Have you always been called by a different name to your actual birth name, even by your parents?

Or perhaps you just don’t like your given name and want it gone?

Whatever the reason, changing your name is a relatively simple process.

Here’s how to do it in a few simple steps.

Can I Choose Anything as My New Name?

There are some restrictions on what you can choose as your new name.

In general, these are meant to safeguard the interests and well-being of third parties. For example, you can’t change your name to get away with a debt or to keep from getting sued. You also can’t change your name to something that’s misleading, intentionally confusing or socially unacceptable, such as an obscene or threatening word or a racial slur.

Petitioning the Court

The procedure to change your name varies from state to state, but it always requires filing a petition. A petition is basically a formal request for permission to change your name. Besides filling in your new name, you’ll need to give your reason for wanting a name change. You’ll also need to sign a declaration confirming that you’re not changing your name to avoid any of your legal obligations.

In some states, you’ll need to undergo a police check before filing the petition. The petition itself might also ask for information about any criminal convictions.  You may need to publish the notification of the change in the local newspaper.

Once you’ve filled in the form, you’ll have to get it notarized and filed in County Court. The Court will set a hearing, which you’ll need to attend to answer any questions the judge might have. If the judge is satisfied that your request is within the law, he’ll sign a name change order.

Making Your Name Change Official

Once the judge signs your name change order, you’re good to go. However, you’ll still need to make it official by letting everyone know about it. Some states require you to announce your name change in a local newspaper. You’ll also want to order a new birth certificate and change your other identification, such as your passport and driving license.

Do you need help kick-starting your name change procedure? Contact Kelly Bosserman at Bosserman Law today.