Adult name changes are fairly simple, but must go through the court system.
- An adult wishing to change his or her name must file a petition stating the desired new name and reason for the change.
- A legal notice is published once a week for four weeks in the legal newspaper of your county. This notice gives anyone else (such as creditors) the opportunity to file an objection.
Once this process is completed, the judge signs a decree ordering your change of name. This order is used as evidence to submit to Social Security, the DMV, and other entities.
To complete your name change, you'll need to tell others about it. Contact the people and institutions you deal with and ask what type of documentation they require to make your name change official in their records. Different institutions will have different rules and forms; a few will only require a phone call or an email. But in our increasingly security-conscious world, most will require special forms, a copy of a court order listing your new name, and, in a few instances, even a personal meeting.
It's generally recommended that you first acquire a driver's license, then a Social Security card in your new name. Once you have those pieces of identification, it's usually fairly simple to acquire others or have records changed to reflect your new name.
- Friends and family
- Post office
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Social Security Administration
- Department of Records or Vital Statistics (issuers of birth certificates)
- Banks and other financial institutions
- Creditors and debtors
- Telephone and utility companies
- State taxing authority
- Insurance agencies
- Registrar of Voters
- Passport office
- Public Assistance (welfare) office
- Veterans Administration.
Finally, remember to change your name on other important legal papers -- for example, wills, powers of attorney, Advanced Directive for Healthcare and contracts.
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