How to Verify a Person's Legal Name Change

By Nicole Ramage - Updated March 27, 2017

Legal name changes take place for many reasons, including birth, marriage, divorce, adoption, death or simply personal preference. Usually that person's identification will not reflect the name change immediately, so it might be necessary to verify that the name change is legal. This isn't difficult but could take some time, depending on how you choose to go about it. There are three main ways of checking on the status of a legal name change, one of which is usually slower than the others.

Ask For the Documentation

Ask the person in question if they have their name change documentation paperwork with them. This is always advised for the first week of having a new name. The paperwork will be official with a state seal or will have been notarized to notify anyone that it is a legal name change.

Use the DMV

Call the Department of Motor Vehicles. If someone has changed their name, they have ten days to change their name with the DMV. The DMV will have these documents on file and can verify that it is a legal name change. The DMV will not allow a person to change their name without legal paperwork like a divorce decree, marriage license or a court document stating that the change was made.

Verify With the Social Security Administration

Contact the Social Security Administration. They can verify a person's legal name change. The Social Security Administration can be rather slow about getting back to you, therefore, they should be used as a last resort when requiring an urgent verification of a name change.


Asking for ID with the former name on it is a quick way to verify the old name. It saves time and will give you the same information as the DMV.


If someone has been entered into the Witness Protection Program, they will not have former ID of their former name. This is for security reasons.

About the Author

Nicole Ramage has been writing professionally since 2005. She holds a certification in professional cake decorating and creates and sells custom cakes. She also teaches arts and crafts, specializing in weddings and baking. She earned her ordained ministership in Washington and Oregon in 2009 and an Associate of Applied Science in professional baking from Clark College.

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