What is a Legal Name Change?
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A legal name change can take many forms, but is basically a document that can be used as evidence that your given birth name has been changed. A marriage license or divorce decree can be used for this purpose, but if you are changing your name or a child’s name for any other reason, you essentially need to obtain an order from your local county court.
Although one may technically legally change his or her name without a court order (under the “common law”), this has become impractical because various governmental and business agencies require proof of a name change in the form of a court order, corrected birth certificate, marriage certificate or divorce decree.
Indeed, courts have actually become stricter of late due to increases in identity theft. Many states now require criminal background checks, finger prints, information concerning child support orders and numerous other requirements to obtain a court-ordered name change.
Can I Really Change My Name Without an Attorney?
Yes. Hundreds of thousands have used our website to help them find the appropriate information to do so. Indeed, a survey conducted by the American Bar Association yielded the following interesting results: “Self-represented persons are more likely to be satisfied with the judicial process than those who are represented by attorneys.” Also, it was reported that “[a]lmost 75% of those who represented themselves in court said they would do it again.” You can read more about the ABA report here.
Now there are certainly situations where you should not represent yourself, including when you believe that someone will contest your name change, you are changing your name because a spouse was abusive, you are changing your child’s name and believe the other parent may object, or you have a prior felony. But if your name change is undisputed and common, obtaining a court order granting your name change should not be a problem if you file the correct legal documents and follow the appropriate steps.
After reviewing the free material on this website, you may decide that you want to use another service to help you through the process, or may seek out an actual attorney for additional counsel. We encourage this, as we mention throughout this website, some situations require the assistance of an attorney.