Usage vs. Order of Name Change

Usage vs. Order of Name Change

In most states, you may change your name by usage. This is accomplished by consistently using the new name in all aspects of your personal, social, and business life, to the point where it in fact becomes the name you are known by when dealing with others. This is legally valid and does not involve any costs (minors and prison inmates are generally exceptions to this rule).

Practically speaking, difficulties can arise after establishing a new name by usage, especially since not all states recognize usage as a way to process a name change. An official court document usually makes it easier for everyone to accept your new name. In addition, certain types of identification, such as a new passport or a birth certificate attachment, are not readily available if you change your name by the usage method.

Furthermore, a court ordered name change establishes linkage between your previous and new name. It provides a record of the name change from the initial application to the official decree or order authorizing the name change. The court record serves as a resource if you are asked to verify your identity.

 
  • Introduction to Changing Your Name
    LegalZoom's education center provides you with the information and resources you need when considering a name change. The Name Change Guide provides general information about changing your name, and the FAQs answer some of the most common questions people ask. This information allows you to make...
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  • Usage vs. Order of Name Change
    In most states, you may change your name by usage. This is accomplished by consistently using the new name in all aspects of your personal, social, and business life, to the point where it in fact becomes the name you are known by when dealing with others. This is legally valid and does not involve...
    read more
  • Reasons for a Name Change
    There are various reasons for requesting a name change. It may be based on events such as divorce, or it may simply be based on dissatisfaction with the name. Some other fairly common reasons include:
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  • Types of Name Change Applications
    There are three types of name change petitions:<.p> Adult This is a name change filed by an adult individual. Minor This is a name change filed by individuals seeking to change the name of a minor. Usually, the petition is filed by the parents or guardian of the child. Family This name change...
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  • Legal Requirements for a Name Change
    The general legal requirements for changing your name are: Residency You must live in the county and state where the name change petition will be filed. In some states, you must have lived in the county and state for a certain time (often at least six months) prior to filing. Legal grounds for a...
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  • Restrictions on a Name Change
    Below are a few of the restrictions placed on new names:
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