If you are in Texas and seeking a name change there are a number of things you need to have in mind. It's always important to know everything you need to effect a name change for whatever reason in the State of Texas. Here are a number of things you might want to know.
Marriage Name Change and Options Available
Firstly, remember the marriage certificate will be the main legal document you need to change your name after getting married. Once the ceremony is over, file your marriage license as soon as possible in the county court house. This gives you a marriage certificate's certified copy that will be sent to you via mail in about 14 days.
To save yourself time, you can use an online service providing name change forms that work in Texas and other states.
For those who might not have a marriage certificate copy, but want to effect a name change, the Marriage Certificate Request Letter can be used. You might also not have your birth certificate with you and the Birth Certificate Request Letter can be used as well.
Know that the marriage certificate might give you the right legal document to effect a name change, but the right government agencies must be notified thereafter. This includes the department of motor vehicles, IRS, Social Security office and other non-governmental institutions such as credit card companies, loyalty clubs and banks.
To apply for a marriage license in Texas the couple should apply in person using a proof of a social security number and photo ID issued by the government at the office of the court clerk. After it has been issued, the license remains valid for about three months, 72 hours after it has been issued. For couples who have gone through the Twogether course on premarital education, lots of counties within the state will have the license fees reduced with zero waiting time. Military personnel who are active also have their waiting time eliminated including Department of Defense employees and those who have received a judge's waiver.
Fees for a marriage license vary from one county to the other but fall within $30 and $75. A marriage license issued in Texas is valid across the state. After marriage, the license is completed by the officiant before it's returned for filing to the county. A certified copy of the marriage license can then be requested from the court clerk to use in name change processes.
Those married in the state of Texas don't need to include the change of name on the marriage license while making the application. The wife or husband can seek a number of changes to their name.
Through the certified marriage license you can request to take the surname of the husband, which is the most common name change in the state.
Maiden name usage
You are also allowed to go with the surname of your husband on all records and identifications but continue using the maiden name in your professional circles such as the workplace.
It's also possible to request a name change by taking the surname of the husband and adding it into your own with a hyphen or simply add without a hyphen.
Continue using your name as it is
Another option in Texas is to just continue with your marriage life without seeking a name change.
Divorce Name Change
For a legal name change to be done in Texas after divorce you need to gather a number of documents, the most important being a certified copy of a Texas divorce decree as well as a proof of your age and identification. The Divorce Records Request Letter can be used by those who might not have a divorce degree copy yet. The Birth Certificate Request Letter can also be used if a birth certificate copy is not easily accessible.
After getting the divorce decree copy, read through to ascertain if there's a provision granting a name change. In case it's there, the document remains the best name change legal proof you need. Sometimes the provision for a name change might be left out from the divorce decree and you should communicate with the court that finalized the divorce to request for an amendment of the document. Remember amendments can sometimes be denied by different courts in the state; you need to change tact and continue with a normal adult name change petition in Texas.
Together with the name change petition, you are also requested to provide fingerprints, a legible set of them on a fingerprint card approved by the state. The verification of the petition needs to be done, where you must swear and sign that the information provided with the petition is accurate before a notary. Remember to have the order for name change prepared for the judge to sign. Apart from containing similar information as that in the petition, Texas requires the order to also clearly state the change of name is in public interest and beneficial to you. A hearing is then scheduled by the court. It's possible that the judge will request a repeat of the information you have provided in the petition prior to the signing of the order declaring your change of name.
Once the name change has been effected, ensure you have approached all the right government agencies to update your name, from the Social Security Office, IRS to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Nonetheless, you might want to know that changing your name with the Social Security Office comes first and once this has been approved, simply take the certificate you will receive to the Texas Department of Public Safety to have your driver's license name changed.
General Adult Name Change
If you don't have a divorce decree or marriage certificate, it's still possible to effect a name change in Texas. This requires a change of name of an adult petition be filed including an order that grants name change of an adult. It means you must prepare a Name Change Petition and Order for Texas without signing any document. Take the petition to be signed by a notary, who will have your identity verified and allow you to sign it before the he has signed the document again to verify that you signed the petition in his presence. The Texas Name Change Order should not be signed at this time.
The next process requires you arrange with the local law enforcement for your fingerprints to be taken on either an approved FBI fingerprint card or DPS. After receiving the fingerprint card, the Order and Petition, make two copies of each. Take them to the local county courthouse to file with the county's court clerk in your local jurisdiction. Filing the paperwork comes at a cost and once you have paid it a case number is assigned. A Texas Name Change Petition stamped copy will then be returned to you. Ensure you have the Texas Name Change Order's original copy to await the court hearing. You must know the court date assigned by the office of the clerk; to be on the safe side call a couple of days before the hearing to know everything is as scheduled.
On the material court date, have the Texas Name Change Petition's copy the clerk gave you including the original order of the Texas Name Change with you for the hearing. Expect the judge to ask a couple of questions; be as brief and honest as possible in your answers. Once the legal change of name has been granted by the judge, the Texas Name Change Order will be signed and you must file it with the office of the court clerk. Request a name change certificate after tendering to the court clerk the Texas Name Change Order in the same manner you filed the petition for the name change. At a small fee, the Texas Name Change Order certified copy, dully signed, can be provided.
Child Name Changes
Within the Texas Family Code are all the regulations needed to effect a name change of a child within the state. The name change can be requested due to custody proceedings, adoptions, among others, by managing conservators, legal guardians or parents. It's important for parents to file the name change petition within the county court where the minor lives before parting with some filing fees.
The first thing is requesting the petition for the name change of a child, including the order to change the name of a child and consent to change the name of a child. All these are found at the local county's district court and can also be downloaded online. The petition has to be filled with the signature of the guardians and parents of the child, has to show how they relate to the minor, child's legal status, case numbers to previous judgments relating to the minor, name change details, the reason for the name change, and the vital statistics of the child.
In case the minor is a sex offender already registered, the Sex Offender Update form needs to be filled out and a copy attached to the petition. The petition should then be signed before a notary public who also signs on the form before officially stamping it. The reason for the Consent to Change the Name of the minor has to be explained clearly to the child if above ten years of age, who then must add his/her current name and the name proposed before the signing of the form.
The document should be taken to the office of the district court clerk for filing. You'll be updated about a court date assigned to you including a corresponding case number. You must appear on the court as scheduled and if the judge is convinced the change of name is for the child's best interest, it will be approved. The name change order will then be completed by the court.
Request the court clerk for a certified copy of the name change order to use to change the name of the minor with the Social Security Administration.
Change of Name on Birth Certificate
Amendments on birth certificate are done by the Department of State Health Services in Texas with each application clearly reviewed by a professional if the name change can be done. In case the birth took place in the last 180 days, you should expect the name change to be effected within 20-30 days. Amendments cost $15 with an additional $5 if you want an expedited service. Estimated normal processing time for the birth certificate amendment takes 10-15 business days.
Name change on Social Security, DMV, Passport, IRS
After changing the name for whatever reason, you must notify the various relevant government bodies. In case of any name change, notify the Social Security Administration, whether you are newly weds, lately divorced or simply changed your name legally. Even those who have reverted to their previous names need to let the Social Security Administration know. File the Application for a Social Security Card Form SS-5, at the Social Security office in your locality and include the legal proof of the name change.
Once you have changed the name with the Social Security Administration only then can you request a name change with the Department of Motor Vehicles. 30 days after the name change visit the office of Texas Department of Public Safety with the current ID card and driver's license, including the proof of name change. Changing your name with the Social Security Administration is free, but a new driver's license after a name change will cost you $11.
Name Change on Non-governmental Institutions
Once you have a legal proof of name change you can change your name with just about anyone, including non-governmental institutions such as financial institutions, insurance providers, employers and other professional documents such as passports, credit cards and loyalty club membership.
Name Change Documents
To make the name change process easier you need all the documents required. These includes:
- Certified copy of Texas marriage certificate for marriage name change
- Certified copy of Texas divorce decree for divorce name change
- Court order for general adult name change
- Proof of identification (passport, driver's license or state ID)
- Proof of age (decree of adoption, birth certificate or hospital record)