Your name is your own. It's given to you at birth, you grow up with it, and it's at the heart of who you are. But it is something people can, and do, change. Whatever the reason, do you know what to do when it comes time to change your name?
How to change your name in Arizona depends on the situation. We'll cover the most frequent ways to go about it, including:
1. Identify and Follow the Correct Arizona Legal Name Change Process
Changing your name involves some form of legal process. What's required depends on the situation.
This is the easiest way to go. Like most states, Arizona lets people change their name when applying for a marriage license. Since most name changes happen during marriage and all marriages require a license, taking care of both at the same time makes sense.
Fill out your new name on the application for a license and, once married, your validly-issued marriage license serves as proof of a name change.
While the divorce process can be long and painful, changing your name usually isn't. Since you're going through the court anyway to dissolve a marriage, going back to a former name can happen at the same time.
Arizona allows either party to request the restoration of a former name during divorce proceedings. This has to happen before the decree of dissolution is final and must be for legally returning to your former name, but there aren't many requirements beyond that. Courts will generally order the restoration of a divorcing party's former name.
Petition for a Change of Name -- Adults
Name change is a different animal entirely outside of marriage or divorce. Grand Canyon State residents can petition their local superior court to grant them a change of name. This is longer process, and involves filling out an application form:
You can't use a change of name to get out of alimony or child support. You'll still owe the same debts and money judgments, and can still be sued for any wrongs committed in your old name. And if you're convicted of any crimes related to fraud or dishonesty, a court may be able to set aside a legal name change or deny a pending petition. So make sure everything is legit.
You should be prepared for a court hearing on your petition. A judge may also require you to give notice of the petition, either by publication or by serving someone interested in the proceeding. Assuming your petition is legit and there are no issues, the can grant your petition and issue an order legally changing your name.
2. File the Appropriate Paperwork with Government Agencies
Next, you'll need to start changing your identifying documents. Arizona requires residents to notify the state Department of Transportation to change their driver's license after getting a name change. But you'll have to change it with the Social Security Administration first. Marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order in hand, contact a local Social Security office for a name change. You can then update your driver's license, and then continue onto other important documents and records.
3. Start Using Your New Name
It's important to start using your name once it's changed. Remember all the legal stuff about preventing fraud? Well the same concerns apply. Tell your family, friends, employers, neighbors, and acquaintances that your name has changed. Make sure the bank, credit card companies, utility providers, and others who regularly send bills know as well. Your email accounts and social media handles should be updated as well.
Get the Forms You Need in Arizona
Sound complicated? It doesn't have to be. A name change can be accomplished without hiring an attorney and without going through the hassle of doing legal research, using FindLaw's Arizona name change forms. We have all the tools you’ll need to make your name change process a success.
Contact a qualified attorney.