How to Find Out If Someone Legally Changed Her Name

By Michael Butler

As long as it's not for a fraudulent or illegal purpose, adults are normally allowed to change their names by requesting an order of name change from a court in the county in which they reside. If you think someone has legally changed her name and you need to know about it, you can usually find a record of the court order or some other evidence of the change. On the other hand, it's possible that she has simply started using a different name; if you don't find the paper trail, there might be no way to know for sure.

Step 1

Go to the website of the county court where you suspect the person changed her name. Some counties offer searchable online records of the cases they have on file. Search for any name change petitions in the person's former name. You can also search for divorce records, because a maiden name can be restored in a divorce.

Step 2

Go to the Clerk of the Court's office in the appropriate county, if there is not an online database. Some counties have public computer terminals you can use to look up information on filed cases. If you see a name change or divorce case for the person, ask the court to get the court file for you. Read through the file to determine if the court granted a change of name. If the county does not have a public computer terminal, ask the clerk to conduct a records search for you. You will probably have to pay a fee for the service.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 3

Contact the Department of Vital Statistics or Records in the state to see what information it has publicly available. The state may give you a copy of a divorce decree or birth certificate under some circumstances. If the person changed her name in the divorce or changed her birth certificate, you might find the information you want. Many states do not give this information out to the public for privacy reasons.

Step 4

Employ an online service or private investigator to search public records for the information. For a fee, some services will search all publicly available information in the United States for the records. A private investigator might travel to multiple courthouses in the areas where the person has lived, in order to check the records.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Check Divorce Records


Related articles

How to Find Wills in Colorado

A last will and testament is a document created by an individual that sets forth, with legal effect, how a person wishes to have his property distributed after his death. To give legal effect to a last will and testament for a Colorado resident, the will must be filed with a Colorado probate court. After a will has been filed with a probate court, it becomes a public record, accessible by any member of the public. Finding a copy of a filed Colorado will requires contacting the appropriate probate court.

How to Find Out if a Will Was Filed

Locating a filed will of a deceased person is often the first step for probate, the legal proceeding used to settle an estate and distribute assets to heirs. The person filing a petition for probate needs to locate the original will of the deceased person in order to move forward in court. A will may have been filed for safekeeping by the deceased person while he was still alive. If you cannot locate a will for your departed loved one, checking the local courts may help you find the document.

How to Look Up Wills Filed in VA

A will is a document that sets forth a person’s wishes for the disposition of their property after death. To become legally operative, a will must be submitted to a probate court. In Virginia, there is no separate probate court. Instead, the county circuit court performs all the functions typically done by a probate court. Once a will is submitted to a Virginia circuit court, it becomes a public record, which any person may obtain.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Get a Copy of a Divorce Online in New Jersey

Certified divorce documents are often needed for various financial transactions and other legal matters. The New Jersey ...

How to Get Divorce Status Information in California

Tracking the status of a divorce case can lead to a wealth of information in a matter of seconds at little or no cost. ...

How to Find Wills

Wills not only provide information about heirs and inheritance, but also help those tracing family history or ...

How to Find a Will in Probate Court

Most wills go through probate, a court-supervised process of administering an estate. Soon after the testator's death, ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED