Complete the petition to change names and file with your local Superior Court. You need to include a valid reason for wanting a name change. Once the petition is filed and the filing fee paid, the petitioner has 7 days to publish their notice of name change in an approved newspaper. The notice should appear weekly for 4 weeks. Once the publishing is complete, the petitioner should return to the court to be given a hearing date.
Attend the hearing and if successful the judge will provide a court order approving the name change. You can order certified copies of the order from the court clerk, often on the same day. Use this document as evidence your name has changed everywhere. Finally, use an Easy Name Change notification kit to have all your identification and accounts updated into your new name.
Professional representation can significantly increase the cost of your name change. Many individuals with a working understanding of the law find they can represent themselves. If you are not comfortable self-representing or have an unusual situation you are encouraged to speak with Atlanta Legal Aid Society at 404-524-5811 or Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation at 404-521-0790.
A number of documents are required to be completed as part of your name change process. The exact documents can vary between counties so it is best to contact your local superior court directly to get a packet of forms. Some courts may change a nominal fee.
Georgia law requires petitioners to publish their name change intent in a local paper weekly for four weeks. The publication must include details of your name change and the hearing. When filing for a name change you will be advised of the information to publish and the newspaper will let you know the format.
The court will advise what proof you should return to the court, usually a Publisher’s Affidavit, which may be sent to the petitioner or direct to the court. After the notice has run for 4 weeks and the court receives no objections to your published name change, you can return to the court to get a date for your hearing.
Attend your hearing, taking copies of the documents you have filed, the Publisher’s Affidavit and your current photo ID. The judge will make a ruling and if successful you a final decree will be issued on the spot. You can order certified copies of your order from the clerk, which attracts a small fee.
If your birth was recorded in Georgia, you may also request Georgia Vital Statistics to update your birth record for a nominal fee. Whenever you are asked for evidence of your name you can show your birth record, listing both your birth and legal names. If born interstate, contact your state Vital Statistics to learn if you can update your birth certificate. Many states offer this service for a fee.
You can instead show the court order approving your name as evidence of your name change, regardless if you get your birth certificate changed or not.
Within 10 days of your name change being approved, file form SS5-Application for a Social Security Card, included in your Easy Name Change kit. Allow 3 days from the SSA receiving your form until your records. Next, update your Georgia state ID card with the DMV, this should be done within 60 days of your name change.
There may be around 15-20 organizations you should contact to get your accounts and records updated. This includes banks, credit cards, utilities, communications, loyalty clubs and more. Save yourself a day’s work in calling each company directly to learn the process with an Easy Name Change kit. We provide ready to send paperwork for hundreds of organizations so you don’t need to waste hours on hold. We also provide the detailed process to have your name changed with each selected organization, so if your name change can’t be notified in writing we’ll let you know exactly what to do. No guess work, no wasted time.