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Here are the Steps to Legally Change Your Name

There are many reasons why you might wish to change your name. Perhaps you recently got married and want to take on your partner’s surname (or hyphenate your surname). Maybe you got divorced and want to go back to previous surname. You might simply just not like your name and are ready for a change.

In order to change your name legally, you need a Court Order.  If you are getting divorce, your Judgment of Divorce can provide that you can resume use of any prior surname.  A certified copy of your Judgment of Divorce can be used to change your name legally with DMV, Social Security or any other agency.

If you are not getting divorced, you would have to file a proceeding to change your name with the Court.  In some instances, the Court may require legal publication before your name change can become effective.

No matter your reason for seeking a legal name change, here are the steps you’ll need to take to achieve it once you have a Court Order authorizing the name change:

  • Acquire new identification: It’s recommended that you seek a new driver’s license and Social Security card in your new name. By having these pieces of identification, you’ll find it much easier to have other records changed to reflect your new name.
  • Begin changing records: You’ll need to begin telling others about your name change, including any institutions or people with which you deal often. They might require documentation to make your name change official, so be sure to ask what sorts of forms or information they require you to provide. Contact employers, schools, the post office, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Social Security Administration, any creditors or debtors, the passport office, the Registrar of Voters, utility companies, banks, professional licensing agencies and insurance providers.
  • Replace estate plans: If you have any estate planning documents, it’s a good idea to completely replace them with brand-new documents that have your name on them. This will avoid any confusion amongst your beneficiaries or the courts.
  • Marriage and divorce: If you are changing to a new spouse’s name or returning to your old name, you can simply just start using that new name. Your marriage certificate or divorce decree will provide you with all the evidence you need. However, if both you and your spouse are using an entirely new name, you will need a special court order.

For more tips and legal guidance on how to get your name legally changed, contact a skilled family law attorney at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.