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Changing your name in Florida requires filing a petition for name change with the courts, fingerprints, a national criminal background check and possibly a court hearing.
You can change your name for any legitimate reason, but not for illegal purposes, such as to avoid paying debts. If you are changing your name due to marriage, your marriage certificate serves as official proof. If you wish to change a child’s name due to adoption or paternity action, the final papers will serve as official proof of the name change. Once you change your name, you should inform the Social Security Administration, banks, schools, DMV, employers, insurance companies any any other entities you interact with.
The procedures for court processes involving minors usually vary somewhat from those involving adults.
Write your name as it appears on your official Florida identification card, date of birth, sex and physical address. There are numerous reasons you might want to change your name, ranging from getting married to gender reassignment to simply wanting to get a fresh start with a new name.
The good news is that you can legally change your name inexpensively, and even, if you choose, without an attorney. In the US, the actual name changing is done on a state level, which usually means visiting your county courthouse. No matter the state, you will need to have with you either an original or certified copy of your birth certificate (the latter can be obtained from the county recorder from where you were born). Fortunately, the process has usually been streamlined and simplified over the years — and in many states, you can grab the forms and instructions you need online. Typically, the paperwork you submit will be reviewed by a court clerk, then given to a judge who gets to say yes or no to your name change. That’s me on the left and the hubby on the right as we completed our marriage application, thus beginning the lengthy process of changing my last name.
I’m mentioning this now because I honestly had no idea that I was going to need to physically visit both the DMV and Social Security office in order to legally change my name. You’ll need to visit some places (like banks) in person, others will make the change over the phone, and many will want you to fax or mail copies of your marriage certificate and sometimes your new identification. Having to tell dozens of strangers that you recently got married is an awkward introvert’s worst nightmare.
I had to make multiple trips to the bank because they used the wrong forms, my credit card company sent me multiple copies of the same card, and even agents at government agencies weren’t always helpful.
When someone asked why I changed my name, I couldn’t help but think, Well fuck, how awkward would this be if I ever did need to change my name back to Guiver? My husband and I are grown adults, though, and we do have a prenuptial agreement, so the topic has been broached before. I had to delete and re-create my Snapchat account, which does sound trivial, but I was bummed that I lost the few followers I actually had on Snapchat as a result of changing my name. You need an ID that matches your name to do a lot of things, like flying on an airplane or boarding a cruise ship.
Also, I basically had to carry around two forms of identification for a month and a half (as well as a copy of my marriage license) in case I needed to use a credit card or access an account that hadn’t been updated. On multiple occasions, when I would say that I changed my name, people would ask David how he convinced me to do it. Whenever I feel like I’m done, another place where I need to change my name comes up. You must be age 18 or over, or the parent or guardian of a child whose name will be changed, and live in the county where you, or the child, seek the name change. You also cannot change to a name that will impact the rights of others or infringe on trademarks or patents. If you are going back to your former name due to divorce, the final divorce decree serves as official proof.

For example, the Civil Court in New York State offers DIY forms to make name change petitions, and the California courts have a self-help center offering form downloads and other assistance. Coloring books for adults: 6 new titles, featuring beautiful vintage fashion & patternsClick to see them!
It’s a lengthy process, and, in hindsight, I realize that I should have probably done a little more research before walking down the aisle. First and foremost, changing your name on your marriage application won’t automatically update it in the eyes of the government.
I had this vision that everything would magically just get updated, which was 100% incorrect.
Then you have to change your name on every bank account, credit card, utility bill, email, etc.
Almost every person you contact about changing your name will congratulate you on getting married, which is killer if receiving compliments makes you feel uncomfortable. A few times, I tried to lead without the marriage part, but I’d always get asked why I made the change? I mean, I’m a proud member of the LGBT community, but having to announce my gayness to strangers did cause extra anxiety.
On numerous occasions, the process made me think of the D word…you know, the one that rhymes with schmivorce. But having these thoughts scared me, and reminded me that I really do want my marriage to last a long time. Then I had to email or text my friends, asking them to accept my friend request so that we could get back to snapping. Fortunately, I had the option to hold off on updating my passport, which functioned as my Guiver identification. Although it can be complicated and stressful, getting a new name can feel like you’ve been given a fresh start.
Not only as a married person, but like, I’ve been able to leave behind parts of Mathew Guiver that I no longer need, and I get to be selective about who I am as Mathew Jedeikin. All other adult name changes require you to complete the Florida Petition for Change of Name for an adult, and file it with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where you live. However, if both parents do not agree to the change, the petitioning parent must either obtain written consent from the other parent or serve the other parent with notice of the petition. Which wasn’t terrible, but boy, how I wished I could have gone on my honeymoon as a Jedeikin.
I have a family middle name that I wanted to pass on to our future child, and I also wanted our household to share a last name. I did, however, remind myself that this was totally my decision and that I shouldn’t expect special treatment because of my new last name. From small things like how I sign my new name (or a new passport photo that I actually like!), to larger things like how I present myself to the world as a Jedeikin. The clerk of the court will instruct you where to get your fingerprints taken and the process for the criminal background check.
Once filed, the parent(s) must submit to fingerprinting, a criminal background check and a final hearing.
Imagine every single account and profile you’ve accumulated in your life needing to be changed. Luckily, I was sitting close to the front door, but a new name is definitely something that takes people who know you a little time to get used to. If you have been convicted of a crime and your civil rights have been suspended, you cannot change your name until those rights have been restored. Once the court receives the results, it will either grant the name change or set a hearing date.

In fact, David encouraged me to think carefully about my decision and didn’t pressure me one way or the other. When the judge grants the petition and issues a formal order, the order serves as official proof of the change. You will have to provide photo identification and a birth certificate, and in some cases, a Social Security number. In general, state laws allow you to sign petitions and legal documents on behalf of your child. If you or the child has been convicted of a felony, most states require that you give relevant information on the circumstances. If the other parent objects, then you will have to testify in court as to the reason for the change of name. There are additional filing requirements, which vary by state, if you can't locate the other biological parent or legal guardian to give written consent, or if that person is incapacitated.
Depending on the state and age of your daughter, she may also have to consent to the name change. The laws also may bar frivolous name changes, with the definition of "frivolous" being left up to the hearing judge.
You must have an acceptable reason for the change of name -- and you can expect pointed questions if you have filed a name-change petition more than once.
If you daughter is under a certain age, which depends on the state, she will not have to appear. In some courts, you can attend a hearing the same day, as long as your petition and other paperwork is in order.
If there is an objection to the name change on the part of the other parent, however, you can expect a scheduled hearing. The judge will hear evidence and testimony from both parties, and may also require your daughter's attendance. If the judge or magistrate grants the petition, the court will issue a signed order to that effect.
This constitutes a legal change of name; however, to make everything official, you should attach a certified copy of the order to your daughter's birth certificate, held in the bureau of vital records in the city or county where she was born. You should inform the Social Security Administration, and also provide a copy of the order to schools, medical providers, and anyone else with whom your daughter has business.
Holding a bachelor's degree from Yale, Streissguth has published more than 100 works of history, biography, current affairs and geography for young readers. Nothing stated or implied in this article should be construed to be legal, tax, or professional advice. Demand Media is not a law firm and this article should not be interpreted as creating an attorney-client or legal advisor relationship. LegalZoom is not a law firm and can only provide self-help services at your specific direction.
Disclaimer: Communications between you and LegalZoom are protected by our Privacy Policy but not by the attorney-client privilege or as work product. LegalZoom provides access to independent attorneys and self-help services at your specific direction. We cannot provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or strategies.

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