How to Legally Change Your Middle Name

By David Carnes

Most states recognize an inherent right to change your name for non-fraudulent purposes. If you want to change your last name due to marriage, divorce, or adoption, most states do not require a court. Most states do, however, require a court order to change your middle name. Although the laws of the various states differ on the procedure, certain principles are common to every state. Consult the law of your state for the exact procedure.

Step 1

Obtain proof of residence in your state. A state driver's license, a state tax bill or a copy of a long-term lease should be sufficient. Some states require you to have resided in-state for a set period of time -- 30 days, for example -- before you may file a name change petition.

Step 2

Download and print a name change petition from the website of your state government. Some states do not offer such petitions, instead requiring you to draft your own. If you live in a state that requires you to draft your own petition, your petition must include all of the information required by the state name change statute.

Get help changing your legal name. Learn More

Step 3

Complete the name change petition. You will be asked to provide identification details about yourself such as your current name and address. You will also be asked to explain the reason you want to change your name.

Step 4

Gather any required supporting documentation. Some states require a copy of your credit report, while others require a certified copy of your birth certificate.

Step 5

Submit your name change petition to the court clerk of the appropriate state court with jurisdiction over your county of residence, together with any required supporting documentation and the appropriate filing fee. The court will schedule a hearing date and notify you. Some states do not require you to attend a hearing.

Step 6

Publish a notice of your intent to change your name in a newspaper of general circulation in the county of your residence. Some states do not require publication. North Carolina, by contrast, requires you to post your notice on the courthouse door. The purpose of the notice is to give anyone a chance to object to your name change.

Step 7

Attend your name change hearing. Bring proof of publication of the name change notice. If there has been an objection to your name change petition, you might be required to defend your name change petition at the hearing. If your petition is approved, the judge will issue a name change order and the court will send you a certified copy of the order.

Step 8

Use your certified copy of the name change order to change your middle name on identity documents such as your driver's license, personal ID, Social Security card and passport. You will have to fill out forms and pay various fees to replace your identification documents.

Get help changing your legal name. Learn More
Name Change Requirements in the State of Illinois
 

References

Related articles

How to Legally Change Your Name in Massachusetts

You can change your name in Massachusetts for any reason that is considered valid by the courts. Name change petitions are handled through the Probate and Family Court of the county you live in. The judge has the right to deny a name change if he decides the request isn't for legitimate purposes, such as attempting to hide from a creditor.

How to Change Your Name in the State of Florida Due to Divorce

While some women are agonizing about whether to take their fiances' surnames when they marry, others wrestle with what name they wish to use after a divorce. The issue is a personal one and your own decision may turn on how long you were married and whether you have minor children bearing their father's surname. If you are terminating your marriage in Florida, you can change your name during the divorce procedure without incurring an extra dime of expense by making the request in the dissolution petition.

How to Legally Change Your Name in San Diego County

If you are an adult residing in San Diego, California, you can legally change your name, but you’ll need to follow specific procedures to obtain a court order authorizing the name change. Once approved, you must report your name change to the Social Security Administration and the DMV as well as your banks, creditors and other interested parties. Some secondary schools and colleges may require a copy of the court decree to update your transcripts and other school records. You can obtain the required forms and file them on your own, use the services of an online legal document provider or seek the assistance of a local attorney.

Doing the right thing has never been easier.

Related articles

How to Legally Change Your Name in North Carolina

In many states, you do not need to petition a court to change your name due to marriage, divorce or adoption -- you may ...

How to Legally Change a Child's Last Name

Unless you wish to change the last name of a child you are adopting, you will need a court order to change either the ...

How to Change Your Name to Your Maiden Name Post Divorce in New Mexico

The state of New Mexico allows you to legally change your name back to your maiden name, even if you didn't request the ...

How to Change Your Last Name in the State of Alabama

To apply for a name change in Alabama, you must file a verified petition in your county of residence; the local probate ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED