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How Do I Change My Name?

Some individuals desire to change their name.  Common reasons include restoring a woman’s maiden name following divorce, avoiding the stigma of a socially awkward name or disassociating from a prior harmful relationship.   This week’s blog post will address the legal process for accomplishing a change of name.

how, where and what do i file?

A verified petition containing specific identifying information about the individual is filed with the District Clerk of the county in which the person resides.  Additionally, the person must undergo a criminal background check and submit a complete, legible set of fingerprint cards obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

is the court required to change my name?

The Court is required to grant the change of name for any adult that has not been convicted of a felony and is not a registered sex offender, if the person can show that the name change is in the interest of the public and in the interest of or to the benefit of the person.  The Court is authorized, but not required, to grant a name change for convicted felons, but only if it has been more than two years since successful completion of the sentence or probation. 

what is the legal effect of a name change?

A name change officially and legally changes the person’s name for all purposes, and entitles the person to obtain a passport, social security card and driver’s license with the new name.  A change of name does not release a person from liability under the prior name, and does not defeat any benefit or right the person had under the prior name.

If you’re considering a change of name, you should seek competent legal advice about the process.  Christiansen Law Firm assists clients with name change requests to ensure a smooth, prompt and successful outcome.  Contact Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio to schedule a free consultation.


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