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Guide to Name Change

Guide to Name Change

A name is an important part of one’s identity, and sometimes individuals may wish to change their name for a variety of reasons. Changing one’s name can be a legal process that involves court procedures and various documents. This article will provide a guide to name change in the United States, including the reasons for changing one’s name, the legal process for changing it, and how to update personal records after a name change.

Reasons for Name Change

There are many reasons why someone might want to change their name. Some of the most common reasons include:

Marriage: One of the most common reasons for changing one’s name is marriage. Many individuals choose to take their spouse’s last name or hyphenate their last name with their spouse’s.

Divorce: After a divorce, an individual may want to change their name back to their maiden name or a previous name.

Gender Identity: Transgender and non-binary individuals may seek to change their name to reflect their gender identity.

Personal Preference: Some individuals may simply not like their name or want to change it for personal or cultural reasons.

Legal Process for Name Change

In the United States, changing one’s name is a legal process that varies by state. Generally, the process involves filing a petition with the court, paying a fee, and attending a court hearing.

Step 1: Fill out a Petition

The first step in the name change process is to fill out a petition for name change. This document is available online or at the local courthouse, and it typically includes information such as the individual’s current name, the desired new name, and the reason for the name change.

Step 2: File the Petition

After completing the petition, it must be filed with the court in the appropriate jurisdiction. The filing fee can vary depending on the state and county.

Step 3: Attend a Court Hearing

After the petition is filed, a court hearing will be scheduled. At the hearing, the judge will review the petition and may ask the individual questions about the reason for the name change. If the judge approves the name change, they will issue a court order.

Step 4: Update Personal Records

Once the court order is issued, the individual can use it to update personal records such as their Social Security card, driver’s license, and passport.

Updating Personal Records After a Name Change

Updating personal records after a name change can be a time-consuming process that can take several weeks or even months. Here are the steps to take after a name change:

Step 1: Update Social Security Card

The first step in updating personal records is to obtain a new Social Security card. The individual can apply for a new card at their local Social Security Administration office and must provide the court order as proof of the name change.

Step 2: Update State-Issued IDs

Next, the individual should update their driver’s license and any state-issued identification cards. The process for updating these documents can vary by state, but typically requires the individual to provide the court order and other identifying documents.

Step 3: Update Passport

If the individual has a passport, they will need to update it with their new name. This can be done by filling out an application for a new passport and providing the court order as proof of the name change.

Step 4: Update Bank Accounts and Credit Cards

The individual should also update their bank accounts and credit cards with their new name. They will typically need to provide a copy of the court order to do so.

Step 5: Update Other Accounts and Records

Finally, the individual should update any other accounts or records with their new name, such as their employer, school, and medical providers.


Changing one’s name is a legal process that can be time-consuming and complex, but it is possible with the right steps and documents. Reasons for changing one’s name can vary from marriage and divorce to personal preference or gender identity. The legal process for changing one’s name involves filing a petition, attending a court hearing, and obtaining a court order. Once the name change is approved, individuals must update personal records, including their Social Security card, driver’s license, and passport. It can be a daunting task, but with careful planning and organization, it can be accomplished successfully.

What is a Name Change?
A legal name change is a procedure that is available to an individual in the event that wish to change or modify the name, which they had been given at birth – this is known as an individual’s ‘birth name’.

However, in order discover how to change your name, you will be required to provide the applicable, jurisdictional governing body with the proper forms and pertinent documents; the legal parameters that surround a name change vary on a locational and jurisdictional basis – there does not exist a uniform procedure with regard to a name change.

What is a Legal Name?A legal name – or birth name – is the name or title given to an individual upon the moment of their respective birth. Largely, an individual’s legal name – in addition to proof of birth – is expressed on a document called a birth certificate; a birth certificate is an authenticated portrayal of the legal naming of an individual – birth certificates are considered to be one of the primary forms of identification.

As a result, the validity of a birth certificate – in addition to the legal name belonging to an individual – is of the utmost importance in the establishment of that individual in accordance to that society’s legislation. Once an individual is given a legal name, that name will be associated with all official documentations and forms; this can include:

•    Credit Cards and additional financial statements

•    Personal Tax identification

•    Social Security Numbers

•    Military Identification

•    Voter Registration

•    Educational and Employment Identification

•    Criminal – and additional administrative – Records

Applicable Name Change Forms

The following forms are typically included within the name change procedure. In the event that you are interested in discovering how to change your name, the following forms may be required:

Deed Poll: A deed poll is a legal instrument that can be classified used to bind a single individual to the terms expressed within its contents in lieu of a contractual agreement between two or more individuals or parties; a deed poll substantiates that the name change is legally-binding and authenticated.

Name Change Order: This is a legal document that can be classified as an application to participate in a name change.

Expressed Legal Permission: In certain cases, an individual will be required to receive expressed, legal permission in order to engage in the legal name change procedure. This can occur as a result of the desire of a jurisdictional, governing body to prevent name changes for fraudulent purposes.

Marriage Certificate: In the event of a marriage, an individual may be able to change their name simply by filing for a legal name change with a marriage certificate serving as legal substantiation.

Service of Notification: An individual wishing to change their respective name who are not a citizen of a country or nation, in which they reside, possesses a past criminal record or has been incarcerated, is on probation, or a professional whose name change must be further substantiated may be required to complete this form of notification.

How to Change Your Name
Once you have obtained the necessary forms and documentation with regard to how to change your name, you are encouraged to make copies of all pertinent documentation and forms for your personal records. Furthermore, a name change must be officiated; this means that simply submitting paperwork will not suffice as expressed, legal permission – only upon notification from a jurisdictional, governing body will suffice as authentication for such a request.

Upon the Approval of a Name Change

Upon the approval of a name change, you may be required to take out an advertisement in your local newspaper or circular alerting the public – or those around you – of your recent name change; this can be required in order to prevent name changes under fraudulent pretenses. Subsequent to the approval, you will receive official documentation illustrating the successful, legal name change.