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Change Your Name Legally

How to Legally Change Your Name

There are many reasons why you may want to change your name. According to Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, the most common motivations behind legal name changes are marriage, divorce, adoption, and custody change. Perhaps you simply want a new name! Here’s how to successfully navigate the legal name changing process:

  1. The first and most important step of a legal name change is choosing what you would like your new name to be. If you’re getting married or divorced, this choice is probably very simple. However, if you choosing a brand new name there are a few rules you must follow. Your new name cannot be generally offensive, violent, or racially charged. You are also not permitted to choose the name of a celebrity, like Brad Pitt or Taylor Swift.
  2. Find all necessary materials and documents. This will differ slightly depending on what state you live in, but in general you will need a petition for Change of Name, your social security card, your birth certificate, a valid photo ID, and an order to show the reason behind your Change of Name.
  3. Once you have gathered all your forms and materials you must file them with the correct court. You will be asked to sign and date all forms at your local court, as well as pay a fee of $100-$200.
  4. The next step is a court hearing. During the hearing, the judge will review your documents and petition and will decide whether or not to grant you a legal change of name. Most name change hearings are quite short and simple.
  5. Lastly, begin the transition into your new name. This includes informing all governmental, financial, and business institutions of your new name. Some necessary institutions to notify include your school, bank, post office and place of work.

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