Legal Requirements for a Name Change

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 Name Change

You may not change your name in order to avoid judgments or legal actions against you. In addition, you may not change your name:

  • To avoid debts and obligations.
  • To defraud any other person.
  • To capitalize on the name of a famous person.
  • To a name that would be intentionally confusing.
  • To a number or punctuation mark.
  • To a racial slur.
  • To a name that includes threatening or obscene words, or words likely to incite violence.

Where to File for a Name Change

The name change application must be filed in the proper court, which is generally located in the county where you reside.