Things You Should Know Before Legally Changing Your Name

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Things You Should Know Before Legally Changing Your NamePeople typically change their name due to marriage, divorce, becoming a US citizen, child adoption (the child’s name), or just because. Before you change your name, or your child’s, you need to be aware of the rules and regulations for name changes.

Taking or losing your spouses name: Upon marriage or divorce, it is up to the woman whether she wants to use her maiden, her previous husbands name, her new husband’s name, or a combination of the above. In this case, all she has to do is start calling herself by her chosen name, and present the correct documentation (marriage or divorce papers) to the department of Motor Vehicles, banks, and Social Security Administration.

Adopting a new name with a new family, or a new country: The process for an adopted child or a new United States Citizen to change his or her name is similar to the process used for marriage or divorce. The new name would be requested during filing of adoption or immigration papers, making the new name legal and legitimate.

Baby needs a new name: When changing a child’s name for a reason other than adoption the legal guardian will need to file a petition and attend a hearing.

Momma or Daddy needs a new name: As an adult, you have several options when it comes to changing your name. You can just start calling yourself something different, and wait for your new name to become legal after several years of use. Alternatively, you can expedite the process by filing a petition, which needs to be approved by a judge. (This can cost between $150.00 and $350.00) Banking institutions, employees and government agencies will insist on using your original and legal name unless you can present documentation that your name has legally changed.

Changing your name to Michael Jackson, or “!”: You cannot do that. You may not change your name to that of a famous person, a punctuation mark, a racial slur or otherwise offensive name. Punctuation marks are also out of the question. In addition, it is illegal to change your name to avoid legal actions, or to defraud anyone.

After the name change: You will need to inform any institutions or authorities in which you are involved of your name change. These include The Social Security Administration, the DMV, the Passport Office, the Post Office, the IRS, Voter Registration, banks, and schools.



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