Why (and How) Some Choose to Legally Change Their Names

What do Charlie Sheen, Faith Hill and Elton John have in common? They each changed their name. Celebrities ranging from Katy Perry to Whoopi Goldberg changed their names to something that they deemed more interesting or helped them in their professions. However, not all people who want to change their names are celebrities. In fact, marriage and divorce are the two most common reasons why people change their name.

Why People Decide to Change Their Names

People change their first, middle and last names for many different reasons. Some people may not identify with the names that they were given at birth while others may just be seeking a new identity. Some couples want to combine their surnames to form a completely new last name, and others decide to reclaim their maiden names following a divorce. Parents may also change their child’s surname in the case of an absent parent.

The Process of Changing Your Last Name

Every person has the right to change their name barring a few but reasonable stipulations. For one, the name cannot be used for fraudulent purposes or illegal activity. Secondly, the court has to approve the name change. Although anyone can go by a different name in public, it’s a bit trickier when it comes to using the name on legal documents.

The process may vary from state to state but still requires similar forms and actions completed for the name change. You’ll have to request a name change petition and get all your forms authorized by a notary public. Once you’ve completed the forms and have them notarized, your next step is submitting them to the nearest county court.

Afterward, you’ll have to announce your name change in the local newspaper by submitting a Notice of Public Name Change document. The ad has to run at least once per week for three weeks, and you’ll need to receive proof from the newspaper and present it to the court. When you’ve completed all these steps, you’ll need to bring all the documents to court and attend your hearing.

Want to avoid the headaches of changing your name? Contact Garrison Law Firm for help. We can make the process of changing your name as easy as possible.

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