Florida residents may seek to have their name changed for legal reasons, such as marriage or a divorce, or for more personal reasons such as a significant life event. In Florida, any individual is entitled to a name change as long as they (1) have never been arrested or found guilty of a crime; (2) have never been declared bankrupt; (3) do not have any money judgments against them; and (4) are not seeking to change their name for an ulterior or illegal purpose. All name changes must be filed in the county where the individual resides.
Name Change for Marriage or Divorce
In Florida, changing your name because of a recent marriage or divorce is a much simpler process than attempting a name change for another reason. After an individual is married, they will receive a certified marriage certificate. Similarly, after a divorce, one can obtain an official divorce decree. These two documents serve as legal justification for a name change and can be used to notify the appropriate Florida government agencies of your new name, including the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Social Security Office.
Name Change for Another Purpose
Obtaining a name change for a purpose other than marriage or divorce requires the filing of a Florida Petition for Change of Name of an Adult. This petition must include:
- Current name and the name to be changed to
- Current residence and all residences since birth
- Birth information and biological parents’ names
- Names and addresses of children over 18 years of age.
- Current occupation and all positions held in the past five years
- Criminal history
- The purpose for the name change.
- Former names
Additionally, the petitioner must obtain state and federal background checks to accompany the petition and fingerprints from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. All of this paperwork must be filed with the Florida courts.