There are many reasons to want to change either your first, middle, or last name. Individuals and parents alike may want to change their name or their children’s names due to personal preference, to take a spouse’s name, or to return to a previous name following a divorce. While Florida courts are often persuaded to accept name changes for legitimate reasons, the choice to accept a name change is discretionary.
How Do I Change My Name?
For adults, the process begins with the filing of a petition in the circuit court in the jurisdiction where you reside. You must also file a set of fingerprints with the court, unless you are restoring your name to a previous version (i.e. your maiden name). These fingerprints must be taken in accordance with procedures established by the Department of Law Enforcement and will be used to conduct a criminal record check.
After filing the petition, and once the court has received the result of the criminal records check, a court hearing will be held. If the judge finds the requirements for filing have been met, a final judgment will be issued by the court. This order will allow you to begin using your new, or newly restored, name.
If you are changing your name as a result of divorce, you can change your name at the same time. In fact, changing your name can be entered in same order as your final divorce judgment. Similarly, names can also be changed during adoption proceedings. Consolidating multiple actions into one saves time and will save you money.
How Do I Change My Child’s name?
The process to change a minor’s name is similar to when an adult wants to change their name. The process begins with filing a petition in the county where the minor resides. The parent, legal guardian, or guardian ad litem can file on behalf of the minor.
If only one parent is filing for the child’s name to be changed, the other parent can sign a Consent of Change of Name form. If the other, non-filing parent, does not sign a Consent of Change of Name form, a copy of the petition must be served on the other parent.
After the appropriate filing and service of process, a hearing will be held on the petition. If the court finds the requirements have been met and there are no additional reasons to deny the petition, the final order will be issued and the minor is free to use the new name.
Are There Any Restrictions?
Courts are hesitant to allow individuals to change their name if they have a criminal records, have filed for bankruptcy, have a judgment entered against them, or they are changing their name in an attempt to avoid creditors.
How Do I Start The Process?
If you have questions regarding the process of changing your name or your children’s names, contact the Tampa family and divorce lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+