Common-Law Name Change 73

Changing Your Name Without Going to Court

[Not to be confused with Changing Your Name in a Common-Law Marriage, this article covers the idea that one could change his or her name simply by using that name regularly]

The federal courts have ruled again and again that changing your name at will or, by “common law” is every citizen’s right under the U.S. Constitution. Using this “common law rule,” you can change your name without even going to court. Technically, you only need to begin using your chosen name to assume it – and can do so legally. However, there are some benefits to having your name changed “officially” through the courts.

The first of these benefits would be the ability to change various identifying documents to match your new name. For example, the Social Security Administration is not likely to change the name on your social security card without some legal proof such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree or court-approved name change request, regardless of what the federal courts say. This makes it difficult to function in today’s information-rich society where names must match on everything from your tax return to your driver’s license and bank account checks.

Additionally, while the states don’t specifically disallow common-law name changes, many do regulate them in a way that makes them all but obsolete. Arizona, for example, requires an updated social security card in order to change your name on your driver’s license. Other states require you to register your new name as an “assumed name”. So, while you are technically free to assume almost any name you choose, if you attempt a common-law name change these days, you will face some obstacles when attempting to obtain legal identifying documents that reflect your new name.

The solution is to get a court order granting your name change to satisfy any requirements by companies insisting that you use your “legal” name. This is a relatively easy process and doesn’t require any counseling, home studies or documented proof for approval. There are, in fact kits available online which can simplify the name change process.

Name Change Kits and Services

We have reviewed many of the name change kits and services available online. The ones that consistently receive the best reviews from our editors and our website visitors are from US Legal Forms.

Do-It-Yourself Name Change Kit – $27.95 – $32.95 (buy)

Name Change Kit (from US Legal Forms)Maybe the easiest way to make sure that your name is legally changed with all the important government and private agencies, is to use a name change “kit” which provides key forms and instructions for the name change process.

Because there are several steps involved in the typical name change, and because there are a number of agencies (private, state, and federal) that can require notification, the name change kit can save you time and effort. The kit contains virtually everything you need to change your name:

Instruction Guide; Checklist; All forms needed to change records for Social Security, IRS, Drivers License, Vehicle Title, Voter Registration, U.S. Passport, Bank Records, Credit Cards, Medical Records, Insurance, Employment, etc.

Professional Name Change Services – $129.00 (buy)

A professional name change service is also available if you wish to have a professional review the name change forms on your behalf. The name change service includes all the forms from the name change kit above, but helps ensure that forms are filed correctly because each form is reviewed by a US Legal representative. Each of the forms from the kit above will be checked for accuracy by specialists before paper copies are mailed out to you. If you want your name change to be handled right the first time, you will appreciate the accountability of US Legal Forms’ name change service.

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Discussion

  • Christine Ramos

    I have been using my common law name for 8 years and i have just went back to work after raising my 7 year child. My employer has advised me that my common law name does not match my social security number and now says i need to get my social security card for proof. is this illegal of what i have done. I have used it for all my documents from food stamps to doctors ect. will this affect my employment?

    • dave

      Your employer doesn’t know this because the IRS/SSA keeps it all hidden but an employer can use 000-00-0000 on any W2 form. Flat out there is no requirement to have an SSN to live/work in a free society…all the rest is govt. propaganda which employers are encouraged to enforce. One way employers “SOLICIT” for an SSN–because they can’t demand–is via a W4 form for which the title says it all…”A Witholding ALLOWance Certificate”…so stated because it needs your certification to ALLOW your employer to withold. [They Fool people with ‘number of allowances’ eh?]Easy Remedy: If you wanted you could walk down to an SSA office with a witness [or 2 or 3] and notify them of the name change. Then get a statement from the witness. Now march that back to the employer….most employers are aware of ‘no match conditions’ for termination and all no match situations involve you going to the SSA first. If you do that step pre-emptively…and with witness…you can see the power in it all.

  • monica

    You should use the name that matches your social security number. If you use a name that does not match your social security number it can cause problems with your wage reporting and taxes.

  • Mart Love

    I am trying to submit the legal form to my state court to make the name that I have assumed (common law name) to become completely legal — a legal name change. As the petitioner, I think I have to use the legal name on my birth certificate. I have to have a notary public sign the petition. How can I prove that I am the same person as on my birth certificate to the notary public if I have the assumed name (a common law name for the past 30 years) on all my ID’s including Social Security card, driver’s license, and current passport?

    • Monica

      I would check with the family law court in your county to confirm that you have to use the name on your birth certificate on your Petition for Dissolution. It is likely that you can use your common law last name in the divorce proceeding.

  • Mart Love

    Sorry, Monica, I wasn’t very clear in my expression of my problem. I am not getting a divorce, I am trying to get a legal name change to the name that I now use as common usage (common law name). I started using this name 30 years ago and it is on all my ID’s and social security card. But I just need it to be legal through the courts too. The Petition for Name change says to use, as the Petitioner, my legal name or the name on the birth certificate, not the name you are using now. But, when I do that, the notary public can’t approve it because the name on my birth certificate is different from my ID name. Thank you for your help. I am really stumped and don’t even know who to contact about this other than seeing your post!

    • Monica

      The documentation required for a name change varies from state to state. For may states a matching birth certificate and social security card will suffice. I recommended checking the website for your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

      • Sarean

        Hi my question is similar to Mart’s. I am adopted. When I was adopted by adoptive parents changed the last name on my birth certificate but did not change my first and middle names. However they then gave me new First and Middle names which are on my driver’s license, Passport, Social Security card and all other documents except my birth certificate. I need to have my birth certificate say the name I go by in order to be able to adopt myself. How do I do this? And which state do I do it in? I was born in WV, adopted in MD and now live in CA!

    • http://myfamilylaw.com/ Jeremy

      @Mart You may also consider US Legal’s professional name change service. They should be able to help you work around the issues you’re having verifying and changing your name.

  • traci

    My mom has been using my dads last name for the past 28 yrs and my father passed away about 10 yrs ago and my mom is still using his last name! She is trying to get a state ID and they are giving her the run around. Is there anything she can do to keep my fathers last name and also get her state ID? Back in the days in Oklahoma common law marriage was reconized and now about 3 yrs ago it is not reconized anymore! What should my mom do or what forms or action does she have to take?

  • Faeryn Morgain Smith

    I just would like to say if federally excepted my common law name then why does a federal agency have the right to refuse to update records. That is completely Moronic. I have been using the above name for awhile now. I have loathed my “legal” name since i could understand. It is a extremely personal thing with me. Not to mention the emotional , and psychological reasons. To add to that I don’t have the damn money to pay it’s like 240 plus the idiotic publishing for three weeks. Every time I have to hear my “legal” name I cringe , it stresses me out, and brings back massive bad memories from severe abuse of all kinds. Faeryn came from my grand dad whom I adored greatly. The name reminds me of him and that makes me Happy. Plus i do not want to go to a court hearing and I have no family here ,moved recently with husband. So what can I do ? My state is Nevada and city is Las Vegas. Please any advice welcome, Faeryn

    • Jonathon Smith

      It is moronic to use “excepted” when you mean accepted.

      • Faeryn Morgain Smith

        yeah and it is really grown up and “moronic” to make a comment like that…….

      • AMIRA

        CAN YOU REALLY BE THAT BIG OF A MORON TO BE SO CRUEL OVER THE USE OF ONE WRONG WORD. YOU MISSED THE WHOLE POINT! IT CAUSES TRAUMA TO HEAR YOUR GIVEN NAME. IT’S STRESS AND I TOO CRINGE EVERY TIME I HAVE TO HEAR IT. I AVOID FAMILY MEMBERS WHO INSIST UPON CALLING ME THAT!

  • Faeryn Morgain Smith

    Please answer this is vital i need to get this done like now.

  • david

    name change: back in 1988 or 1989, the fed gov’t allowed you to change your last name, back to it’s origin, if it was americanized. there were NO fees/legal/paperwk involved. i did that nearly 20 yrs ago in ca. my bank, bills, cred cards, cred rpts, dl, insurance, lease, ss card + voter reg all match. it’s been so long, all 3 cred rpt’g agencies dropped my aka. but, pa dmv (penndot) is NOT accepting the difference btwn my birth cert + curr dl + refused to issue a dl. pls advise …

  • Lea Phillips

    I have an almost 3 year old and I want to change his name. His father is deported out of the country, and just incase he getsback, I would like to change his name. I also have already filed for a divorce and soul custoy for him. I am low income and can not afford much to change his name. What should I do next ? Washington Dc. ~Lea

  • Clayton

    I’ve had a petition in front of the local circuit judge (per Arkansas Law) since June of 2009 (almost a year). The lady that works for the judge can’t tell me if there is anything wrong with the petition other than “it is in proper format if you have not received a request for more information” from the judge, so I assume that everything is in proper form.

    Is there anything that I can do to ‘make’ the judge either accept or deny the petition? I am forced to use my legal name on everything here in Arkansas, and it makes me sick because I am named after a person who abused me growing up, and in my letter to the judge, I spelled that out, along with the sheriff’s office where the abuse is documented at.

    Any help at all will be appreciated.

    • http://myfamilylaw.com/yp/monica_c_mazzei Monica

      I suggest contacting the Arkansas State Bar or contact an attorney in your area. Many state bar associations do provide free legal representation. An attorney can help you with the divorce process and ensure all necessary paperwork is filed.

  • Karen

    My son who is now 33 has gone by his step-dads last name since he was 6. The step-dad and I have been divorced for 20 yrs. My son is now wanting to marry, but does not wish to carry on the step-dads last name. He would like to use my maiden name. Is there any way he can do this without going through the costly burden of the courts?

    • http://myfamilylaw.com/ Jeremy

      Karen, since your son is an adult, he can change his last name legally with relatively little cost (see: Name Change Forms). If his spouse plans to take his new last name after they marry, it is advisable that your son finalize his own name change well before the marriage to avoid any confusion.

      • Karen

        Thanks for the quick and informative info Jeremy.

  • Rachel

    Do you have to be with someone 7 years to change your last name or can it be anytime within the relationship as long as your living together? So what do you end up doing just putting your boyfriend/fiances last name as yours on things?

  • Rachel

    So can you use your boyfriend/fiances last name as long as your living together before the 7 year mark? Or do you have to wait the entire 7 years?

  • Lori

    I would like to legally change just the middle name of my 2 year old daughter because I am no longer speaking with the hurtful relative I named her middle name after. My daughter was born in Maricopa County in Arizona and we are still residents here but I don’t have the $300.00 to throw around for the court costs Maricopa charges. Is there a cheap, legal alternative I can pursue without a court order from Arizona? I am legally married and my husband agrees with changing her middle name. Since my daughter is only 2, I cannot think of any other parties to inform other then having her birth certificate and Soc Sec card updated with a new middle name. Can I do all this legally myself without the big court costs? Thanks very much!

  • michelle

    i have a 2 month old daughter to which i gave her the last name of her biological father, we are not married and havenot established custody. she does havre a birth cert and a social security card with his name. i am wondering what do i need to do as far as a hyphenated name with my last name. can i do that and do i have to get it changed with courts as well? we do not live together but do have doctors and such. trying to make paperwork easier. thanks

  • greg

    my daughter just turnd 16 she casnt get her liceance because her name is differnt on her birth certificate and her ss card one says christina witch is right the other says christine how can i fix it

  • Maria

    Hello,
    I married one year ago, I change my last name when I married.
    I have my daugther, she has 18 years old, and she wants have my husband last name. My husband is agree with that. So, I have to go to the court or my husband have to adopt her?
    Also, we are going to send the forms to USCIS for change her status in US, so which we do first?

  • Jay

    I have been planning on changing my name for quite some time but I had to wait until I turned 18 because my parents weren’t very fond of the idea. Now if I were to assume my new identity through common law, will there be any problems for me in the future? Should I just get it legally changed? Some advice would be much appreciated

  • New citizen

    I recently became a US citizen. In my 20years as a resident I used 3 names first,middle & father’s last name. When I signed the citizenship paperwork I used first, middle, father’s last and mother’s last name, because I was asked to fill out my full name of origin. I recently renewed my FL. license and took proof: SS card & old lic. showing 3 names and the citizenship which has my 4. FLA DL office changed my DL to my first, Middle initial and 2 last names. I asked them not to but they refused. Is this normal, correct? What can be done to change it to back to my 3 names. What law in the State of FL. can be used to prompt the reversal?

  • Christine

    My concern is that my husband and I married outside of US. I have changed my social security with the new name (married). I am naturalized citizen, my husband become to citizen a couple of days ago. He went to social security department for changing his name who is completely different from our marriage. The employee has no changed my last name as my husband last name used, and she didn’t recognized my marriage record (outside of US). When I changed in FL state I have no problem, but in Scottsbluff, NE they don’t accept to change. The employee told me, “You need to go to the court and change your name” when you have the authorization, you can back and change. I called to the headquarter, and they told me a history completely different from the NE’s office. I explained them, and the response was “You talk with a General Answers” I told her, “I spoke with an agent, no with the machine recorder” Finally, I need to go to the court, they do not accept my former husband’s and I name in our marriage record, and my passport, and his naturalization certification. Can you help me? Thank you for your time

  • Nicole

    I am getting married on August 20. We are applying for the license August 5 (we live in Wisconsin) The last name on my birth certificate does not match anything else (including mortgage, credit cards, school records, SS card, work records, etc.) as I have used my former step-fathers name since I was 2 (I am now 38). however my name was never changed through the court. Will this be an issue when we apply? Thank you.

  • melissa

    i have been divorced for 3 yrs i would like to assume my maiden name but my maiden name was never legally changed to what i was using. the name on my birth certif and my maiden name are differant. yrs ago it was easy to just use any name i had dr. lic and social even my highschool diploma is in that name i’m just wondering how hard it would be these day’s to prove that’s who i am. i live in arkansas by the way.

  • willteix

    I changed my name common law way, in 1995, my SS, DL, my FCC Lic all show my new name. Has been that way since March 1995. But recently some items have been showing up using my old name, such as a retirement fund i had when i was still using the old name before 1995. Since SS, and Federal communications and even DMV in California have recognized my new name as a legal name. How can I petition the court to put it on the record. Do I file and affidavit? Or what? And there is a link between my old name and new name with SS, since i filed for retirement benefits they have both names on many of my documents.

  • Nicenyc

    Greetings from Nyc!
    I was adopted at the age of 18.
    Ever since 18 to the present age of 40 , I used my birth
    last name through common law.
    On my updated birth certificate ,my last name is my middle
    name. My drivers license , rent lease, phone /cell ,grammer /college records,
    Pass port, voter registration and library card all contain my biological name. The only. problem I had was applying at first for a pass
    port! I bought my aunt to the pass port center as a witness
    signed a affidavit saying I don’t use my adopted name.
    I have two major concerns, my up dated birth certificate
    and social security card has my adopted name.
    I want to get married one year. Can those kit services
    fix my two concerns? Pardon for the extremely long
    post .

    • Lucia

      I’m adopted as well. I can’t stand my adopted name, in Maryland it says you can’t use the name changing forms for adoption? But what if I want to just change it back? Or get rid of the adopted name…

  • Nichole

    I got my name changed in Colorado and now I live in California and I want to change my name what do I do i want to change my last name back to my birth name>

  • Lisa

    I recently purchased a packet from US Legal Forms to have my minor daughters name changed. I’m not quite sure how to answer the question “The reasons for name change are.” We are wanting to change her name from “Reba Ashley” to “Ashley Reba”. She has always gone by Ashley but the main reason for the change is b/c her initianls spell RAT. She’s only 14 and has been teased and taunted by her peers. She will be starting High School next year and is terrified that the teasing will go on. The problem is that the juvinille judge in our county is known to be very hateful and I fear that he would not allow the change if for nothing more than to (in his wierd way of thinking) teach us “a lesson.” Can anyone suggest how I should answer this question? I have called US Legal Forms and asked this but, they really had no answer for me. Please Help!!

  • Tiffany

    My mother divorced my father some time ago. She is now going by her maiden name. I want to drop his last name and add hers. I hate my last name. I live in Georgia. Can you help me?

  • Val

    I have a 2 year old son with my ex husband. My son was given my maiden name because my ex left me when I was pregnant. I was just remarried and want to change my son’s name to my married name. What are my chances if my ex is not in agreement? My ex wants our son to have his last name changed to his name.

  • Miles

    A person can change their name at Common Law period. It’s in the Common Law law books at the San Diego, California Law Library downtown and there are two pages that you can fill out and send copies to everyone needing to know…like the Social Security Administration, California DMV, State of California, IRS, California State Tax Administration, Veterans Administration and all other institutions that you need to change your name in their systems. You keep all the old numbers that have been issued you — and individually fill out the form required by that institution being told your changing your name. Turn them in and get new SSA Card, Drivers License, State ID, New IRS Form W-4, etc. I did all this back in May 1990 and it’s held up in court, in getting married the 3rd time, in IRS and State Tax filings, on my Degree from University, my Disability Check from Vet.Admin, all my banks use my common law name and my U.S. Passport with my photo shows my common law name. I have lived in Canada for 6 years and that’s the only name I’m known by up here and I pay my taxes and vote under the same name just like everyone else that has a name of some sort. A Court of Law uphold your name change as long as you show the proper Form copied from the Common Law manual…uncontested. I changed my 2nd wifes name as well as my children and they all still use that name. Hmmmmm…..know the law….use the law….be right. There is a difference between Legal and Lawful and one is under siege by Federal enforcers and the other is You providing your intelligence and might as an individual using the law.

  • Miles

    The two pages you need to a Change Name action in Common Law — is first the Form for your Name Change Statement and second the copied page of the Common Law that backs your action telling the Chapter, Verse, etc., etc. You get your Change Name form Notarized but, you DO NOT need a County Clerk to put their Stamp on it because they are NOT authorized or neither do they jurisdiction. Your action at Common Law is by your own efforts and must be defended by you. If you defraud someone by it — believe me the Federal System looking over and protecting the Common Law will come down on you like a ton of bricks. Common Law is Sacred…DO NOT VIOLATE it. You will find yourself a victim of your own arrogance if you ever use Common Law to defraud or otherwise hurt someone or entity. You’d be safer to be a thief in the Pope’s church than to violate a law so sacred and protected by Federal Law.

  • Rev. Walt

    I recently got married and my wife now uses my last name. However she also has a daughter who wishes to use my last name. I looked into adoption, but it was cost prohibitive. Then we thought about filing for a name change thru the courts, but then I read about a common law name change. Would this be difficult to do? Trying to find her “father” would be quite difficult and he has had no contact with her for most of her life. We all want to have her use my surname.(her “father” excepted because we can’t find him to ask him). Will the notarized afidavit be enough to change her name in the public school?

  • D. McLane

    I changed my name under the common law usage method thirty years ago in california. I changed my middle name in nevada 20 years ago using the same common law usage method. Without going into too much detail, a Federal Magistrate judge,( with no authority,) took my identification and told me to change my name back to the name that I was using prior to the name change. That name was a fraud. I never had a birth certificate! I’m going to lay a commercial lien on that bozo because of his identity theft.Five to thirty years imprisonment for identity theft. Even the Nevada Constitution says that legislatures cannot make laws regarding name changes. ( Nevada Constitution section four -20)
    Even the Federal Department of State, the one’s who issue passports recognize common law name changes. They don’t like you to do it, because it takes away some of their power. Just remember, you have God given rights. The government is supposed to work for the people, not the other way around!

    • edenstore

      Are you saying that your former name was a fraud because you never had a birth certificate? If so, how do you come to that conclusion?

  • edenstore

    Yes, but I do not read this article to mean that a court cannot order a child to use her official surname if the surname resulted from a court order after a dispute by the parents over the surname. Nor do I read this article as saying that one can use any name they want anytime or for any purpose. Certainly, one cannot legally give a different name if that would obstruct justice or defraud or decieve someone materially.

  • Jennifer

    my Boyfriend and I have been living together for 8 years and we have 2 children of which 1 is biologically his. We have discussed getting married but there is an issue with child support on his other 2 children and he doesnt want me to financially be held responsible for that. We live in Missouri and Missouri doesnt have a common law that I know of. I really want to carry his last name but dont really want to get married. Is there a way to do this without having to get marries? Please help! Thank you.

  • C. Dawn

    My daughter has been using my last name since shortly after her birth. Now she is getting ready to graduate high school and her high school here in Massachusetts is telling us the diploma needs to match her birth certificate (her father’s name) and not the school records (my name which she has used for 17 years). Is there a way we can fight this without going to court and paying the $180 name change fee? We are facing a time crunch here; the school says this must be addressed by December first.

  • dave

    Correct…the common law is the law for people in 49 states plus the District of Columbia. You can also get the State department to issue a passport based upon NO court documented name change…just prove usage of name. Why you ask? Because as I told you the common law is the law in the District of Columbia. All govt can do is recognize free people.
    Hint for the advanced thinker: The common law is an unwritten law intended for people. What is statutory law…is it written…and for whom is it intended?

  • Tabitha

    Hi I am 18 and would like to change my last name to my mothers madin name. She said she dose not cair if I do I live in the Kentucky and I was wondering who I would have to go through to do so. And if it would cost me anything.

  • Heather

    I got divorced four years ago this month. At the time I was employed full time, full time student and had two part time jobs in law enforcement. With that being said it seemed too complicated and costly to have all of my legal docs, uniforms, school info ect. changed so at the divorce I told the judge, when asked, no I would not be taking back my maiden name. I now would like to but am confused on what is legal. I live in Wisconsin and found on excerpt from the law which stated, based on a prior court case, that Wisconsin does recognize name change by common law if it is used consistently and not for fraudulent reasons. Can I legally just go back to using my maiden name without paying the courts to do it? It seems I can and the only caveat is possible issues with restoring on official docs such as my social security card. Any advice or past experiencesnsharednwould be greatly appreciated. I am applying to go back to college and want to do so under my maiden name.

  • KiMBERLY

    i REMARRIED FOR THE 2ND TIME 7 YEARS AGO. i NEVER CHANGED ANY DOCUMENTS BECAUSE IT WAS JUST TOO MANY TO CHANGE. I’M STILL USING MY EX HUSBANDS NAME. IS THERE A WAY I CAN ADD MY NEW HUSBANDS NAME AND KEEP MY EX S NAME AND BE ABLE TO ACCESS ALL MY ACCOUNTS AND MORTGAGE ETC WITH A HYPHENATED NAME? LETS SAY MY NAME IM STILL USING OF MY EX IS JONES AND MY NOW HUSBANDS NAME IS SMITH, CAN I ADD SMITH TO MY NAME THAT I USE EVERY DAY KIMBERLY JONES-SMITH WITHOUT HAVING TO CHANGE ALL MY ACCOUNTS? IS IT LEGAL TO SIGN KIMBERLY JONES TO THE ACCOUNTS THAT ONLY HAVE JONES AS MY LAST NAME BUT KIMBERLY SMITH TO THE ACCOUNTS THAT HAVE SMITH AS MY LAST NAME?

  • Nicole Evans

    I have 2 half sisters and for some reason our mother gave me my older sister’s father’s last name (Evans). I want to change it to MY father’s last name(Watson) or my mother’s maiden(Rhude) name how can I go about doing this with spending as little as possible. I live in Florida and went to my local court to find out it would cost $400 to see a judge to change it. Is there any other way? How does the Common Law Name Change work in Florida? I am 16 does my age effect the process?

  • M.J.

    My problem is the registar of deeds in the county where I was born refuses to give me a copy of my birth certificate. I would like another copy as the one I have is deteriorating. She absolutely refuses to accept my common law name as my legal name (I changed my name back in ’97, and all of my documents including ss & fed tax & passport all have the common law name on them). She kept saying that I used two names – which I don’t, and that if she gave it to me it would constitute as fraud. I don’t know how she thought getting a copy of my own birth certificate would do that? I mean it’s not as if she didn’t know me-especially since my family has lived in the town for over 100 yrs, and her co-worker is a woman who’s son was my school mate (84 kids in my class)! Plus, I’ve lived at the same address for the past 20 yrs with the same husband (within an hours drive) since ’91. And, she wouldn’t give my mother a copy of my bc for the same reason! My mother said “I was there & she’s still my daughter”! I know that she can not legally keep my mother from getting a copy, but how would you suggest I do this without taking her and the county to court? It’s stupid and tedius – she seems to think she’s the gate keeper or something – trite, very trite.

  • robert claude

    Ok, so I am now 20 years old. Ive been carrying the last name of claude my whole life, which is my mothers maiden name. But now I want to change it to smith which is my dads last ne.. How do I do that to make the legal name change. Any tips would help.

    • Erik

      Robert: I assume you are in Ohio. I suggest you go to your county’s probate court and ask them if they have the necessary forms for requesting a name change, if you want to change your name offcially. If you believe anyone will object or there may other problems, then consult a lawyer.

  • Dwayne

    Due to health reasons we moved my 97 year old grandfather from Illinois to be with us in Minnesota. He needs a local bank account which requires a state picture ID. The state DVS office won’t accept his birth certificate or marraige license as the last name was changed years ago. In 1936 he simply changed his last name under common law. No record of that change. But he had all bank accounts, loans, marriage license, Social Security, IRS and Illinois drivers license, everything since 1936 in the new name. The DVS lady was very nice but the best she could suggest is driving gramps 500 miles back to Illinois to try to get a photo ID that could be used as proof in MN. I’m not sure he could make the trip. Any suggestions where to go from here?

  • steph

    My mother can’t get social security because Homeland Security won’t accept that a 1st grade teacher changed her last name to match my grandmother’s as my grandma was divorced. (1940’s) My mom was born in England but she came over in 1940-something under an act of congress that all the war babies born to american soldiers born overseas were automatic citizens. All they put on the manifest when they entered the country was my grandma’s name and ‘child’ and stamped ‘American Citizen’ on it. But like I said, the teacher changed her name. They now have a lawyer on it for 4 years now and all he says is that he is ‘waiting on a response’ from Homeland security but it has cost more than $1500 already. It doesn’t help that my mom’s dad was orginally adopted and spent most of his adult life in VA hospital mental wards and finally died there in the 1990’s. What else can she do? Word to the wise: don’t change your name common law with Homeland Security now, it can be a mess. My dad is 69 years old and works full time in a factory as he can’t retire til my mom gets some social security.

  • Terri h

    My son will be 18 in one month. His birth certificate originally was my maiden name, 9 months later it was changes to his fathers. His ss card has always been under mymaiden name. He wants his birth certificate changed back to match his ss card. Plus doesnt want to have his dads name anymore. We live in mississippi. How does he go about changeing the name back. Scholarships require both to match. Please help?

  • J. Taylor

    In 1978 I was married to my husband before his divorce was final. We have been together 34 years, 3 children & lost our oldest child last year to cancer. I have used his last name all these years. We live in FL but were married in Ky in 1978. I have his last name on my social security card (they issued me one with the new name without any proof), its on my drivers license, everything but my birth certificate. I am getting worried now. No one, including children, don’t know our marriage isn’t legal since his divorce in 78 wasn’t final yet. I am scared that everything could come back to haunt us. We have filed taxes for all these years as man & wife. SS doesn’t know he has been married before, I am afraid when his ex files for SS benefits & tells them she was married years ago, that they will check into his record & see he didn’t tell them he was married before. He is already drawing SS. I am on disability & drawing SS as well, I suppose the benefits are determined on your maritial status. Are we in big trouble? How do we fix this? If we go to get married, we have to put my maiden name on the papers, but all my proof of identity has my husbands last name on it. Help

  • Kimberly

    I have been separated from my soon to be exhusband since the beginning of October. I am in the process of filing the papers for our divorce I want to change my name back to my maiden name before filing for my divorc. Is this something I can do and if so how much will this cost? I am currently unemployed and would really like to rid myself of my exhusbands last name as soon as possible. please get back to me as soon as possible. thank you. I live in Georgia.

  • Heather

    Question: I changed my name via common law 25 years ago. At that time, the SSA and driver’s license bureau changed my name on my documents simply with my giving them a handwritten statement of my name change. BUT it does not match the name on my birth certificate which now causes me problems. If I go to court to change my name, do I state that I am “NAME that is on the driver’s license” or “NAME that is on my birth certificate.” Because don’t I have to show my driver’s license or other ID in court? Once this question is answered I can file!

    • jsrmfl

      According to this article you should just use the name you want to be known by, especially if you have already legally changed your name anyway.

    • Anthony

      I understand what your saying..Your legal name needs to cover all document… I have the same issue from I.D. theft when leaving the Marine Corps and just started going by my middle name..n told peaple thats my name. slowly just through in a new first name and kept going by my middle one. I thought my i.d. theif may be related because it was to easy for them to do. My birther certificate is still the only thing differant. I think to physicaly have the name changed on your birth certificate would be this.
      Your obviouly already done all thats said on the site to just go ahead…use the name and it works…for 25 years.. But the birth certificate..I think court may be the only place, So call you local clerk of courts and just tell them your situation and inform them…YES, its a legal name change by common law and S.S. Honors it, Your state I.D. D.M.V. honors it…your chilrens birth certificate??? Is that name on those??? Im sure it wont cost anything if much at all.. if you even have to go infront of a just and present, just what i wrote above in a statement of reason. Write the notice to the court as you stated you would above and ad on your own a photo copy of your drivers license, state i.d., childrens birth certificate….Heck..bring the kids : ) A copy of S.S. card and bring the one you legaly use for some odd decades…Then change it..The clerk of court presented with that much evidents may have you fill out a little form…take it all to the judge and do it for you. Try it…Oh..then let me know because i want to change my middle to my first to common law adopt my dead brothers name that a very old past down family name.

    • jean

      I have the same problem – how did you get the documents notorized? I have nothing to provide my birth name (on birth certificate) since I used common law name since I was 7 years old.

  • Need info

    I had a name change (just an additional surname-my step fathers) in san diego in 2009 originally through the courts . Unfortunately, In my professional career, my fathers name has been more of a hinderance than helpful in any way. My birth certificate was never changed (just my ss card) can I change my name back(with the ca dmv and soc. Security office) without filing it in court. Or possibly just amend it to drop my second surname? Without having to pay 435.00 ? Is this possible?

  • Anthony

    So if I want to use my middle name as a first name (Drop my first name as i dont use it except on legal signatures) I go by my middle name wich i want to Be my First Name..Middle Name: Common law adopt the name of my dead older brother wich is a family name pasted down for centuries..But wil end with him if i dont, He died and had to Daughters and Its a Family Crested Name for The First Male… Just start signing it on everything.?? How does it work to get a drivers license…S.S. name change??

  • CK

    My husband’s Mother and Step-dad changed (but not legally) my husband’s last name to his step-dad’s when he was 9; when they got married. According to my mother-in-law, their lawyer at the time said that they just needed to establish him under that name, i.e., register him in school, get SS card (which back then, they only applied for when he was a teenager). The issue we have now is that his birth certificate does not match his driver’s license, ss card or military documents. He is trying to renew his driver’s license but with all the new homeland security laws, he can’t get a passport or new license without the documents matching. HELP: Where do we start? What does he need to do?
    Can we just go to the DMV here in Georgia and tell them it was Common Law Name Change?
    Funny how he can serve his country and pay federal and state taxes under the current name but has to jump through hoops to prove he is one in the same as the guy on his birth cert!

    • Shannon

      This happened to my best friend too. What does she need to do? Everything is in her stepdad’s name except her birth certificate and her license expires in July. We are in Oregon.

      • CK

        Shannon,
        I never got feedback from this site so I put my question in to another legal site. If I get a response, hopefully with a solution, I will let you know. CK

  • amanada23

    i recently had a love spell cast on my partner last week after we both had a misunderstanding that almost lead to divorce and i was about losing my husband so a friend of my Natasha advice me to quickly order for reunite love spell that will make my husband change his mind from divorce which i did contact ekakaspelltemple@yahoo.com after the casting of the spell i receive a call from husband apologizing to me on what happened i can’t thank you enough Dr ekaka you are indeed a god gifted spell caster….

  • jennifer andersen

    This is regarding divorce laws. I have been divorced since 12/08. My ex has ignored the judgement as though it doesn’t exhist. He has remarried and theres a lot of money at stake. Should I get a lien on the House? Also, he grossly lied of the values of the vehicles so he ended up with the classics and I got the broken down junk that he valued as high as his. ie car I sold un-running was 13k less than what he valued it on the judgement. I almost gave it away. I have an email from him at the beginning stating he would pay me 10k/year for five years. Never happened. Can I change the judgment when re-newing to show the actual value of the assets, as well as include items he deliberately left out ie tractor we purchased for 45k? Please advise. Thank you

  • cheryl

    I need to apply for my child’s passport, the thing about it is that my child does not have his father’s name on it. Also I am now married to another man and carry his last name, would I have a problem to apply now that my name has changed? Please help