How to change your first name legally

To change your first name legally, you must ask the permission of the court and obtain an order granting your request. This order will allow you to change your name on your birth certificate, passport, tax documents, will, or any other legally binding document that lists your name.

Draft a petition for name change. In order to change your first name legally, you will need to file a petition for name change with the court in the jurisdiction where you reside.

State your reasons for wanting to change your first name. Your petition will need to outline your reasons, as well as certify that you are not changing your name to evade debts or other legal obligations.

File the petition with the court in the jurisdiction where you reside. After you have completed your petition for name change, you will need to file it with the clerk of the court. The court will charge a filing fee that must be paid at the time you submit your petition.

Attend the court hearing on your name change. Once you have filed your petition, the court will assign you a hearing date. At your hearing, the judge will examine your petition and make a determination on whether your name change will be granted.

Request a new birth certificate reflecting your new first name. You will do this after the court approves your name change and you receive a court order legally changing your name.

Use your birth certificate to get a new driver's license, Social Security Card, and passport. With your new birth certificate, you will be able to request new identifying documents that list your newly changed first name.


The clerk of the court can provide you with a sample petition for name change that you can use as a template.

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About the Author

Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.