Advantages & Disadvantages of a Name Change

By Travis Gray, J.D.

Advantages & Disadvantages of a Name Change

By Travis Gray, J.D.

There are plenty of reasons for a legal name change. Some people never liked theirs in the first place, while others simply want a fresh start. Some are for business reasons, while others are the result of a marriage. Regardless,, there are important considerations that should be made before the change is finalized. Below are several positives and negatives for legally changing yours.

Chalkboard that reads "Hello, my name is..."

Pros of a Name Change

There are plenty of advantages of a legal name change. If you have one that you find embarrassing or that brings the wrong kind of attention, changing it may relieve you of a lot of embarrassment or hassle. One of the best parts is that the sky is the limit. You can choose a name you want, short of something obscene or one that would violate trademark law.

If your goal is to stand out of a crowd, changing from something common to something unique might make sense. If you would prefer to not have the same one as everyone else, changing to something that suits you better is an option.

If you are a newlywed, changing your last name to match that of your spouse is another common reason for the change. While every relationship is different, many spouses feel that sharing this makes a marriage into a more cohesive unit. Alternatively, some spouses might choose to hyphenate it.

Cons of a Name Change

First and foremost, it isn't free. You will be required to pay for the cost of the petition to change it. In most states, the cost isn't more than a few hundred dollars, but that amount could be prohibitive for some people. And if you don't have access to a notary public, you may have to pay to have your documentation notarized as well.

Additionally, there can be professional consequences for doing this. You have built a reputation under your current title, and if you make a change, there may be confusion among your colleagues. It may affect your business prospects, especially if you rely on your name for marketing purposes.

There are also legal consequences that can make it problematic. All of your bank accounts and credit cards will be in your original name, which means you will have a lot of paperwork to fill out. And if you have a contract or court order, you may need additional documentation in order to enforce them. And while it may be a minor consideration for some, the process of telling people can be a hassle. It could bring about a lot of questions, and you can expect every person in your life to have some for you.

While there is a lot to consider when it comes to a legal name change, the fact remains that it is an option for you if you decide that it is in your best interest. Should you wish to take the next steps in doing so, ensure that you are aware of your state's rules and regulations. Once you're ready, you can complete the process.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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