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
How to Legally Change a Child's Last Name


Related articles

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 name change in your divorce. Changing your name post divorce requires a little extra paperwork and a court filing fee. Start to finish, the process of legally returning to your maiden name can take as little as six weeks, depending on how quickly the court can hear your case.

How to Change Your Last Name in Maryland

People seek to change their last names for a variety of reasons. You may have gotten married or divorced, or simply found a new name you like better than your old one. Although Maryland allows you to legally change your last name simply by using it, you will not be able to change your name on your identity documents without either a marriage certificate or a court order, depending on the reason you changed your name.

How to Change a Legal Name in Oklahoma

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.

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 Change Your First Name Legally

The process for legally changing your first name is the same as for legally changing your last name. It differs ...

How to Change Your Legal Name in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, anyone has the right to informally change his name. Changing your name informally, however, will not ...

How to Change Your Last Name in Illinois

Changing your last name due to marriage or divorce is relatively simple in Illinois: you need only present your ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED