Legal name change

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How to change names legally, Illinois

If your name change is not from marriage or divorce, then a court order is the only legal way to change your name. A private company cannot issue a legal name change order, although they may help you prepare the court documents for a fee. If you have a reasonable understanding of the court process you could manage your own application.

Once your name is changed, no records update automatically. Use an Easy Name Change kit to get personalized and ready to send forms. Simply attach your court order, sign and send!


Once you have decided to apply for a legal name change, you must complete a petition and file it with the Circuit Court in the county where you reside. You need to have lived in Illinois for at least 6 months. Many courts have help desks where you can receive assistance in completing your petition. It is recommended your petition is reviewed by the help desk or a legal professional before filing. Name changes are restricted for individuals convicted of a felony or sex crime.

Pay the $319 fee* at the courthouse when filing your petition. The clerk will provide you with a hearing date, often several weeks away to allow sufficient time for you to publish your intent in a newspaper. Attend your hearing and if successful you should be issued a court order granting your name change on the same day. Ensure you order 2-3 certified copies of the order so you can get your records updated.

* Fees are correct at time of writing, subject to change without notice. Does not include newspaper publication or certified copy fees.

Illinois has a number of fees relating to legal name change. While these were correct at the time of writing, they are subject to change without notice.

  • Circuit Clerk filing fees. Varies, from $291 to $388. (low-income applicants can apply for a fee waiver)
  • Newspaper fee to publish your name change notice. There are no schemes where this can be provided free or subsidized. Fees vary so call around to the different newspapers for quotes.
  • Certified copy of your legal name change order, once successful. $9 each.
  • Dept. of Health fee for an updated birth certificate (if also born in Illinois). $15
  • Easy Name Change kit. Get personalized and ready-to-send name change forms and instructions for hundreds of companies. From $35.

The applicant must complete a document called a ‘petition’. This is available from your clerk of court, or you can download the forms here. You will need to complete the following documents;

  • Request for Name Change (Adult) – Your name change application with the court
  • Notice of Filing Request for Name Change (Adult) – For publishing in a newspaper
  • Order for Name Change (Adult)- for the judge to sign, granting your name change

You also need to submit documents relating to your criminal record, if you have one. When filing your petition you should make three extra copies of each form. The clerk will keep the original. Ask that your copies are also stamped. Pay the filing fee and you will be told your hearing date and time. Record this information on your Notice of Filing Request for Name Change form. Ensure there are at least 8 weeks before your hearing date so you have time to publish in a newspaper.

You are generally required to publish your name change in a newspaper circulating within your county for three consecutive weeks. The publishing should be no sooner than 6 weeks before your hearing. Keep all copies of the newspapers where you notice appears. The newspaper will send a certificate of publication, either direct to the applicant or to the Clerk of Court.

Arrive at the courthouse at least 45 minutes prior to your hearing. Ensure you take the stamped copy of your petition that was filed with the clerk. Ensure you have your case number written down, plus all the original newspapers where your name change was published. You should also take a completed copy of the Name Change Judgment Order ready for the Judge to sign.

It’s your responsibility to get all accounts moved over into your new name as soon as practical. Your Easy Name Change kit provides detailed name change instructions for all your chosen companies along with ready to send forms. Attach your court order, sign and send!

Once your name change is granted you are required to update the SSA within 5 days. Use form SS5-Application for a Social Security Card. Allow 2-3 days for the SSA to update your records, then change names with Illinois DMV. Once these name changes are done you can update all your other records.

There are 2 parts to changing names. Start by completing the petition. Once it’s been reviewed, file with the court and follow all the steps outlined in this article. Your name is considered changed once the court order has been issued, but that’s only half the work.

The next part is to get all your records updated, which is not done automatically. As organizations cannot share your personal details, each one needs to be directly notified by the account holder. People have an average of 25 accounts to update, which takes about 8 hours if you go it alone. Use our name change kit do reduce this to just 20 minutes. Still want to DIY? Use our FREE checklist to know which companies need to be updated. 


Order Your Kit

Our kit suits all name change reasons!
Save 8 hours with our ready to send forms


$ 75
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  • Ready to forward emails
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$ 35
  • Priority printed and posted to your door
  • Handy folder & all envelopes
  • 3 stamped envelopes
  • Ready to send forms & letters
  • Ready to forward emails
  • Personalized checklist & guide
  • Instant download
  • Money back guarantee

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