A fee is generally payable, and the applicant may be required to post legal notices in newspapers to announce the name change. Generally the judge has limited judicial discretion to deny a change of name: usually only if the name change is for fraudulent, frivolous or immoral purposes. In nearly all states, a person cannot choose a name that is intended to mislead such as adopting a celebrity's name , that is intentionally confusing, or that incites violence; nor can one adopt, as a name, a racial slur , a threat, or an obscenity.
Under the federal immigration-and-nationality law, when aliens apply for naturalization , they have the option of asking for their names to be changed upon the grants of citizenship with no additional fees. This allows them the opportunity to adopt more Americanized names.
Applicants certify that they are not seeking a change of name for any unlawful purpose such as the avoidance of debt or evasion of law enforcement. Such a name change would become final if within their jurisdiction, once a federal court naturalizes an applicant. To maintain a person's identity , it is desirable to obtain a formal order so there is continuity of personal records. The "open and notorious" use of a name is often sufficient to allow one to use an assumed name.
In some jurisdictions, a trade name distinct from one's legal name can be registered with a county clerk, secretary of state , or other similar government authority. Persons who wish to publish materials and not to be associated with them may publish under pseudonyms ; such a right is protected under case law pursuant to United States Constitution.
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A common law name i. Although a person may sue under a common law name. In California the "usage method" changing the name at will under common law is sufficient to change the name. Not all jurisdictions require that the new name be used exclusively. If a person is not in any of these categories, then a common law name change is allowed.
Many universities, hospitals, and other institutions allow one to use a "preferred name" instead of one's legal name.
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This name can show up on class rosters, online learning platforms, and student ID cards. It provides a "transitional" name change for those who have yet to, or cannot, receive a court-ordered name change. A legal name change is merely the first step in the name-change process. A person must officially register the new name with the appropriate authorities whether the change was made as a result of a court order, marriage, divorce, adoption, or any of the other methods described above.
The process includes notifying various government agencies, each of which may require legal proof of the name change and that may or may not charge a fee. Important government agencies to be notified include the Social Security Administration ,  Bureau of Consular Affairs  for passports ,  the Federal Communications Commission ,  the Selective Service System  and the Department of Motor Vehicles for a new driver's license, learner permit, state identification card, or vehicular registration.
Additionally the new name must be registered with other institutions such as employers, banks, doctors, mortgage, insurance and credit card companies. Online services are available to assist in this process either through direct legal assistance or automated form processing. Most states require name changes to be registered with their departments of motor vehicles DMVs within a certain amount of time, and some state motor vehicle departments require updated social security cards to make changes, by first registering a new name with the Social Security office:.
The fees for registering a new name vary from state to state. The forms, along with the state-specific requirements, can generally be obtained for free. Many states will require reasons for wanting a name change. For example, in Florida, a court will not grant a petition for a change of name if it finds that i the petitioner has ulterior or illegal motives in seeking the name change, ii the petitioner's civil rights are suspended, or iii granting the name change will invade the property rights e.
In the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland , citizens and residents have the freedom to change their names with relative ease. In theory, anyone who is at least 16 and resident in the United Kingdom can call themselves whatever they wish. However, over the past hundred years or so, formal procedures that are recognized by record holders such as government departments, companies and organizations have evolved, which enable a citizen legally to change the name recorded on their passport , driving licence , tax and National Insurance records, bank and credit cards, etc.
Documents such as birth , marriage and educational certificates cannot be changed because these documents are "matters of fact", which means that they were correct at the time they were issued. Documentary evidence of a change of name can be in a number of forms, such as a marriage certificate, decree absolute , civil partnership certificate, statutory declaration or deed of change of name.
Such documents are mere evidence that a change of name has occurred, however, and they do not themselves operate to change a person's name. Deeds of change of name are by far the most commonly used method of providing evidence of a change of name other than changing a woman's surname after marriage. A deed poll is a legal document that binds a single person to a particular course of action in this case, changing one's name for all purposes. The term 'deed' is common to signed, written agreements that have been shown to all concerned parties. Strictly speaking, it is not a contract because it binds only one party and expresses an intention instead of a promise.
People whose births are registered in England and Wales may have their deed poll enrolled at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Such persons frequently selected a younger nephew or cousin as the heir to their estates on condition that he should adopt the surname and armorials of the legator in lieu of his patronymic.
Thus the ancient family otherwise destined to extinction would appear to continue as a great dynasty in the making. Such changes were also more rarely demanded by marriage settlements , for example where the father of a sole daughter and heiress demanded that as a condition of his daughter's dowry her husband should adopt his father-in-law's surname and arms.
Thus the progeny of the marriage would continue the otherwise extinct family's name. Such name changes were generally only demanded of younger sons, where an elder brother was available to inherit the paternal estates under primogeniture and carry on the name and arms abandoned by the younger brother.
Such name changes were effected by obtaining a private Act of Parliament or by obtaining a Royal Licence. People whose births are registered in Scotland or who were adopted in Scotland can change their name in the same way as people from the rest of the United Kingdom. However they can optionally apply to the Registrar General for Scotland to have their birth certificate amended to show the new name and have the respective register updated. Individuals may legally change their name through the state and territory governments of Australia according to state or territory laws and regulations via agencies generally titled "Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages".
Institutions such as banks,  the Passports Office  and transport authorities  require proof of identity, so people who change their names need to have proof of the change.
These certificates are recognised secure identity documents and can be verified electronically through the Attorney-general of Australia 's Document Verification Service. In Canada a person can informally call themselves whatever they want. In all provinces except Quebec ,  when someone gets married they can change their last name without legally changing their name by using their Marriage Certificate as verification of the name change.
Except for Ontario , British Columbia and New Brunswick , Canadians must be 18 to change their names and have lived in the province they are changing it in for at least 3 months to a year, depending on province. People younger than the province's age of majority can change their names if they have their guardians' consent, are legally married, or have a common law marriage.
A document such as a birth certificate must be submitted. A statement as to why the name is being changed is needed in most areas and the reason has to be serious. In Canada, a name cannot cause confusion, be used for misrepresentation or fraud and in most cases the name change is announced in newspapers.
It is a common practice for ethnic Chinese residents of Hong Kong to adopt a western-style English name in addition to their transliterated Chinese name. As they often adopt western-style English names after being registered on the birth register, the fact that they want to include a western-style English name as part of their legal English name is regarded as a name change which usually requires a deed poll. However, the Immigration Department which is responsible for processing applications for name change allows applicants to submit such applications without deeds poll; anyone who has a phonetic English name only and wishes to include a western-style English name as part of his or her legal English name can apply to the Immigration Department without a deed poll.
Only one application of this kind is allowed for each applicant; any application for subsequent change s must be made with a deed poll. In the Republic of Ireland , a person earns their name by "use and repute".
From September , New Zealanders can change their name by making a statutory declaration and, if approved, the new name is registered with the Births, Deaths and Marriages section of the Department of Internal Affairs Identity Services. Prior to September , they changed their name by deed poll. In general, unlike in common law countries, names cannot be changed at will in civil law jurisdictions.
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Usually, a name change requires government approval and is only rarely granted, though legal name changes have become more common in some jurisdictions over the last years. The reason given for this system is usually the public interest in the unique identifiability of a person, e.
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Changes in law Aug changes first name and fee will fall under the authority of local town hall  In Belgian law, a name is in principle considered fixed for life, but under exceptional circumstances, a person may apply to the Ministry of Justice for a name change. The new name must not cause confusion or cause damage to the bearer or others. Examples of requests that are usually considered favorably:.
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