Name changes in Texas are relatively simple to achieve if you meet all the requirements and follow each step properly. Name changes are typically associated with marriages and divorces, however, people can go through a separate process to change their names for themselves or their minor child.
Name changes are widely common given the fact that they are standard in marriages and divorces, although, it is less common for adults and minor children to change their names independently. However, just because it’s less common for adults and children to undergo the separate name change process does not mean it’s impossible to attain. As mentioned before, the process is relatively straightforward and yields success for those who meet the requirements.
With this in mind, why do people change their names? Name changes in Texas often occur for reasons such as:
- To correct a misspelling
- A person dislikes their current name
- A person desires a less or more identifiably “ethnic” name
- A transgender person wants their name to reflect their identity
- Religious reasons
- To restore a family surname
Regardless of the reason you want to change your name, know that Attorney Copp is in your corner. She can help you navigate the process, explain your rights, and advise you on what to expect after the process is completed.
Get in touch with a name change lawyer in Amarillo today by contacting our firm online or at (806) 424-4330!
Changing Your Name in Marriage
When couples get married, it is common for one spouse to take their other spouse’s surname when obtaining a marriage license. Although wives have traditionally changed their maiden names to their husbands’ surnames, it has become increasingly common for husbands to change their surnames to their wives’ maiden names.
Whether you’re a husband-to-be or wife-to-be, you will change your name during the marriage process. Government agencies typically require individuals to bring their original marriage license or a certified copy of the marriage license to do a name change. From there, once you get married, you must ensure you notify certain government agencies and update identification documents such as your Social Security card, passport, and ID.
An attorney can walk you through each step in the process, compile the correct documents, complete the paperwork properly, and help streamline the name change process while leaving no stone unturned. Attorney Copp strives to make this process as seamless as possible for you.
Changing Your Name in Divorce
As with name changes in marriage, changing your name in divorce is quite easy because it is included in final divorce decrees. It is important for divorcing spouses to ensure their name change is included in their Final Decree of Divorce to avoid unnecessary delays and burdens in an already burdensome situation. Your lawyer will ensure your name change is incorporated in your divorce decree and more likely than not, a judge will approve your divorce decree. Once it is approved, your name will be legally changed, and your next course of action is to update your identification documents with the appropriate government agencies.
To change your name in a divorce, you want to speak to a skilled divorce lawyer who is well-versed in the Texas name change process as well. Attorney Copp has these attributes and more, making her the right legal advocate for you.
Name Change Petition for Adults
Adults (18+) who aren’t getting married or divorced may file an Original Petition for Change of Name with the district clerk of Potter County or Randall County if they live in Amarillo, as petitioners must file their documents with the district clerk of the county in which they live. That’s why if you live in Amarillo, you must file your name change petition with the district clerk of Potter County or Randall County. Talk to a lawyer to clarify which county you should apply in.
That said, to change your name in Amarillo, your petition must contain the following:
- Your current name and place of residence
- Your sex, race, date of birth, and social security number
- The full name requested
- The reason the name change is requested
- Whether you have been convicted of a felony
- Whether you are subject to register as a sex offender
- Your driver’s license number
- Assigned FBI number, state ID number, or any other reference number in a criminal history record system that identifies you
- Any charge for a crime above a Class C misdemeanor
- The case number and court if a warrant or charge was filed against you for an offense above a Class C misdemeanor
- A legible and complete set of your fingerprints on a legally acceptable fingerprint card
After including all this information in your name change petition, you must sign your petition in the presence of a notary and swear that the information is true in order to verify the petition. Once the petition has been filed and served (if necessary), you and your attorney will be scheduled to go to court and appear before a judge, who will complete an Order for Change of Name. This document includes the same information as in the petition, but the difference is the order must state that the name change is in the interest or benefit of the petitioner as well as in the public’s interest.
- The name change will be granted if you can show the following:
- You have not been convicted of a felony
- You are not required to register as a sex offender
- The name change is in the interest or benefit of you and the interest of the public
- The name change isn’t being requested to evade creditors or liability
Changing a Child’s Name in Amarillo
In matters of divorce, remarriage, and adoption, it is common for parents to change their child’s last name. Other times, a minor may want to get their name changed for personal reasons. Whatever the situation may be, it’s important to have a good understanding of what to expect in the process. The Order for a Change of Name for a Child should include the same information as the Petition for Change of Name for Adults (described above), as well as a statement that the name change is in the best interests of the child. Parents must also sign the agreement.
So, what factors are considered in determining whether a name change is in the child’s best interests? A judge will evaluate:
- Whether the changed name or the present name would best avoid embarrassment, inconvenience, or confusion for the custodial parent or the child
- Whether it would be more convenient or easier for the child to have the same name as or a different name from the custodial parent, either the changed name or the present name
- Whether the changed name or the present name would help identify the child as part of a family unit
- The length of time the surname has been used
- Parental misconduct, such as support or nonsupport or maintaining or failing to maintain contact with the child
- The degree of community respect associated with the present or changed name
- Whether the change will positively or adversely affect the bond between the child and either parent or the parents' families
- Any delay in requesting or objecting to name change
- The preferences of the child
- The age and maturity of the child
- When the child maintains the mother's surname, assurances by the mother that she would not change her name if she married or remarried
- Whether the parent seeking the change is motivated by an attempt to alienate the child from the other parent
Once the Order for a Change of Name for a Child has been filed with the appropriate district clerk, a judge will either approve or deny the request. Many times, if all requirements have been met and each stop has been followed correctly, then a judge will typically grant a name change for a minor.
It is important for the minor or their guardians to notify the appropriate government agencies of the name change, as well as credit card companies, banks, employers, insurance providers, and other private organizations. Once these entities have been informed and made the necessary changes, then the minor child should be good to go.
Changing Your Name in Amarillo is Made Easier at Our Firm
At the Law Office of Laura E. Copp, an Amarillo name change attorney can make all the difference in your situation. Laura Copp understands the nuances and complexities involved in the process, especially when an adult or minor desires or needs a name change. Given her experience, insights, and legal resources, Attorney Copp is a trusted advocate for your legal needs.
Discuss your situation and learn your next steps when you contact us at (806) 424-4330!
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