Coleman Legal Group, LLC
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Coleman Legal Group, LLC’s attorneys practice in the area of Legal Name Changes in Georgia.
In Georgia, legal name changes can be for either an adult or a minor child. People frequently ask our attorneys what is an allowable reason to change your name in Georgia. Georgia law allows name changes so long as a name change is not being used to commit fraud or hide from creditors. There are rare instances where name changes have not been granted due to obscene words being chosen for the name, but these instances are rare in Georgia courts.
Name Changes In a Divorce
In a divorce, the wife can ask for her name to be changed back to her maiden name in the divorce decree. However, a divorce case is not the appropriate way to change a name to something other than a “maiden name.” A separate name change case should be filed if a person wants to change their name to something other a maiden name following a divorce.
Adult Name Changes
Adult name changes only need to be requested by the adult wishing to have their name attached. The petition is usually titled as a Petition for Name Change of an Adult. The petition does not require a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (as with most other types of domestic cases) or the personal service of any other person, including a current spouse. However, publication for four (4) consecutive weeks in a legal news paper is required.
Common reasons adults request name changes are:
- The name they were given at birth does not have significance to them because they do not have a relationship with their family.
- The adult (usually Wife) did not choose the change their name to their previous or maiden name as a part of a divorce case.
- They do not like their current name for personal reasons, such as they do not have a good relationship with their parents or other family members that are associated with their name.
- They feel their name is hindering their ability to find employment because it is too difficult to spell, pronounce or may be associated with a historical or public figure that is unpopular.
- They have been using a different name than what is on their birth certificate for years, and now upon renewing their driver’s license a name change is required to get all their documents, such as their social security card, passport, driver’s license and birth certificate to state the same exact name. This is also quite common when people are moving to Georgia from another state and need to get a Georgia driver’s license for the first time, or it is their first renewal in Georgia.
- They desire a minor change to their name, such as the taking out of a space or hyphen to prevent errors when completing important documents and obtaining services from the government or in business.
All of the reason above are legitimate and acceptable reason in Georgia for a name change. See O.C.G.A. § 19-12-1 >>
Minor Child(ren) Name Changes
Changing the name of a minor child is very similar to changing the name of an adult. Publication for four (4) consecutive weeks in a legal newspaper is still required. However, if both parents are still alive, both parent’s will need to file the petition jointly, or one parent will need to have the other parent officially served with the Petition for Name Change of a Minor Child. There is one exception to both parents needed to be served; if the child was born to unwed parents and the father is not legitimized, then notice of the requested name change is not required to be give to the father. Although not common, the name change of a minor child can be requested by a person other than the parents, such as a grandparent, step parent or foster parent. If this is done, both parents will need to be served with the petition. Usually, only the consent of both parents is required for a name change of a minor child; however under Georgia law there are clearly outlined exceptions as stated below:
If the petition seeks to change the name of a minor child, the written consent of his parent or parents if they are living and have not abandoned the child, or the written consent of the child’s guardian if both parents are dead or have abandoned the child, shall be filed with the petition, except that the written consent of a parent shall not be required if the parent has not contributed to the support of the child for a continuous period of five years or more immediately preceding the filing of the petition. See O.C.G.A. § 19-12-1 >>
The reasons given for the name change of a minor child usually include:
- adoption of the child.
- the name they were given at birth does not mean anything to them because they do not have a relationship with their family.
- they do not like their name for personal reasons, such as they do not have a good relationship with their parents or other family members associated with the name.
- the parents or guardian feel the child’s name will impeding their ability to find employment because it is too difficult to spell, pronounce or may be associated with a historical or public figure that is unpopular.
- they have been using a different name than what is on their birth certificate for years, and now upon requesting the child’s driver’s license a name change is required to get all their documents, such as social security card, pass port, driver’s license and birth certificate to state the same exact name.
- they only want a minor changes to their name, such as the taking out of a space or hyphen to prevent errors when completing important documents.
- the child wishes to take the name of their step parent or other person that has helped raise them.
- the child needs to be registered in the child’s (or child’s parent’s) home county, but the child’s name does not meet the home country’s requirements for a child’s name.
All of the reason above are legitimate and acceptable reason in Georgia for a name change of a minor child.
What to Do Once the Name Change is Granted By the Court
Once our family law attorneys have petitioned the court for a change of your name and received the court order granting it, your name is officially changed. However, obtaining a court order changing your name is just one of the steps in the process. After your name has been changed with the court and you have a copy of the court order you should do the following as soon as possible:
Update your Georgia Driver’s License
You should visit the Department of Driver Services and obtain a new driver’s license showing your new name. You will need to present a copy of the court order granting your name change. If you are also changing your address, you will also need to provide proof of new residence (such as a utility bill). You should be prepared to have your photograph taken again for your new driver’s license. Depending on when your license was last renewed, you may have to pay a fee. It is best to have cash available to pay this fee in case your check or debit / credit card is not accepted. As of 2013, there have been many new changes to the law governing the obtaining and renewing Georgia Driver’s Licenses. Therefore, we recommend check with the Department of Driver Services (http://www.dds.ga.gov/) regarding fees and other forms of identification that may be required.
Update your Passport
If you have obtained a passport within the last year, you should be able to update your passport information for free. However, you should refer to the U.S. Department of State website (http://travel.state.gov/) to find out which form(s) you will need to complete to update your passport with your new name.
Notify the Social Security Office of your New Name
You will need to locate a social security office near you bring and a copy of the court order granting your name change as well as a valid ID such as your driver’s license. There should be no fee to obtain a new social security card with your new name on it.
After you have changed your name on all of your legal documents and forms of identification (ID), you should contact your credit card providers, banks, subscriptions and service providers to update with your new name. Many of them will be able to make the name change and update their records over the phone. However, some banks and service providers may require that you appear at a local branch or office and provide copies of your new ID(s) and a copy of the court order granting your name change.
Call 770-609-1247 or use the Email Submission Form Below. Weekend and Evening Appointments and Consultations Available.
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Georgia Counties We Serve: Fulton, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb, Cherokee and More
Coleman Legal Group, LLC’s Georgia lawyers practice in the areas of Divorce, Family Law, Bankruptcy, Estates, Wills, Trusts, Sports and Entertainment Law, Immigration and Business Law.
Our main office is located in Alpharetta Georgia at: 5755 North Point Parkway, Suite 52, Alpharetta, GA 30022. We also have offices conveniently located at:
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Phone: 770-609-1247 | Map
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Atlanta, GA 30328
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Johns Creek, GA 30097
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