How Much Does It Cost to Change Your Name?

Did you know that the cost of changing your name can vary depending on your state? In some states, the process is relatively inexpensive, while in others it can be quite costly. The cost of changing your name is between $100 and $500, on average varies by state. 

Whatever your reason, changing your name can be a great way to start over. But before you do, it’s important to know the risks. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the potential dangers of changing your name. We’ll also provide some tips on how to protect yourself when changing your name as well as the factors that can affect the price.

The Steps of Name Changing Process

  1. File a petition with the court. This petition will state your reason for wanting to change your name and your proposed new name. You will also need to pay a filing fee.
  2. Publish notice of your name change. In most states, you will need to publish a notice of your name change in a local newspaper. This notice will give other people the opportunity to object to your name change.
  3. Attend a hearing. In some cases, you may be required to attend a hearing before a judge. At the hearing, the judge will consider your petition and any objections that have been filed. If the judge approves your name change, they will issue a court order granting your request.
  4. Change your name on official documents. Once you have a court order granting your name change, you will need to change your name on all of your official documents, such as your driver’s license, passport, Social Security card, and birth certificate.

Two main types of name changes

  • Common law name changes are those that are granted by a court without the need for a formal petition. Common law name changes are typically granted for reasons such as marriage, divorce, or adoption.
  • Statutory name changes are those that are granted by a court after a formal petition has been filed. Statutory name changes can be granted for any reason, but they are most commonly granted for reasons such as gender identity, religious beliefs, or personal preference.
The correct legal steps when changing your name
  • Consult with an attorney. An attorney can help you understand the name change process and ensure that you follow the correct procedures.
  • File the correct paperwork. Make sure that you file the correct paperwork with the court. The paperwork requirements vary from state to state.
  • Pay the filing fee. There is usually a filing fee associated with filing a name change petition.
  • Publish the required notice. In most states, you will need to publish a notice of your name change in a local newspaper.
  • Attend the hearing. If required, attend the hearing before the judge.
  • Obtain a court order. If your name change is granted, you will receive a court order granting your request.
  • Change your name on official documents. Once you have a court order granting your name change, you will need to change your name on all of your official documents.

The legal requirements for changing your name vary from state to state, but there are some general requirements that apply in most cases.

1. Age

In most states, you must be at least 18 years old to change your name without the consent of a parent or guardian.

2. Reason for Change

You must also have a legitimate reason for wanting to change your name. Some common reasons for changing your name include:

  • Marriage or divorce
  • Gender transition
  • Religious conversion
  • To escape an abusive relationship
  • To protect your privacy

3. Documentation

In order to change your name, you will need to provide documentation to the court that supports your reason for the change. This documentation may include:

  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • A marriage certificate or divorce decree
  • A letter from a therapist or counselor (if you are changing your name for reasons related to gender identity or abuse)
  • A newspaper clipping announcing your name change (if required by your state)

4. Court Filing

Once you have gathered all of the required documentation, you will need to file a petition for a name change with the court. The petition will include your name, your proposed new name, and your reason for wanting to change your name. You will also need to pay a filing fee.

5. Hearing

After you file your petition, the court will schedule a hearing to consider your request. At the hearing, the judge will review your petition and the documentation you have submitted. The judge may also ask you questions about your reason for wanting to change your name.

6. Court Order

If the judge grants your petition, they will issue a court order granting your request for a name change. The court order will include your new name and the date on which your name change becomes effective.

7. Updating Your Documents

Once you have received your court order, you will need to update your name on all of your official documents, such as your driver’s license, passport, Social Security card, and birth certificate. You may also need to update your name with your bank, credit card companies, insurance companies, and other organizations.

8. Accurate and Up-to-Date Documentation

It is important to make sure that your documentation is accurate and up-to-date. If your documentation is not accurate or up-to-date, it may delay or prevent your name change from being processed.

Cost Breakdown of changing a name in the USA

Cost Breakdown of changing a name in the USA

Court Fees and Administrative Costs

In the United States, court filing fees for a name change typically range from $100 to $500. In addition to the filing fee, you may also be required to pay an administrative fee, which is typically around $50.

Here are some examples of the average cost in different jurisdictions in the United States:

  • California: $435-$450
  • New York: $300
  • Texas: $150
  • Florida: $100
  • Illinois: $100

If you are unable to afford the cost of changing your name, you may be able to apply for a waiver of the filing fee. To do this, you will need to file a petition with the court explaining why you cannot afford the fee. The court will then decide whether to grant your request.

Publication fee

In some states, you may be required to publish a notice of your name change in a local newspaper. This is done to give the public notice of your name change and to allow anyone who has a legal interest in your name to object to the change. 

The cost of publication will vary depending on the newspaper, but it is typically around $100.

Adoption of a new name

You may also need to pay a fee to adopt your new name. This fee is typically around $25. The fee is used to cover the cost of processing your name change petition and issuing a new birth certificate with your new name.

Bank account

There is usually a small fee for changing the name on a bank account. This fee may be waived if the change is made in person at a branch.

Credit card

There is usually a small fee for changing the address or name on a credit card. This fee may be waived if the change is made online or by phone.

Utility bill

There is usually a small fee for changing the name or address on a utility bill. This fee may be waived if the change is made in person at a customer service office.

Tips for reducing the cost of changing your name

  • Do your research. Contact the court in your jurisdiction to find out the exact cost of changing your name.
  • Apply for a waiver of the filing fee. If you are unable to afford the filing fee, you may be able to apply for a waiver.
  • Update your documents in batches. You do not need to update all of your identification documents immediately after changing your name. You can update them in batches over time, which will help you save money.

What to choose Professional services or DIY 

Pros of seeking professional assistance

  • Attorneys and name change services have experience and expertise in the name change process. They can help you understand the requirements in your state, prepare the necessary paperwork, and represent you in court if necessary.
  • Knowing that you have someone who is experienced and knowledgeable on your side can give you peace of mind and help you feel confident about the process.
  • Studies have shown that people who are represented by attorneys are more likely to have their name change requests granted.

Cons of seeking professional assistance

  • Attorneys and name change services can be expensive. The cost will vary depending on the complexity of your case and the experience of the attorney or service.
  • The name change process can be time-consuming. You may need to meet with your attorney or service several times, and you may need to wait several weeks or months for your name change to be processed.
  • The name change process can be stressful. You may be dealing with a lot of emotions, and you may be concerned about the outcome of your case.

Pros of completing the process independently

  • Cost: Completing the process independently can save you money.
  • Time: You may be able to complete the process more quickly if you do it yourself.
  • Control: You will have more control over the process if you do it yourself.

Cons of completing the process independently

  • Risk: You may make a mistake that could delay or prevent your name change from being granted.
  • Time: It can take a lot of time to complete the process independently, especially if you are not familiar with the law.
  • Stress: Completing the process independently can be stressful, and the stress can make it difficult to focus on the task at hand.

The cost of hiring an attorney or name change service in general, is between $200 and $500 per hour for legal services. For example, a simple name change may cost $200 per hour, while a complex name change involving a court hearing may cost $500 per hour.

The cost of changing your name in some different jurisdictions

Canada: The cost of changing your name in Canada also varies from province to province. In general, you can expect to pay between $50 and $200 for the filing fee, plus the cost of any required publication or advertising. In some provinces, you may also need to hire an attorney, which can add to the cost.

United Kingdom: The cost of changing your name in the United Kingdom is relatively low. You can expect to pay a filing fee of £40, plus the cost of any required publication or advertising. You do not need to hire an attorney to change your name in the United Kingdom.

Australia: The cost of changing your name in Australia varies from state to state. In general, you can expect to pay between $50 and $150 for the filing fee, plus the cost of any required publication or advertising. In some states, you may also need to hire an attorney, which can add to the cost.

Conclusion

In conclusion, changing your name is a legal process that can vary in cost depending on where you live. It is important to understand the legal requirements and associated costs before deciding to change your name. 

If you are considering changing your name, I encourage you to do your research and consult local authorities or legal professionals for accurate and up-to-date information.

FAQ

What are the disadvantages of changing your name?

Disadvantages may include legal processes, potential social confusion, and the emotional impact on relationships. Additionally, changing documents and adjusting to a new identity can be challenging.

Why do celebrities change their names?

Celebrities often change their names for branding, marketability, or personal reasons. A distinctive or more appealing name can contribute to their public image and professional success.

Is it OK to want to change your name?

Yes, it’s entirely okay to want to change your name. Personal identity is a choice, and individuals may seek a name change for various reasons, including self-expression or cultural alignment.

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