How to Change Names Legally
If you want to change your name for reasons other than those described above, the legal name change process usually involves filing an application with the court first. Maybe you`ve never identified with your old name and just want a fresh start, for example. If your application is accepted, the court will issue an order with your new name. The very first step to changing your name starts with your local district office. There, you`ll know if you need a lawyer for the process, but usually your county office will give you self-help information so you can make the name change yourself without hiring a lawyer. Each state has its own procedure, so it`s important to go to your local county office to gather this information. A: No, but if you want your new name to be legally recognized and updated in official government documents, you must approve your name change through the courts. With names, as with many great lifestyle choices, it is advisable to try it before buying. Before making a public announcement, be sure to ask a circle of trusted friends — such as your roommates, your favorite group chat, or a trans community space — to address you by your potential new name for a while. Or, if you`re shy, try using the new name for your next coffee or takeout order, and notice how it feels to hear that name. Here we will break down the general process to get a name change. For better or worse, there is no deadline for these changes and no official order of operations you need to follow. In order not to be overwhelmed by endless paperwork, go step by step and approach the tasks in the order and pace that seem easiest to manage.
What if in a few years you find that you forgot to update your name somewhere on a rarely used account? Well, unfortunately, it happens to most of us. Many courts will seal your name change records upon request, preventing your old name and other personal information from becoming public. Some states also require petitioners to advertise their name changes in a local newspaper — a staggering concept for many trans people. This testing period usually lasts weeks or even months, and many trans people try several names before finding one they end up sticking with. (Some of us even legally change our names several times!) So don`t rush the process and don`t feel obligated to do it “right” the first time. You will need a certified copy of your original marriage certificate or an original certified copy of the judgment (court order) to change your name. You also can`t change your name to an intentionally misleading name, such as that of a celebrity. Individuals are prohibited from using a name containing punctuation or numbers, although some courts have allowed the use of periods or the spelling of numbers. If you hire a lawyer, you will also pay legal fees.
You can also use an online legal service to help you complete the name change application. You may also need to consider other fees, such as: Related to: For a more detailed view of our name change process, click here. Yes, it`s just your first name, but to change it legally, you`ll need to apply for a name change in the county where you live. However, it`s usually not necessary to change your first name if you have a formal name like Matthew and want your name to appear like Matt in sensitive documents. Putting your personal happiness above the opinions of others can be liberating, and that`s true when it comes to changing your name. However, explaining your name change can be tedious, and some people find it not worth sending an announcement to family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. “It may seem obvious, but we get several requests a year for people who need to change their legal name due to a spelling mistake,” said Jo-Anne Stayner of I`m a Mrs. Mental Floss Name Service. After receiving confirmation that the name associated with your Social Security number has changed, you can proceed with the name change process. A change of name form must be completed. This is the main document used to submit your name change request. This document can be mailed or submitted online, depending on the state.
Once the form and other documents are completed, go to your local district office to have them checked. This can save you a lot of time and hassle if you have made a mistake while filling out the form. If it is completed by mail, be sure to make 2 copies of the form and send the original.