If you are a Texas resident and you wish to change your last name, make sure you have all of the information you need on hand. Changing a last name after marriage involves nothing more than presenting a marriage license to the Social Security Administration office, but other name changes can be a bit more complex.
Petition for Name Change in Texas
Any adult can petition to have his or her name changed in Texas as long as the choice to do so is not meant to be illegal or harmful in any way. Complete a petition for name change, but do not sign until you are in front of a Notary Public. This “verified” or “notarized” petition will be filed along with a fingerprint card. The fingerprint card is further documentation of your identity. Visit the Texas Department of Public Safety to find the fingerprinting location closest to you.
Once you have a notarized petition and fingerprint card, file these documents with your County Clerk. Be sure to make copies first in case you need to verify the documents at a later date. The County Clerk will be able to tell you when to appear for your court date. In some locations in Texas, you will have the physically retrieve your petition and fingerprint card from the County Clerk before you proceed to the court. Ask the Clerk’s office if this is the case where you live.
When your court date approaches, you will need to check in with the Court Clerk, learn your case number, and then wait for your case to be called. You will be sworn in and asked to approach the bench in case the judge has any questions. If the judge approves the name change and signs the order, you will take the signed order to the District Clerk’s office for a Change of Name Certificate.
Changing a Child’s Name in Texas
A child that has recently been adopted may need to have his or her name changed to reflect that of the new family. The child’s guardian must complete a petition for name change. If the child is age 10 or older, he or she must provide, in writing, consent to the name change. As with changing the name of an adult, all signature must take place in front of a Notary Public.
A child may not need to have his or her fingerprints taken in order to change their last name, but it is a good idea to have this piece of documentation completed in case the judge decides he or she needs to have it. Make copies of all paperwork, and then file with the County Clerk. You will also need proof that all parents and legal guardians agree to the name change prior to your court date.
Once the name change has been approved, you may also amend the child’s birth certificate. Do this by contacting the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics.