How to Legally Change Names
What is a legal name change?
A legal change of name occurs when an individual or family successfully petitions the circuit court where they reside to have their name changed. This may be a minor change, like the spelling, just changing one name, or changing all names.
There are two main parts to changing names
- First you must apply to the circuit court where you reside for a court ordered name change. Once granted, you will be issued with a court order granting your new name.
- Get all your identification, accounts and records updated. Easy Name Change provides ready to send documents and information for all your necessary organizations.
Starting the court process (Adults)
- Complete FAMILY LAW FORM 12.982(a), PETITION FOR CHANGE OF NAME. The completed form is referred to as a petition. You need to provide detailed personal information as part of your petition.
- Submit the petition to the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county where you reside (for locations, check the links at the end of this page)
- Get your fingerprints taken by a law enforcement agency and attached to your petition. (Not applicable if reverting to a prior name)
- Pay the filing fee (about $420) and receive a hearing date (usually 2-3 months away)
- Attend the hearing. Bring a final judgment form that contains details of your change of name. This form should list the circuit, county, case number, division and individual’s complete old and new names. Ask the clerk of court for specific instructions for this document.
- If your name change is granted you may be issued a name change order immediately. There may be additional costs for these documents.
- If you were born in Florida, the court will send your new name details to the office of Vital Statistics and a new birth certificate will be issued.
Getting your ID and records updated (Adults)
- Purchase an Easy Name Change kit to get all the necessary forms and information. All documents are created in your name and ready to sign and send.
- Social Security must be updated first and should be done within 10 days. The SSA will update your records within 3 working days of recieving your request. We provide the necessary form.
- Florida driver’s license must be also updated within 10 days. Allow time for the SSA to process your name change request first.
- Sign and send off all your name change notifications. Attach your court order where indicated.
- Read the Easy Name Change checklist. Follow the instructions to update all other companies where name change cannot be done in writing.
Changing a child's name
If you legally change names and have children, their name will be unaffected. If you want to change your child’s name at the same time as your own you can lodge a petition to change a child’s name at the same time and the cases may be heard together. Parents or legal guardians can lodge a child’s name change at any time. Easy Name Change is a notification service, so we don’t prepare legal name change paperwork or request court orders. As children have fewer organizations to notify of their new name our kits are not suitable for children. Please see our dedicated section on changing a child’s name if you have any further questions.
Questions about legal name change?
If you’re legally changing names we recommend getting a court order name change approved first, then just add it to our notifications and send. If you don’t yet have a legal name change order and have further questions, please use the resources below for further information. As we are not qualified legal professionals, we are unable to provide any further advice beyond what appears on this page.
- Information on how long you could expect you application to take and cost.
- Florida legal name change application forms
- County courts have self-help centers that assist in booking hearings and answering common questions. Find your local county Family Law Self-Help Center here.
- Your petition needs to be filed with the Circuit Court. Find your local circuit court here.
- Understand more about the Florida courts system or to browse for relevant information and forms here.
- If you plan on representing yourself, you should read General Information for Self-Represented Litigants. As there is no respondent in the court proceedings, not all the information is relevant for name change but the document still provides some excellent information.
- If you have successfully petitioned the court for a legal name change and were born in Florida, request a certified copy of your birth certificate in the same way you order a regular birth certificate.
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