How to Change a Legal Name in Oklahoma

By David Carnes

Oklahoma recognizes three procedures for changing a name. If you want to change your name due to marriage or divorce, you only need to present your marriage or divorce certificate to the authorities who issued your identity documents, such as your driver's license or Social Security card, and obtain replacements. If you adopt a child in Oklahoma, the court that granted the adoption will forward the adoption papers to the office of vital records in the state where the child was born so it can amend the child's birth certificate. If you desire a name change for any other reason, however, you will need to petition an Oklahoma district court.

Step 1

Establish legal residence in Oklahoma. Obtaining an Oklahoma driver's license or signing a lease can help you prove that you are an Oklahoma resident. You must have resided in Oklahoma for at least 30 days to petition for a name change.

Step 2

Assemble a list of your creditors. Some Oklahoma courts require you to submit this list to the court clerk to obtain a name change. If you are in doubt as to whether this is required, ask the court clerk of the county court in the county of your residence.

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Step 3

Complete a name change petition. Although the Oklahoma state government website does not offer a name change petition for download, some websites have them available for sale. Alternatively, you may draft your own petition. It must include your current name, your address, a statement of how long you have lived in Oklahoma, your desired new name, an explanation of the reasons for changing your name and a statement that you are not seeking a name change for any fraudulent or illegal purpose or to evade debts. It must also include a statement in which you confirm that the contents of your petition are true to the best of your knowledge and belief.

Step 4

Sign and date your name change petition in the presence of a notary public.

Step 5

File your name change petition with the county court in your county of residence. Include a certified copy of your birth certificate, a list of your creditors (if required) and the filing fee. The filing fee is set by the local court. The court will set a hearing date and notify you.

Step 6

Publish a public notice of your petition in a newspaper in general circulation in your county. The newspaper must be authorized to publish legal notices. Your notice must include the case name and number, the time and location of the hearing and a statement that anyone may file a written objection to your petition before the hearing. You must publish the notice at least ten days before your hearing is scheduled. You only need to publish it for one day.

Step 7

Attend your name change hearing. If it is approved, the court will make a copy of the court order available to you.

Step 8

Replace your identity documents, such as your driver's license and Social Security card, using a copy of the court order as evidence of your new name.

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Changing your last name due to marriage or divorce is relatively simple in Illinois: you need only present your marriage or divorce certificate to the authorities that issued your identity documents in your old name, and obtain replacement documents reflecting your new name. Changing your last name for other reasons is a bit more complex, but is still quite manageable: you will have to complete several forms and pay filing fees and petition a court for a name change order.

How to Legally Change Your Middle Name

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State laws govern legal name changes. You must file a petition to change your name in a civil court that has jurisdiction over your place of residence. Most states require a minimum period of residency; for example, one year is required in West Virginia. Often, you will have to certify that you have not been convicted of a felony. But even if you have a criminal record, you still may be able to change your name, but the process is more complex and will take longer.

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