There are a number of legal and valid reasons for anyone to seek a name change. Many people do it because they do not like their given name. Others do it because they just got married, or got divorced. Some do it because they want to restore their original family name or they want to identify with their cultural roots. Many celebrities have also legally changed their names as a way to enhance their image. Many of these reasons are allowed under the law as long as the intent of the petitioner is not to use it for illegal or fraudulent purposes like avoiding the payment of a loan or committing an illegal act.
Typical Cost of a Name Change Filing Fee
- A name change filing fee varies from state to state.
It can go as high as $401 if you are in Florida, or as low as $150 if you are in California.
- In Minnesota, the fee is $322. Certified copies of the name change documents will cost you an additional $14 there. If you want a criminal record check, you will have to shell out an additional $10 – $20.
- In Wisconsin the average cost for a name change is $165. A certified copy will cost you another $5.
- In California, a name change costs $150. Certified copies are an additional $5.
- In Texas, the cost ranges between $200 to $300 depending on the petitioner’s county.
Photo by mthoen
Consider These Factors
- The cost of name change generally varies from state to state. However, it may also vary from county to county just like in Texas.
- In some states, each reason for a name change may entail a different cost or procedure. In Alaska, for example, there is a separate procedure for adults and children. In the case of children, Alaskan state law requires parental consent.
- In most states, a newly-married woman is not required to file a name change petition with the court. However, retrieval of relevant documents could entail some costs.
- Also, a petitioner may be required to establish residency in a state or county before he can file a petition. Minnesota, for example, requires a minimum 6 months of residency.
Included in the Cost
The costs quoted above only refer to the filing fee and the relevant name change paperwork. In many states or counties the fee is non-refundable.
- As part of the process, you will be required to post an ad in the local newspaper for several days to announce your intention to legally change your name. This is to provide the public an opportunity to raise any objection, example, people whom you owe money may want to protest against your petition. Ad notices could mean additional expenses for you.
- In some jurisdictions, a petitioner is only required to post an announcement in a public place – example, the bulletin board of the county courthouse.
- A legal name change will also require you to make the corresponding changes in your driver’s license, social security card and passport. You should also get a new birth certificate to reflect your new name. In some cases, these changes will mean additional costs. A driver’s license name change costs anywhere from $4 to $22 depending on the State you are in.
- Because name change laws and procedures vary widely from state to state and even county to county, it is wise to first approach or call your county courthouse to find out how much it will cost you exactly. Ask about the requirements, fees and process. Some states require your personal appearance, you should ask about this, too.
- Some sites like http://www.namechangelaw.com/ and http://www.uslegalforms.com/changeofname/ provide free information on state and county-level laws, procedures, forms and fees. You may want to check the information provided by these sites. These sites also provide name change document preparation services for a fee. Talk with their customer support department and check with previous customers to get a feedback before you decide to engage their services.