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Rocket Lawyer's easy interview process will create all the forms you need to complete the process, a notice to send to your local newspaper as well as a petition to pay no fees, if you qualify.  After creating your legal documents, the steps you will need to complete your name change are:

First, you will need to fill out a Notice of Filing a Petition for Change of Name.  You need to have this Notice published in a newspaper in the city where you live for three consecutive weeks.  Make sure you have the Notice published at least six weeks before you intend to file the Illinois Name Change Petition.  The newspaper should return a Proof of Publication to you after publication is complete.

Next, you will need to print and file the Illinois Name Change Petition with the Clerk of the circuit court for the county where you live. 

If you meet certain requirements, you can ask for the fees for the name change to be waived.  This is called "suing as a poor person."  The petition for this is included in the documents created through the Rocket Lawyer interview process.  File the Petition and Proof of Publication with the Illinois Clerk of Court in the county where you live.  The Clerk of court’s office is usually located in the county courthouse and the Clerk of court can assign you a case number.  There will be a fee to file the paperwork.  You should have the clerk return a stamped copy of the Illinois Name Change Petition to you.  

Before you leave, ask the Clerk’s office how to schedule a hearing.  They will help you with the proper procedure for getting the date and location where your hearing will be held.  It is a good idea to call a few days in advance of your court date to ensure you are still scheduled for an appearance.  If there is no written objection to your name change prior to your court appearance, the judge will probably grant your name change without a final hearing.  In this case, the Clerk will have the judge sign the Illinois Name Change Orderand file it on your behalf.  If the judge decides to have a final hearing, take the stamped copy of the Illinois Name Change Petition you received from the Clerk and the completed but unsigned Name Change Order with you to court. 

On your court date, the Court Clerk will call out your case number.  The judge may ask you a few simple questions.  Answer honestly and briefly.  If the judge grants the name change, she will either sign the original copy of the Illinois Name Change Order you brought with you or she may have her own form, depending on the county. After the hearing, file the signed Illinois Name Change Order with the Clerk of court’s office the same way you did the Illinois Name Change Petition.  Request at least one certified copy of the signed Illinois Name Change Order for a small fee.  

Although the Illinois Name Change Order will grant you the legal right to change your name, it is your responsibility to change your name with government agencies like the Social Security Office and the Department of Motor vehicles.  To save time, you may fill out Social Security form SS-5 in advance.  Take the form, along with your proof of identity (like your current driver’s license or passport) and proof of age (like your birth certificate) to your local Social Security Office.  The staff there will verify your personal documents and give you a certificate showing that the Social Security Office has approved your name change.  Alternatively, you can mail form SS-5 to your local Social Security Office with a certified copy of your proof of identification, Illinois Name Change Order or Certificate, and proof of age and your documents will be returned to you with your new social security card by mail.

The certified Illinois Name Change Order can also be used at the Department of Motor Vehicles to change your name on your driver’s license while you wait for your new social security card.   You have to do this step in person at your nearest Illinois Driver’s License office. Your new license and Social Security Card should be mailed to you within six weeks.  These new forms of identification and your certified Illinois Name Change Order or Certificate of Name Change may be used to change any further legal identification like your passport.


This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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