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How to Legally Change Names


A legal change of name occurs when an individual or family successfully petitions the court where they reside to have their change of name recognized by law. We explain how the court legal name change process works for Florida residents.

There are two parts to changing names. First you must successfully apply to the county court where you reside for a court ordered name change. Secondly, once you have your court approved name change document, you must notify all the organizations where you hold identification, accounts and records to have your name changed. Easy Name Change provides forms and ready to send notifications to get your records updated with hundreds of Florida and US organizations.

Persons over 18 years should complete FAMILY LAW FORM 12.982(a), PETITION FOR CHANGE OF NAME (ADULT). The completed form is referred to as a petition. You will need to submit the petition to the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county where you reside. Click these links to find your local circuit court, court self-help centers and court information.  If the name change is for a minor, please refer to our dedicated section on changing a child’s name.

You need to provide detailed personal information as part of your petition. You must have your fingerprints taken by a law enforcement agency and attached to your petition. You will need to obtain a hearing date from the court. You should ask the clerk of the court, family law intake staff or judicial assistant for the procedures you need to follow for setting a hearing.  

Once the court has reviewed this and hears the petition, your name may be changed immediately.When attending your hearing you should 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. If your application is successful, the judge will sign this order that officially changes your name. While you are at the court house try to get 2-3 copies of your final judgment form and have them certified as genuine copies by the Clerk of the Court. 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.  

Once your new name has been made legal you are no longer allowed to be known by your prior name. Social Security and your Florida driver’s license must be updated within 10 days. All other organizations should be notified as soon as practical, usually within a few weeks.

Due to the stringent time limit and laws for legal name change, if you intent to contact each organization yourself to get your identification and records updated you should set aside about 8 hours over 1 or 2 days. Easy Name Change are name change notification specialists. We can provide you with almost all the name change notification forms and ready to send letters and faxes to send to organizations to inform them of your new name. All you need to get started is your court order approving the name change. Our kits save about 6 hours of research, calling around and waiting for forms to be delivered. Our kits will be the easiest part of your legal name change.

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?

Easy Name Change is a notification service. 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.

 

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