Do you know that you can change your name after your divorce?
A lot of people who have been through a divorce often seek the help of an attorney to change their name after the divorce has been finalized. It is not so difficult to do, but there are certain processes and guidelines that you will have to follow before you can successfully change your name after your divorce.
According to the Texas Family Code, you are free to change your name after your divorce, provided that you change it back to a name you have been using previously. Always, before your case will be finalized, your attorney or the judge will ask you about your purpose for wanting to change your name.
It could be that you are trying to hide from someone, you might want to start completely anew, or you might want to keep creditors off your tracks. In any way, as long as you are not doing it for something illegal, the judge will likely grant you the name change.
Some clients tend to worry that the judge will reject their request for a name change due to the fact that all family members should have the same last name. There is no truth to this claim, hence you should not be concerned.
If you also want to change the name of your child during the divorce, be aware that the judge will not allow you to do so. If you are really determined to change your child’s name, you can try to file a separate lawsuit regarding the matter.
What Happens After You Change Your Name after a Divorce
Once the judge has granted the name change, it will be official. You can request for a certification from the court regarding your new name. You will need this certification as you change your name in every aspect of your life.
This certification will include information such as your name prior to the name change and your name after the name change has been granted by the court.
Other information that would be supplied would be the date your name change was made official by the court, driver’s license number, social security number, the court that granted your name change request, and the signature of the clerk who prepared that certification.
Changing Your Name Outside of a Divorce
It is more complicated to change your name as an adult without undergoing a divorce. If you want to change your name because of personal reasons, the court may not readily approve your request.
The process can be quite complicated, and you should not expect it to be as straightforward as when someone requests a change of name after a divorce.
There are also certain steps that are followed when you try to request a name change independent of any divorce case.
Undergoing a Background Check
The court will want to make sure that you do not have any motives for illegal activities should your name change be granted. If the court finds out that you are asking for a name change because you are running away from debts, your request is likely to be rejected. The entire process of checking out your background can take up to six weeks.
The court may also request for your fingerprints. You can’t just take your own fingerprints and submit it personally. Instead, you need to go to an approved office for the fingerprinting to make sure it is legit. The fingerprinting could be done in an FBI office or a police station.
The background check is usually done by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Their office is responsible for doing the necessary checks, searches, and reports for the court.
Preparing Your Petition for a Change of Name
You need to file a petition to the court for a change of name and you must include the following information: your driver’s license number in the past 10 years and the list of offenses or convictions if you have any. If you have been convicted of a felony that involved a sex-related crime towards a minor, you should just give up on your name change petition. It will never be granted to you with such a conviction on your record.
Going to Court for a ‘Prove Up’
Once your background check is done and you have prepared and filed your petition, all that’s left for you to do is going to the court for a hearing regarding your name change petition. This is where the judge will either approve or reject your name change.
Make sure to contact the court before the set date for the hearing to ensure that the fingerprints and background check results are in. When there’s no one who is trying to stop you from legally changing your name, your case will be classified as “uncontested”.
In these type of cases, you will be called by the judge to provide necessary information and your purpose for changing your name. After that, if there aren’t any issues, the judge will approve your request and you will be able to request the official certification of your name change from the clerk.
Whether you want to change your name after your divorce, or you simply want to change your name without any relation to your divorce, you should hire an attorney to make the process easier.
Here’s How to Prepare to Meet Your Divorce Attorney for the First Time .When you have an attorney who is helping you through a divorce, you can also ask that him to help you with your name change request. Your attorney should be able to help you comply with the necessary requirements to ensure that the name changing process goes smoothly.
If you are going through an especially difficult divorce, you can check out some of our helpful articles to maybe solve some of the issues you are facing:
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