Legal name change laws are set at a state level and executed by county courts. Turnaround times for a legal name change vary greatly and will depend on your state’s filing procedure and current workload. Most states execute a legal name change order in about 3 months, but it can take longer.
The court process allows time for the applicant to publish their name change intent in an approved newspaper. The process can usually only be faster if you are granted an exemption from publishing your name change, which can be requested if you have security or other valid concerns.
The time your county takes to approve a legal name change petition can also change. Court workload and resources change, particularly in the lead-up to and during holiday periods. The only way to know how long you can expect a legal name change to take is to call your county clerk and ask.
How can Easy Name Change help?
Easy Name Change provides the name change petition and basic filing instructions for a small number of states at no extra charge. See what states are covered here. We do not assist with completing the petition beyond what is included as standard when you build your kit online, and we do not get involved with the court filing process.
No matter what state you live in, we will save you hours once your name change order has been issued. Use our service to get name change instructions and notifications for all your companies. Our notification kits provide ready to send name change forms, letters and emails together with step-by-step filing procedures. It’s sure to be the simplest and most cost-effective part of changing names.
See how much time we can save you!
Filing fees may be either set at a state level or county level. The fee to file the petition typically costs between $60 to $230. Once successful, there is usually a document fee to issue certified copies of the court order, which may be between $5 and $20 each. The filing fee is over $250 in some states (FL, CA, IL, UT, GA, MN, TX, AZ, LA, NY, PA). If you are receiving government financial assistance or are a low-income earner you may be eligible for a fee waiver in your state, which may significantly reduce or eliminate court fees.
Most states require adult applicants to submit to a fingerprinting and criminal background check. Your court may direct you to an approved fingerprinting supplier or you may be free to choose your own. Fingerprinting typically costs $40-$75. Applicants may also be required to run a financial or lien check, which may have an associated cost.
A change of name should not be done to evade financial obligations, so applicants are usually required to publish their intent to change names. This ensures creditors are provided the opportunity to identify their customers. The court will stipulate where to publish, which may be a court noticeboard, newspaper or periodical. There can be significant costs with newspaper publishing, with some states requiring a weekly notice in 2 publications over 4 weeks. Unless you are directed to a specific newspaper it can be useful to call around as prices vary considerably between newspapers. If you believe your safety may be compromised by publishing you may request an exemption from your court.
Costs after your name is changed
Hooray! Your name change has been granted and you are on your way to updating your records, accounts and identification. From this point you can expect a number of small costs, which are different for everyone.
We recommend purchasing an Easy Name Change notification kit. Kits start from $35 and will be the most affordable part of your name change, saving you 8 hours of researching procedures, completing paperwork and figuring out what to send where.
Most states charge a duplicate license fee (varies between states, between $8 and $60), replacement passport ($130 for a book, $30 for card), and duplicate vehicle title ($20 to over $100). Most organizations do not charge for changing names unless you need a new credential issued (eg: accountant, engineer, bar association, medical registration, etc. Fees for reissuing licenses or certificates).
Do I need legal representation?
Costs can significantly increase if you hire a legal professional to assist. People with a reasonable understanding of the court process should be able to manage the application themselves. If you are time-poor or need assistance in working through the application process there are some quality legal name change packages provided by law firms or you may be able to get legal assistance for a fixed price. Your court may offer self-help packets that clearly step through the process and forms for a legal name change, so check with your local court to see what assistance is available before engaging a third party.