Most people know that you can change your name as an adult. One of the most common times that adults change their name is when they get married or divorced. When you get married you can change your last name by using your marriage license and when you get divorced you can request the judge to order a name change in the final divorce decree. But, many people do not know what the process is like to get your name changed as an adult outside of that situation. This blog post is going to attempt to summarize the basic requirements and process of getting a name change as an adult in Texas unrelated to marriage or divorce.
Who Can Request a Name Change?
Any adult can request a name change in the county that they live in. The adult simply needs to file a verified petition that meets all of the requirements in the family code. The petition must include the reason that the person wants to change their name along with certain other specific information, including certain information about the person’s criminal history.
What is Needed to Get a Name Change Done?
In addition to the verified petition described above, the person requesting a name change must also submit a set of fingerprints that are acceptable to the Texas Department of Public Safety and the FBI for a name change in order to complete a background check. It is typically easy to get these fingerprints done and a time to get them done can be scheduled online. A name change of an adult is not the only process that requires this type of fingerprinting so there are multiple locations in Texas that a person can get this type of fingerprinting done.
What Reasons can a Court Use to Deny a Name Change?
Under the family code, the judge is supposed to order a name change upon a proper request from an adult “if the change is in the interest or to the benefit of the petitioner and in the interest of the public,” unless the person has a final felony conviction or is a person who is required to register under the Sex Offender Registration chapter of the code of criminal procedure. There are certain exceptions that allow a judge to order a name change of a person who has a final felony conviction or a person required to register as a sex offender, but even if a person meets those exceptions the court may still find that the name change is not in the interest of the public.
Some additional reasons that a court may find that a name change is not in the interest of the public may be that the judge believes the name change is being sought in an attempt to avoid creditors or law enforcement. There is no real direction under the family code about what reasons a judge can use to decide that a name change should not be granted because it is not in the interest of the public. Any judge that denies a name change based on it not being in the interest of the public would be subject to an appeal based on a standard that gives a trial judge very broad discretion.
If you are interested in an adult name change in Kaufman County or the surrounding areas contact Guest and Gray at 972-564-4644 and schedule a time for a free initial consultation to discuss your options.