What to Know Before You Change Your Name

In the United States, you are legally permitted to change your name for virtually any reason you wish. In most cases, people change their names due to a marriage or divorce. In other cases, children have their last names changed to reflect that of a step- or adoptive parent. Changing your name in Florida is actually relatively easy. But there are some things you may want to keep in mind before you take the plunge.

Choose Any Name You Like

Typically, you can change your name to anything you want with a few minor exceptions. For example, you can’t change your name to that of a celebrity, to a numeral, a punctuation mark or something obscene. You can’t change your name to avoid debts or to evade law enforcement. Experts caution that when you do change your name, you should be sure of the spelling. Once the documents are signed, your new name is yours — spelling and all.

Marriage and Divorce

The easiest times to change your name is when you get married or divorced. You don’t need a court order to change your name when you get married. You simply sign your new last name on the marriage license. If you want to change your name back to your old one when you get divorced, the judge can add that bit of legalese into the decree.

It Will Cost You

Changing your name isn’t free. You will have to pay a small fee to the court. Typically this is between $150 and $200. You will also have to pay to have the forms notarized. Some courts may include this in their fee.

Updating Those That Matter…

Changing your name can be a bit of a hassle if you’re a grown up. You will need to notify government agencies, businesses and family of your new name. In essence, any creditor or government agency that may be interested in your legal name will need to be notified.

…But Not Too Early

Yes, you have to notify certain people, but you are going to want to wait until you have papers in hand. Changing your name too early can cause unnecessary confusion.

State Laws May Vary

You don’t have to go through court to change your name in every state, so check your local laws. While some states don’t require that you go through court, others require that you put an ad in the local newspaper before you can proceed with a hearing. In Florida, you must submit a petition for a name change and undergo a background check, then explain to a judge why you want to change your name. Do your research to be sure you are following state law.

If you are interested in changing your name in Orlando for any reason, reach out to our team of legal professionals. We will assist you in filing the correct documents with the court to ensure that your name change is as seamless as possible. If you need assistance with any other family law matter, we can assist you with that, too. Call our office today to schedule a case evaluation.

About the Author
Andrew Nickolaou, Esq., B.C.S., is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew and his partner, Ophelia Bernal-Mora, Esq., B.C.S., joined forces in March 2016 to form the unique and boutique husband and wife family law team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. Together, Andrew and Ophelia take a practical and team-based approach to all of their cases and clients to deliver the highest quality experience and representation.
Andrew Nickolaou

Andrew Nickolaou, Esq., B.C.S., is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew also handles record expungements and sealings. If you have questions about this article, contact Andrew today by clicking here.