Deciding to change your name is a big decision, affecting your identity and all your legal documentation. Given these implications, it is important to understand the Name Change process.
How to Change Your Name
The exact process for legally changing your name will vary from state to state. In most states, the following will be required:
- You will be required to prove that you are a resident in the state in which you pursue your legal Name Change. States will require a minimum length of time in which you must have lived in the state to acquire residency.
- You will need to provide proof of your current name, such as a Social Security card, and driver’s license.
- A petition to change your name will be required. This will be a state-specific form and will require your current and proposed names, address, Social Security number, and reason for changing your name. This will then be filed with the court clerk along with a required fee.
- At a hearing, a judge will ask any questions they have about your proposed Name Change. Assuming the judge approves the change, he or she wills sign an order to that effect as proof of your new legal name.
Unacceptable Name Change
There are a limited number of circumstances when a Name Change will not be allowed. Such scenarios include:
- To carry out fraud;
- If you are a convicted felon or have an outstanding warrant; and
- If you are seeking a Name Change for a minor and do not have permission of both parents.