How to File a Name Change
Requirement If you are above eighteen years of age and are willing to change your name legally, you must:
- File a petition form (online, or physical)
- Provide a copy of your birth certificate
- In case of any previous name changes, provide those documents along with the petition
- Some courts require documentation of any criminal background. Attach them.
- Pay the filing fee
The process of changing your name legally usually takes up to three or four months.You are required to submit a petition, either online through your local State Government website, or through your nearest Family Court. The petition form consists of questions regarding the details of your present name, proposed name, reason for the requested name change and residential status. Your request can be kept confidential in case you're changing your name to receive safety from stalking, harassment, trafficking or abuse. This is also the case for address confidentiality, and gender transition. Although not necessary, it is advisable to get your form reviewed from a lawyer. A legal advisor can help to speed up your process. Copies of all previous criminal background reports must be attached. This process of changing your name legally will not be taken to court hearings if you have filed a petition for changing your gender (and proceedingly, your name), you are married and want to change your name, or if you are divorced and want to return to your birth name. These cases will be handled quickly and do not require arguments to be presented. Within approximately six weeks of filing your petition to the court (along with required documentations), the court will announce a date for your hearing. You must attend the hearing, and based on the judge's decision, your name will be changed.
Succeeding the court orders, your new name and details will be published in the newspaper. The publication fee varies, but it is obligatory. In the cases of address confidentiality or gender change, this step is supposed to be ignored. To bring your new name to use, educational, medical and/or occupational documents must be changed. Ask the people around you to refer to you with your new name. Notify all the official institutions about the legal change in your name.