How to Legally Change a Name in Tennessee

By River Braun, J.D.

How to Legally Change a Name in Tennessee

By River Braun, J.D.

If you are recently married or divorced, you may change your name at a Driver Service Center in Tennessee by paying the required fee and showing an original or certified marriage certificate or divorce decree. However, if you want to change your name for any other reason, you must petition the court and obtain a court order legally changing your name. The process of petitioning the court is not complicated, but it can vary from county to county.

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Petitioning the Court to Change Your Name

You can obtain a Petition for Change of Name from your county's Clerk of Court. The petition must be completed in full and returned to the clerk of court with the applicable filing fee. You are required to provide your current name and residency information. You must also include the name you want to use and the reason for the change. By signing the petition, you are certifying that you are not changing your name for illegal purposes such as to evade arrest or avoid paying debts.

When you submit the completed form to the clerk of court, you must also supply a copy of your birth certificate, photo identification (i.e. driver's license or passport), and Social Security card. Most counties require proof of residency such as a recent utility bill, payroll stub, or a similar document proving you reside in the county.

The clerk of court schedules a hearing date and notifies you of any requirements related to notice of your petition. In most counties, you must also submit a proposed order with the petition. The form for the proposed order is also available from the clerk of court's office.

You must attend the hearing and answer questions under oath about your desire to change your name. The judge may question you about your reasons to make sure you are not changing your name for fraudulent purposes. If the judge is satisfied with your answers, the judge grants your petition and issues an order.

You need to obtain certified copies of the order with the court's official seal. A Driver Service Center does not accept copies without the original court seal. You need this document to change your name on your driver's license.

Changing Your Name on Official Documents

You need to change your name on your driver's license and Social Security card. The Social Security Administration office can provide the forms you need and instructions for changing your name on your Social Security card.

You should also change your name on other important forms such as your payroll records and financial accounts. Most companies or organizations change your name if you provide a copy of the certified court order. However, you may need to take additional steps such a paying a fee or filing a form to request a name change depending on the type of account and the agency or organization.

Legally changing your name in Tennessee is not a difficult process. However, it is necessary to follow through on all relevant accounts and documents so that you can use your new name legally, and without hassle.

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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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