Florida law allows residents to change their names for a variety of reasons. You may have been married or divorced, been confused with another person with the same name too often, or maybe you just do not like the name you were given or prefer to be legally known by a nickname.
Whatever the reason, residents of Volusia County, Florida can follow some specific steps to legally change their names.
Fill out Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law form 12.982(a), Petition for Change of Name (Adult) (06/10). This form can be found online at the Florida courts website (see Resources), or you can get it from the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office at either the Volusia County courthouse in DeLand or at either of the annex offices in Daytona or New Smyrna Beach.
Sign the form before a notary public or a deputy clerk at the courthouse. Photocopy the signed form for your records.
File the form with the Clerk of the Circuit Court and pay the fee. As of 2010, the fee for filing name change paperwork in Volusia County is $400.
Submit your fingerprints for a state and national criminal background check if you are changing to a completely new name and not returning to a former name. When you file your paperwork, the clerk of court will instruct you on the process of having your fingerprints taken. In general, you can visit a participating law enforcement office or approved service provider, and they will electronically submit your fingerprints for review. This process can take several weeks, and you are responsible for the cost of the fingerprinting and the background checks.
Obtain a hearing date for the court to hear your request. If you are simply restoring a former name, such as going back to your maiden name, the hearing may be held immediately after your application is filed. In general, though, you will be contacted with the date and time of your hearing after your background check has been completed. You may have to attend the final hearing, and you will be notified if that is a requirement.
Attend the final hearing, if necessary. If the court grants your request, the judge will sign an order that officially changes your name.
If you are changing your name because of a divorce, you may be able to include the petition for the name change in the divorce proceedings. Ask your attorney for advice. Once you have received an order changing your name, you will still need to change your name on your Social Security card; driver’s license; and with creditors, employers, and other people you do business with. Most of these organizations will require a certified copy of the judge’s order to fulfill your request. A licensed lawyer can help you with the paperwork and process of changing your name.
A significant criminal history or a history of judgments placed against you by creditors may affect your ability to legally change your name.
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