Is it Legal to Change Your Name?

There are a number of situations or reasons why someone would be interested in legally changing his or her name. You might have gotten married or divorced, or may want to change your child’s last name after a divorce. You might simply have some other reason for wanting to change your name (e.g., you might have a sordid past, an unfortunate birth name, etc.). What you need to know is that it is legal to change your name, but you may have to jump through a lot of hoops to do so.

In Nevada, the decision to legally grant a name change is up to the discretion of the court. The court might not let you change your name to something obscene or offensive or it might prevent you from changing your name for fraudulent purposes. You might also be prevented from changing your name to the same name as a celebrity or other famous person, since the famous person likely holds rights to that name.

How Do You Legally Change Your Name in Nevada?

You must be a resident of Nevada to change your name here (i.e., must have lived in the state for at least six weeks prior to seeking the name change). To start the process, you will file a verified petition with the county court where you plan to live in the future. The petition must include a lot of personal information about who you are, what your name is, what you want your new name to be, and the reason why you want your name to be changed. You will also need to pay a fee.

Next you will need to make sure that notice of your requested name change is published in a local paper in circulation in the county in which you want to change your name. The notice must be published one time per week for a period of three weeks. The purpose for the published notice is to give anyone in the community the opportunity to object to your name change. If no one objects within ten days of your last public notification, then you will be granted a hearing in which the court will make a decision regarding your name change.

After Your Name Change Order is Issued

After your name change order is issued, you will have to follow up with a number of state and federal agencies to communicate your new legal name. For instance, you will need to contact the Bureau of Vital statistics for the state in which you were born to get a new birth certificate. Similarly, you will need to have your name changed on your driver’s license, your passport, and any other official identification documents.

It is always a good idea to have a lawyer help you if you want to legally change your name. If you have any questions or could use some assistance in legally changing your name in Nevada, please feel free to contact the team at Parry & Pfau to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your situation.

(image courtesy of Travis Wise)