How to Change Your Name Legally

Tuesday 17 January 2012 - Filed under Info

A name is the recognition of the individual to whom it belongs. But it is important to have a name that compliments your overall personality. At times, an individual does not like the name given by his parents and wants to change it. But can you change your name legally? Probably! If you are in the USA, you can definitely change your name. Everyone has the right to change their name. Typically, you may legally change your name to whatever name you’d like. But before that you must keep in mind that a name change will immensely affect your life and you must be prepared for it.


To change your name you must follow the law and order of the state where you are residing. Laws vary from state to state, but the overall process is generally the same in USA. You must have the court’s permission to legally change your name. If you are ready to change your name legally, here are some of the important steps:


Choose A New Name: To change your existing name into a new one, you need to finalize a new name. You can change your first, middle and last name but there are certain points that you need to bear in mind:

• You cannot change your name to escape debt liability or some criminal liability.
•  You cannot simply change your name in order to commit a crime.
• You cannot change your name with the intention to mislead people or the law as a whole.
• You cannot change your name with that of a famous person. For instance you cannot keep your name as Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton or so on.
• You cannot keep a confusing name that includes numerals or symbols.
• You cannot choose a name that would intimidate, offend, or hurt the sentiments of other people and religion.
• You cannot choose a name using obscene words.

The new name selected by you must be in accordance to the above points so that you don’t have to face some problem during the whole legal procedure. For choosing a new name you can take help from your friends and family members too.


Learn About the Rules: Every state in the USA have their own set of rules and regulations to allow citizens to change their name legally. Doing your research first is a good idea as you will have some idea about the whole procedure. You can find out about the basic rules from a local government office or district court. From here you will get an idea about the whole procedure and the documents you need to submit to change your name officially. Also you can get necessary information from official websites of the state government.


Fill Necessary Forms: To change your name legally, you need to fill out some important forms, such as a petition to legally change your name, an order granting name change and the reasons behind it, a notice of petition to the public and an affidavit of consent. Most state government websites have forms online that you can print and use. All the forms are easy to understand and you will need to answer some questions like your old name, new name, social security number, reason for your name change, and a promise that you are not changing your name to escape debt or criminal liability. Cross check the form again to make sure everything is correctly mentioned.


Submit the Forms: Once you have filled out the necessary forms, it is now time to submit them. It is advisable to make copies of all the forms and documents to keep with your own records before you submit your paperwork to the appropriate court. With the form you also need to submit required filing fees. In some states you may also need to submit some documents too like your birth certificate, bank papers, and health papers and so on.


Wait for Approval: In most cases, a judge or magistrate will review your forms and grant the name change permission. But in some states, a formal advertisement of the usage of your new name is also required. You can do that by posting a simple notice in the local newspaper. This is mostly done to give the general public a chance to object your name change if you have debts under your existing name. In case the court does not approve your name change, you may need to go to court to defend your reasons.


Change Other Documents: One the court has granted you the permission to change your name; you need to take a copy of the order to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Social Security of Administration and the Bureau of Records or some other vital statistic in the state you were born to get a new driver’s license, Social Security card and birth certificate. Here it is important to submit your old license and cards before they issue a new one to you. Also make sure you notify credit card agencies, credit bureaus, and the IRS so that you don’t get in trouble in future. It is important that all your important documents are changed and issued by your new name.


Formally Use the New Name: Finally it is time to start using your new name. Introduce yourself using your new name, fill out forms and applications under your new name. Inform all of your family and friends about your new name and ask them to only refer to you using your new name. As soon as your new name gets popular you will have a new identity with your new name.


Well, once you have changed your old name to a new one legally, it must be a new beginning for you. Hope the new name lifts your self-confidence, enhances everything you experience, boosts your creativity level, makes a positive impression in your life and helps you lead a happier, more peaceful, and fulfilling life. 

2012-01-17  »  writer

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