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How Much Does it Cost to Legally Change a Name

| May 25, 2014 | 0 Comments

Cost of Changing Legal Name

legally-change-nameWhen most people hear of someone who is considering or in the process of changing their name, the first thing that typically crosses their mind is it is due to their not liking the name given to them. For some, this is completely understandable for when a parent choses a name for a child at birth, it is typically a name in which the parent likes or finds amusing.


Rarely is little thought put into the fact of how the child might feel about the name as they grow older. A name is one thing we have no control over when an infant, yet is so critical to our identity. It is our identity! So although a parent mind find their naming their offspring “North West” or “Apple” is rather amusing, North and Apple might not particularly enjoy amusing as teenagers, young adults or certainly not 50 years down the road when they are being called “Grandpa North” or “Granny Apple.”

So again, if someone isn’t happy with their name, we shouldn’t care or judge them for even though we might see nothing wrong with their current name, it is they who have had to live with it. Then there are those who have other reasons to seek the cost of a name change to possibly draw attention to themselves, a particular cause or simply to promote themselves in some way.

Reasons to Change Name

Although all these are legitimate reasons themselves, there are still several other various reasons for an individual to pursue an officially legal name change. Some require name changes regarding marriage or divorce, corporate legalities involving businesses, to begin a new life or to honor a close loved one by assuming their name.

Regardless of the reason however, changing one’s name is not as simple as celebrities such as Prince, Meta World Peace or others make it appear. In the end, it is up to a judge to decide if the reasons are indeed legitimate. Changing a name is really serious and often complicated. There are numerous amounts of paperwork that must be done, as well as paying fees and/or attorney costs due to your needing to proceed through the legal processes in order to make the name change official and legal.


How much it Costs to Change your Name

The actual costs depend on various things. If you have hired an attorney, or plan to do so, then expect the court process and all filings to run anywhere between $250-$500 (whatever the retainer fee/paralegal fees/transcription fee the attorney charges).

However, if going it on your own, then unless there are possible complications due to marriage/divorce or you are consistently flying outside the U.S. you will likely come out much cheaper. That is so long as you follow proper procedures, filings and ensure state driver’s license and social security cards are changed as well.

First step is the filing of a petition to have your name legally changed;

($100-$200) Filing fee for petition and court fees in your area. However, if you are of low income or indigent, a Fee Waiver or Petition to be declared Indigent (impoverished) may be applied for in order to have court fees and filing fees waived.

($10-$25) Giving public notice of petition or however much your local newspaper charges for placing ads notifying the public of your petition and running them for the length of time required in your state of residence. This is a required step prior to the court approving your petition and must be done. The county clerk will provide you with instructions if you ask.

($5-$25) Fee for having your name on your driver’s license or official state identification card legally changed and new one mailed out to you.

($0) Fee to have name on your social security card changed first time. You may do this by filling out form SS-5 through the social security office handling your area, or go online.

($60) Fee to have name changed on passports. This takes roughly 60 days and can be done by filing forms DS-82 or DS-5504.

Again, changing your name is not something one should rush into. Take time to think of the reasons you are wanting a different name. Consider the fact that in a few years – or even a few days – after changing it, you might feel your new name isn’t all you had hoped and then be forced to go through the process and expenses all over again.

Oh, and remember, you will likely need to change the name on school and medical records as well. And if you are thinking changing your name will wipe out bad credit or legal troubles, think again. It is for this reason the court handles these matters to ensure you are not doing it to simply avoid creditors or the law.