How to get a legal name change in Texas after getting married
If you are seeking a name change in Texas after marriage, you can usually accomplish the change when filing your marriage license. However, you should contact your county clerk since each county has different processes and rules.
Your marriage certificate will serve as your 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. You can use the certified copy of your marriage certificate as legal documentation to change your name when you notify other agencies, institutions and businesses of your new name.
If you don’t have a copy of your marriage certificate, you can use the Marriage Certificate Request Letter.
How to get a legal name Change in Texas after divorce
You may be able to change your name as part of your divorce proceedings. It is often included as a provision in the divorce paperwork that you file with the county court.
If this provision is included in your divorce decree, this document will serve as your legal proof of name change. Although your divorce decree grants you the legal documentation to change your name, you will need to notify the appropriate government agencies of your new name. If you don't have a copy of your divorce decree, you can use the Divorce Records Request Letter.
If your final divorce decree does not include a provision to change your name back to your former name, you can contact the court that handled your case and ask if they will allow you to amend the document. Not all Texas courts allow amendments, so if they deny your request, you need to proceed with a Texas Petition for Name Change.
How to get a legal name change in Texas via petition
In order to change your name without a recent marriage or divorce, you need to get a court order approving your name change. You will need to file an Original Petition for Change of Name of an Adult and an Order Granting Change of Name of an Adult.
First, create the Texas Name Change Petition and Order. You can make this document in minutes with Rocket Lawyer. Do not sign either document. You will need to take the Petition to a notary for signature. The notary will verify your identity and have you sign the Petition. The notary will then sign the document verifying that you signed it in front of them. Do not sign the Order.
Next, you will need to contact your local law enforcement agency and arrange to have your fingerprints taken on an approved DPS or FBI fingerprint card. After you obtain your fingerprint card, make two copies of the Petition, Order, and fingerprint card. You will then need to go to the county courthouse with the Petition and fingerprint card and file them with the Clerk of Court in the county where you live. There will be a fee to file the paperwork and the Clerk will assign you a case number. Have the Clerk return a stamped copy of the Petition to you and you should keep the original Order for the hearing. Before you leave, ask the Clerk’s office to assign you a court date. It is a good idea to call a few days in advance of your date to ensure you are still scheduled for an appearance.
On your court date, take the stamped copy of the Petition you received from the Clerk and the original Order with you to court. 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 your legal name change, he will sign the original copy of the Order. It is your responsibility to file the signed Order with the Clerk of Court’s Office. You will need to file the signed Order and request your Certificate of Name Change the same way you filed the Petition. You may also request a certified copy of the signed Order for a fee.
Although the Name Change Order will grant you the legal right to change your name, it is your responsibility to change your name with the government agencies like the Social Security Office and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
How to get a legal name change in Texas for a minor
The following information is for the guardians and parents of minors looking to get a legal name change in Texas. A minor is anyone under the age of 18.
In order to change the name of a minor in Texas, you will need to get a court order approving the name change. Any parent, managing conservator, or guardian of the minor may file for a legal name change in the county where the minor resides.
The following steps are required to change the name of a minor in Texas:
1. File a Petition on behalf of the minor.
First, print and fill out the Petition, Verification, and Order. If all parents, managing conservators, and guardians agree on the name change, then each parent, conservator, and guardian should fill out their own Verification and sign the Petition. All Verifications must be signed in front of a Notary Public. The Notary will verify your identity and sign their name to verify that you signed the document in front of them. If the minor is over the age of 10, they must fill out a consent form confirming that they want their name to change. This form is included in the link above.
File the original and two copies of the Petition, Verifications, and Child Consent with the Clerk of Court’s office for the District Court of the county where the minor resides. Have the Clerk return a stamped copy of the documents to you and set a date for your name change hearing.
2. Notify any parent, managing conservator, or guardian of the name change minor.
You can skip this step if all parents, managing conservators, and guardians agree on the name change and sign the petition. If there is a disagreement about the name change, and a parent, managing conservator or guardian is not willing to sign the Petition and Verification, then those parties not in agreement must be served with a Notification of the name change.
After your Petition has been filed, ask the Clerk’s office to schedule a name change hearing and issue a citation. The Clerk should be able to give you at least two copies of the citation. Once you know the hearing date and time, you must send the citation with the date and time of the hearing to any parent, managing conservator, or guardian that did not sign the Petition and Verification. Make additional copies if necessary and keep one copy for your records. These citations must be formally served on each individual parent, managing conservator, and guardian who did not sign a Verification. There are three methods of formally serving in Texas:
Request a formal Process Server through the Sheriff or Constable’s office and receive a verification of personal service. By this method, the individual will be served in person. You are not allowed to serve the document yourself. There will be a fee to hire a Process Server.
Send a copy of the citation by certified mail. The individual being served must sign his own name on the receipt and you must obtain a copy. Fill out a verification of service by certified mail and attach a copy of the certified receipt with the signature of the person served.
Publish a copy of the citation in a local paper. If you cannot find a parent, managing conservator, or guardian, or if you do not know the identity of these persons, you can send the citation to a local paper of general circulation and have the citation published at least one time.
Next, you will need to file the proofs of service with your file at the Clerk’s office. Take them to the Clerk’s office the same way you did the Petition and file them. Make sure to get a stamped copy back of all proofs of service you file. Call a few days ahead of your hearing date to make sure it is still scheduled.
3. Attend a name change hearing and file an Order granting name change.
On the date of your court appearance, take the original of the filled out Order and a copy of all other documents filed with you to court. The judge may ask you a few questions. Answer honestly and briefly. If any party chooses to contest the name change, they will be allowed to explain their objection as well. The judge will decide whether or not the name change is in the best interest of the child and the public. If he agrees, he will sign the Order. It will be your responsibility to make sure that the Order is filed with the Clerk’s office. Some counties will file the Order for you. Other counties will require you to file the Order with the Clerk’s office yourself. Either way, make sure you get a certified copy of your Order before leaving the courthouse.
You can then use the Order to change the minor’s name on the remaining documents like their birth certificate, social security card, and state identification card. In order to change their name on these documents, you will need to visit the offices for these records and provide them with a copy of the Order as well as fill out the forms they provide.
How to update other official documents with your new legal name in Texas
You will need the following documents to get a legal name change in Texas:
- Proof of US Citizenship or evidence of lawful presence (including a permanent resident card, immigrant visa, or an employment authorization document).
- Proof of residency (printed documents including your name and full address, including a current mortgage, deed, lease agreement, voter registration, motor registration, utilities bill, insurance policy, or documents from a government agency).
- Proof of identification (driver’s license, state ID, military ID, or passport).
- Proof of Social security number (a document with your name and social security number on it, including your social security card, a W-2 or a paystub).
- 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 license.
- If you changed your name because you recently got divorced or your marriage was annulled, you will need a certified copy of your final Divorce Decree or Annulment 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 Texas court order of Name Change.
Updating 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.
Updating your Texas drivers license or state ID
Within 30 days of your name change (or before your current ID expires) and after you have notified the Social Security Office, you must update your driver's license or state ID. To do this, you must go to your nearest Texas Driver License Services Office. Take your name change documentation with you as well as your current ID. Your new ID or license and Social Security Card should be mailed to you within six weeks.
Other records to update after a name change in Texas
At a minimum, you need to update:
- 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.
Get help with the name change process
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.