Personal identity could not be more important. There are a number of reasons why someone may feel it is necessary to change their name, whether it is to take on their partner’s last name in marriage, or to better reflect their evolving identity. Unfortunately, changing your name legally is not always a straight-forward process. However, once you know the steps that you need to take, it may not be as daunting as it initially seemed.
- How do I change my last name if I am getting married?
Believe it or not, it is actually much easier to get married than it is to change your name. The first step to changing your last name due to marriage is to order three copies of your married certificate when you get married. You will then take one of these copies with you to the Social Security Administration Office (or send it by mail) along with an application for name change. The SSA will issue you a new social security card which reflects your new name, but will keep your social security number the same. You can then use this to get your name updated on the rest of your government documents and licenses.
- How do I change my name if I am getting divorced?
In many states, there will be an option in the divorce paperwork to revert to going by your maiden name. However, in the event that you do not complete this part of the paperwork, that it is not an option in your state, or that you change your mind later, you can still make this change at any time. You will need to apply for a name change with the Social Security Administration Office and provide a copy of your divorce decree.
- Do I need a reason to change my last name?
Often, people think that they need a reason, such as marriage or divorce, to change their last name. However, you do not need a reason to change your last name provided that your reasons for doing so are legal. For instance, if you have a criminal background for fraud and excessive debts, your request to change your name may not be approved as it could look like an attempt to defraud creditors and escape debt or other legal trouble. However, provided that you have a legal reason, you should not have trouble changing your name.
- Can I change my first name?
Yes, you have the right to change your first name. The reason can be as simple as the fact that you do not like it or found one that you like better. The process for changing your first name varies by state, but will generally require you to file a petition with the court of the state that you live in, and you will likely have to appear before a judge in order for the order to be approved.
- How do I change my name on my passport?
The first step to changing your name on your passport is to change your name on your social security card. You can begin the process for this by visiting the Social Security Administration website and applying for a new card with name change. Depending on the reason for your name change and your circumstances, you will have to provide specific documentation. Once your new social security card has been issued, you can use it to apply to update your name on your passport. Your social security number will remain the same even though the name on your card will be changed.
- How do I change my name on my driver’s license?
In order to change your name on your driver’s license, you will first need to change your name on your social security card. You can do this by applying to do so with the Social Security Administration. You may be able to complete the process via mail, otherwise you may have to make an appointment at their office. This process is fairly straightforward if you have all the necessary documentation, but many people still find it overwhelming and difficult to navigate on their own, and elect to have a lawyer help them with the process.
- Can I change my name due to a sex or gender change?
Yes. You have the right to change your name for any reason, provided it is a legal one. You are able to change both your first and last name, however, you may be required to file a petition in state court in order to do so. A lawyer can help you file a petition and take all steps necessary to change your name on all required legal documents.
- Do I have to go to court to change my name?
In some cases, such as when you are changing your name for marriage, you will not be required to go to court. Additionally, if you file for a name change as part of your divorce paperwork, the judge can order your name change into effect at the same time they order the divorce decree into effect, so it will not require another trip to court. However, in other cases, you will likely be required to file a petition to change your name in court and a judge will have to review and approve the petition. This may sound daunting, but it is something that courts deal with all the time. A lawyer can easily help you to navigate this process.
- Do I need a lawyer for a name change?
Legally, you do not need a lawyer to change your name. However, the process can be overwhelming without one. Even if you manage to file a name-change petition in court successfully on your own and to represent yourself in the required hearing, there are many steps required to make sure that your name is legally changed on all legal documents, licenses, and with important institutions, such as the credit bureaus. Without an attorney to help you through these steps, you may find yourself with no credit score linked to your name.
- How long does a legal name change take?
The amount of time that it takes to change your name legally depends on your circumstances. For instance, if you are changing your name as part of a divorce, it will take the length of the divorce proceedings, and changing your name as a result of marriage can be accomplished fairly quickly if you stay on top of things. However, if you have to file a petition in court to change your name, it can take several months depending on the state that you live in.
Contact the Covington Law Firm to Change Your Name
If you are ready to change your name for any reason, we are ready to help. Contact the Covington Law Firm, located in Richmond, Texas, and schedule a consultation today.