View Full Version : Legal question about name change

12-03-2010, 07:37 AM
Not sure where to post this, so I'll try here.

It's a legal question. I know someone who wants to legally change her first name.

How would someone go about that?


12-03-2010, 07:52 AM
Since this seems like a real situation rather than something for a book, let me tell you that relying on legal advice from the internet is like trying to cash in that free Powerball ticket you got from the internet. Both might be really good, but more likely to be completely worthless.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

12-03-2010, 08:40 AM
When I changed mine (last name, but the process was the same for first), I went to the provincial website, found the number for the provincial statistics office, called, they mailed me a form, I filled it out and had it notarized, provided them my passport and drivers license and then got a certificate in the mail a few weeks later. I then took that certificate to get my DL, passport, SIN (your SSN), etc changed. I also scanned it so I could email it to places like paypal, airmiles, etc. to change my name on those.

Name changes are a matter of public record, so if you're planning on using it to hide someone, it may not work if the person looking for them is smart enough to notice that they've literally disappeared.

The name changee may also run into creditors and have to convince the creditor that they are not the person who owes money, merely someone who changed their name. That was a hilarious phone call.

12-03-2010, 11:32 AM
In the USA it's pretty easy. You go before a judge, swear that you are not changing your name to commit fraud or to escape justice. The judge will probably ask you the reason and then grant your request. There's a little paperwork, of course, and a small fee with differs county to county. When you get married, the man, the woman or both can change their names for free.

There are some restrictions. A judge may deny a change to something obscene or, perhaps, a number. (You can't be Robert 1234, for example.)

Once you change your name, you'll need to contact your credit card companies, the social security administration and the IRS and let them know.

12-03-2010, 03:08 PM
In the UK and Ireland it's really easy to do, and there are several methods,. You can have a common name, which is the name by which you are known, and if you are known generally by that name for a period of time you can legally call yourself that. For instance, I have a friend who's name is Sarah Elizabeth, but she is known as Maggie, and because she has always been known as Maggie that's the name she uses. In the same way that you can use your middle names or confirmation names. Most application forms etc here will have a section for names and then 'prefered name' too.

HOWEVER, having never done that myself, and not being a lawyer, I can't advise of the extent of the legal issues with this one.

The other option is changing it by deed poll, which requires a form and a small fee. It's very quick and simple to do.

12-03-2010, 05:33 PM
In Common Law your name is what you call yourself.

12-03-2010, 10:22 PM
In Common Law your name is what you call yourself.

I don't think that changing one's first name socially requires any legal work at all, but it's much more difficult if you're not changing social environments. Going away to college is a good time to dump a name you don't like.

However, if it's not done legally, one's ID still shows the old name, and there may be occasional explaining to do. Sometimes a company secretary books travel arrangements and the name on the boarding pass won't match the ID.

I've known many Asian people, particularly Koreans, who will give their child a Korean name, then give them an Anglicized name that they only use socially. We all knew that "Sam" was really "Seong," but the only time we were reminded of it was when we saw something printed by the University that gave everyone's legal name.

12-04-2010, 07:52 PM
As Shaldna says, in the UK and Ireland you can call yourself what you like and that is your legal name. A simple everyday example of this is somebody called William who goes by Bill. However, the name which appears on government identification (passport, driving licence etc) is the name you are legally registered as (the one which appears on your birth cirtificate). If you want this to be different, say if you marry or simply wish to change it, you must legally change your name by deed pole for which there is a small fee.

Tsu Dho Nimh
12-05-2010, 11:20 PM
Not sure where to post this, so I'll try here.

It's a legal question. I know someone who wants to legally change her first name.

How would someone go about that? Thanks.

In the USA, it depends on the state she's living in ... in AZ, as long as there is no intent to deceive or defraud, all you have to do is start using the new name.

To make it all legal for bank accounts and everything, you go to court and fill out a request and pay a few bucks.

12-07-2010, 02:22 AM
Not sure where to post this, so I'll try here.

It's a legal question. I know someone who wants to legally change her first name.

How would someone go about that?


Been there, done that. Changed all three names 'cause I hated my birth/married name.

As someone said, it depends on where you live. I lived in Oakland County, MI, so I called the county courthouse and asked. They sent me the forms and the schedule and the costs. An attorney would've cost me about $1000 (this was 10 years ago), but doing it myself cost me about $250. At the end (3 sets of forms, a month or so of running ads--which the county clerk filed for me for an extra $10), I went before a judge, told her my birthname, my address, the name I wanted and why I wanted it (I said "personal preference" and that was fine). And *gavel bang* DONE!

Went down to the clerk's desk, paid the final cost, ordered new updated birth certificates (since I was born in the county), and got multiple notorized copies of the court order (much cheaper to do at that time than later).

Getting the multiple notorized copies of the court order is great because you can carry one with you until you get your ID changed, send off one to the Social Security office, etc, etc, etc. Seems everyone wants a copy and some people don't give them back as promised.

All depends on the laws where you live.

Chasing the Horizon
12-08-2010, 08:14 AM
I paid an attorney about $800 to do it all for me (that included the ads and filing fees, it probably would've been about $200 to do it all myself). I paid her and 6 weeks later picked up the documents from her office. So it was really, really simple for me. I never had to go to court like DeleyanLee.

I'm in PA, USA. So the real answer is: it totally depends on where your friend lives because every state is different.