There are some events that predate our legal system, such as birth, marriage, death, and name changes. In fact, the ability to change your name is a time-honored tradition in all societies and a feature of domestic life. But whether you're looking to take your spouse's name, take back your name after a divorce, or something else entirely, you need to know which i's to dot and t's to cross before settling into your new name in the Nutmeg State.
This article covers how to change your name in Connecticut. The process will ultimately depend on the reason for your name change and what's true in Connecticut isn't the same in every state. Here you'll learn:
1. Legally Change Your Name in Connecticut
Whatever the reason for changing your name, it's important to note that a name change should involve some form of a certified, official record. Marriage certificates, divorce decrees, adoption orders, and name change orders serve as proof of a name change for government agencies. This is useful if you want something like a driver's license or Social Security card with your name on it! Here's a rundown of the most common name change paths.
Marriage is the most common time for changing names. Whether you want to take your spouse's last name, conjoin and hyphenate your names together, or something else, your marriage certificate is the best way to proceed.
Connecticut, like many states, permits you to take your spouse's surname when getting married, although this is not required. A valid marriage certificate will be needed to perform any subsequent name change with the Social Security Agency and DMV. Obtain at least one certified copy of your marriage certificate for this purpose.
It's also common to change your name after divorce. Some parents wish to keep the surname of their children, while others may want to revert back to their former, or maiden, name. The choice is up to you, but the law provides some limits and options.
Connecticut permits either spouse to restore their birth name or former name during divorce proceedings. Note that a former name (such as a name from a prior marriage) can differ from a birth name.
The Nutmeg State's divorce process can be long and complicated. Changing your name during those proceedings, however, is less so. Connecticut law gives family courts the power to change a requesting spouse's name during divorce, legal separation, and annulment proceedings. This can even be done after the divorce decree has been handed down.
Petition for a Change of Name
All other name changes require adult residents to petition for a change of name. You'll be filing the petition in your local probate court.
You must file the appropriate form for the petition and attach an affidavit that includes some basic personal information. You'll need to provide reasons for seeking a name change as well.
A court hearing will then be scheduled and, if married, your spouse will be notified in most situations. Bring a certified copy of your birth certificate and two forms of identification (one photographic) to the hearing.
There are some limits on name changes. Connecticut law requires courts to check petitions against databases tracking registered sex offenders and those charged or convicted of committing crimes. Those bearing such convictions face additional legal hurdles. It's also not permitted to change a name for fraudulent or illegal purposes.
If satisfied, the court can issue an order legally changing your name. Make sure you receive a certified copy of this order as it'll be useful for the next round of paperwork.
2. File the Appropriate Paperwork with Government Agencies
Your next visit should be to a local Social Security office. Bring your proof of a name change (marriage certificate, divorce decree, court order, etc.) and fill out the appropriate paperwork. You'll receive a new Social Security card and the Social Security's database will be updated. This will then permit you to change your driver's license with the Connecticut DMV.
3. Start Using Your New Name
When you've completed the all the steps above, start using your new name! It's a good idea to inform family, friends, employers, creditors, and any schools or service providers in order to avoid confusion. It's also a good idea to consistently use your new name as well - the law permits name changes, but takes a dim view when they're done for fraudulent purposes.
Get the Forms You Need in Connecticut
Sound simple? Changing your name isn't necessarily difficult, but it can be time-consuming and involve considerable paperwork. Save the time and hassle by using our Connecticut name change forms.
Contact a qualified attorney.