Changing Your Last Name In Texas – This article is for informational purposes. This content is not legal advice, is the opinion of the author and has not been evaluated for accuracy or changes in the law.
There are many reasons why Texans might wish to change their legal names. Surname changes are most common, especially when it comes to marriage and divorce. But anyone who wants to change their first, middle or last name will need to provide supporting documentation as well as apply to the local court. However, after a name change in Texas, a person’s identification documents are not automatically updated.
Changing Your Last Name In Texas
A person who has legally changed their name must go through various procedures to update their driver’s license, passport photo, social security number, and any other legal documentation. The step-by-step instructions provided in this guide will help individuals navigate the Texas name change process.
Ways To Change Your Name In Texas
While the Texas name change process takes more steps than most states, the process is not overly complicated, and with some planning and preparation, a person can be legally granted a name change. A visit to your local courthouse or law library for reference materials may help you in this process, or you may consider consulting with an attorney.
There are many common reasons for seeking legal name changes in Texas and elsewhere. People can choose to change their first, middle or last name. Some people choose to legally change their birth name because they never liked it and prefer to be known by a different name. One could consider something about one’s name to be a hindrance in one’s chosen profession. Some people may wish to legally change their name because they are transgender and the name they were assigned at birth does not match the gender designation on their legal documents. In this case, the person’s birth certificate may also be updated, although there are no other circumstances (apart from clerical error) in which the person’s birth certificate would show a name change.
It should be noted that gender reassignment is not guaranteed in Texas and is up to individual judges. In addition, any request for a gender change in legal documents may require additional information from doctors.
Regardless of one’s reason for seeking a legal name change in Texas, the court ultimately has the discretion to grant the request, so each applicant should make a compelling case for a name change to increase their chances of approval.
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The process of changing your child’s name is completely separate. Legally changing your own name in Texas will not automatically change your child’s name.
Before starting a name change in Texas, you must meet the following requirements and provide documentation to demonstrate:
If you are applying for a name change after marriage in Texas or as part of a divorce in the state of Texas, you will not need to complete these steps to change your name. Your new name can be added to the marriage certificate or divorce decree without a special court order. You can go back to your maiden name during the divorce proceedings. However, to update your identification documentation, you will need to obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate or divorce decree from the county clerk’s office.
In Texas, there are other potential name changes that may not require a court order, such as a clerical error on a birth certificate.
Changing Your Name
For all other name change requests, you will need to go through the following basic steps. The whole process can take anywhere from a few days to six months, so be aware of the time frame and stay flexible.
You will need to obtain an adult name change application either online or in person at your county courthouse. The petition and the requested form require basic personal information and you should be able to easily complete these fields by following the instructions provided.
Do not sign the petition until you have done so in the presence of a notary who will witness your signature and stamp the form.
You will need to submit a copy of your fingerprints along with your name change application. Fingerprinting will also include an FBI criminal background check to verify any information related to criminal convictions.
How Do I Change My Child’s Last Name And Add My Name To The Birth Certificate In Texas?
The Texas Department of Public Safety can help you schedule an appointment for these services. Fees associated with these services are less than $50 and can be paid online by credit card or in person by check or money order. Cash will not be accepted.
The court requires a processing fee to process your application. Prices can vary from county to county, but the average is between $150 and $300.
There are also options for those who cannot afford the fee. If you cannot afford to pay the name change filing fee, you will need to complete a Declaration of Inability to Pay Court Costs. This form will ask you to provide financial information, including whether or not you receive public support. In addition, you will need to document your participation in these programs. You will also need to list all of your expenses and all of your assets.
An adult name change order must be completed using the same information from the original petition. This order should be completed in full and also left unsigned. The form will only be signed by the court if your motion to change your name is granted.
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If you need help filling out any paperwork associated with a name change order, contact an attorney or an authorized online legal service. You may also consider visiting a law library and studying relevant texts to help you complete the paperwork.
You will need to make copies of your petition, fingerprint card, name change document, court order, and, if you are using one, your affidavit of inability to pay court costs. You should make at least three copies of all documents for your personal records.
After you have made copies of all your court documents, you will need to file the original documents with the district court of your county. You should also bring copies of the documents with you so that the clerk can stamp them as “submitted.”
Electronic filing may be available in your county, so if you want to file by email, you can call the county court clerk to see if that’s possible.
Changing Your Child’s Name In Texas After Custody Determinations
You will need to bring all of your paperwork to the hearing: the warrant, the petition, a copy of your fingerprint card, your identification, and any relevant criminal records, convictions, and/or pardons. If you are unsure whether or not to bring certain documentation, an officer is available to advise you before the hearing.
If your request for a name change is approved, the judge will sign your order at the conclusion of your hearing.
Once the judge grants your name change request and signs your order, you still need to file the order with the county clerk. When placing your order, request at least two certified copies of the order that you will use to change your name with all the different official agencies.
Now that you have successfully legally changed your name in Texas, you will need to update your name on all of your official identification cards issued by government agencies. You will need to get a new social security card through your local social security office, driver’s license, passport and car registration. Other important updates include bank accounts, voter registration, credit cards, insurance, mortgage companies and anyone else who sends you mail, including all utility bills. You should consult your tax professional for name change issues related to your tax concerns.
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Be aware that a legal name change does not absolve you of any debts incurred under your previous name. While you may feel that a new name will give you a fresh start, your lenders will disagree!
The Texas name change process may require a few more added steps than other states, but if you take the time to meet the requirements and file all the necessary paperwork, you will be legally changing your name in Texas in no time.
Jenn Morson is a freelance writer whose work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlant…
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