There are many reasons a person might want to change his or her name. One example is the law giving the person the wrong name. For instance, in days gone by, laws in some states were that a woman giving birth must put her husband’s name on the birth certificate. If this was the case for some people they can be walking through life with some one other than their real father’s last name. Although laws have changed, and the mom can now name the father even if it isn’t her husband, some people are stuck with a name that isn’t really theirs.
There are other reasons a person might want to change his name, and to do so, there are a couple options. The first option is to begin using the new name on everything you put on paper. Sign all documents with your new name and place bank accounts in the new name. Even though this way of changing your name is very easy it can also cause many problems. Some places, like a bank, might require you to show your identification before creating the account. There are many other problems that can arise from simply changing your name yourself.
If you begin using a new name, and you use it on everything personal, business and social, this is not illegal. The exception in most states, though, is a minor child or a prison inmate or felon. This is only true in some states. After using the new name for a period of time you will begin getting all mail and other paperwork with the new name by which you are then known.
You can file paperwork to legally change your name and you don’t necessarily need an attorney. Many people use a lawyer to file for a name change, but nowadays, you can simply print the paperwork from a legal document web site. There is a charge for printing the document, called a Petition for Name Change, which is then filed at your local courthouse. There is also a fee you pay for the name change itself. One advantage to changing your name legally is that it’s much easier to get a passport or birth certificate which states the new name. Simply changing your name might be practical but it can be much more difficult to receive certain papers that have the new name printed on them.
Just because you file for a name change doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be granted permission to change it. For instance, if you want to change your name to a famous person’s name you could be denied. It could be assumed that you are asking for that particular name in order to defraud others who think they are dealing with the real celebrity. It’s also inappropriate to change your name simply to avoid debt and bills.
There are three different types of applications for changing a person’s name. One is a petition filed by an adult to change his or her name. Another is a petition to have a child’s name changed. This is usually filed by a parent or legal guardian. A different petition is filed if an entire family wishes to change their last name. In some cases, a family may have a name which is hard to pronounce or spell, so they petition the court to have it changed as a group.
There are some legal requirements for an official name change. One is a matter of where you live. You must file the name change within the county and state in which you live, but in most states, you must have lived there at least 6 months. In some states you must have been a resident even longer.
It’s illegal to request a name change in order to avoid debt, to defraud a person or persons, to a name that’s purposefully confusing, to any type of racial slur, or to a name that intentionally has obscene words. Your application for a name change can be immediately denied if a judge feels you have applied for a name change in under any of those conditions.
It’s not impossible to get your name changed to that of someone famous but you must convince the court that you are not doing so to capitalize on that person’s fame. For example, if your real father’s name was Carey, and you’ve always loved the name Mariah, you will need to prove that you don’t look, act, dress, sing or try to portray yourself as the famous Mariah Carey.
Many companies and businesses have their names copyrighted, so if you wish to change your name to theirs (even if your name change request has nothing to do with them), you might have to get written permission from the owner(s) of the company. One example of this would be if you wanted to change your name to Sara Lee. This company name is copyrighted and you might need specific permission to change yours to the same.
In almost every state the person or persons changing the name is required to make a formal announcement in the local paper. This is because the name change you’ve requested could effect others. If the name change directly effects someone else it’s required that you give notice directly to the parties involved. A hearing is then conducted in a courtroom. Effected parties can state any objections directly to the judge. He or she will then decide if there are any valid arguments against the name change; if not, the change is granted. At that point you will be given legal paperwork which states the official name change.
There are certain people or places that need to be notified upon the legal changing of the name. Amongst these are the Social Security Administration, Department of Motor Vehicles, IRS, financial institutions, lenders, State Tax authorities, doctors and even insurers. If you vote you’ll need to notify the voter registration. You might also want to notify the passport office, any clubs to which you belong, and places where you hold memberships. Lots of people in the United States – even the world – change their names and the process is much simpler if you understand the laws and requirements to do so.