If you are thinking about changing your name in the state of Arizona, there are a number of things you need to pay attention to, depending on if your name change is due to marriage, divorce, or petitioning the court.

Marriage name change

In the state of Arizona you can definitely change your name after marriage and you don't need to get a separate adult court ordered name change. The first thing you need to do is apply for a marriage license; it's a must before a couple gets married in the state.

Since there is no waiting period, getting a marriage license in Arizona is one of the easiest across the country. First off, the marriage license filling fee is around $76 and both parties need to be above 18 years old. It's also important for both parties to appear together for the license while carrying the right identification as proof of age, which should be a passport or a photo ID issued in the United States.

The two applicants will then sign and swear to two affidavits that the personal information they have provided is correct. In case one of the parties is 16 or 17 years old, it's important for a legal guardian or parent to accompany them during the signing of the consent form; the minor also needs identification in the form of a birth certificate. If the applicants, or one of them, is 15 years old and below, the law demands the Juvenile Superior Court Judge to sign the order (get more information from the Conciliation Court in your County).

The $76 fee is payable by cash, although some counties may accept a check, money order, or credit card. A blood test is not required to get a marriage license in Arizona. Since there's no waiting period in the state, the applicants can complete the marriage within the same day of receiving the marriage license. The license is valid for a whole year or 12 months and can be used in any place within the State. Marriage is performed by anyone legally authorized for this purpose in the State of Arizona; this includes magistrates, judges, church recognized ministers with authority to officiate weddings, and Arizona justiceS of the peace.

After the marriage has taken place, the marriage license's bottom portion has to be returned to the office of the Clerk of the Superior Court for recording. In a nutshell, you need a fiancee, a fee of $76 and proof of your age to get a marriage license in Arizona.

To change your name after marriage after getting the marriage license and completing the ceremony, simply get a certified copy of your marriage license and use it to change your name with the various governmental bodies and institutions, such as the motor vehicle department, Social Security Administration, and passport office.

While changing your name as a result of marriage there are a number of options to choose from, such as:

Adopting your husband's

Simply drop your last name and take your husband's, as has happened traditionally.

Remain with your name as it is

You can also decide not to change anything and simply continue using your name as it is.

Hyphenate

You can use a hyphen between your last or middle name and that of your husband rather than drop your name completely.

Use without hyphenation

You can also go ahead and use both names (your maiden or last name and that of your husband) without hyphenation by adding it onto yours.

Husband taking wife's name

A husband can still take the wife's name but not via marriage license, but through a legal name change, which includes same sex partners (these laws are always changing and it's always important to check with the laws of the state).

Divorce name change

Due to divorce it's normal for both or one of the couples to show a desire to effect a name change. If the man or woman wants to return to a prior or maiden name the easiest process is requesting the attorney to include the change of name as a part of the process of divorce. However, if you seek to adopt a wholly new name that you have never used before during the process of divorce this is not possible; you'll have to follow another separate procedure.

The Response to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage forms have a section where any of the two parties to the divorce can ask the court to order a return to a prior name.

If the divorce is finalized and completed without any of the parties asking for a prior name restoration, a name change procedure can always be initiated separately as provided by the law of Arizona.

General adult name change

If you intend to change your name separately from the divorce or marriage name change procedure, use the general adult name change process provided by the law. The process is fairy simple through the Arizona Superior Court Clerk.

The first thing is getting the Application for Name Change form as well as the Order Changing Name for an Adult form, which you can either download or collect in person from the court clerk within your county.

Go ahead and fill in the application for a change of name with required details such as date of birth, address, name, reason for the name change, as well as indicating whether you have ever been convicted before.

The Order Changing Name should also be completed, which contains contact details. It's the form that the judicial officer will sign indicating that you can also receive a new/another birth certificate carrying the new name in the State of Arizona.

The original documents, as well as two copies, should be submitted to the court clerk. Pay the filing fee required–remember fees in Arizona are not uniform and those unable to afford them can request deferment/waiver.

Get an Order Changing Name certified copy and ensure the court clerk has issued a hearing notice. The clerk will also let you know the hearing process of your own county. The order's certified copy is only issued if the change of name has been approved. This order is what you need to have around to apply for a change of name with such agencies as the Social Security Administration and motor vehicle division.

Child name changes

To change the name of a child, you might want to ascertain first that you are able to do so. Arizona law allows a legal guardian or the parent of the child to effect a name change for children below the age of 18. Remember the child must be living within the county in the State of Arizona where you are filing the request.

It's important to ascertain if you require an order from the court to complete the process. For instance, if you are just seeking an amendment of the minor's name on his/her birth certificate, a court order is not needed. If the name change is for other reasons, such as adoption, a court order is needed.

Changing the name of the child on a birth certificate can be done easily if the child is not yet above two years of age. After one year you will need a court order to complete the process. Remember the name change must be shown to be in the best interest of the minor.

The right form to fill for a minor in Arizona is the Application for Change of Name for a Minor Child; collect the proper form from the courthouse of your county or visit their website, if any. The form should be properly filled out and shouldn't be folded so that the black ink used to fill it doesn't stain the document. In addition, information about the minor has to be filled, such as the address, relationship with the applicant, full current name, place and date of birth, requested new name, and reasons why the name change is needed.

You need to fill the Civil Cover Sheet properly as well; it will accompany the petition for the name change. It's important since it informs the court of the kind of civil action being requested. Note you have to provide information about yourself as well; your name as the plaintiff, the name of the attorney and if your representation is pro se or yourself, you name has to go in that space.

Ensure you have at least two copies of all the forms except the civil cover sheet, including extra copes for the Application for Change of Name for a Minor. The forms can be filed at any of the courthouses within your county or with the Superior Court Clerk's Office.

The clerk's office will help you with the filing to ensure all is well. This is also the place you need to file your fee through any of the payment options accepted such as cash, MasterCard or Visa, personal check or money order. The fee is not uniform across all the counties within the State of Arizona; for instance $319 is the fee you need to petition for a name change in the County of Maricopa.

Those unable to afford the fees can apply for waiver/fee deferral that comes with a plan of payment; you need two recent paystub copies for this. As you get your forms, ensure the copies have been stamped as required by the clerk as the original application will be retained by the court clerk, including the civil cover sheet.

After the application has been filed, wait for about four business days before approaching the court for a hearing schedule in the location where the application was filed. After the hearing has been scheduled, the form on Notice of Hearing on Application for Change of Name has to be filled with the Court Clerk.

Notify the other parent of the minor on the intention to seek a name change. If you're a legal guardian, both biological parents of the child have to be notified. A child below the age of 18 but 14 years of age or above has to sign consent before a notary public to change his/her name or appear at the hearing for the name change. If the parents/other parent agree with the change of name they need to receive a stamped copy of the Notice of Hearing and the application, as well as filling the Waiver of Notice and Consent of Parent to Name Change of a Minor Child forms in the presence of a notary, which you will avail at the hearing.

A parent who doesn't agree with the change of name needs to receive the application's copy, stamped, including a copy of the application and Notice of Hearing as well as completing a notarized Acceptance of Service document. If you have no idea where the other parent of the child lives, serve a notification legally through a newspaper by having the Notice of Hearing published.

Before appearing at the hearing, collect the Order Changing Name for Minor from your county's website or courthouse. Attend the hearing with all the forms and documents required and receive the order from the court confirming the name of the child can be changed.

Change of name on birth certificate

The birth certificate is amended by sending a certified copy of the court provided order to the Bureau of Vital Records to reflect the new name and pay the right fees. Note in Arizona the birth certificate records are maintained within counties and application should be made to the county where the applicant was born.

Name change on Social Security, DMV, IRS

Approach the Social Security Administration for another Social Security card before heading to the motor vehicles division to effect the name change on your identification/driver's license. Approach the Bureau of Vital Records within your county for the same, in person or via mail.

Non-governmental institutions

Go ahead and approach insurance companies, finance institutions, such as banks, employer and credit card companies, among others, with the order to change your name and request them to adopt the new name.

Documents recognized for the change of name event

  • Certified copy of marriage certificate, for marriage name change
  • Certified copy of divorce decree, for divorce name change
  • Court order, for adult name change
  • State or government issued identification document

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