Name Change

Change of name is not uncommon and many people do this. Maybe you got divorced a long time ago but didn’t change your name at the time. Maybe you just want to change it – because you need to, because you've always wanted to, or just because you've taken a shine to something new. Whatever the reason, there's a legal process to go through.

Your name is your name by law. We start out with it on our birth certificate, registered with the state. Then use it on our Social Security cards, school enrollment and application forms, driver's license, voting registration, and countless other documents during our lifetime. Our name appears on traffic tickets, on bills, in lawsuits, and on credit cards as well. So, when we change our name, there's legal paperwork to do.

You can also change your name during the course of divorce proceedings. Florida courts will permit a divorcing spouse to change their name back to a former name. This can be done at no additional cost by informing the court of a desire to do so. You can generally indicate your request on divorce paperwork, and a change of name will become effective once the decree of divorce becomes finalized. It's best to try and change a name back before the divorce goes through, or you will have to file a separate petition for a change of name, at additional cost, later.

All name changes outside of marriage or divorce require petitioning a court. This is a separate legal proceeding and can require significant preparation. Florida's name change law requires all petitioners undergo a fingerprinting and background check.

Child name changes are the same as adult name changes. Florida permits a family to change its name in one proceeding – parents and minor children altogether. A petition must contain the same information mentioned above for the parents and the court can change minor children's names at its discretion. When a single parent files a petition to change a child's name, then the other parent must be notified.

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