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Do I Need An Attorney?

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If you are planning to change your name, there are a few things you need to consider. One of those things is the need for an attorney. It is important to consult an attorney regarding any legal matters, including changing your name.

Some of the documentation that is required to legally change your name can be quite complex. Having an attorney draw up the papers for you instead is wise as your attorney will understand all the documentation and how it is required to be filled out by the courts. Subsequently, your attorney should also explain to you the full effect of changing your name and all that will be required.

There are many reasons why people change their name – many do it because they do not like their original name while others do it for marriage and divorce proceedings. Still, others change their names to avoid harassment from other people and potential harm.

To change your name for marriage, you will need to change all of your accounts, your identification cards and important documents as well as your driver’s license. Many states require that you have a certified copy of your marriage certificate in order to change your name on any government documentation, such as driver’s licenses and Social Security Cards.

If you are changing your name after a divorce, the easiest way to do it is to have the judge that handles your divorce restore your maiden name. Be sure that you receive a few certified copies of the documentation as many states require that you have certified copies in order to change your name on any government documentation, such as driver’s licenses and Social Security Cards.

There are also instances in where a parent would want to change a child’s name which usually occurs when the mother remarries. Child name changes are often granted by the courts after the judge reviews competing interests, such as:

The length of time the child has used the name
The mother-child relationship
The need of the child to feel apart of and identify with a new family unit created by marriage, and,
Balancing with the strength of the relationship the child has with the father.

If you want to change your name, there are a few restrictions that you should be aware of and your attorney can help you figure out if your name fits within those limitations. The generalized limitations are:

You may not legally change your name for fraud in order to get away with something or do something illegal.
You can’t change your name to interfere with the rights of other people.
You can not change your name to one that would be deliberately confusing, such as punctuation or a number.
You can not change your name to one that is a racial slur.
You can’t change your name to anything that could be measured as a fighting word.

Hiring an attorney to help you with your legal name change is always a wise move, in order to ensure that your name change will be fully and legally binding.

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