To change your name, courts ordinarily require you to file: (1) an original and copy of a Name Change Petition and Final Order, (2) an original or certified copy of your birth certificate, and (3) a self-addressed stamped envelope. Courts will accept any lawful reason for a name change, such as social or religious reasons. You may wish to contact the court clerk's office at your local county courthouse to determine the filing fees and other local requirements. Select your state below to preview a sample name change petition, which is intended to provide you with an idea as to the kind of information needed when preparing a name change filing. Purchase the petition to receive the complete and official name change package, which includes the Final Order if required in your state. The purchased version is certified compliant with state law and entitles you to support if you have questions.

What is the procedure to change my name? To change your name, obtain name change documents that comply with the laws of your state. Ordinarily, this paperwork consists of a Petition for Change of Name and a Final Order or Judgment. Complete the paperwork, but wait to sign the petition until you are in the presence of a notary public. Do not sign the Order or Judgment, as the judge will sign that document later when approving your name change request. Your local bank or the court will likely have notary public available. Physically take the Petition, the Order or Judgment form, an original or certified copy of your birth certificate, and (if required) a self-addressed stamped envelope to the courthouse and present your petition to the Clerk of Court for filing. The court will require you to pay a filing fee. Check with the Clerk of Court to determine the amount of the filing fee. The index or docket number for your petition is provided upon filing your name change paperwork with the court and paying the court's fee. 

Once the court has accepted your filing, the court will inform you whether you must attend a hearing at a later date, or if the court will mail you the judge's signed order. Once the judge has signed the Final Order or Judgment form, you will need to file an original certified copy of that signed document with the Vital Records (or equivalent) office within your state, and you must contact that office to determine its filing requirements. You may request a new birth certificate issued bearing your newly changed name, which you will need to present when updating your government issued identification and other records.

Must I type my name change petition, or may I handwrite on the forms? Some courts will not accept handwritten filings, while others will accept them. You should confirm the local rules of your courthouse by contacting the court clerk's office directly. We strongly recommended, however, that you complete the paperwork by typing your information into the forms before printing them. (Our documents make it easy to type into the forms.) You may handwrite on the forms if your local courthouse permits it, but your filing may be rejected or dismissed if the court has any trouble reading your handwriting. Some courts require you to use black ink and reject documents if you have used corrective fluid such as "Liquid Paper" or "White Out."

Must I hire a lawyer to change my name? In the United States, you are not required to hire an attorney to change your name. You have the right to represent yourself pro se, meaning you have the right to represent yourself in court without a lawyer. Although you have this right, the courts will hold you to the same high standard to which they hold all attorneys. To that extent, one must take great care to ensure your Name Change Petition is in correct order, or else the court may dismiss your petition or reject it without refunding the filing fee. The court staff will not provide any advice or inform you how to fill out the documents correctly. Purchasers of our documents receive full support by phone, email, or chat to answer your questions if you require assistance.