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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.
In Washington State any person over eighteen years of age can choose and use any name he or she wishes as long as the purpose of the change in the name is not to defraud another. To get a court ordered name change, you must first file a petition in the District Court of the county or other judicial district in which you live.
A petition for name change should state your current full name, your requested new name, and the reasons for the change.
Get all the necessary court forms and info you need to change your name in the Golden State. How to Change Your Name in California provides step-by-step instructions and all the forms you need to complete a court-ordered name change.
The new edition reflects the latest rules and regulations on changing your name in California.
Emily Doskow is a practicing attorney and mediator who has worked with families in the Bay Area since 1989.
A former editor, attorney Lisa Sedano helped shape many Nolo legal books, including the bestselling Neighbor Law.
After you officially change your name in California, your new name will be valid everywhere. In California, adults have always had the right to use the first, middle, and last names of their choice.
In years past, you could change your name simply by using a different name consistently for a period of years. Today, because of concerns over fraud, identify theft, and terrorism, you need official documentation of your new name.
The usage method has always been unavailable to inmates, parolees, and registered sex offenders. Petitioning the local superior court to grant an official change of name is the most widely accepted way to change one’s name.
A name change involves filing several forms with the court and following some other steps, including publishing notice of your name change request. To use the court petition method, read this book and follow its instructions to complete the required court forms. After your papers are filled out and filed with the court, you will be required to publish a notice in a newspaper stating that you are changing your name. You can also ask a court to change your name if you’re already going to court for a divorce, adoption, or citizenship proceeding.
Finally, if you are a permanent resident in the process of applying for citizenship, you can change your name without filing a separate petition.
Adopting parents often request that their adopted child’s name be changed as part of the adoption order. In certain very limited circumstances, including typographic errors and incomplete parental information, a child’s birth certificate can be changed or amended to reflect a different name. 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. An example of defrauding another would be to change names to avoid paying bills or other creditors or the escape obligations such as child support. The process to change the name of your minor child (a "minor" is a person under the age of eighteen years) is a little more involved.
However, there are often questions relating to notifying government agencies and others of the name change. By going to court, you will receive a court order that will serve as proof of your new name.
Unless you qualify to include a name change in another court proceeding, such as a divorce or an adoption, the court petition is the best way to change your name. You can use pre­printed forms issued by the California Judicial Council that are available online.
The newspaper will normally charge a fee of between $40 and $200, depending on the area you live in and the newspaper you choose. By California law, the judge must do so upon request, even if you did not include the request in the original divorce or annulment petition. You can ask the divorce court to restore a birth or former name at any time after the divorce becomes final.
When you fill out the Application for Naturalization (N-400), simply enter your desired new name in Part 1, Section D, of the form.
However, if the parents are at odds over whether to change a child’s name, it can be difficult or even impossible. A child’s name on a birth certificate can be changed only in very limited circumstances, as discussed in detail in Chapter 5. A child’s court-appointed legal guardian (a grandparent, for example) can also file the petition. When one parent alone petitions to change a child’s name, state law requires that the other parent be given advance notice of the proposed name change. 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. It is the purpose of this informational brochure to explain the procedure for changing a name, either your name or the name of a minor child. If the marriage ends, a name change may be included in the divorce decree, or by filing a petition for name change. If you have any questions not answered by this brochure, we will do our best to answer them or refer you to someone who can. She specializes in family law, including adoption, parentage issues, domestic partnership formation and dissolution, and divorce. No longer can you just walk into a government office, tell the clerk you’ve changed your name, and have your name changed in the records.
Fortunately, the forms you’ll need to fill out are straightforward, and the court procedures are streamlined. All you have to do is file a one-page form with the same court that took care of your divorce. Assuming you are approved for citizenship, your new name will be official after the swearing-in ceremony.
This process, which is fully explained in this book, is much the same as that for an adult applicant unless one parent objects, in which case a court fight may occur. If the child has no court-appointed guardian, an adult relative or close friend can file the petition. In this case, the parents will use the general court petition process, and they can follow the instructions in Chapters 6, 8, and 9.

Chapter 5 describes the circumstances in which the state will allow a new birth certificate to be issued or an existing certificate to be amended.
You’ll also find more useful books, software, online services, and downloadable forms. 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. Or, if preparing the necessary forms is too much of a hassle, you may want to hire a nonlawyer legal document preparation service to help with the paperwork, either online or in person. California law requires judges to issue adult name change decrees upon request, unless there is an important reason not to do so. If you are divorcing or were divorced in California and want to return to a former name, we strongly recommend this procedure, which is cheaper and more convenient than other available methods.
Chapter 6 describes the court process (for adults and children) and contains a special section on changing a child’s name when you are a legal guardian. 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.
If you hire an attorney, expect to spend upwards of $500 or more, plus filing fees, to complete the procedure. Unless someone objects to your name change (this is very rare), the court will likely approve your petition without your needing to attend a court hearing. When the judge grants the petition and issues a formal order, the order serves as official proof of the change.
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