When you change your last name, more than just a middle name needs to be updated. Your Social Security card, driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate may all have to be updated. Most states allow you to change your last name on your own, but many others require a court order. In many states, you must present a certified copy of your marriage license or divorce decree, and in some states, the name change has to be authorized by a government agency or court.
It is no surprise that someone could choose to change their name for various reasons, but did you know that there is no legal or social requirement to do so? Although a handful of names are considered illegal or restricted in some states, you have the freedom to choose your own.
Here are some of the biggest reasons why people change their name or their last name.
Dislike Current Name
If someone in your life does not like your current name and you are considering changing your name, know you are not alone. New studies show that 50% of people have changed their names at some point in their lives, and 37% do it frequently or want to change their names. People change their names for assorted reasons, such as to avoid awkward situations, to make a fresh start, or name change rituals.
Changing Name for Divorce
A marriage ends, and a new person in your life is your new spouse. The procedure of changing your name after divorce (or annulment) is the same, but in some instances, the person changing their name after a divorce has another choice if the court approves it.
Upon Marriage Husband Takes the Wife’s Name
Marriage comes with a lot of changes. For some couples, one of them taking the other’s name is the most important but changing one’s name is also a decision that requires careful consideration. Adequate planning and preparation are helpful, as is the consideration of what changing your name means. With most states granting women the right to change their name upon marriage, most matrimonial agreements usually require the man to take the woman’s name by signing a “change of name” agreement.
The thing about changing your name is that it is completely personal. It is up to you what you feel comfortable with and why. It could be for personal reasons, such as wanting to reclaim your maiden name, or for social statuses, such as boosting your brand or fame.
Changing a Child’s Surname
If you have a child under 18 and you are NOT the biological parent, and you want the child’s surname to be your child’s surname, your child’s surname must be changed with the court. This name change will legally make your child your legitimate child, and your child will have no connection to the non-biological parent. The best way is to change your child’s surname with the court, as a judge with this information will approve the name change.
Name changing due to discrimination
Name change due to discrimination. This is exceedingly rare, but for some people, it does happen. From discrimination in the workplace to bullying or even sexual abuse, some people suffer terrible life-changing events involving their names. Some change their name completely, while others want to change just part of it. Either way, having to change your name can be a very difficult time.
Transgender Name Changes
People enjoy changing their gender expression, and some have transitioned from one gender to another. If you are transgender and would like to change the gender marker on your name and identification documents, you must meet the legal criteria in your state. Typically, you need to provide a letter from an endocrinologist, psychologist, or physician confirming that you are transgender. Your name can also be legally changed due to a court order.