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Name change FAQ

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How can I change my name?
In most states, you are required to have residency in the county and state before you file for a name change. A person is not permitted to change his or her name to take advantage of any other person. You must be file the appropriate documentation in court in order to properly change your name.

Are there any restrictions placed on new names?
Yes, there are certain restrictions placed on selection a new name. Choosing the same name as a famous person can be difficult. Trademarked names and company names are all protected under copyright law.

Do I have to notify anyone of the name change?
After you have filed a name change petition in court, you must provide notice to the public in order to avoid false name changes. Notice requirements fall into two separate categories: public notice and Notice to affected individuals and agencies. You can issue a public notice through a general circulation newspaper in your town or county informing the public that a name change petition has been filed.

Do I have to pay a fee to change my name in court?
All courts are paid a filing fee unless you are unable to pay or another there is another justifiable explanation. Filing fees vary from state to state.

Could a name change appeal be denied?
A name change appeal can be denied if you are changing your name in order to avoid legal action, debts or other financial obligations or court judgments.

What is basically involved in a court ordered name change?
There are three basic steps to changing your name legally. The first step is to file the action in court with the applicable forms and fee. In some states you may have to publish a notice in a local newspaper stating that the action has been filed.

How is a name change for a minor different from an adult?
If a minor is changing his or her name, he or she must have a parent filed the petition. Consideration is given to whether the name change is in the best interests of the minor. Issues such as custody and parental notices are carefully examined.

Do I have to go to court?
Depending on state law, after filing all of the applicable forms, you may be required to return to the courthouse to file appropriate documentation such as a copy of the notice of the name change informing the public.

Can individuals object to my petition for a name change?
If an individual disapproves of the name change, he or she can make an objection to the court. Any objection made to the court may influence the court’s finding as to whether or not the change of name is unnecessary or a threat to public interests.

When does a name change take effect?
A name change can typically take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to become official. This all depends on when you file the name change petition and the court’s

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