How to Change Your Name: Accomplishing a Name Change in Your State
UPDATED: June 19, 2018
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.
We strive to help you make confident law decisions. Finding trusted and reliable legal advice should be easy. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
A straightforward adult name change is not a difficult task to accomplish. Most people can follow the process themselves; a legal name change typically involves filling out a form, filing your forms with your local court, paying a fee, possibly attending a hearing, and publishing your name change in a local newspaper for a set number of days. You can then use the final court judgment to change your name on all your legal documents.
Name Change Requirements: Variations by State
While the steps are relatively simple, each state has its own rules and fees for accomplishing a name change. Local rules in your community may also apply. Click here to find information about how to accomplish an adult name change in your state.
When you decide to change your name, your first task will be obtaining the correct form from your local courthouse. Every courthouse will have name change forms available. There are typically four different forms required for a name change depending on your situation: A marriage license form, divorce form, adoption form, and basic name change form. Each form requires a fee that is typically paid while you are at the courthouse. In most cases, submitting the forms will be sufficient for your name change. Some states may require publication of your name change. In these cases, the rules will be specified in the instructions on the form.
After You Submit Your Name Change Form
After you submit the name change form, most states will give you a 90 day grace period to change your name on all of your legal and personal information. When changing your name, you will need to bring the name change document along with you for verification purposes. The primary places where you must change your name within the first 90 days include your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (where you’ll be changing your driver’s license and registration documents), your passport (send this in immediately with a copy of your driver’s license as you only have 90 days to change it for free), your Social Security card, bank accounts, post office, utility companies, service companies, employer’s records and any mail order subscriptions. If you are job hunting, you’ll also want to make sure that you update your resume accordingly. As soon as it is possible, you’ll also want to update your will or trust documents.
As you move forward with your name change process, the most difficult task will be changing your name with all of the different companies and people with whom you do business on a regular basis.