Request A Free Consultation

«

How to Undergo a Name Change in Florida

Published at December 23, 2019 by administrator.

Changing your name can be a daunting process. There are so many forms to fill out and court orders that need to be obtained. Many Floridians change their names due to a relationship status like marriage, divorce, or other family changes. However, there are also those residents who simply want to change their name to something of their choosing rather than their birth name. 

Whatever your reasons for a name change in Florida, it is important to know how to do so legally. It is also important to note that these items are for adult name changes in Florida. If you have a child that needs a name change, there are different steps to take for a minor.

Consider these steps on how to legally change your name in Florida.

Before You Get Started

There are some prerequisites needed and other relevant information to know before you even start the name change process in Florida.

Prerequisites

  • You must live within the state of Florida for at least 6 months prior to changing your name
  • You must have a valid driver’s license or passport as proof of residency
  • Your civil rights can’t be in Suspended Status at the time of the name change process

Things To Know

  • You will need to print and fill out many forms during the name change process
  • You will have your fingerprints taken 
  • You will need to attend a court hearing
  • You’ll pay approximately $450.00 in fees to change your name. Waivers are available for those Floridians who can’t afford the fees.
  • The entire process will take at least 2 months to complete

Step #1: Fill Out Paperwork

There are many forms to complete when wanting a name change in Florida. It is important to fill out these forms in a timely manner and make sure that each one is completed in order. 

Disclosure from NonLawyer

This optional form is for anyone who is helping you fill out the name change paperwork and is not a lawyer in the state of Florida. 

Cover Sheet for Family Court Case

This is the cover sheet needed for the court case, which will involve your name change. 

Limitation of Services

This document must be completed so that the court can identify if you need any extra assistance in understanding the court case process.

Notice of Related Cases

Most name changes are in regards to other court proceedings such as a marriage or divorce. This form tells the court what these other cases are (if any) and how they relate to your desire for a name change.

Final Judgement of Change of Name Form

This form is what the judge will use to finally approve or deny your name change petition. Some counties within Florida print do not require you to fill out the top of this form and include it in your paperwork. However, it is a good idea to have it printed out and ready to turn in, just in case.

Final Disposition Form

This form is used by some Florida counties to file what the final outcome was from the judge. If using a lawyer during this process, they must sign this form as well.

Petition for Change of Name

This is the document where you state what your new name will be granted if it is approved by the court. Only sign this form in the presence of a notary.

Step #2: Prepare For Filing

The paperwork is done, so now you can move onto filing with your county court. 

Sign and Notarize Change of Name Petition

Take the Petition for Change of Name to a local notary along with valid identification. Sign the form only in the presence of a notary. The county clerk may have notary services available for a small fee, but you can also find a notary at your local bank.

Prepare Two Pre-Addressed Stamped Envelopes

Address two envelopes to your home and add postage to them. Bring along these envelopes when you file your change of name petition. 

County Specific Forms

Some Florida counties have additional forms that need to be completed before you file your petition. Check this county list to see if your county requires any additional forms.

Double Check Forms and Signatures

It is important to make sure to complete and sign all documents needed to change your name in Florida. Every document should have your name, address, and telephone number on it so that lost documents are easily identified. If a non-lawyer helped you complete the documents, their information must be stated at the bottom of all of the documents, as well.

Copy Completed Documents

Paperwork is very easy to lose. Make sure that you have a copy of all of the paperwork that you will be turning over to the court. It is a good idea to bring hard copies of the documents with you to your court hearing. Scanning the documents for an electronic copy is also recommended.

Step #3: File Your Name Change Petition

File Your Petition 

Take all of the above documents to your county clerk’s office to file in person. You can also file online using the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal.  At this time, you’ll need to pay a fee to file the document. Fees vary by county, but they are usually around $400. If you cannot pay the fee at the time of filing, you may qualify for a payment plan or a fee waiver

Step #4: Complete Background Check

Fingerprints & Background Check

Part of the name change process includes getting fingerprinted to ensure proper identification in the future if needed. Every county has a different fingerprinting process and fees. While all fingerprinting processes charge different fees, it usually costs about $50.00 for fingerprints.

A national criminal history records check will be conducted after fingerprinting is completed. Fingerprints must be completed before the court will hear your name change petition. You do not need to get fingerprints if you are changing your name back to a legal name that you had before. 

Schedule a Hearing

Every Florida county varies in their hearing schedule, so be sure to double-check with your county on where the process goes from here. In Palm Beach County, you can call the county clerk three weeks after being fingerprinted to schedule a hearing with a judge.

Step #5: Prepare For and Attend Court

Make sure that you have all of your documents ready and mark your calendar for the scheduled court date. 

Attend Your Court Hearing

Wear nice clothes and bring valid identification and copies of your filed petition for a name change to the court hearing. Answer all of the questions from the judge honestly in your desire for a name change. Hopefully, the judge decided to agree with you on your name change during the court hearing. If not, the judge may have given you things to work on or complete before trying again in the future. 

Step #6: Change All Documents

While getting your name change petition approved is important, there is still a lot to do after the judge signs your request. Remember that your name must be updated on all of your legal documents and personal account. 

Obtain Certified Copies Of The Order

If the judge grants your petition, you should get a certified copy of the order for a small fee. It is recommended to order 5 of these certified copies as you will need them to update your name on other accounts.

Update Your Name On All Accounts

Your name now must be updated on all of your legal and personal accounts. 

  • Social Security Card
  • Driver’s License
  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Bank Accounts
  • Employer Records
  • Mortgage 
  • Utility Accounts
  • Retirement Accounts
  • Electronic Accounts
  • Social Accounts

How a Lawyer Can Help

The process of changing your name is quite extensive. There are several details that must be covered before one can officially change their name. Luckily, an experienced name change lawyer can help. 

Make The Process Simple

The paperwork and needed steps for a name change in Florida is enough reason to hire a competent lawyer to help you through this task. Name change lawyers do all of the work for you and make the entire process a breeze. They also can answer questions about your specific county and save you some frustrating trips to the county clerk’s office.

Carry Past Experience

Name change lawyers know the process of name changes in Florida. They have walked several other clients through the process and know how to fill out the needed paperwork. Name change lawyers have done this entire process before and can be a great source of experience and help to you during the name change process.

Professional Representation

Hiring a name change lawyer shows the court that you are serious about your decision to change your name. Showing up to your court hearing with a familiar lawyer in your county will hold a lot of weight when it comes to your desire to change your name.

Legally changing your name can be a long and tedious process, requiring several steps, fees, and time. Make sure that you complete the process correctly and smoothly by hiring a name change lawyer at the Stafford Firm who can help you achieve the title that you desire. 

Contact one of our name change lawyers today for more information.

Similar Posts:

»

Request A Free Consultation

Fill out the form below to receive a free and confidential consultation: