An Affidavit of Name Change is a sworn statement used to verify and testify the identity of a person who has changed his or her legal name but has not made it official to all existing legal or non-legal documents and records.
What is the purpose of an Affidavit of Name Change?
There are many challenges and life events that you might consider when changing your name legally. The procedure of changing your name generally requires a petition for the implementation of your new name. Here are some reasons why an individual changes his or her name:
Dislike of the given name
A name change request can be granted because the person simply doesn’t like his or her given name. For some reason, names are spelled wrong and typically mispronounced.
Normally, the wife will be taking his husband’s surname upon marriage and it will carry on as the family name when they have children.
Husband takes wife’s surname upon marriage
This is legally new and becoming popular for a husband to take his lawful wife’s last name. It is not yet applicable to all states but has been implemented in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, and North Dakota. The changing of name from the said states has the same process as when a wife takes his husband’s surname upon marriage.
Another popular legal change name is combining a married couple’s surname or simply hyphenating the two last names to form a new joint surname.
If a man or woman takes his spouse’s surname upon marriage, he or she may decide to revert to his or her original last name upon separation or divorce paper.
A parent can change his or her child’s surname when his or her spouse neglects their child.
Oftentimes, transgenders change their names to reflect their identity. It applies to the rest of the members of the LGBTQ+ community who wish to change their names.
Same-sex marriage may not be legal in all states, but partners can share a surname for financial and legal transactions.
An individual can change his or her name to honor a religious deity.
What are the steps to legally change your name?
File a petition to change your name by filling out a name change form, an order that states the reason for changing your name, and a decree to legally change your name.
Submit the forms to the court clerk and pay your state’s filing fee.
A judge will review your application for changing your name whether to grant your request or not.
Expect that some states require a formal advertisement before using your new name. It can be done by posting a notice in the local newspaper. It is required by law to show a valid reason for a change of name to avoid fraudulent activity.
Introduce and use your new name.
What documents or records do you need to update after a name change?
To avoid complications with your possessions, It is important to update all your legal documents and records after you have changed your name. You may refer to the following example:
Social security number
Bills and utilities
Properties and titles
Last will and testament
Power of attorney
How much does it cost when you change your name?
A legal name change is expensive and costs hundreds of dollars. However, the cost of changing your name depends on where you live, the type of name change, and the laws in your state. But you may expect to pay from $100 to $400 or more.
Here some examples of typical fees to pay when processing a name change:
Filing a petition in the court.
Hiring an attorney, if someone is against your change name.
Publishing a formal advertisement in the newspaper for your cause.
Updating the name on your legal documents, such as a birth certificate.
What are the exceptions for a name change?
People have reasonable situations to change their name but there are exceptions that the court doesn’t allow, including the following:
Changing of name to escape debt liability.
Changing of name to escape a crime or legal charges.
Changing of name to deceive other people’s identity.
Changing of name with the intention to discriminate against some people.
Choosing a confusing name that includes numerals and punctuations.
The change of name will not be allowed if you intend to hide your true identity and escape a criminal offense. However, a legal change in name is only done if an individual has a valid reason.
Is affidavit enough for a name change?
An affidavit of name change is used to change your name. It is a crucial document as it reflects changes from your old name to your new name. A person may use an affidavit of a name change as a means to document a legal change of identity. In some cases, the individual's state or local government may require proof of this legal change before issuing new identification documents, such as a driver's license and passport.
An affidavit is a written statement that swears to the truth of what it contains. An affidavit of name change isn't always accepted by the state, federal government, or both so you must check with your local department before filing one.
Aside from an affidavit, you have to make sure that all your records are changed with your new name. If you have children, change their names in school records. Register your name change with the United States Social Security Administration so that it reflects on your Social Security card.
You need to attach a copy of your marriage certificate if you are filing for an affidavit of name change due to marriage. If you are petitioning for a divorce, you won't need to file an affidavit of a name change. On the contrary, your marriage certificate can serve as proof that you have changed back to your maiden name.
You also must attach a copy of your driver's license and previous passport. If you don't have any identification with your current legal name, you'll need other documents such as a certified birth certificate, baptismal certificate, or other government-issued documents with both your new and old names.
You should also attach two copies of the front and back of any document that has been changed to reflect your new name. If you have had a court order issued for a child support case under another name, enclose a copy of the order.
Each state and local government may have different requirements for affidavits of name change or other legal documents, such as driver's licenses and social security cards. To make sure that you are 100% compliant with all the laws, visit your local department and ask about their rules regarding changes in names.
What is a name affidavit?
A name affidavit is the sworn statement that details your full legal name and confirms that you are using this name in all aspects of your life, government identification, academic records, financial papers, credit cards, medical documents, bank accounts, and so on. If you acquired a name by legal means through marriage, divorce, or court order and are using this name in your everyday life, it becomes part of your legal name and may be used in place of a formal name change before the law. Moreover, a name affidavit may be submitted in lieu of a court-ordered name change. In both cases, you should state your full legal name and the names by which you are known currently on the affidavit.
What is included in an Affidavit of Name Change?
An affidavit of name change should have the following information:
Your name prior to the change — Your current full, legal name. If you are changing your last name because of marriage or divorce, you should provide this information.
Your new name — The full, formal legal name you want after the change. Because an affidavit of name change is a legal document that can be filed with various agencies and organizations, this should be your legal name and not a nickname or shortened version.
Date of birth — This is the date you were born. It is optional to provide this information but it is often requested in order to prove your identity.
Place of birth — The city, state, and country where you were born. There are some instances where this information is necessary, such as when applying for a passport.
Identification information — This should include your current driver's license or state identification number, if possible. It may also include your social security number or that of your spouse if he/she agrees to sign the document with you. If you do not have any of this information, provide the best information you have on hand. If you are unable to meet with your local vital records office in person, send a copy of your identification along with this form so that they may verify it.
Statement — This should briefly explain why you are changing your name. The statement is required by some organizations but not all, so it is helpful to have but it is not necessary.
The reason why you are changing your name — This section of the affidavit should briefly explain why you are asking for a name change. If you are getting married, divorced, or legally changing your gender this information should be included here. Some organizations may request that this statement be completed as well.
A statement that this affidavit is made in good faith — This should be included at the end of the affidavit to show that you are completing it truthfully. If your name change request is denied because of false information, you may have to complete another affidavit with accurate information. By signing this statement, you are accepting responsibility for all consequences resulting from the false information.
How long does it take to get an affidavit?
Getting and completing an affidavit takes a good bit of time and dedication. To prove your new name, you need to make sure the affidavit is complete, accurate, and flawless. After filing an application for a name change with the court, you will be given a date to meet with the judge.
You may also have to attend two documented hearings before your petition for name change will be granted by the court. You should not attempt this process without first consulting a reputable attorney, as a name change can have serious consequences.
A name change is a legal process meant to provide you with a new identity and all of the rights that come with it. A judge will review your case before granting you what is known legally as a "name change order." This document grants your request to legally use an alternate name.
To complete the document, you will need to provide a written request that includes all of the following:
A statement of your reasons for wanting a name change. It must also include what name you want to use and why it is necessary.
The type of order you are requesting from the court.
Your full legal name and any other names you have used.
Your place of residence, including the town and state, if applicable.
The full legal names of your parents or guardians. If you are an emancipated minor at the time of your petition for a name change, provide the names of both of your parents or guardians on this form.
If you are a minor at the time of your petition, you must include a list that includes the following:
The full legal name and address of both parents. If you have a legal guardian or other parents who are not your biological parent, provide his or her full legal name and contact information as well.
The place where you live, including the town and state, if applicable.
The reason you are asking for a name change to take place.
Your desired new name after your petition is approved.
Whether or not your parent(s) agrees with the name change that you are requesting. If one of them does not agree with your decision, he or she must state this under oath.
Whether or not you are a minor at the time of this petition, along with your current place of residence.
You will also need to submit two witnesses who can testify that they know you personally and are willing to support your name change. If possible, these people should include:
A member of the clergy.
A representative from the Social Security Administration.
Someone who works in your school or housing complex who can verify your identity and address, such as a counselor or housemaster. Also include their contact information on the affidavit for the name change.
Once you have gathered all of this information, you should submit it to the appropriate clerk along with the filing fee. This document will then be entered into the public record and you can expect your court hearing to take place on a specific date.
After this process, you should receive your new birth certificate with your name on it in about six weeks, if not sooner. You will also receive an updated Social Security card and driver's license or state I.D. with your new name on it.
If you request a name change and the judge denies your petition, you cannot resubmit another one for six months after your initial request was denied. If the judge approves your request, this order will be sent to all appropriate agencies and they will update their records accordingly.
How do I write an affidavit?
In general, to write a name change affidavit in the U.S., you must include the following information:
The full name of the individual who is asking to change his or her name
His or her address, along with the city, county, and state where he or she lives; for legal purposes, you should be living in the state where you are submitting your affidavit (which can be different than your current location) at the time that you file for the name change
His or her date and place of birth
Why he or she wants to change his or her name (this can be as simple as stating: "I want to change my first and middle name from Jane Doe to Susan Smith because I no longer wish to use my first name, Jane")
The full name that he or she wants to change his or her first and middle names to (Susan Smith)
His or her signature; if the petitioner cannot write, it's alright to draw an "X" on the affidavit in place of a written signature
If there are minor children involved, their names, dates of birth, full current names, and whether or not they can write their own names
The name of the person to whom the affidavit is being submitted (the clerk of courts in your area)
How do I apply for a name change?
To apply for a name change in the United States, you must follow these extensive procedures:
Obtain a copy of your birth certificate, or whatever records are available. If you were born in the United States, this will be easy to do. If you have been adopted, you may have to get your adoptive parents' written consent before obtaining a new birth record, but it should still be possible for you to receive one. If you were born outside the United States, it may be more difficult to get a copy of your birth certificate or other records. However, this shouldn't stop you from legally changing your name if that's what you want to do.
Fill out an application for a new Social Security card at any Social Security office. They will give you the form to fill out, which will require current information (or at least information that is valid for Social Security purposes). The Social Security Administration will not change your name on their records unless you have a court order granting you a legal name change.
Fill out a Form DS-82 if you want to apply for a new passport, or fill out another appropriate application if you don't have a current U.S. passport and wish to obtain one. This form will require current information (or at least information that is valid for passport purposes).
Fill out an order to change your name. You can prepare this yourself, or you can hire a lawyer to do it for you. If you're doing it yourself, the form should be similar to the application forms previously mentioned in that it will require current information (or at least information that is valid for legal purposes). It must also include your name, date of birth, and address prior to your name change (if applicable), along with the new name by which you would like to be known. The order should also specify the place where you want your records updated, and it can include most of the other information that appears on official documents (e.g., height, weight, hair color). You must sign this form in front of a notary public.
Prepare a cover sheet for all the forms you complete that will briefly summarize what they are for and who completed them, along with your signature or your lawyer's name. Also indicate which method of delivery is being used (certified mail, personal hand delivery). If you're not hiring a lawyer to do this for you, prepare a cover sheet for each court that you mail your forms to.
Prepare an affidavit of good moral character that includes the following: "I am not changing my name for any illegal purpose, such as avoiding debts or other legal obligations; I am not doing so on account of any mental illness; I intend to continue using my name for legal purposes after the name change is complete." If you filed your application form to update your Social Security card with the Social Security Administration, declare that there are no outstanding obligations or judgments against you. You can prepare this yourself or have a lawyer prepare it for you.
Submit all forms and supporting documents to the court to start your name change. You should keep copies of all documents you send to the court, and it's usually a good idea to mail copies of them via certified mail just in case they get lost or misplaced. When filling out your application form, specify that you want your records updated by personal hand delivery or by first-class mail. If everything goes correctly, this should be enough to get your name changed.
Wait for court proceedings to take place before you get anything changed. The judge will review your application and affidavits to make sure everything looks legal, after which point they'll determine whether or not to grant your request for a name change. If the judge doesn't have any objections, you can assume your application was approved.
Expect to be asked questions by the judge regarding your request for a name change. For example, they might inquire as to whether or not this is appropriate given that it's geared toward facilitating illegal activities or avoiding debts and other legal obligations. The judge will also ask about what kind of documentation you're presenting (and where it came from) and whether or not you've ever changed your name before. Depending on the judge's mood, they may ask additional questions or they might just approve your application without further ado.
Wait until the change is legally finalized by way of an official court document in order to get anything changed even though you've already submitted the necessary forms. After the judge approves your request for a name change, they'll sign an order of name change that will be provided to you shortly afterward. If your court doesn't send you anything by mail or email, expect to open up your own certified letter or pick it up in person. This document should contain your new name, date of birth, and address along with the method of updating all your records.
Apply for a new Social Security card in person at any local Social Security Administration office prior to having anything changed by way of the Internal Revenue Service. This is because you won't be able to apply for a tax identification number using online tax payment services or by phone unless your name change has been approved and finalized. After you've received a new Social Security card, it's recommended that you wait until just before the end of the year before submitting forms to have all your records updated with the new info.
Fill out a state tax identification number application form in order to get your tax identification number changed over. If you're eligible, you can apply for an employer identification number (EIN) online at the IRS website.
Fill out a new W-4 form with your current employer or plan to fill out one when you start working for yourself if this is something that applies to you. This should be done before you turn in your final tax return with the old info, and after that point, it will be a good idea to submit a new W-9 form for any business contracts you've entered into.
Fax or mail all forms to have records updated by way of financial institutions and government agencies. It's not recommended that you do this without first making copies of the forms you're sending out, as it could result in being locked out of your bank account or denied government benefits. If any financial institutions are non-responsive and it's been a number of months since filing all necessary paperwork, you might need to show up in person with proof that you've changed your name and fill out any forms in person.
Look into how you can update your address information if this hasn't been done already after changing your name legally. If you don't take care of this, you might miss out on a lot of mail and other materials coming from various institutions and government agencies. As a general rule, it's usually possible to change your address with most companies and government agencies by filling out online forms or otherwise calling them up over the phone. It's best if you give at least six weeks before your next birthday to take care of this so that mail doesn't accidentally get sent back as undeliverable.
Feel free to update any other records if you want to do so. This is especially the case if you've changed your name due to getting married or divorced. For instance, it's possible to change your driver's license information by filling out new forms at any DMV branch in most states, and people with kids might want to go through the same process in order to get their minor children's information changed.
Who can make an affidavit of a name change?
Anyone who wants to apply for a change of name can make an affidavit of a name change. The affidavit must be completed in front of a judge, notary public, or commissioner for oaths. The affidavit must include the person's current name and place of residence, their birth date, and birthplace, if different from their place of residence, and the new name they wish to have. The affidavit also needs details on why the person wants a change of name, if their name has been a cause of damage or embarrassment and if they have changed their names before. Applicants must also provide personal references.
Why would a name change be denied?
An application to change a name may be denied for several legal reasons such as the following:
The proposed name is not distinguishable upon the records of the Office from any name that has been registered either under the Act or any state law, or that is in use by another person who could reasonably be considered to be adversely affected by the change.
The application was not properly completed. Although you are not required to include your reason for wishing to have the name change, you should be aware that if your application is not complete or does not contain all of the information requested on the form, you will at a minimum delay the processing of the application.
The petition was signed by other than all applicants. If more than one person is named in the application, all must sign unless they are properly joined as petitioners or representatives.
The request does not state a proper statutory basis for making the application.
The application or accompanying papers contain information that is substantially untrue.
If you are under 18 years of age, your parent or guardian has not joined in the petition.
There is a court order from another state which prohibits you from changing your name for any reason stated in that order. If a person's name is changed contrary to a court order, then that person may be prosecuted for contempt of court. In addition, if a person who has been ordered by a court of another state to resume using his or her birth name and fails to do so, then that person may be held in contempt of this Court. You should contact the Clerk of any court that has issued such an order before filing an application with this Court.
Create a Affidavit of Name Change document, e-sign, and download as PDF.