You can legally change your name in Florida for several reasons. Perhaps you have married or divorced, or just want to be officially known by a different name. You have to follow the correct procedure to ensure your name change is legal.
Name Change in Florida Preparation
Before you apply for a name change in Florida, collect certain information. Personal information required includes your existing name, the county you live in, your place of birth, your parents' full legal names, your address history, your marital status and all of your children's full names and addresses.
The court also requires your work history, including your current occupation and the names and addresses of all previous employers, and any information on previous bankruptcies and previous name changes, for example, if you changed your name due to a marriage or divorce.
Name Change Fingerprint Check
Before you change your name in Florida, you need to undergo a criminal history check.
Have your fingerprints taken by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement so that they can be submitted electronically for state and national criminal records checks. Your local County Court Clerk's office can tell you which law enforcement agency in your area is best for getting fingerprints done. In most cases, you can get fingerprints taken at your local county Sheriff's office.
Name Change Petition
The official petition to change your name in the state of Florida is called the Florida Petition 12-982(a) and is available on the Florida State Court’s website.
On the form, you must certify that you are not seeking a name change for any illegal reason. Complete the petition, then sign it in the presence of a notary. You can find a notary at most banks during during regular business hours. She will usually witness and sign your petition for free, but if you do not have an account at the bank, you may have to pay a small fee.
File your petition at your county court and pay the price of a name change. Legal name change cost varies by county but is usually around $200 to $300.
Your name change hearing will be held when the court receives the results of your criminal background check. Take Florida Form 12-982(b), the Final Judgment of Change of Name, to the hearing. Once your name change petition is approved, the judge or Clerk of Court will fill out the final judgment form to finalize your name change.
After your name has been legally changed, you should update your Social Security card and change other documents to reflect the change, such as your passport, driver's license, mortgage and car title.