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What do I need to legally change my name after getting married in Illinois?

In Illinois, you usually don’t have to go through any specific process to change your name after marriage. You can simply present your marriage certificate as the primary legal document for changing your name.

After you get married, you will file your marriage license with the county courthouse, and then you should receive a certified copy of your marriage certificate by mail in about two weeks. Once you receive your marriage certificate, you can use it to update your identification (at the DMV) and notify the Illinois Secretary of State, Social Security Office and any other applicable government agencies (passports, visa, military, etc.) of your new name. 

If you don’t have a copy of your marriage certificate, you can use the Marriage Certificate Request Letter.

What do I need to legally change my name after getting divorced in Illinois?

In Illinois, you can change your name back to a prior name as part of your divorce proceedings. If you do include a name change as part of your divorce, your final Divorce Decree will include a provision that grants your name change and will serve as your legal proof of name change. 

Once you receive a copy of your divorce decree with this provision, you will simply need to update your identification and notify the appropriate government agencies of your new name. Take your certified Divorce Decree with you to the Social Security Office, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and any other government agencies that need to be notified.

If the name change provision was left out of your final divorce decree, you can contact the court that handled your case and ask if they will allow you to amend the document. Not all Illinois courts allow amendments, so if they deny your request, you need to proceed with a petition for name change. However, you will not need to publish your request to change your name back to your former name in these cases. 

If you don’t have a copy of your divorce decree, you can use the Divorce Records Request Letter. It only takes minutes to complete on Rocket Lawyer.

What do I need to change my name in Illinois via petition (outside of a marriage or divorce)?

In order to change your name without a recent marriage or divorce, you will need to get a court order approving your name change. You need to file a Petition for Change of Name, publish a notice in the newspaper, and attend a hearing.

To change your name, Illinois requires that you have lived in the state for at least 6 months. You cannot change your name if you have certain criminal convictions (including identity theft and criminal sex abuse) that are not pardoned or if you have finished a sentence for a felony less than 10 years ago. Your request may also be rejected by the courts if the judge determines you are trying to avoid legal trouble by changing your name.

Here is the process for changing your name in Illinois with a petition:

1. Request for name change. 

You will need the following forms:

You will need to file online unless you do not have access to a computer or internet, or if you are not fluent in English.

You will also need to have the following information if you have ever been convicted of identity theft, a sexual offense, or a felony:

  • The dates of conviction and probation for each offense.
  • The sentence you received.
  • The date the sentence was completed.
  • Whether the offense was pardoned by the governor.

After you file, the efiling site may let you pick your court date (or hearing date) and time. If it does not, contact the clerk. They will help you with the proper procedure for getting the date and location where your hearing will be held.  

2. Publish the Notice in a local newspaper.

Submit your Publication Notice to be published in a newspaper in the county where you live once per week 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. Once you receive this certification, you must also file it with the court. The paper may also send this certificate directly to the circuit court.

3. Attend a name change hearing.

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 might grant your name change without a final hearing.  In this case, the Clerk will have the judge sign the Order and 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.

If your hearing is still scheduled, you will want to arrive early and bring with you:

  • Your ID.
  • Stamped copies of all the forms filed as part of your case.
  • A filled-out Order for Name Change (the judge will use this document if your request is approved).
  • If applicable, any other supporting paperwork (for example, your divorce or annulment decree, or court or parole documents for criminal convictions).

In your hearing, the Court Clerk will call out your case number and 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 Order for Name Change you brought with you or they may have their own form, depending on the county. After the hearing, file the signed Order with the Clerk of court’s office the same way you filed the Petition.  Request at least one certified copy of the signed Order.  

4. Change your name with the government agencies.

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 including the Illinois Secretary of State, the Social Security Administration, and the Department of Motor vehicles.  

What do I need to change the name of a minor in Illinois? 

The following information is for the guardians and parents of minors who want to get a legal name change in Illinois. A minor is anyone under the age of 18. 

In Illinois, a name change request for a minor must come from:

  • A parent or legal guardian with full or significant custody.
  • Both parents or legal guardians with shared custody.
  • An adult who the minor has lived with for 3 years and recognizes the minor as an adopted child.

As with adults, Illinois requires that the adult filing the request have lived in the state for at least 6 months. Additionally the minor must not be avoiding any legal issues, must not have certain criminal convictions (including identity theft and criminal sex abuse) that are not pardoned, or must not have finished a sentence for a felony less than 10 years ago. 

In order to change the name of a minor in Illinois, you will need to get a court order approving your name change. Here’s how to get one: 

1. File your request.

You will need the following forms:

You will need to file online unless you do not have access to a computer or internet, or if you are not fluent in English.

You will also need to have information about any of the minor’s criminal convictions for identity theft, a sexual offense, or a felony.

After you file, the efiling site may let you pick your court date (or hearing date) and time. If it does not, contact the clerk. They will help you with the proper procedure for getting the date and location where your hearing will be held. Be aware that you will need to bring the minor children to court for this hearing. 

2. Give notice of your request for name change. 

You must give notice to any person with any legal parental rights (custody) including the biological parents (unless parental rights have been terminated), adopted parents, spouse’s who are not named parents but were married to the mother at the time of conception or birth, or anyone who has custody for the child. 

If you know the location of a person that needs to be notified, you must serve notice in one of two ways (both require a fee). 

One way is to have a sheriff serve the papers using the Letter to Sheriff and a copy of the certified Notice of Court Date Request for Name Change (Minor Children). You can usually request this by phone, mail or in person, but you must serve notice through the county sheriff of the person you are serving.  After the sheriff serves the other parent or person who is not the parent with physical custody of the children with your court forms, they will fill out an Affidavit of Service and file it with the court or mail it to you, in which case you will need to file it with the court. 

Alternatively, you can serve notice by USPS Certified Mail with a return receipt requested. You simply need to mail a copy of your forms to each person who will get notice by USPS Certified Mail and request a return receipt. If you receive a receipt, file it with the court and request a certified copy. If the letter is returned to you as undeliverable, but you know the person’s location, you will need to serve your forms by service of process by the sheriff.

If you have given notice to all other persons requiring notice, then you do not have to publish in a newspaper. However, if serving was unsuccessful, or you do not know the location of other people requiring notice, then you must publish the Publication Notice of Court Date for Request for Name Change (Minor Children) in a newspaper in the county where you live once a week for 3 weeks in a row. 

If you would like to request an exemption to the requirement of notifying other parents, you may request one using the Motion to Waive Notice & Publication, which will require a hearing. Exemptions are granted when publishing would put the minor in harm's way.

3. Attend a hearing. 

When it is time for your court date, you will typically bring your child or children with you. You will also need to bring identification, all the paperwork related to the name change request (including the Order for Name Change), as well as birth certificates, adoption decrees, and any paperwork that establishes your identification for the minors and your legal parental rights for the minor. If the minor has any criminal convictions, you should bring all official documentation for that as well. 

When your case is called, be prepared to talk about your request. If you expect another parent to contest the name change, be prepared to defend your request, with photos, documents and witnesses who support your request. The other parent may also do the same. At the end, the judge will make a decision either approving your request or denying it. 

 If the judge approves your request, they will fill out the Order for Name Change. Once this happens, you must ensure this is filed with the court clerk and that you receive certified copies of the Order. Certified copies of the Order can then be used to change all of your child’s legal documents, including his or her birth certificate, social security card, passport, and driver’s license. You will also need to notify the Illinois Secretary of State within 10 days. 

You will need the following documents to get a legal name change in Illinois after marriage:

  • Proof of identification (driver’s license, state ID, military ID, or passport).
  • Proof of age (adoption decree, hospital record, or birth certificate).
  • Certified copies of documentation that grants you legal right to change your name:
    • If you changed your name because you recently got married, you will need a certified copy of your marriage certificate. 
    • If you changed your name because you recently got divorced, you will need a certified copy of your final Divorce Decree that includes a provision that grants your name change.
    • If you changed your name via name change petition, you will need a certified copy of the final Illinois Name Change Order.

Notify the Illinois Secretary of State of your name change and update your Illinois drivers license or state ID.

By law, you must notify the Secretary of State's office of an address or name change within 10 days. You must also “correct” your your driver's license or state ID with your new name within 30 days of your name change (or before your current ID expires). Both can be done at an Illinois Driver Services Office and must be done in person. Take your name change documentation with you as well as your current ID. 

Update your name on your social security card.

Fill out Social Security form SS-5, print it and take the form 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 your completed SS-5 form to your local Social Security Office with a certified copy of your proof of identification, marriage certificate, and proof of age and your documents will be returned to you with your new social security card by mail.

Where should I update my name after a name change in Illinois?

At a minimum, you need to update:

  • The Illinois Secretary of State.
  • Your state ID or driver's license.
  • Your social security card.

It is also best practice to update the following (and in some cases may be required):

  • Citizenship and immigration documentation, such as a passport or visa.
  • Voter registration.
  • Payroll and administration records, such as your workplace or school.
  • If applicable, military or veteran records.
  • If applicable, licensing boards and associations.
  • Financial institutions, including banks, lenders, credit unions, credit cards, investment companies/brokerages, and retirement or pension accounts.
  • Legal documentation and accounts for real estate or personal property (vehicles), including deeds, mortgages or lease agreements.
  • Any legal documents including those where you are listed as an agent or trustee, such as a Deed, Last Will and Testament, Living Trust or Power of Attorney.
  • Insurance documents, including auto insurance, home or renters insurance, and life insurance.
  • Bills, including utilities and subscriptions.

You may also want to update the following:

  • Birth certificate (if you need to use it as legal proof of identification).
  • Social media and email accounts.

What if I need help changing my name?

Although simple and straightforward for many people, changing your name can be confusing or challenging -- especially for people trying to change their names outside of a marriage or divorce. 

If you have questions, are unsure of how to move forward, or just want someone to review your paperwork, a Rocket Lawyer network attorney can answer your questions about changing your name and help you through the process.

 

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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