Adults may change their names for many reasons. Women who took their husband’s names often resume their maiden names after a divorce. Other people may choose to change their names to make it more easily pronounceable, reflect their gender identity, mark a change in their lives, or for other personal reasons.
The process for legally changing your name is more complex than you might imagine. Getting it wrong could mean years of difficulty. Work with a Marietta name change lawyer to ensure your name change is done properly.
A divorce is a common reason to seek a name change. Women who took their husband’s names when they married often do not want to be known by that name after a divorce.
The divorce papers typically ask the judge to restore the woman’s maiden name or former name. These are the only possibilities—if a woman wants to take a name different than a name she has had before, she must file a name change petition in a separate procedure.
A Marietta attorney can ensure the divorce papers properly request the restoration of the woman’s former name and the divorce decree orders the woman’s name change.
Citizens and permanent residents who wish to legally change their names outside of divorce proceedings must do so through the Georgia family courts. A local applicant must file a petition in Cobb County Superior Court. Although the clerk can provide the documents you need to file, there are many forms and some of them must be notarized. Working with a Marietta name change attorney ensures everything is done correctly.
Once all documents are complete and submitted to the family court, you must publicize your name change by publishing a notice in the newspaper once a week for four weeks. After you meet the publication requirements you must appear at a hearing before the judge. You must explain why you want to change your name, and the judge will try to ensure you are not changing your name to evade creditors. If the judge approves your request, you will receive a certified copy of the order.
Anyone applying for U.S. citizenship can request a name change when they submit their citizenship application. If their application for citizenship is approved, the applicant will receive their citizenship papers under their new name.
People who have been victims of family violence or human trafficking sometimes want to change their names for their safety. In such cases, the Official Code of Georgia §19-12-1 allows an applicant to request that their name change application be sealed and waive publication of their request in the newspaper. The court usually holds a hearing to determine whether the applicant’s claims are valid before agreeing to waive the publication requirement.
The court order granting your name change means the new name is your legal name. However, it is up to you to change your name with government agencies and other institutions.
You must notify the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service of your name change. You should also change your driver’s license and passport to your new name. Ensure your employer has your new name so it can change its records and credit tax withholding to you. Your bank, insurance company, landlord, and anyone else you do business with should be informed of your new legal name as well.
A Marietta attorney with experience handling name changes can help ensure you inform everyone who needs to know about your name change. Neglecting to inform someone promptly can lead to unnecessary red tape and aggravation.
Whatever your reason for desiring a name change, family courts will generally grant your request unless the judge believes you are trying to escape your debts.
The procedure for requesting a name change is complicated and it is critical to avoid mistakes. Reach out to a Marietta name change lawyer for help. Call today to get started.