General Question

Sloane2024's avatar

Have you ever legally changed your name?

Asked by Sloane2024 (1874 points ) November 11th, 2008

If so, how difficult was it? Did it cost you excessive amounts of money, time, and effort? Do you regret it? If you don’t mind sharing, why did you choose to do so?

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15 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

My youngest step-son did, but he chose to change his first name from Peter to Max. And one of my nieces changed her last name to her middle name. I don’t know the details but it was easy. Neither one of them regret it, but I can never remember to call Peter Max. He does’t mind.

laureth's avatar

It cost about $15 at the Secretary of State (Michigan), and was free to do at the Social Security administration once I had the state ID. The wait was minimal, maybe an hour at each place. However, it was because I got married. It might be more difficult to do a wholesale name change for another reason, though.

gailcalled's avatar

Google “legal name change” by state and for details.

Sloane2024's avatar

Ok. Thank you so much. I’ve googled, and wikied it before, but I was hoping to hear of a personal account from someone who actually went through the procedure. I truly appreciate your input. I intend on changing my first name once I turn 18, and I really hope I’m making the right decision. not that I’m asking anyone to determine this for me, I was just looking for some guidance. Once again, thank you both. :)

saranwrapper's avatar

My mother changed her name from Gail to Gayle because her camp councelor when she was 12 spelled it that way.

knittingandcanning's avatar

Sloane: I changed my last name a little over two years ago, when I was 18. I no longer wanted to keep my fathers’ name since he and I had a falling out when I was 15. Prior to turning 18, I spent around 2 or 3 years researching the origins and meanings of thousands of names. I didn’t want to change my name willy-nilly and regret it later.

Anyway, the process here in WA state is pretty simple. I filled out the necessary forms and went to the Thurston County Court House. I had to wait a little while until my case was heard, but when it was finally my turn it took no more than 3 minutes. The judge approved it and I was directed to another area to pay the $81 and to get my notarized copies of the name change which cost another $5 each. I recommend getting multiple copies (at least 5) since you will have to change and show proof of your name with the Social Security Office, DMV, insurance company, school, bank etc. Often times they will need to keep an original copy for their files. Plus, you’ll want a copy or two for your records just in case you have to prove who you are down the road. That way you hopefully won’t have to go back to the court house to get more copies. The hardest part about the process for me was making sure all the necessary people knew my new information. I’m still not caught up with everything.

I don’t regret changing my name at all! I found the right one for me. I only wish that once a name change took place the person’s birth name would be wiped from all records. I understand why that isn’t done, of course, but a big part of why I changed my name was so that I could forget my past, move on and become my own person. I don’t need/want to see my birth name on pieces of junk mail every other day! Nor do I want to write it on medical documents and the like.

Good luck with the name change! Hope this helps.

loser's avatar

Yup! It cost two trips to the county clerks office, one trip to a local newpaper, one hearing before a judge, a $40 filing fee, $30 posting fee, and $72 official record copy fee. The whole process took about a month and a half.

generalspecific's avatar

@gail: You should just call him Peter Max
it’s a compliment, really

I considered changing my first name. It’s just too boring and common for me. I also think it would be pretty cool if I changed my first name to Rain, so I could be Rain Waters :)

gailcalled's avatar

@General; good for you for knowing that. My Peter Max wouldn’t have a clue. I was living in NYC (‘65–762) during the Free Speech, Sergeant Pepper, Make love not war, tie-dyed, and Peter Max era.

generalspecific's avatar

@gail: well thank you, I just love that sort of art
and am jealous. I’m completely fascinated by that whole era

sndfreQ's avatar

Yes I did; it was basically as loser described it. I declaimed my adopted step-father’s last name in favor of my maternal family name…also, my birth name was a hand-down from my once estranged birth-father (I was a junior)...since I wanted to be my own person professionally and personally speaking, I made the choice. The hardest part was obtaining copies of my identities/aliases from different periods of my life. Actually getting my passport updated was far more difficult a process (I had to update it about six years later, and the previous passport was from a long time ago-I was 10!). Good luck-you won’t regret it.

gailcalled's avatar

edit:that’s 1972); @General:And yes, it was tremendous fun even though I had two small children.

Sloane2024's avatar

Thank you all again SO much!! Lurve to all for your GA’s! :)

Bellatrix's avatar

Yes I have. I wanted to revert to my maiden name after getting divorced and despite having birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce papers I still had to officially change my name back to get a new passport in my own name.

It cost about $150 I think and just a few days. No I don’t regret it. It just made me determined not to take anyone else’s name again. I am married again but use my own name.

dialectical1's avatar

The cost seems to vary state to state. I believe the whole process in my state may’ve costed over $100, but that includes multiple copies of my birth certificate… and it may depend on whether or not you’re getting a passport (~$80), new ID, &tc.

In PA, the process involved lots of relatively small miscellaneous fees for certifying papers. The whole thing was more complex than it would be for most due to unusual circumstances. You may have to go to several offices to get stuff stamped, & to get to that point you may have to run around to safety deposit boxes or parent’s houses or wherever each of your required papers are.

I recommend you get a folder to store everything. If you want to be really organized about it, even write out each paper you need (& any unusual steps needed to acquire them, like getting deposit box keys from parents) ... and keep a list of any different office location & contact info (court, clerk or notary) if remembering where they are/when they’re open may be less than very straightforward. When dealing with bureaucracy, complications can arise if you’re unlucky, so it definitely could be best to be prepared, unless you can handle extra stress & a longer process… then again, my process was more complex than most, & there’s many worse experiences. It’s a nice thing to have accomplished, all said & done!

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