A name can be a source of personal pride that connects someone to their family or a painful reminder of someone’s past. There are many circumstances in which someone may want to change their legal name.
When adults want to change their legal name as a specific legal action rather than as part of a larger legal matter like marriage or divorce, the process unfolds in particular ways. What can an adult expect to have happen when they want to lawfully change their name?
They have to file paperwork with the courts
In both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the courts oversee the process of changing an adult’s name. The person requesting the change will typically need to fill out specialized state paperwork and provide documentation as well.
A criminal background check is often a key component of the name change process, as the courts want to ensure that someone doesn’t intend to abuse the process to avoid responsibility for a pending criminal matter or to distance themselves from a significant prior record.
The adult hoping to change their name will typically need to attend an in-person hearing in court before a judge will officially change their name. If the judge agrees that their intention isn’t criminal, they can officially change the name in court.
At the end of the process, the person who has just changed their name in the courts will then need to submit documentation of that name change to interested parties including their lenders and employers. Making changes to state documents, like driver’s licenses, will require that they file additional paperwork with the state.
Small mistakes can derail important legal matters
Changing a name by going to court requires precision in the paperwork submitted and a calm and appropriate presence in court. Many people would benefit from having a lawyer handle the matter on their behalf rather than trying to learn about the legal system and then advocate for themselves during a hearing.
Learning more about the steps required to legally alter someone’s name will help an individual who desires a shift to make this very important change quickly and effectively.