How Long Does It Take To Change Your Name

Wednesday 25 January 2012 - Filed under Info

Every year, hundreds of people opt for name change in the USA. The reasons behind the decision to change name legally differ from person to person. Many of them don’t like the name given by their parents and hence wish to change their name. There can be other reasons too like a change in the marital status, a bad past, divorce and so on. The Laws and Constitution of the United States allows its citizens the right to change the first name, middle name, last name and/or any combination. As the judicial system in the United States is Federal, it takes into consideration two laws – Federal laws which are appliance to all states and secondly, the individual state laws. To change your name you must follow the law and order of the state where you are residing. These rules are specifically applicable to residents of those states only.

Before you decide to change your name you must consider the consequences along with time that you need to give for the whole procedure. The overall process of a legal name change using a court procedure can take from two months to a year. The whole process of legally changing your name is done through a court order. In special cases, it is done with a legal affidavit or notarized statement. Legal procedures take time and there is nothing you can do to make it fast and easier for you.


First, a person needs to give an explanation for their request along with any other necessary documents and file a petition for changing their name in the local court. Once you file the petition, you will get a case number and a date for your court hearing. Now here the time depends upon a lot of factor like the reason for which you are changing your name, the number of cases in the court and working days of the court. However, it can be somewhere between 7 to 20 days. On the day of hearing, your petition will be reviewed and the judge will sign your name change order, and you will be given a copy of the order. The order will allow you to assume the new name after 30 days from the date of the hearing. If your first name change is not immediately approved by the court, you may need to go to court and defend your reasons. This will take more time as you will have to file a petition and wait for your next hearing date.


Once the approval has been granted, a specific time limit is also offered to publicly notify everyone of the name change.  You can make the announcement by posting a simple notice in the local newspaper. Some states allow you to simply post in a public place such as a designated bulletin board at the courthouse. You must publish notice of the hearing date so that anyone who might object to the name change has an opportunity to challenge it. This is mostly done to give the general public a chance to object your name change if you have debts under your existing name. The advertisement must be there in the newspaper for at least a week. Once the announcement is published, you need to send the proof back to the judge for final approval.


Once final approval has been granted, official legal documents stamped and notarized by the court will be given you. You need these legal documents to make necessary changes in other official documents such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, driving license, banks, card cards, school or business records and so on. This will also take time as every agency has their own set of rules and regulations.


To conclude, to change your name legally you need to devote a lot of time. You can take help of specialized companies to help you in the process but still when it comes to court and legal procedure you need to follow the rules and wait for your turn. You simply cannot go and change the hearing date of your petition. So, just have patience and you will soon be able to change your name legally.

2012-01-25  »  writer

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