The process of changing your name can bring up a lot of questions. Hopefully, the information provided below can help to clarify any confusion and reveal how simple this process can be. In almost every situation, requests for legal name changes must begin with filing an Original Petition for a Change of Name with the court, then the court must sign an order to grant a new name.
For an Adult:
Section 45.102 of the Texas family code lists that the Petition to change your name as an adult must include:
1) The present name and residence of the petitioner
2) The full name being requested by the petitioner
3) The reason the name change is being requested
4) Whether the petitioner has had a final felony conviction
5) Whether the petitioner must register as a sex offender according to the requirements of Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure
6) A legible and complete set of fingerprints on a fingerprint card format acceptable by the Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
7) Any offense above a Class C misdemeanor that the petitioner has been charged with
8) The case number and the court if a warrant or a charging instrument was filed or presented for an offense listed in (7)
9) The Petition must also include the information below or reasonable explanation why the information is not included: The petitioner’s full name, sex, race, date of birth, driver’s license number for any driver’s license issued in the 10 years preceding the date of the Petition, social security number, and assigned FBI number, state identification number, or any reference number in a criminal history system.1
The Texas Young Lawyers Association
The Texas Young Lawyers Association provides an informative brochure on legal name changes in Texas. They state that after the Petition is filed and served properly, the petitioner may have to schedule a time to appear before the judge and have an order signed by the judge if service is necessary. Like the Petition, the Order for Change of Name must also include specific information.
The Order needs to include the information listed in the Petition and state that the name change is in the interest of the petitioner and the public. The court must grant the name change if the Petitioner can show the court that they have not had a final felony conviction, are not required to register as a sex offender, and that the name change is in the interest of the petitioner and the public. If the Petitioner does have a final felony conviction, according to the judge’s discretion, the court may order the name change if the Petitioner has been pardoned, has received a certificate of discharge by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, has completed a period of community supervision or probation ordered by a court and no less than two years have passed since the discharge or completion of probation.
As there are many details and specifics involved in the Petition and the Order for a Change of Name, the process can be confusing. Every situation is different so for more
1 Tex. Fam. Code § 45.102. Information, TexasLawHelp.org, the Texas Young Lawyers Association’s pamphlet, and Chapter 45 of the Texas Family Code are great places to start.