Georgia Legal Name Change Attorneys – Adults
Coleman Legal Group, LLC | Phone: 770-609-1247
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 not common in Georgia courts. This page primarily discusses adult name changes. Go here to read about name changes for minor children >
Adult Name Changes
Adult name changes only need to be requested by the adult wishing to have their name changed. The petition is usually titled as a Petition to Change Name 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, ex-spouse, or parent. Publication of a notice of the requested name change for four (4) consecutive weeks in the county’s designated legal news paper is required. Sometimes a name change can be accomplished without the petitioner having to ever go to the court. However, it most cases the petitioner will have to go to the court to obtain a copy of the name change order. This is usually a very quick and uneventful process.
The court has broad discretion in deciding whether to grant or deny a name change. However, generally anyone can change their name to anything, so long as it is not for a fraudulent purpose, or if the name requested is deemed to be confusing, very offensive, or harmful. Other reasons the court might deny a name change include procedural errors and improperly filed court documents. Fortunately in Georgia, the vast majority of name change requests are granted with no problem.
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 sharing the same name.
- 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.
- While not common, sometimes a person may have been raised as a child by another family member other than their parent, and they were informally given a name that is different than what is on their birth certificate. And this informal name now appears on several official documents.
- There have been mistakes over time that now make a name change preferable or necessary. Examples of mistakes include:
- The wrong spelling for a name was put on a birth certificate and was not corrected early in the process.
- The wrong name was used on official documents when the person was younger, and the mistake has been carried over to other documents.
- The wrong spelling for a name was put on official documents as a part of the immigration process.
- The wrong name was give as an official name (usually by parents, guardian or a caretaker) for all important documents early in life, making it very difficult to go back to using the name of the birth certificate.
- The person is having problems getting a passport, driver’s license (or renewal), or selling or buying real estate, etc. due to one or more of the above issues listed above.
- Sometimes, due to domestic abuse, a person may change their name to prevent another person from being able to find, harass, stalk or threaten them.
All of the reasons above are legitimate and acceptable reasons in Georgia to request and obtain a name change. See O.C.G.A. § 19-12-1 >>
Adult Name Changes In a Divorce
In a divorce, it is common for the wife can ask for her name to be changed back to her maiden name or any previous name in the divorce decree. In same-sex marriages, it is common for one or both spouses to change their names as a part of the marriage. If they get divorced and either party fails to ask the court to change their name back to their previous name in the court’s final order (Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce) then their name has not been changed back. However, a divorce case is not the appropriate way to change a name to something other than a “maiden name” or a “previous name.” A separate name change case should be filed with the court if a person wants to change their name to something other a maiden name or any previous name as a part of a divorce.
What to Do Once Your 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. However, you will usually need to updated your Social Security Card before you can update your Georgia driver’s license.
Update your Social Security Card
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 photo ID such as your old driver’s license or a passport. There should be no fee to obtain a new social security card with your new name on it. To obtain a new social security card showing your new name, you will need to submit the following documents to a Social Security Administration office:
- A completed Application for a Social Security Card
- Proof of your name change; a copy of the court’s order granting the name change should suffice
- Proof of identity, such as your driver’s license or passport
- Proof of U.S. citizenship, such as your birth certificate or citizenship certificate
Review the required list of accepted documents to find out what forms can be used. A new social security card bearing your new name will be mailed to you after your application has been processed. It is important to note that the requirement and forms to update a Social Security card can change at anytime, so it is important to review the requirements with the Social Security Administration office carefully.
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.
Other Services: Credit Cards, Bank Accounts, Etc.
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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Coleman Legal Group, LLC’s Georgia lawyers practice in the areas of Divorce, Family Law, Bankruptcy, Real Estate, 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 51, Alpharetta, GA 30022. We also have offices conveniently located at:
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Alpharetta, GA 30022
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Atlanta, GA 30328
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Johns Creek, GA 30097
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