Do you want to change your name?
OK! Here is how…
Petitions for a Name Change can be filed for either an adult’s name change, for a family, or for a family member such as a minor child.
There are other types of petitions for name change but the most commonly used are the name change of an adult where they wish to change either their first, last and/or middle name.
Of course, a name change can be changed back to a party’s former name within a divorce proceeding however sometimes parties do not change their names at the end of the divorce and they choose to at a later time or they choose to change their name for a whole host of other reasons.
There are many situations out there as we see in the media for celebrities and other public figures changing their names for various reasons.
The procedure itself is not free. You have to pay a filing fee. In Hillsborough County it is over $414.00 for the filing fee.
If you retain an attorney there would be attorney’s fees associated with the case, and if you’re changing the name of a minor child there are additional restrictions and obligations.
As the primary focus of this article is changing the name of an adult for yourself, if you file for the name change, you would be filing a petition for name change and at the clerk’s office paying the filing fee. You would then would be required to set a hearing on your petition for name change, and then at that hearing in front of the judge, the judge would ask specific questions related to if you are using this name change because of any bankruptcy, criminal proceeding or any other type of nefarious activity to obtain the name change.
Tip — Sometimes people think the court is being accusatory when they ask these type of questions, I can assure you that they are just following the law and asking you questions that need to be asked. The Court has to elicit if you are changing your name to avoid criminal prosecution, bankruptcy or a felon background. The court wants to make sure this is being done for no criminal or legal ulterior motives. So, simply put – Don’t think the Judge thinks you did any of these things just because they ask you the questions.
So at that hearing that is when they will ask the questions regarding the change of name and that is why it is necessary to have a hearing on the final name change.
Another aspect of the name change proceeding is that you will also have to be finger-printed and there is a very specific procedure for doing so, and this must all be done in most counties in Florida, at least the finger-printing portion prior to the filing of the petition (except if you are returning to a maiden name, then many times the finger-printing procedure is not necessary).
Finally, at the final hearing when the court enters the final judgment if they are satisfied with your testimony, that is when your name would be officially changed.
So there’s not as many steps as some other family law proceedings, but there are still very specific steps and procedures to follow to change a name. Please contact our office if you have further questions about a name change or wish to obtain a FIXED FEE quote for a name change in Florida.
By William S. Foley, Esq. originally posted on Family Law Tumblr Blog