Getting a Legal Name Change
Names are our way of identifying people, places and things. The names we choose or are given in life may represent our ethnic heritage, honor a relative, or cement our place within a family group. While many people do not even think about their names or where that name came from, for others their name can be a source of embarrassment, or an inconvenience in terms of spelling or pronunciation, or simply a name they would not have otherwise chosen for themselves. There are any number of reasons you may need to get a name change, and while the process of actually changing you or your child’s name is not always so simple, the immediate and long term benefits of a legal name change make it worth it in terms of your future.
Florida Law on Name Changes
There are a number of reasons you may consider changing your name. You may want to change your last name to reflect a divorce or remarriage, or your child’s last name to reflect an adoption or new family circumstances. In other cases, you may wish to change your first name for social or business reasons, or simply because you feel another name better reflects your personality. Under Section 68.07 of the Florida State Statutes, any Florida resident may request a name change in the state by filing a petition with the court and requesting a hearing. Unless you are simply restoring a former last name such as in a divorce, you would need to submit the following prior to your hearing:
- Your fingerprints, taken in a manner approved by the Department of Law Enforcement;
- A criminal history and background check;
- Verification that the person requesting the name change is a resident of Florida;
- Personal information about the person requesting the name change, including their place and date of birth and their birth parent’s names;
- Information on any prior name’s used, as well as previous marriages;
- Any past history regarding arrests or criminal activity;
- Information on any financial judgments, liens or bankruptcies that may have been filed by or against the person requesting the name change; and
- Information on the occupation and any businesses owned by the person requesting the name change.
While having your name changed legally may seem like a lengthy and complicated process, it is worth it in terms of maintaining correct records for tax purposes and social security, for obtaining students loans and pre-employment background checks, and with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Family Law Lawyer
If you or someone you love is interested in obtaining a name change, contact our experienced Florida family law lawyer today. At the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III, our lawyers and staff can assist you through the entire process of filing and requesting a hearing for a legal name change and collecting the documents you need to have your name change request granted. Serving the entire Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie, Vero Beach, Saint Lucie, and Indian River Counties, we can help; call or contact us online today for a free consultation.