How Much Does It Cost To Legally Change Your Name?
There is a myriad of reasons as to why a person may want or need to change their names. Changing of names is generally allowed for any reason expect to evade the law or commit fraud. Whichever your reason for wanting to change your name is, if you want to have a new name to appear on your legal documents; driver's license, social security card, passport, birth certificate, and bank accounts, you'll have to obtain a court order.
When it comes to the costs of legally changing your name, obtaining a court order is the most expensive process. Hiring a lawyer to offer assistance and guidance is always an option, however, it significantly raises the overall costs. If you have an understanding of the court process, it is a process you can handle on your own. An attorney helps you prepare name change documents and provides legal representation during the hearing or if someone objects your name change. After you have been issued with a court order certificate an attorney can help ensure that all your accounts and I.Ds have been updated.
If you are considering to have your name changed but may be wondering what it costs, then read on as this article delves into what a name change consists of and what it will cost you.
Depends On State
Different states have different sets of procedures and documentation requirements for changing names, hence, charge different fees. Depending on which state you are in, you will incur different charges as to what you'd incur in another state. You'll find that there are some charges that other states may not consider while they are considered on your state. State name change laws are executed through county courts and all the counties within a state are expected to charge the same amount of fees.
Depending on your state, the costs of filing for a legal name change and the issuance of a court order document may be from $150-$400, however, in some states, it may be as high as $500.
The turnaround time also varies from state to state due to the different sets of procedures and it may also be affected by other factors such as workload. The average time it takes most states to execute a name change court order is between 8-12 weeks. However, in some states such as California, it may take as long as 3 months. To get an estimate of the turnaround time of the city or county you are in, you should contact your county clerk.
After filing your name change petition there are other additional requirements that you'll have to consider in order to complete the name change process and in each, you will incur certain fees.
Publishing Notice Requirement
Once the judge has granted your name change request, some states require that you publish a notice of your name change in a newspaper. This is done in order to make your name change a public record. In most states, you are expected to publish the legal notice within 60 days after petition approval.
The publication of the notice can only be done through a designated list of newspapers. Your notice will be published under Legal Notices in the classified section. Different newspapers charge different fees for publishing in their classifieds section. In New York, for example, big time newspapers such as The New York Times charges upwards of $500 and The New York Post charges around $200 while other smaller local newspapers may charge an average of $45.
It is therefore essential to do some research in your area to find a newspaper that is favorable to your budget. It is worth noting that in most cities there are legal and business newspapers that offer legal notices publications at significantly lower prices than regular daily newspapers.
Changing Your Driver's Licence/State Identification Card
After filing and publishing your notice, the court will then hold a hearing on your name change. If everything is in order and the judge approves the name change, you will be issued with a court order. You will need a certified copy of this court order in order to update your driver's license or state identification card. In some states, there may be a fee while in others this process is completely free. However, in the states where they charge a fee, it is $20 on average. It is worth noting that updating your social security card is completely free.
For this process, you'll also need a certified copy of the court order. If you were issued with your passport within the past year, then you won't have to pay anything to update your passport. However, if it's been a year or more the fee to replace your passport is $30 for a card and $110 for a book. However, An important point to keep in mind is that Under TSA's Secure Flight Program, the name that you used to purchase a plane ticket should be exactly the same as the one on your photo I.D. Therefore, to avoid any inconveniences, you should avoid making any changes at the moment if you have already made travel plans and bought plane tickets.
Updating Your Birth Certificate
If you desire to change the name on your birth certificate, you need a certified copy of the court order and take it to the Bureau of vital records or the acting similar agency in the state where you were issued with your birth certificate. You will incur a fee in order to change your birth certificate. The fee is between $20-$30.
Changing your name after marriage, for example, taking your husband's name doesn't require filing a petition. You just need your marriage certificate.
If you wish to change your child's name after divorce, you'll have to file the petition yourself as the parent as people under the age of 18 years are not legally allowed to change their names. The process and costs incurred when changing a child's name are similar as for adults. However, there is an extra step which is serving the other parent with notice of name change petition.
If you want to do this yourself, you can, but it may be easier to go through a name change service like EZ Name Change that will take care of all the details for you for a nominal cost. Whatever your reasons for wanting to change your name, we wish you the best in your new identity!