Why do people change their name?
There are many reasons why a person may want to change their name, whether due to Divorce, Adoption, or because of Familial Relationships. Every person has their own reason for changing their name. Unfortunately, not every reason is considered valid and, therefore, the Court may deny the request.
How do you legally change your name?
The procedure for changing a name depends on a couple of factors. The first factor is why a person is requesting a name change, and the second factor is the age of the person whose name is being changed.
If the name change is for an adult due to a divorce, then requesting the name change is much easier when handled within the divorce proceeding. Ask your Divorce Attorney to request a name change in the Final Decree of Divorce. If the name change is due to an adoption, again it is much easier to request the change as part of the adoption proceeding.
If neither of these situations apply, then the procedure is relatively quick and simple. For changing the name of an adult, the adult will file a petition for a name change with the Court. It is necessary for the adult to complete a fingerprint card and submit the card with the Petition to the Court. The Petitioner will then need to schedule a hearing with the Court and attend the hearing to “prove-up” the name change.
If the person is a minor, the procedure is a little different. If the minor is under 12 years of age, then both biological parents (unless deceased or rights have been terminated) must consent to the name change or must be properly served with notice of the lawsuit. If the child is over 12 years of age, then the child must also consent to the change of name.
How much does it cost to change your name?
The simple answer is, “it depends”. If the name change is due to adoption or divorce, there are no additional fees typically associated with the change of name. If a separate proceeding is necessary, you can expect to pay anywhere between $750 to about $1,500, depending on the attorney. Costs include court filing fees, attorney fees, certified copy fees, and if citation is necessary, there are issuance fees and service fees.
How long does it take to legally change your name?
The quickest proceeding for a name change is for an adult. Once the petition is filed and the fingerprints are turned in to the Court, a hearing can be scheduled. Depending on the Court’s schedule, an adult name change can be accomplished in just a few days to a couple of months.
The time frame for changing the name of a minor is a little longer. If only one biological parent is applying for the name change (or guardian of the minor, etc), then the other parent must either consent or be served with citation. Some courts require an Ad Litem be appointed while others do not. You can expect the name change to take from 30 days to months.
Why would a Judge deny a name change?
There are many reasons a person may wish to change their name and most courts will allow it. However, the court has discretion and may deny the name change. There are some reasons where a court may deny a name change, including:
- Attempting to avoid creditors or prosecution of a crime;
- Attempting to commit fraud;
- A final felony conviction unless
- received a certificate of discharge by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or completed a period of community supervision or juvenile probation ordered by a court and not less than two years have passed from the date of the receipt of discharge or completion of community supervision or juvenile probation; or
- been pardoned
- Required to register unless
- the person provides the court with proof that the person has notified the appropriate local law enforcement authority of the proposed name change
Because the Court has discretion whether the change of name is in the best interest of the person and of the public, a Court could deny the request for other reasons.
Now that I have an Order, what next?
Once the Court approves the change of name, it is necessary to obtain a certified copy of the Order from the Court Clerk. You will then need to request your name be changed on your driver’s license, social security card, and apply for a new birth certificate if you wish.
If you are seeking a name change and not sure where to start, then contact the Law Office of Ronda S Haynes, PLLC today to schedule your consultation. Our experienced attorney is ready to counsel you on your name change and the correct process to accomplish your request.