Name Change & Birth Certificate Replacement
How To Change Your Name
Why people change names: Because a surname is hard to spell or pronounce, which can be a handicap in business.
Can a new name be taken without going through a legal procedure? Yes, provided the new name isn’t taken on to compete unfairly in business or in connection with an illegal act. Otherwise it is entirely lawful to indulge in an activity under a new name simply by using it. Technically it becomes as much your legal name as the one on your birth certificate. You may use it to open bank and charge accounts, acquire a driver’s license, sign contracts, get a Social Security number, or get married.
If an official record is desired: A person can have a name changed in court (usually a state Supreme Court). That will avoid delays in getting a passport or in collecting inheritance and insurance benefits.
What is required: For a court order granting a change, it is necessary to state reasons for wanting the change. Information is required regarding marital status, residence, place of employment, and Social Security number. A person will be asked whether there are any outstanding judgments by or against him, if he has a criminal record, and whether he has ever been bankrupt.
How long: Often a judge will grant it immediately. But if there is doubt about the applicant’s good faith, the judge may ask for more data.
Filing: In most states, the original application and a copy of the authorization order will be filed in the appropriate court office. And sometimes, ‘the authorization order must be published in a newspaper that will be designated by the court.
Costs involved: If a lawyer is used, his fee may be as low as $100, or as much as he thinks you can afford to pay. There is a charge for the newspaper announcement, and, in some cases, there is a modest filing fee.
Replacing A Birth Certificate
The best legal proof of age and citizenship is a birth certificate. Copy of a lost certificate may be gotten from the state department of health. In some states, the records are kept by city health department. Required at time of application: Name at time of birth, date and place of birth, sex, race, father’s name, mother’s maiden name. If the birth was not recorded, there are other ways to get a birth certificate. Needed, one of the following: Hospital or physician’s record of birth, baptismal certificate, early elementary school records.