directly.

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