A Brief Guide to the Name Change Process in Florida

Going through a divorce is rarely an easy process. For many, restoring your former surname from before your marriage is a big priority because it symbolizes a split with your former partner and a transition to a new life. In fact, roughly 80% of married women in Florida will change their name back to their former surname after a divorce.

In Florida, you can change your name in one of two ways. You can either make this change as part of the dissolution of marriage process, or you can do it through a traditional name change proceeding.

Changing Your Name Through Dissolution of Marriage in Florida

If you would like your former surname restored in a dissolution of marriage proceeding, you must request it in the initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. At the final hearing and/or Trial, the Court will inquire whether there is an ulterior motive for the change (i.e. bankruptcy, tax penalties, criminal record, etc.).   If none, the Court will execute the final judgment restoring the former surname and/or maiden name.

If you do not include a name change as part of your initial petition, you may have the option to motion for leave to amend your pleadings to include the name change. If you already filed your dissolution pleadings without this request, amending your pleadings may be the option that will be the most cost-effective and least hassle for you.

Adult Name Change Apart from Dissolution of Marriage

If not seeking a name change as part of the divorce process, you can still change your name. However, the process will require a bit more substantiation within the verified pleadings. You will need the following sworn statements within your Petition:

  • Listing of each place of residence since birth;
  • Legal names of both parents;
  • Marital Status;
  • A statement on whether a name change was ever granted before;
  • A statement current employment;
  • A statement on business ownership;
  • Educational History;
  • Arrest, conviction and/or plea history;
  • Whether there has ever been an adjudication or history of bankruptcy;
  • Whether any creditor has a money judgment against them;
  • A statement that a background check has been performed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and fingerprint card provided to the Clerk of Courts.

 After Your Name Change

Even after you finalize your name change, regardless of which method you use, you will need to provide a copy of your Judgment to effectuate the change with applicable governmental agencies. These include:

  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Social Security Administration
  • U.S. Department of State (for passports)
  • Financial Institutions
  • Schools or Employment

Virtually anyone who was aware of your former name should be notified of your name change.

If you would like help with the name change process, or if you want to be sure it is pled in the proper context, McKINNON LEGAL can help. Call today for more information or to set up an appointment.