Procedure to Change an Adult's Name in Georgia

By Tom Streissguth

Georgia residents can change their legal name with a petition filed in their local superior court. State law also requires publication of the petition, as well as a final hearing, at which the court may hear and decide on any objections to the name change. The process takes 30 to 60 days in most cases and entails the preparation of a simple legal document and the payment of court fees.

Step 1

Obtain a petition for name change form from the clerk of the superior court in the county where you live. You may also download the form from a website that offers blank legal forms and templates for use. Ensure that the form you’re using is current and fully conforms with state law.

Step 2

Fill in the form with your full current legal name, as well as address, phone and other contact information as required. List on the form or petition the reason for your change of name. You must also sign and verify the petition by swearing – before a notary or court clerk -- that the facts you’ve stated in the form are true to the best of your knowledge. Georgia law also requires that you provide a certified copy of your birth certificate along with the name-change petition.

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Step 3

File your petition in superior court in the county in which you reside, and pay any filing fee as well as a publication fee set by the court. The clerk will order publication of a notice regarding the name change in the county's official legal organ -- in most cases, a local newspaper. State law requires that the initial publication take place within seven days of filing the petition; the notice must appear once a week for four weeks. The notice must have your full legal name, the name as it will be changed, the court in which you filed the name-change petition, and the date on which the petition was filed.

Step 4

Provide proof of publication to the clerk, using copies of the ad and publication information (including dates) provided to you by the newspaper. The clerk will issue an Order Perfecting Service, which formally approves the publication. After you receive a copy of this order, contact the clerk to schedule a hearing, which must take place at least 30 days after the initial filing. Other parties have the right to object to the name change up to seven days after the final publication of your name-change notice, and to be notified of the court hearing, at which they may explain their objections to the superior court judge.

Step 5

Attend the scheduled court hearing. If there are no objections to the petition for name change, the judge will sign a final order in the matter. You must file this order with the court clerk, who will provide you with a certificate of legal name change upon payment of a fee. The certificate will set out the old and new names, the court that issued the decision and the date of the court hearing, which in most cases will be the effective legal date of the name change.

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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 somewhat from state to state, but in all states you need to ask permission from the court and obtain an order from a judge. This order allows you to change your birth certificate and other documents. In some states, you must also undergo a police check before beginning the name change process, as some people are prohibited from legally changing their name, for example, people on the sex offenders register.

Filing an Objection to a Name Change in Court

People who decide to legally change their names may do so for love, personal preference, religious beliefs or various other reasons. State laws vary, but courts often require those seeking a legal name change to publish their intentions in a local newspaper. This gives others constructive notice and an opportunity to file an objection to the proposed change with the court.

Steps to Legally Change Your Name

Applying to change your name is a fairly straightforward process, with rules and procedures set down by state law and local courts. In all states, you will need to provide identification and establish that you are a legal resident; you may not change your name to carry out fraud or elude a criminal investigation. In most cases, you can carry out a name change without the use of an attorney.

Doing the right thing has never been easier. Name Change

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