Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, Bruno Mars, Jamie Foxx, they all have one thing in common. They’ve changed their name. In case you didn’t know, celebrities aren’t the only ones who can do so. If you would like to legally change your name or restore a former a name, you may do so in Florida, provided that you are 18 years of age or older and satisfy certain other requirements. In particular, the state of Florida has set forth specific procedures, which govern all legal name changes of Florida residents. However, it should be noted that these procedures do not apply to any change of name in divorce proceedings or for adoption of children that are not yet final. Instead, a change of name should then be requested as part of such pending dissolution or adoption proceeding.
Can you Change your full name?
In all other cases, you must file a verified petition to change your name in the county in which you reside. Moreover, unless you are seeking to restore a former name, you must submit your fingerprints prior to filing your petition so that state and national criminal background checks can be performed. In addition, Florida Statute §68.07 provides a detailed list of the information each petition must contain:
- Residency and Domicile: As mentioned above, the petition must show that you are a bona fide resident of the state of Florida and domiciled in the county in which you are seeking to change your name.
- Family History: If known, your petition should reflect the date and place of your birth, your father’s name, your mother’s maiden name, and where you have resided since birth.
- Spouse & Children: If you are married, you must provide the name of your spouse. If you have children, you must provide their names, ages, and where they reside.
- Previous Name Changes: You must disclose whether your name has ever been changed before and if so, when, where, and by what court.
- Employment & Education: You are required to state your occupation and not only where you are employed, but also where you have been employed for the last five (5) years immediately preceding the filing of your petition. On the other hand, if you own and operate a business, you must provide your business’s name and location, your connection therewith, and how long you have been identified with your business. If you are in a particular profession, you must state the profession and where you have practiced it. Finally, if you are a graduate of one or more schools, you must provide the name of each school, your date of graduation, and the degrees you received.
- Other Names: You must disclose whether you have been generally known or called by any other names and if so, by what names and where.
- Bankruptcy: If you have ever been adjudicated a bankrupt, you must state so and disclose when and where.
- Arrests: Your petition must show whether you have ever been arrested for, charged with, pled guilty or nolo contendere to, or been found to have committed a crime, regardless of adjudication, and if yes, when and where.
- Judgments: Likewise, you must indicate whether any money judgment has ever been entered against you. If so, you must provide the name of the judgment creditor, the amount and date of the judgment, the court by which the judgment was entered, and whether the judgment has been satisfied.
- Proper Purpose: Moreover, you must confirm that your petition is not filed for any ulterior or illegal purpose and that its filing will not invade the property rights of others.
- Civil Rights: Furthermore, you must confirm that your civil rights have never been suspended. If they have been suspended, however, you must show that full restoration of your civil rights has occurred.
How hard is it to Change your name?
Upon filing your petition in accordance with these requirements, a hearing regarding your request may be held immediately after the court receives the results of your criminal history records check. However, a hearing on a petition restoring a former name may be held immediately after it is filed. It should be noted that a husband and wife and minor children may join in one petition for change of name. In such event, the petition must show the facts as are required of a petitioner as to the husband and wife and the names of the minor children may be changed at the discretion of the court. On the other hand, when only one parent petitions for a change of name of a minor child, the petitioner must serve process on the other parent and must file proof thereof. Though this requirement is more relaxed where the other parent is not a Florida resident, as constructive notice of the petition may be given and proof of publication may be filed without the necessity of recordation.