How to Legally Change a Name in Georgia

By Casey Kennedy

In the state of Georgia, legally changing a person's name falls under Georgia State Code: Sec. 19-12-1.(reference 1) The state code requirements are fairly straight forward, but do require the ability to fill out the state's documents. If a question arises about your particular situation, it is always best to consult legal counsel to help with the matter, but knowing a few things about the process can make filing easier.

Fill out the proper forms and file them with the court in your county. This is called a "petition for name change." When filing this paperwork, you are asking a judge to grant your request to have your name changed. You should be prepared to pay a fee to the court for filing this form and also a fee to be paid to the newspaper in which your petition is published.

Have the petition published in the 'legal organ' for the county you reside. The legal organ for most counties will be the local newspaper of the city or town in which you live. Although each courthouse may have its own policy, in most cases you file the paperwork at the courthouse and the clerks then provide you with documents to take to the newspaper for publication. It is also possible that the court will do this step for you (some courthouses prefer to have you deal directly with the newspaper, while others may want to make sure that all steps are done a certain way and will handle this themselves), but you should expect to pay one fee to the court and another to the newspaper.

When a petition request is being made for a minor child, both parents must either agree to this change, or a notice must be given to each parent. In the event that a parent is unable to be located, a notice must then be placed in the legal organ of the last known county the parent resided in.

After 30 days (for adults) or 60 days (for children), if no objections have been raised, the court will then have a hearing to grant the name change. If objections are raised, such as a parent contesting a name change for their child, there may be additional hearings to discuss these objections before the name change will be finalized.

Once the name change has been granted, other documents including driver's license, social security card and passports can then be changed by providing those legal entities with copies of the final decree and filling out the appropriate paperwork.

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Casey Kennedy has been writing online content since 2009. She specializes in writing about small business, careers, real estate, and ecommerce. She also enjoys writing about a variety of other subjects, including home improvement, gardening, and pet care. She attended the Academy of Art online, studying interior architecture and design while pursuing commercial flight training at Aviation Atlanta in Georgia.

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