There can be many reasons to change your name, ranging from marriage, divorce, or even if you want to. The steps to do so are somewhat confusing, as they deal with the court, but retaining a lawyer can help you navigate the process. Before starting these steps, it is best to know what you are changing your name to, so it might be best to sit on the change for a while before moving forward.
First, you should have your fingerprints taken and submit them to both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Both charge about $15, separately. You can contact your county clerk’s office or ask your legal team to assist you in finding where to get your fingerprints taken.
Second, the original petition for change of name will be filled out. This form asks things like your social security number, why you’re requesting the name change, and your full criminal record, including any Class C misdemeanors you were charged for. A copy of your fingerprints for the FBI and the Texas Department of Public Safety should also be included with this form. During this time, any additional paperwork regarding your criminal history needs to be given to your attorney. Make sure that you have a copy of anything submitted to the court. From there, your legal team will submit all the court documents, including a petition with all of your information. At that point, a court date will be filed, which both you and your lawyer will attend.
Next, if the court hearing is successful and a change of name is granted, you need to get a certified copy of the signed order. There might be a fee to obtain this from the county clerk’s office. This will be needed to change important documents such as your social security card, your driver’s license, and voter registration information. As a reminder, you have 30 days to change your driver’s license. There is no need to change your birth certificate.
The name change process requires a lot of court documentation and takes a while to navigate, so it would be advantageous to retain an Arlington family lawyer. You cannot file for a name change if you are a convicted felon unless you have been pardoned or it has been at least two years after the end of your sentence or probation, if applicable. You also will not be able to file a name change if you are a sex offender unless the local law enforcement is informed and sends in documentation proving so. Even though it is possible, both of these factors will definitely make it more difficult to get the name change approved. This is why it would be advantageous to consult a legal team to help navigate this process.
Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into family law and how to change your name in Texas.