Below is useful information about getting family legal services for a name change in Colorado Springs at Maceau Law:
In general, the legal act of changing a name means a person adopts a name other than the one they had at adoption, marriage or birth. Each state has differing procedures in regards to name changing. This means the simplicity of the name changing process depends greatly on the state in which a person resides.
Common law jurisdictions have more lenient regulations, and those who are under civil law are more restrictive. In America, the states regulate laws regarding name changes. However, court rulings on the federal level have set precedents in regards to common law and court decreed name changes. The following will explore the difference between common law and court decreed name changes:
Common law name changes:
The common law rule regarding name changes is the belief that any person has the right to assume any name they desire as long as it does not hurt or defraud anyone else. In many states, common law allows any person including a child to change his or her name. Because the federal government has ruled that changing their name is every citizen’s constitutional right, changing a name without going to court is possible under common law. Although a name change under common law is hassle free, it is often beneficial for applicants to change their name legally through a court.
Court decreed legal name change:
If a person wants their identifying documents such as their Social Security cards to reflect their new name, they will have to get a court decreed legal name change. However, in cases such as a marriage or divorce, a person would already have legal proof and be able to have their name legally changed. When a person desires a name change for another purpose besides marriage or divorce, a judge will grant the name change through a court ordered decree. Most judges will require the applicant to state the reasons they desire a new name. An applicant cannot choose a name that will mislead anyone or incite violence.
How much does it cost to have a name changed?
A simple name change because of a divorce or marriage will cost around $100. However, a court ordered name change, which includes updating personal documents such as licenses, passports and social security cards along with paying attorney fees, could cost over $500.
The process of legally changing a name:
- Fill out the application or petition: The first step in legally changing a name is filling out an application, which allows applicants to list reasons for their requested name change.
- Have the petition signed or notarized by a court clerk.
- File the petition at the local civil court: After filing, a clerk will issue a court date for the official name change hearing.
- Attend the hearing: Most hearings regarding name changes are very straightforward, and the name change is usually granted.
- Acquire a copy of the court order: After the judge approves the request for a name change, applicants will need to acquire a copy and make copies for their own personal use.
- Place an ad in the paper: This is optional in some states and required in others. Placing an ad in the paper informs the local public of the name change.
- Inform the Social Security Administration: Take the court order to the Social Security Administration for a new card showing the newly issued name.
- Change important personal documents: Make sure to change all other important documents such as passports, state IDs and driver’s licenses.
Why change a name?
Obvious reasons for desiring a name change are a marriage or divorce. However, there are other reasons to seek a name change as well. They are as follows:
- A person is unhappy with their given name:
One reason people apply for a new name is because they are simply unhappy with the one they currently have.
- Desiring a less ethnic name:
People who have ethnic names will sometimes desire a name change. Many times, this is because their name is difficult to spell or pronounce. However, in some cases, people desire to return to their heritage and wish to change their current name to a surname that has been lost over the years.
- A husband wishing to take his wife’s name:
It is becoming increasingly popular for husbands to take their wife’s surname.
- Changing a child’s surname:
In some cases, a mother wishes to change her child’s name to her own surname instead of his or her fathers. This is especially true in situations where the father has abandoned the family. However, the opposite scenario of a mother changing her child’s name to the father’s surname sometimes occurs as well.
When changing a name, is hiring a lawyer necessary?
In many cases, hiring a lawyer is not necessary when acquiring a new name. The vast majority of the work is gathering information and going to a hearing in order to receive a new name. However, when complications could arise, it is beneficial to have a lawyer navigate the process.
Hire a lawyer you can trust to get the job done right
Contact us at Maceau Law to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with a family lawyer in Colorado Springs about your legal name change situation by calling 719-633-2222. We can discuss your case in-person or over the phone and all information is kept strictly private and confidential. Give us a call now. We’re here to help you.