Every state has its own set of rules and requirements for legally changing your name. At times, it can seem a bit daunting to go through the name change process, especially if you can’t seem to find all of the necessary information in the same place.
If you’re wondering how to change your name in Florida, you’ve come to the right place!
The processes of changing your name due to marriage or divorce are fairly streamlined but there are still a few steps you’ll need to complete. Filing a petition for a name change in Florida is more arduous, and you’ll want to know exactly what is expected of you before you begin.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about changing your name in Florida.
Name Change in Florida Due to Marriage
Marriage name change in Florida is very straightforward. Before your ceremony, go into your County Clerk’s office to fill out your marriage license application. Both you and your spouse will need to provide identification and a social security number.
Once the application is complete, there are two ways to move forward in the approval process. The first is to wait three days. If you need it more quickly than that, you will have to complete a four-hour premarital education course with your partner. This course can be completed by a psychologist, social worker, or counselor that has received the proper training as approved by state law.
After your wedding ceremony, your officiant has ten days to complete your marriage license application and file it with the County Clerk’s office. You will receive an official marriage license to change your name on your identification cards, social security card, and passport. It’s a good idea to request an official copy so that you and your spouse can file for these documents at the same time.
Name Change in Florida Due to Divorce
The method to revert to your previous surname due to divorce varies by county. In most counties, you can include your desire to change your name on your divorce paperwork. However, some counties don’t provide this option and the request must be decreed during the court proceedings.
It’s best to include your name change in the process of filing for divorce if possible. If you make the decision after the divorce is finalized, you have one of two options depending on your county.
The first is that you call the court where your divorce proceedings were held and ask them to make an amendment to your case. However, not all courts will grant this amendment and may have a point of expiration for this offer. If this is the case, you will have to file a petition for a name change, which you can learn more about in the section below.
Filing a Petition for a Name Change in Florida
There are several instances that you may need to file a petition for a name change in Florida. If you want to change your first name, you will always need to file a petition, even if it is in conjunction with your marriage or divorce. If you want to change your last name for reasons other than marriage or divorce, you will need to file a petition.
The Criminal Background Check
In the state of Florida, you must undergo a Level 2 criminal background check before filing your petition for a name change. This requires that you have your fingerprints taken and submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, who will then send them to the FBI.
If you have a record that indicates you may be changing your name to commit fraud or hide from the law, you will not be allowed to proceed with your petition. Reasons to prevent your legal name change include, but are not limited to, being a registered sex offender or sexual predator.
The only time you will not need to undergo a background check is if you are petitioning to have your name restored to a previous surname.
What to Include in Your Petition
Once you are able to begin filling out your paperwork, you will need to be prepared to answer a series of questions.
First, you will need to prove your residency in the county where your petition is to be filed. The court will want to know where you work now and have worked in the past and where you live now and have lived in the past.
You will also need to prove your date and place of birth and any previous name changes you may have undergone. Your father’s name and your mother’s maiden name are required as well.
Finally, despite the criminal background check you have completed, you will need to state any legal trouble you’ve been in. This would include bankruptcies, arrests, criminal charges, and court judgments. Ultimately, the court needs to ensure that you are changing your name for honest, legal reasons.
Once you are granted a legal name change, you will need to provide official documents stating your name change was legal in order to receive new documents of identification.
How to Change Your Name in Florida Efficiently
The process of legally changing your name in Florida is difficult if you don’t know what to provide, what paperwork to fill out, and where to file it. Learning how to change your name in Florida is only the first step in what can be a long process.
Fortunately, sites like UpdateMyName.com make it easy! All you need to do is tell them why you want to change your name and where and they’ll get everything in order for you.