In many cases, when a woman gets married, it is tradition for her to take the last name of her spouse. This process requires a legal name change in Florida, and it can be a cumbersome process to go through all of the paperwork required to change one’s name.
People who want to change their name are not limited to women marrying or divorcing. Regardless of why someone would want to change their name, they must follow a legal process. Adam Bragg can help guide you through the process with ease.
Reasons for a Legal Name Change
There are many reasons to legally change your name, and legal name changes aren’t limited to surnames. Some people may choose to change their first name, too. Reasons may include marriage, divorce, adoption of a child, personal preference, or change of your legal gender identity.
Marriage and Divorce
Marriage and divorce are the most common reasons for a name change request. Most often, in the case of marriage, a woman chooses to change her last name and take her husband’s surname. If a couple goes through a divorce, the woman may decide to keep her married name or go back to her former name.
Legal Change in Gender Identity
Another reason for an adult name change is if the person is going through a legal gender identity change. A person who was born female but now identifies as male (or vise versa) may choose to take on a new name that feels more fitting to their gender identity.
Adoption of a Minor Child
A parent or legal guardian may choose to change the name of their minor child in instances such as adoption. Usually, when a child is adopted, the person who adopts them will legally change their name to match the family name. Additionally, if one parent remarries and takes on the name of their new spouse, the family may decide together to legally change their child’s last name to match the family name, even if no legal adoption has occurred.
How to Legally Change Your Name
There is a process you must follow to legally change your name in the state of Florida. Although the legal name change process falls under the Florida Supreme Court, you may petition the county family court to change your name.
There are two parts to the name change process. First, you must petition the court and receive a certified copy of the name change order. Then, you should update all your personal documents, paperwork, accounts, and records with your new name.
Here are the steps you must take to legally change your name in Florida:
- Complete the petition for a name change. Depending on the country in which you file, you may be required to purchase an informational packet that includes the Florida name change forms for a small fee.
- Get fingerprinted by an authorized fingerprinting service. This will also require a small fee.
- File the completed petition with the court clerk.
- Your hearing date will be set once your application is accepted and you have paid the filing fee.
- Obtain a criminal background check.
- Attend the court hearing, where you will receive a final judgment and can ask any legal questions you may have about the process.
- Given that all information is correct and there are no problems, your name change will be approved.
- You should request certified copies of your name change order, as you may need to submit them to the social security administration, department of motor vehicles, and other places.
Documents to Change
Most people know that they need to change the name on their Florida driver’s license, but there are other important documents that need updating, too—like your passport and social security card. Besides the obvious task of getting a new driver’s license with your new name, there are a number of other documents you’ll want to update after your Florida name change is complete:
- New Social Security Card
- Voter Registration Card
- Motor Vehicle Title
- Loan Documents for Motor Vehicles or Home Mortgages
- New Passport Book
- Bank Accounts
- Credit Cards
Name Change for a Minor Child
The process for changing a minor child’s name is similar to that of an adult name change. However, there are some additional requirements to change the name of a child:
- The child must currently live in Florida.
- The child must currently live in the county where the name change paperwork will be filed.
- The child must be under the age of 18.
- You (and the child) must not have an ulterior or illegal motive for filing the name change petition.
- You (and the child) must not have had your civil rights suspended, or, if your civil rights have been suspended, they have been fully restored.
- All adults who retain legal rights over the child must provide written consent to the name change.
If two parents have legal guardianship over the child and one parent does not agree to the name change, the process becomes more difficult. You can still request a hearing, but you will need to formally serve the other parent with the notice of court proceedings. A court appearance may be required, and you may need to present further information.
For complicated situations such as these, you should seek legal advice from an attorney and obtain detailed instructions on the proper way to petition for a minor’s name change without the consent of both legal guardians.
Do you have more questions? Contact the Bragg Law Firm today.
Call Adam Bragg at the Bragg Law Firm with your questions about Florida statutes around legal name changes. Mr. Bragg can provide legal advice to help you get started.
Call us at (941) 893-1555 or use the form to the right to request more information.