To legally change your name in Prince William County, you must file a petition with your local court and pay a filing fee. You'll be required to disclose the reason for wanting to change your name and reveal whether you've ever been convicted of a felony or are registered as a sex offender. Once your new name is approved by the judge, you can update important government documents, such as your Social Security card and driver's license.
Name Change Request Filed With Court
To change your name in Prince William County, Virginia, you must first ask the court for permission to do so. This requires filing a name change petition with the clerk of the circuit court at the local courthouse. The petition must be formatted in a specific manner. If you're filing the petition on your own, obtain instructions and sample forms from the courthouse, either in-person or online from the court's website. If you've hired an attorney, he will draft this document for you. Along with your petition, file an Order of Name Change; the court provides samples of this form as well. The judge signs the order if he approves your name change request. You'll automatically receive a certified copy of the signed order if you provide the court a self-addressed stamped envelope with your filing. As of 2014, the filing fee for a name change in the county is $41.
Past Crimes, Incarceration and Probation Status Must Be Disclosed
The judge will grant your request for a name change if he determines there's good cause to do so. To make this determination, the judge considers the content of your petition, which includes your current legal name and address; parents' names and mother's maiden name; when and where you were born; and whether you have changed your name in the past. You must also state whether you've been convicted of a felony and list the convictions if there are any. You must disclose if you're currently incarcerated or on probation, and whether you are required to register as a sex offender and why. You must also swear that you are not seeking to change your name for fraudulent reasons or to infringe on someone else's rights.
Record Can Be Sealed to Protect Health and Safety
If your request is granted, your name change becomes public information. If you believe this public disclosure places your health or safety or that of your immediate family at risk, perhaps because you've been the victim of domestic violence, you can ask the judge to seal the court record.
Order Used to Get New License and Social Security Card
Once you have your court-approved name change order in hand, it is a good idea to inform the people and the businesses that you routinely interact with of your new name. You'll also want to contact your local Social Security office and request a Social Security card in your new name. To get a driver's license with your new name, take your new Social Security card, your old license and a certified copy of the name change order to your local Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Prince William County Government, Clerk of the Circuit Court: Name Change
- Prince William County Government, Clerk of the Circuit Court: Name Change for an Adult (18 and Over)
- Prince William County Government, Clerk of the Circuit Court: Name Change for a Minor (Under 18)
- Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System: Code of Virginia, § 8.01-217
Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.