How Much Money Does It Cost to Change a Name?

By Christine Funk, J.D.

How Much Money Does It Cost to Change a Name?

By Christine Funk, J.D.

The amount of money that you have to pay to change your name depends, in part, on the jurisdiction you live in. This is because different jurisdictions have different requirements for changing a name. Further, the amount you'll pay to file legal documents with the court—called filing fees—also varies by jurisdiction. Of course, whether you proceed representing yourself or with an attorney can have an impact on the cost. Finally, in order to effectively change your name, you need to get certified copies of the court order. This, too, comes at an additional cost, which varies depending on the fee schedule of the jurisdiction.

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Filing and Publication Fees

Each jurisdiction sets its own filing fees schedule. In some cases, the entire state has the same filing fee. In other states, each county is free to set their own filing fees schedule. The cost of filing fees can vary greatly from state to state. For example, in Arlington County, Virginia, the filing fee for a name change is $44. In Cook County, Illinois, the fee is $337. In San Diego, California, the total fee for a name change is $435. *Note that all costs are as of May 2018.

In many jurisdictions, someone is required to pay to publish their intent to change their name in a local newspaper. The requirement of publishing intent is designed to reduce the potential for fraud. It is contrary to public policy to allow a person to change their name to avoid creditors or for other fraudulent reasons. Publication of an intent to change your name will alert the public that you, John Doe, intend to become Jim Roe. Publication fees vary depending on the publication. Larger newspapers with greater circulation may charge more than a small town paper.

Additional Costs

You are also required to file your name change with the Bureau of Vital Statistics, which comes with an applicable fee. The following fees are current as of May 2018. In Wisconsin, it costs $10. You may also need a new copy of your birth certificate. This costs $20 in Wisconsin. In Texas, there is a $15 fee to change a name on a birth certificate. Florida charges $20.

Some jurisdictions have additional fees if you want certified copies of the documents. For example, as of May 2018, Wisconsin's additional fee was $5 plus $1.25 per page. However, Florida includes one certified birth certificate with the new name in their filing fee. Similarly, changing other documents to reflect a name change also comes with a fee. If you need to amend a marriage certificate, for example, there is an additional filing fee in some jurisdictions.

However, if the name change is a direct result of getting married, you don't need to file for a name change in court before changing other documents. The cost of the marriage certificate covers court filing fees. The only costs you'll face in this situation are for changing your name on identification, such as licenses and passports, after changing it with the Social Security Administration, which is free.

Attorney's Fees

You are entitled to represent yourself when changing your name. However, many people find the process intimidating. Additionally, if all of the required steps aren't followed, the court may deny the request for a name change. For these reasons, some people consider hiring an attorney to assist in changing their name.

Some attorneys charge by the hour, which includes their time waiting at the courthouse for the case to be called as well as their time preparing the documents and filing them with the court. Other attorneys charge a flat fee for a name change. Both approaches are considered reasonable in the legal community.

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.