In Texas, the procedure for name changes varies depending on the circumstances under which the change is requested. In some cases, it’s as simple as filling out a form, but in others, it’s necessary to file a court order.
There are circumstances under which someone might request a name change that have nothing to do with marriage, for example, to change a given legal name or a child's name due to adoption, remarriage or other reasons.
A Name Change Outside of Marriage or Divorce
If the name change request is not after a divorce or marriage, you'll need to petition the courts. The courts will grant the name change only after determining that you aren't filing in order to avoid legal repercussions. Because of this, you'll have to list sex offender status and any felony or misdemeanor arrests. It's also a requirement to submit your fingerprints to the Texas Department of Public Safety so it can perform a background check.
Most local police or sheriff's departments will take fingerprints for name changes in exchange for a small fee. The County Clerk's office also has a list of acceptable locations. Once you have your fingerprint card, you can submit it to the Texas Department of Public Safety with the filing fee.
Proof of name and residence is also required, and you'll have to list the reasons for the name change. A driver's license, official DMV I.D. and passport are all acceptable forms of identification.
A Name Change After Marriage in Texas
Making a name change after marriage is as easy as filling out the appropriate information on the marriage certificate. When the marriage certificate is complete, present it at the county clerk’s office along with an official I.D. and Social Security number. After receiving the appropriate fee, the county clerk’s office will file the marriage certificate and name change.
A Name Change After Divorce in Texas
A court appearance isn’t necessary for a name change after divorce in Texas. Just request the change in a petition or in answer to a petition for divorce. The subsequent divorce decree will reflect the name change. You can then bring the decree to the county clerk's office to apply for the name change, much in the same way as after a marriage.
Making a DMV Name Change
After the name change, there is one more necessary step. You have 30 days after the change goes into effect to change a name on a driving license. To change the name on a license, take the marriage certificate or divorce decree to the DMV and fill out the necessary paperwork. To change a name on a passport, contact the passport office for the appropriate forms.
Making a name change after divorce in Texas doesn't require a court appearance. The petitioner can make the name change request as part of, or in answer to, a petition for divorce.
- Texas Young Lawyers Association; Name Changes in Texas
- Travis County District Court: Original Petition for Name Change of Adult
- Texas Law HelP: I Want to Change My Name
- Texas Young Lawyers Association: Name Changes in Texas
- Texas Department of Public Safety: How to Change Information on Your Driver's License or ID Card
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