How to Legally Change a Name in Texas

By Christine Funk, J.D.

How to Legally Change a Name in Texas

By Christine Funk, J.D.

When changing your name in Texas, you must meet certain requirements and provide certain information to the court. You must also attend a court hearing and take the steps necessary to change your name on the relevant forms.

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1. Locate and fill out the appropriate forms.

To change your name, you must fill out two forms: a Petition to Change the Name of an Adult and an Order Changing the Name of an Adult. You can find these forms at your local courthouse or online. Some counties, such as Collins County, post the forms on their county websites. Fill out the top portion of the Order Changing the Name of an Adult. The judge signs the lower portion of the form at the hearing.

2. Obtain a copy of your fingerprints.

Check with local law enforcement to determine how to obtain a complete, legible set of your fingerprints. These prints must be on a Texas Department of Public Safety or Federal Bureau of Investigations fingerprint card. Pay the fee, obtain the fingerprint card, and mark the card as Exhibit A.

3. If you have ever committed a felony, provide proof that you can legally change your name.

If you have been convicted of a felony, you can only change your name legally if one of three conditions have been met:

  • You have received a pardon.
  • You have completed your period of probation.
  • You have been discharged from prison.

You must obtain the proof of your pardon, the completion of your probation period, or your discharge from prison. Write the word "Exhibit" on the top of the document.

4. If you must register as a sex offender, provide proof that you've notified law enforcement of the name change.

If you are required to register as a sex offender, you must obtain proof that you have notified local law enforcement that you plan to change your name. Write the word "Exhibit" on the top of the document.

5. Make copies of all relevant paperwork.

Make copies of your petition, your fingerprint card, and the paperwork associated with your felony conviction, if applicable.

6. File your paperwork.

You must file your paperwork with your county. You can file at the courthouse or you can e-file your application online. In both cases, you must pay a filing fee. You will receive proof of your filing, which you need for court.

7. Learn the local rules.

In Texas, different counties have different rules when it comes to changing your name. While you file your paperwork at the courthouse, ask about the local rules. If you e-file your case, call the clerk's office to inquire about:

  • Whether your county has walk-in hours for a name change or you need a scheduled date and time for a name change hearing
  • Whether the court requires a background check before your hearing (if so, follow the instructions issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Records Service)

8. Attend your hearing.

When you go to court, bring:

  • The Order Changing the Name of an Adult form filled out except for the judge's signature
  • Your filed, stamped copy of your Petition to Change the Name of an Adult as well as the exhibits you filed with the petition
  • Your fingerprint card
  • Proof of identity, such as your driver's license, passport, or state identification card

You can expect the judge to swear you in. Next, the judge reviews your forms. The judge might ask you some questions, including whether you are changing your name to avoid a criminal prosecution or in an attempt to avoid paying a debt.

9. File the order.

Once the judge signs the order, either the clerk will file it or the court will ask you to file the order. The name change is legal upon the filing of the form. After the filing, you can obtain a certified copy of the order from the clerk. It is a good idea to obtain several certified copies of the order, as you need them to change your official documents to reflect your new name.

10. Change all the necessary documents.

Once your name change is complete, you should notify those you normally do business with of the change. Some agencies you should notify include:

  • Social Security Administration
  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Department of Public Safety
  • U. S. Passport Agency and Bureau of Consular Affairs
  • Voter Registration Office
  • Your Employer
  • Financial services companies, including your bank and credit card companies
  • Retirement accounts

There are many reasons someone might want a name change. By following these simple steps, you can accomplish your goal of legally changing your name.

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.