Changing legal name in the US

From Susan's Place Transgender Resources
Jump to: navigation, search

One of the requirements of the Standards of Care is acquiring a legal, gender appropriate first name. This page covers the basics of legally changing it in the United States.

A financial waiver affidavit may be filed showing insufficient personal finances. Upon approval the county will pay the court costs and the cost of legal ad insertion. If the author found a form available at any particular state's website, for the purpose of financial assistance, it will be noted.

In many states, persons convicted of any felony level crime, will NOT be able to obtain a legal change of name. A possible remedy is to petition the Attorney General of the state that the criminal trial took place in. For reasons which are for the most part obvious, changing ones name will not reduce or eliminate any legal obligations to previously held debt.

Out-of-state resident name change has for the most part, fallen by the wayside in favor of restricting the ability to change ones legal name via local government, to residents of that state. The requirements to be considered a resident vary from production of an original utility bill, to at most, having had legal domicile for a period of time up to 2 years.

As the laws vary in each state be sure to verify the laws of your state before starting the process. Most states will require that the petitioner be a legal resident for a period of time, from 6 months to a year in most states, before accepting a petition of name change in the court.

States

AKALARAZCACOCTDCDEFLGAHIIAIDILINKS
KYLAMAMDMEMIMNMOMSMTNCNDNENHNJNMNV
NYOHOKORPARISCSDTNTXUTVAVTWAWIWVWY

Alabama

In Alabama, name changes must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Your chosen name can't be a trademarked name.
  • It can not be done to mislead or misguide for the purpose of avoiding debt.
  • It can not be done to defraud people.
  • It can not be done to avoid judgements or legal action.
  • Your chosen name can't contain or be a curse word(s), racial slur(s), nor can it be violent.

Public notification is not required as of November 2005.
The procedure is relatively simple in Alabama. You must file a Petition and Declaration for Change of Name with the Probate Court in the jurisdiction where you currently reside. The petition simply informs the Court of your current name and the name you wish to adopt. An example of a petition form can be found at http://www.ilrg.com/forms/namechange-adult/us/al

Your ‘Petition and Declaration for Change of Name must be notarized by a Notary Public in most districts. A Notary Public can be found at your local probate court.

After you have filed the petition and paid the fee to your local probate court ($25.00 in Baldwin County as of November 2005) they may or may not set your petition for a hearing. If a hearing is set they will investigate your circumstances and the reasons for your request. A letter from your therapist should be more than enough if your petition even requires a hearing. If the court finds the reason for your name change valid they will issue you a Decree Confirming Declaration as to Change of Name.

Most Alabama Probate Courts do not take checks, so be sure to take cash with you.
Contact your local probate court to determine what they require.
An amended birth certificate can be obtained after your legal name change is approved.
Some districts require some or all of the following:

  • Driver's license or some form of picture identification
  • Birth certificate or current passport
  • Current copies of bills
Department of Public Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics
Montgomery, AL 36130
Phone: 205-261-5033

Alaska

Alaska requires after the filing of a petition[1] and the paying of a $150 filing fee; for the applicant to publish notice in a local newspaper, once each week for four consecutive weeks before the date of the court hearing. After posting is completed, fill out an Affidavit of Posting.
After a favourable judgement, it will be required that a "Notice of Judgement" be published once in a newspaper. After publication, ask the newspaper for an "Affidavit of Publication" and file this Affidavit with the court. After you file proof of publication, the clerk will issue a Certificate of Name Change.
If you are unable to afford the filing fee, a petition to wave it may be filed along with the name change petition. [2]

Arizona

When a person desires to change his name and to adopt another name, he/she may file an application in the superior court in the county of residence.[3] The court may enter judgement that the adopted name of the party be substituted for the original name. If upon the filing of the application for change of name the court deems it proper that notice be given, it may order that notice of the application be given by publication or by service upon any party interested.
If you are unable to afford the filing fee, a petition to wave it may be filed along with the name change petition. [4]

Arkansas

A person may bring an action for change of name in the superior court. A change of name of a person may not be made unless the court finds sufficient reasons for the change and also finds it consistent with the public interest.

Changes to gender on a birth certificate (issued by AR) also require a court order, with submission of proof of 'a surgical procedure.' [5]

California

In name change petitions filed after July 1, 2014, one will be able to obtain a court-ordered name change without having to publish in a newspaper or attend a court hearing in most cases. Court hearings will only be scheduled in the event that someone contests the name change within the 6 to 12 week window from the order's creation date, which is rare. The civil filing fee will remain unchanged, $435 to $455 depending on the county, but those in difficult financial situations may qualify for a fee waiver. [6][7]

Form: Petition for Change of Name
Form: Attachment to Petition for Change of Name
Form: Petition for Change of Name and Gender
Form: Order to Show Cause for Change of Name
Form: Request to Waive Court Fees

Post Gender Recognition Act (SB 179 for the general population) and Senate Bill 310 (for inmates currently serving for a conviction), the process for legal gender marker change significantly more streamlined. This includes the option for non-binary persons to be legally identified as such. As with changes to a California certificate of birth, a physician declaration is no longer required to obtain a court order for gender marker change.

Provisions for minors may or may not have changed yet.

(d) If the petition for a change of name is filed by a guardian on behalf of a minor ward, the court shall first find that the ward is likely to remain in the guardian's care until the age of majority and that the ward is not likely to be returned to the custody of his or her parents. Upon making those findings, the court shall consider the petition and may grant the petition only if it finds that the proposed name change is in the best interest of the child.

Colorado

Requires a fingerprint-based criminal history check, the petitioner shall be responsible for the cost of such checks. The results must be dated within ninety days prior to the date of the filing of the petition. Unless the Court orders that publication is not required, proof of the publication of a legal notice of the applicants name change must be completed and submitted to the Court prior to the name change being officially granted. [8]
If you are unable to afford the filing fee, a petition to wave it may be filed along with the name change petition. [9]

Connecticut

In order to change ones name requires simply filing a petition with the superior court in your judicial district and pay a filing fee.

Proof of your identity needed includes: your existing birth certificate, government issued Driver's License or ID card, and your social security number.

If the applicant for a change of name resides in the county (for at least twelve months, or if employed full-time, six months) where the proceeding is brought, the fact that the applicant's technical domicile may be in another state does not deprive the court of jurisdiction.
If you are unable to afford the filing fee, a petition to wave it may be filed along with the name change petition. [10]

Delaware

Notice must be given to the general public that you are changing a given name. This is done by filing the Notice of Name Change with a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which you reside. The notice must be published once a week for three weeks. After publication is completed, the newspaper will provide you with an Affidavit of Publication. The Affidavit of Publication must be returned to the Court Clerk's Office along with other documents in this packet.[11]
The cost of a civil filing is $50. If you are unable to afford the filing fee, a petition to wave it may be filed along with the name change petition. [12]

Florida

In order to change ones name requires simply filing a petition[13] with the county court and pay a filing fee that will vary from county to county. Some report trouble satisfying the legal requirement depending on the judge presiding over the case.

Changing name on your driver's license is a more complicated affair. According to Equality Florida, "in order to change the name that appears on your Florida Identification, you need to apply for and obtain both a new Social Security card and a new passport [or birth certificate?], both reflecting your new name. Once in hand, take both your new passport and Social Security card to your local Florida DMV."

Georgia

Filing is done at the Superior Court Clerk's office in the county were you reside. You will need five forms:

  • Petition For Adult Name Change
  • Verification for Adult Name Change (notarized)
  • Notice of Petition For Adult Name Change
  • Decree nisi
  • Final decree

The filing fee currently is $213.50. The Notice of Petition must be signed by the clerk of the court and then published as a legal notice in the county newspaper once a week for four weeks. This usually costs $80. The notice shall contain therein the name of the petitioner, the name of the person whose name is to be changed if different from that of the petitioner, the new name desired, the court in which the petition is pending, the date on which the petition was filed, and the right of any interested or affected party to appear and file objections. The process generally takes 30 days but the court usually schedules your case five to six weeks out to ensure that you have time to comply with the publication requirement. At the hearing, you must swear that you are not changing your name to defraud anyone. If the court does not have the necessary forms, you may use the information packet found at the Fulton County Superior Court Website and modify them for the county were you reside.

Hawaii

To change your name in Hawaii, means filing the forms[14] and a copy of your birth certificate. After preliminary approval, notice must be published in a newspaper and evidence of that placed into evidence. After that, the court should approve the change and record it.

Idaho

Notice of the hearing on change of name of a person, stating the time and place and object thereof with the old and proposed names of the petitioner, shall be given by publishing the same once each week for four successive weeks in any legal newspaper of the county of petitioner's residence. [15]

Illinois

Here are the basic steps in changing your name in Illinois:

Get and fill out the name change documents. There are many sources available, both online and from the court. There is no cost for the forms if acquired from the court. Some online sources of the forms may charge you a service fee or an assistance fee for filling them out. There are sources for free online forms and free assistance with filling them out. The Illinois Legal Aid website: (http://www.illinoislegalaid.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.dsp_Content&contentID=5117&print=yes) is one source for free forms and assistance.

Get the affidavits notarized. You must have the forms signed by a witness in front of a notary. Then the notary will sign the affidavit to confirm that the witness has signed it.

Make copies of the notarized forms. You will have to provide the original and two copies to the court clerk.

File the completed forms with the court and publish the legal notice in the county newspaper. There is a fee for filing the forms. It must be published for three consecutive weeks in whatever publication you have your notice printed. If you file in Cook County you can also file your newspaper notice in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin at the same time for an additional fee. In May 2012, the cost for filing the name change form was $337.00 and the publication cost was $50.00[16]. If you file your publication at the Daley Center they will automatically file your certificate of publication with the court on your behalf. This will then be filed with your court records when you appear for your hearing. Otherwise you will have to get the certificate of publication from the newspaper and bring it with you to your hearing.

Additionally, you may petition the court to waive your filing fees if you cannot pay, provided you meet certain requirements.

At the time of filing you will be assigned a hearing date on the judges calendar. The date must be at least 7 weeks after the filing of the petition.

Attend the court hearing with the completed forms.

Arrive about 45 minutes early. Bring a copy of all your forms.

Dress appropriately, this is a court hearing after all. Go to your assigned court room and wait for your case to be called by the clerk.

When your case is called, reply "Here" and step before the judge. The judge may ask you some questions, answer truthfully and remember to refer to the judge as "Your Honor". If the judge agrees, he will sign the petition judgment and give it to the clerk. The clerk will stamp the forms, keep one for the court records and return the rest of the copies to you. Make sure the clerk stamps the forms before leaving the court.

Get certified copies of your forms. If you have your hearing in the Daley Center, go to the "Certified Copies" counter in RM 802. Ask to have the copies certified. One copy is to get your name changed at the Social Security Office, one copy is to get your birth certificate amended and one copy is for yourself. The cost for these copies is approximately $27.00. You can get additional certified copies for approximately $9.00 per copy.

Having additional certified copies may be helpful, in establishing your legal name change with other companies and agencies. But many will do with a xerox of the certified copy so there is no need to purchase more than five. If needed you may return to RM 802 and request additional certified copies.

Change your name on your birth certificate and Social Security information. And other places as necessary like your drivers license and credit cards.

Indiana

The State of Indiana strongly advises people wishing to change their name to obtain advice from a lawyer.

Indiana's Self-Service Legal Center provides the requisite forms for effecting a name change. These forms must be filed with the circuit court of your county of residence. You can use the forms if:

  • You are not in jail or prison
  • You are over eighteen years old
  • You have not been convicted of a felony in the last ten years
  • You are not trying to avoid creditors

You must publish a legal notice of your change of name. The notice must appear once a week for three weeks, and you must keep a copy of the newspaper every time the notice appears. Furthermore, the newspaper must sign an Affidavit of Publication. No sooner than thirty days after the last appearance of the notice, you must provide proof of publication to the court to which your are petitioning. The names on your Indiana driver's license and birth certificate can be amended with the resulting court order.
If you are unable to afford the filing fee, a petition to wave it may be filed along with the name change petition. [17]

Iowa

To change ones name in Iowa, requires filling out the required court form, and a certified copy of your birth certificate or naturalisation papers provided from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.[18]

Kansas

In order to change name requires the filing of a petition, and either sending out notices to creditors, or the listing of a legal ad in the county newspaper to announce the name change. [19]

Kentucky

In order to submit a name change application, requires 2 forms of ID, and the payment of a fee. [20]

Louisiana

Whenever any person who has attained the age of majority desires to change his/her name, shall present a petition to the district court of the parish of his/her residence or, in the case of a person incarcerated in a penal institution, to the district court of the parish in which he/she was sentenced, setting forth the reasons for the desired change.

Maine

If a person desires to have ones name changed, the person may petition the judge of probate in the county where the person resides; or, if the person is a minor, that person's legal custodian may petition in the person's behalf. Paper forms can be obtained form any District Court or Superior Court clerk's office. The fee for filing the petition is $25.

Maryland

In order to change name requires the filing of a petition, and the listing of a legal notice in the county newspaper to announce the name change. [21]
If you are unable to afford the filing fee, a petition to wave it may be filed along with the name change petition. http://www.courts.state.md.us/courtforms/joint/ccdc008.pdf

Massachusetts

After filing a petition, requires the payment of a $165 filling fee. A certified copy of the birth certificate for each party must be filed with petition. If a name has been previously changed by decree of court or at marriage, either a copy of record of birth so amended,a copy of such decree or, a copy of record of marriage must be filed with this petition. [22]

Michigan

To file a name change petition also need a legal notice to be made in the county paper, and a fingerprint-based background check performed by the state police, with return address being the county clerk's office. [23]

Minnesota

First you must file a petition with the court in the county where you live.[24] You must have lived within the State of Minnesota at least six months. If you own your home or other real estate, you need to have the legal description when you file your documents (it will not be your address). This information is available on your Property Tax Statement. Each county will have its own forms which can be obtained at the county court house or government center.

The fee for filing the petition is based off civil court costs and as of writing was $252.00. If you are unable to afford the filing fee, a petition to wave it may be filed along with the name change petition.[25] If you were born in the state of Minnesota, you can request that your birth record be changed at the same time as your name.[26] The court order must direct the Department of Health to change your name and/or gender.

Your case will be assigned to a judge. You will receive a Notice of Judicial Assignment in the mail approximately one week after you file your petition. You can then contact the judge's clerk for further instructions or to schedule a hearing date. When you pick a date make sure it is convenient for your witnesses. Typically available dates are Tuesday or Thursday at 9 am.

At the hearing you must bring two adult witnesses who have known you for not less than one year. Your witnesses may be relatives. If you are married, one of your witnesses should be your significant other (partner). The witnesses should be able to speak and understand English. If not, you will need to provide an interpreter for your witness at your own expense. A typical hearing takes about 20 minutes. You will be asked to take the stand and testify that you are not changing your name for any fraudulent purpose or to evade debt. Both of your witnesses will be required to swear that, to the best of their knowledge, your testimony is true.

Assuming that your name change is granted, the judge will sign the order at the end of the hearing and turn it over to the county Recorder to file. You will by default receive one certified copy and one un-certified copy. The original is permanently filed. You must pay for the cost of each certified copy of the signed order unless you have had the filing fee waved in which you will receive one free copy. Each additional certified copy will cost $16.00. It is recommended you obtain three certified copies in total as you will "lose" at least one certified copy if you need to mail it to a State Health Department for birth certificate change.

It is your responsibility to notify all interested people, businesses, employers, schools, etc., of your new name. Some will require a certified copy of the Order Granting Name Change. An extensive list is available at the courthouse as to whom you may need to notify. You must file a certified copy of the order with the county recorder of any Minnesota county in which you, your spouse, or minor children have an interest in land. According to Minnesota law, you must obtain a replacement drivers license within 30 days of obtaining a legal name change. Current fee for replacement licenses is $15.75 and will require them to take a new photograph.

For persons with Person with Felony Conviction(s): You must serve a notice of your Application for Name Change on the prosecuting authority responsible for your felony prior to filing your application with the court. If your felony is from another state or a federal charge, you must serve the Minnesota Attorney General. If you have more than one felony, all prosecuting authorities and/or the Attorney General must be served. Proof(s) of service must accompany your Application for Name Change when you filed with the court. Civil Intake has these forms if you request them. If the prosecuting authority or Attorney General files an objection to your name change, and you wish to proceed with your Application for Name Change, you must contest the objection of the prosecuting authority or Attorney General. To do this, you must file a motion with the court for an order permitting the requested name change and contact the judge assigned to your case for a hearing date. You will need to serve the prosecuting authority notice of the hearing date and a copy of your motion. You will need to prove to the Court by clear and convincing evidence that your application for name change is not based on the intent to defraud, is made in good faith, will not cause injury to a person and will not compromise public safety. Absent this evidence, your name change will not be granted.

Mississippi

Any person desiring to change his/her name may present a petition to the superior court of the county of his residence, setting forth fully and particularly the reasons why the change is asked. The law is vague on the legal requirements to obtain a name change.

Missouri

Any person desiring to change his/her name may present a petition to that effect, verified by affidavit, to the circuit court in the county of the petitioner's residence. The petition requires the applicant's full legal name, the new name desired, and a concise statement of the reason for such desired change.

It shall be the duty of the judge of such court to order such change to be made, if such judge is satisfied that the desired change would be proper and not detrimental to the interests of any other person.

Public notice of such a change of name shall be given at least three times in a newspaper published in the county where such person is residing, within twenty days after the order of court is made, and if no newspaper is published in his or any adjacent county, then such notice shall be given in a newspaper published in the city of St. Louis, or at the seat of government.

Montana

A copy of the order to show cause shall be published in a county newspaper once a week for four successive weeks. If no newspaper of general circulation is published in the county, a copy of the order to show cause shall be posted in three of the most public places in the county in which the court is located, for a like period. Proof shall be made to the satisfaction of the court of this publication or posting, at the time of the hearing of the application. [27]

It is possible to request to the court to wave the requirement to publish legal notice.[28]

If you are unable to afford the filing fee, a petition to wave it may be filed along with the name change petition. [29]

Nebraska

To begin the process you must take your completed Petition for Name Change along with the filing fee to the Clerk of the District Court in the county in which you reside.[30]
After filing the Petition for Name Change you must give legal notice that you are changing your name in a newspaper published in the county where the Petition is filed. Before the Legal Notice can be prepared you will need to schedule a hearing date. The hearing should not be scheduled any sooner than approximately six weeks from the time you filed your Petition, so as to give you the necessary time to have the Legal Notice published once a week for four weeks prior to the hearing. Prior to the hearing date you should check with the Clerk of the District Court to make sure the newspaper has filed an affidavit saying the Legal Notice was published once a week for four consecutive weeks.
You will want to bring two copies of the Decree of Name Change to your hearing. The judge will keep an original with his or her signature for the Court file and will give you a copy for your records. Certified copies the Decree of Name Change may be obtained from the Clerk of the District Court.

Nevada

Any person desiring to have his name changed may file a verified petition with the clerk of the district court of the district in which he/she resides. The petition shall be addressed to the court and shall state the applicant’s present name, the name which he desires to bear in the future, the reason for desiring the change and whether he/she has been convicted of a felony.

Upon the filing of the petition the applicant shall publish a legal notice, which shall state the fact of the filing of the petition, its object, his/her present name and the name which he/she desires to bear in the future. The notice shall be published in some newspaper of general circulation in the county once a week for 3 successive weeks.

If within 10 days after the last publication of the notice, and no written objection is filed with the clerk; upon proof of the filing of the petition, and publication of notice as required, and upon being satisfied by the statements in the petition, or by other evidence, that good reason exists therefore; the court shall make an order changing the name of the applicant.

New Hampshire

In order to file a petition for name change requires:

  • The filling out of Petition for Change of Name form[31]
  • A copy of your Driver's License, Birth Certificate or Passport
  • Proof of residency, if you were not born in the state
  • Paying of a filing fee of $80

The person requesting the name change will receive a Notice of Hearing in the mail. This notice will inform you of the day and time of the court hearing. If the Court approves the name change, you will receive a Certificate of Change of Name the day of the hearing. If you need extra copies of the Certificate of Change of Name, you can request them at the Probate Court for a fee of $5.00 each.

New Jersey

Fill out (make at least 2 copies) and file the forms and pay the $200 fee at the county courthouse as instructed.[32] After papers are received back, you must publish a legal notice in the county newspaper for at least 2 weeks before the hearing. After this is done file the original affidavit saying the Legal Notice was published that you received from the paper with the court. (making a copy for your records)
After a judge has approved the petition, the final judgement must to published in a newspaper chosen by the judge, and the Affidavit of Publication sent to the Court. You may then request certified copies for other legal purposes.

New Mexico

An applicant for a name change must publish a legal notice in the county newspaper (or the nearest county that has a newspaper) for at least 2 weeks before the hearing. The link to the form may differ in the county you live in. [33]

New York

A lawyer can easily navigate this process for their client. If the funds for a lawyer are not available, the process can be followed by an ordinary citizen. If this course is chosen it's a good idea to contact the County Clerk's office in the county of residence to make sure of which forms are required and how to get them.

In jurisdictions outside of New York City name changes are handled in the civil section of the Supreme Court that sits in the county of residence. In New York City, this function is carried out by the county's Civil Court.

Three forms are required. The first is a petition to the court for a name change. The most recent version of this form is available at: http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/8jd/pdfs/Resource/adult_name_change_petition.pdf

The second is called a "Request for Judicial Intervention".(RJI, available for download here: http://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/fbem/forms/RJI.pdf) Three copies of the RJI are said to be required on the website. The third form is the actual order that the judge signs and the county clerk files. (an old but acceptable version is available for download here: http://www.nycourts.gov/forms/ncorder.pdf)

An self addressed stamped envelope should also be prepared. An original or certified copy of the birth certificate is needed for the process and a letter from a therapist, while not required, helps the process along when the name change is obviously meant to be a part of a gender transition.

The county clerks cannot give legal advice or tell you if a form is correctly filled out or not. They can and will tell you which forms are required. One strategy to make sure the forms are filled out properly is to find a law firm that gives free consultations, usually a half hour or hour, and then bring the completed forms for review and advice.

A court fee of $210.00, the SASE and the completed forms are brought to the County Clerk or one of their assistants. They will assign an index number, stamp the forms, take the fee (paying by check is most convenient), write a receipt and send the paperwork on. A wait of 6 to nine weeks, or even more depending on how busy the court is, is usually required. Once the petition is approved and signed, the order, the birth certificate and any other extraneous paperwork is mailed back to the petitioner in the envelope they provided earlier. The order will have a newspaper specified, one that is published in the county of residence, in which a legal notice needs to be published. The form of the legal notice is given on the order. An example notice is available a separate .pdf file from the website. The cost of this notice will vary depending on who publishes it.

Once the notice is published a signed and notarized "Affidavit of Publication" is mailed to the petitioner by the newspaper. This affidavit must be returned, along with the signed order, to the county clerk's office where it will be filed. Once the order and affidavit are filed, the name change becomes official. Certified copies can then be purchased for a few dollars each. At least two to four copies should be purchased since a number of organizations require that they at least see one before they change a name in their records.

North Carolina

The NOTICE€must be date-stamped and then posted on the courthouse bulletin board for at least ten full calendar days. After your Notice has been posted for at least ten calendar days, remove your notice from the bulletin board and bring it to the Special Proceedings Division in the Clerk's Office.
You will need to bring your Notarized Petition and the two Notarized Affidavits of Character. The two Affidavits of Character must be signed by non-related persons, over the age of 18, who reside in the county where you file the petition.
There will be a $50.00 filing fee which must be paid in cash or certified funds. Furnish the original or certified copy of your Birth Certificate and a valid Picture Identification. If you have a foreign Birth Certificate that is not written in English, you may also use United States Citizenship papers or a valid Passport in lieu of a Birth Certificate. Once your documents have been reviewed, you will be required to complete the Order and Certificate of Name Change.
The form used by your county may be different than the one contained in the link. [34]

North Dakota

Any person who has been a resident for a period of six months can change his or her name. The petitioner will assume the cost of a criminal background check. Place an ad in the newspaper of the county, and wait 30 days for any replies. Obtain receipt and affidavit from said newspaper whether there were any replies or not. If you are unable to afford the filing fee, a petition to wave it may be filed along with the name change petition. [35]

Ohio

A person desiring a change of name may file an application in the probate court of the county in which the person resides. The application shall set forth that the applicant has been a bona fide resident of that county for at least one year prior to the filing of the application, the cause for which the change of name is sought, and the requested new name.

Notice of the application shall be given once by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county at least thirty days before the hearing on the application. The notice shall set forth the court in which the application was filed, the case number, and the date and time of the hearing.
Upon proof that proper notice was given and that the facts set forth in the application show reasonable and proper cause for changing the name of the applicant, the court may order the change of name.

Oklahoma

Any person, who has been domiciled in this state or who has been residing upon any military reservation located in said state, for more than thirty days, may petition for a change of name in a civil action in the district court.

The petition shall be verified and shall state:

  • The name and address of the petitioner
  • The facts as to domicile and residence
  • The date and place of birth
  • The birth certificate number, and place where the birth is registered, if registered
  • The name desired by petitioner
  • A clear and concise statement of the reasons for the desired change
  • A positive statement that the change is not sought for any illegal or fraudulent purpose, or to delay or hinder creditors.

A legal notice of filing of such petition shall be given, by publishing the same, one time at least ten days prior to the date set for hearing, in some newspaper authorized by law to publish legal notices printed in the county where the petition is filed. If there are none, then in some such newspaper printed in this state of general circulation in that county.
The notice shall contain the style and number of the case, the time, date and place where the same is to be heard, and that any person may file a written protest in the case prior to the date set for the hearing. The hearing date may be any day after completion of the publication. The court or judge, for cause, may continue the matter to a later date.

http://www.owcc.state.ok.us/CourtForms/Current/Form%2099.pdf

Oregon

Application for change of name of a person may be heard and determined by the probate court or, the circuit court if its jurisdiction has been extended to the county in which the person resides.

Before decreeing a change of name, the court shall require public notice of the application to be given, that all persons may show cause why the name change should not be granted. The court shall also require public notice to be given of the change after the entry of the decree.

The change of name shall be granted by the court unless the court finds that the change is not consistent with the public interest.
If you are unable to afford the filing fee, ($99, depending on the county) a petition to wave it may be filed along with the name change petition. [36]

Pennsylvania

Name change in Pennsylvania will require a fingerprint-based background check for persons 12 and older. The "fingerprint card" is available at ones local police department. That "card" is sent in an 8.5" x 11" envelope to the state police.

PA State Police
Central Repository
1800 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, PA 17110

A letter sized envelope (editors note: what contents?) must be addressed to:
Department of Court Records - Civil Division
First floor City-County Building
414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

The name change petition must be submitted through the office of your county prothonotary, which is usually at your county courthouse. Your county prothonotary can be found by going to http://www.pacourts.us/courts/courts-of-common-pleas/prothonotaries. Fees do vary from county to county and you may be able to file a "petition to proceed in forma pauperis" if you're unable to pay the fees required by the court. While you can file these petitions pro se, a lawyer is advisable in terms of navigating the legal system with greater ease and expedience. [1] The form used by your county will be different than the one contained in the link. The filing fee varies by county but may be $131 (no personal checks). [37]

A legal notice of the name change must be published. While postings in the Tribune Review or the Post Gazette newspapers would be satisfactory for residents of Allegheny County, residents of other counties must post in their local newspapers. You must post in two local newspapers and so may be required to post in a newspaper from another county. For example, if you live in Dauphin County you may decide to post your name change notice as a classified ad in the Harrisburg Patriot News. This leaves you having to find another nearby newspaper in which to post your name change notice, such as the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal. To wave this requirement may require a meeting with the judge presiding over the case. [2]

Rhode Island

Name change in Rhode Island generally varies depending on what town one is attempting the process in. Some municipalities will require or at least attempt to, have legal notification published. The reason indicated for the change of name on the application is important. Disclosure of ones transition is not required and preferred name or common usage is both descriptive as well as accurate.

Start off with downloading the forum at http://www.sec.state.ri.us/library/probateforms/PC8.1.pdf . You will need a certified copy of your birth certificate, and the fee. People born in RI can get it from Vital Records. You will also need the results of a background check from your local police station or the Attorney General's office Do not attempt to pay for cost of the background check in cash.

After that is done you will need to contact your local Probate Court and double check the filing fee, payment method and available court dates. You will need multiple certified copies depending on circumstances.[38]

South Carolina

A person who desires to change his name may petition, in writing, a family court judge in the appropriate circuit, setting forth the reason for the change, his/her age, place of residence and birth, and the name by which he.she desires to be known as.
Upon such petition and the reason therein contained, the judge shall determine and grant or refuse the prayer thereof, as to him shall appear proper, having a due regard to the true interest of the petitioner.

South Dakota

Any person who has been a resident for a period of six months can change his or her name. Notice of the hearing on change of name of a person, stating the time and place and object thereof with the old and proposed names of the petitioner, shall be given by publishing the same once each week for four successive weeks in any legal newspaper of the county of petitioner's residence.

Tennessee

The application to change the name or to correct an error in a birth certificate shall be by petition, in writing, signed by the applicant and verified by affidavit, stating that he is a resident of the county, and giving his reasons for desiring the change or correction.

The verified petition shall state the full legal name of the Petitioner, all prior names by which the Petitioner has been known, the place of residence of the petitioner(s), the birth date, age, social security number of the individual whose name is to be changed, and the State where the original birth certificate was issued. Copes of the original birth certificate, social security card and official photo identification shall be submitted with the petition. The individual whose name is to be changed must appear in Court at the hearing.

Texas

To begin the process you must take your completed Petition for Name Change along with the filing fee to the Clerk of the District Court in the county in which you reside. In order to change ones name may require that the application be notarized. Depending on the county you live in, it may be difficult acquire a name change due to not being "in the best interest of the person requesting the name change". [39]
If you are unable to afford the filing fee, a petition to wave it may be filed along with the name change petition. There are two forms needed:

~~ Houston ~~

  • Fill out the "Original petition for change of name" and "Order granting name change"
  • File your papers at the Civil Courthouse (201 Caroline). It's on the 2nd floor to the left. Make sure they have your phone number on record. If you need papers notarized, try the bail bonds places across the street. If you need ATM there is one just inside the Juvenile Justice Center (1200 Congress).
  • Note the court phone number on the receipt.
  • Get fingerprinted somewhere (Bill's Photo & Fingerprints is one option)
  • Mail a copy of the papers you filed along with the fingerprints to the Central Cash Receiving PO Box 15999 Austin TX 78761-5999, along with a cashier's check for exactly $34.25, payable to Texas DPS.
  • Wait about 3 weeks and if they haven't called you, try calling the court (713-368-6141) to ask for your court date.

Once you have seen the judge get a couple certified copies there at the courthouse. Then find a DPS\DMV.

I went to 12220 S Gessner Dr 77071 and they processed my name change but refused to update the gender marker without a court order. So if you have a surgeon letter, you might want to try elsewhere.

After this has been accomplished, go to the

Social Security Administration
8989 Lakes at 610 Drive, 77054

They were friendly and much more pleasant than most government offices.

then go to the

Bureau of Vital Statistics,
8000 North Stadium Drive, 77054

Get the forms to update your birth records. Mail a certified copy of your order granting name change and a check for $37.00

Utah

Any natural person, desiring to change his name, may file a petition therefore in the district court of the county where he resides, setting forth:

  • The cause for which the change of name is sought.
  • The name proposed.
  • That he has been a bona fide resident of the county for the year immediately prior to the filing of the petition.

The court shall order what, if any, notice shall be given of the hearing. After the giving of such notice, if any, may order the change of name as requested, upon proof in open court of the allegations of the petition and that there exists proper cause for granting the name change.[40]
If you are unable to afford the filing fee, a petition to wave it may be filed along with the name change petition. http://www.utcourts.gov/resources/forms/#Waiver_of_Court_Fees

Vermont

A person of age and sound mind may change his or her name by making, signing, sealing and acknowledging before the judge of the probate court of the district in which the person resides, a petition in the following form.

Whenever a person changes his name, he shall provide the probate court with a copy of his birth certificate and, if married, a copy of his marriage certificate, and a copy of the birth certificate of each minor child, if any.

The register of probate with whom the change of name is filed and recorded shall transmit the certificates and a certified copy of such instrument of change of name to the supervisor of vital records registration. The supervisor of vital records registration shall forward such instrument of change of name to the town clerk in the town where the person was born within the state, or wherein the original certificate is filed, with instructions to amend the original certificate. Such amended certificates shall have the words "Court Amended" stamped, written or typed at the top.

Virginia

If the applicant shall show cause to believe that in the event his change of name should become a public record, a serious threat to the health or safety of the applicant or his immediate family would exist, the chief judge of the circuit court may waive the requirement that the application be under oath or the court may order the record sealed.

Washington

Any person desiring a change of his or her name or that of his or her child or ward, may apply therefore to the district court of the judicial district in which he or she resides, by petition setting forth the reasons for such change; thereupon such court in its discretion may order a change of the name and thenceforth the new name shall be in place of the former. [41]

West Virginia

Any person desiring a change of his own name, or that of his child or ward, may apply therefor to the circuit court or any other court of record having jurisdiction of the county in which he resides. A person petitioning for a change of name must have been a resident of the county in which the petition is filed for at least one year preceding filing the petition.

Previous to the filing of such petition such person publish a legal notice of the time and place that such application will be made, in any legal newspaper of the county of petitioner's residence.

Upon the filing of such petition, and upon proof of the publication of such notice, and being satisfied that no injury will be done to any person by reason of such change, that reasonable and proper cause exists for changing the name of petitioner, and that such change is not desired because of any fraudulent or evil intent on the part of the petitioner, the court or judge thereof in vacation may order a change of name as applied for. The court may not grant any change of name for any person convicted of any felony during the time that the person is incarcerated.
If you are unable to afford the filing fee, a petition to wave it may be filed along with the name change petition. [42]

Wisconsin

Any resident of this state, whether a minor or adult, may upon petition to the circuit court of the county where he or she resides and upon filing a copy of the notice, along with with proof of publication, over three successive weeks in a newspaper prior to hearing. Most licensed professionals may not change their surname in this state.
There is a filing fee for the service payable to the county clerk.
See http://www.wicourts.gov/services/public/selfhelp/faqsname.htm for more information.

Forms are also available here: http://www.wicourts.gov/circuit/ccform.jsp?FormName=&FormNumber=&beg_date=&end_date=&StatuteCite=&Category=58

Wyoming

A person petitioning for a change of name must have been a resident of the county in which the petition is filed for at least two years immediately preceding filing the petition. Notice of the hearing on change of name of a person, shall be given by publishing the same once each week for four successive weeks in any legal newspaper of the county of petitioner's residence.

District of Columbia

A change of name of a person may not be made unless the court finds sufficient reasons for the change and also finds it consistent with the public interest. The application is filed in the Superior Court. Recent changes made it so that legal notice does not need to be published before the court will hear the change of name.

The following form is needed:

The fee to file a civil petition is $80, certified copies of the order cost $5. If you are unable to afford the filing fee, a petition to wave it may be filed along with the name change petition. [43]

Discuss


  1. PA name change info2.
  2. PA name change info.