How an Attorney Can Help With Your Legal Name Change

How an Attorney Can Help With Your Legal Name Change

Sona Sulakian
 | 

Individuals change their legal names for a multiple of reasons: marriage, accuracy, safety, or as part of an individual’s transition.

 

Fully completing a legal name change can be a lengthy and cumbersome process. Not only do you need to change official documents such as your passport and driver’s license, but most of the documentation in your life needs to be updated, including immigration documents, health insurance policy, wills, birth certificate, mortgage and title to your home, lease, car title and insurance, military records, and even your library card. It’s important to update all legal documents that you may have relating to insurance, familial relationship, and citizenship or residency in the U.S. 

 

A lawyer can help you identify your rights that aren’t apparent in the forms, such as a request to seal your record, waive the publication requirement, and waive filing fees. A lawyer can also help you understand the process and ensure that you take the correct steps in the correct order—which government agencies to contact, which forms and where to file them, and how to word your affidavit. 

 

Here are the general steps you need to take. First, you should obtain a Legal Name Change order from the court, then update your federal documents, including your social security card and U.S. passport. Next, you should update your state documents—driver’s license and birth certificate. Finally, you should update other documents and records with your employer, school, bank, insurance, etc. You may need your birth certificate and medical affidavits before you begin the process. Make sure to create two copies of all forms and documents because the court will keep the original.

 

Obtain a Legal Name Change Order

You will then need to complete the following steps to obtain a legal name change order from the court:

  • File a Petition for a Change of Name Form with the court clerk

  • Submit a certified copy of your birth certificate or naturalization papers

  • Pay a filing fee or request a fee waiver

  • Publish notice of your name change in the newspaper or request a waiver from this requirement

  • Complete a background check

You can then use the court order to change your legal documents and government-issued identification. 

 

Update Federal Documents

Complete Form SS-5 to update your Social Security information. Apply for an updated U.S. Passport (DS-82 for name change only; DS-11 for name and gender marker change)

 

Update State Documents

Submit DMV application to change name on Driver’s License, State ID, or Real ID. Submit an Applicant Affidavit and supporting documentation to update your birth certificate 

 

Update Other Documents and Records

Update other documents and records at work, school, bank, insurance, etc.

 

Note that you may also obtain a Gender Marker Change with additional government-issued documentation or a medical letter from your physician. However, state law varies regarding gender market changes, so it’s recommended to carefully study your state’s laws or consult an attorney.

 

Because the legal name change process can take months and involves multiple steps, LawChamps can connect you with an experienced attorney who can review the laws and procedures necessary to accurately and efficiently change your legal name. 

 

This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.

 
Sona Sulakian

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