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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Legal > Legal Name Change

Legal Name Change Cost


How Much Does a Legal Name Change Cost?

 
low costWithout attorney: $0-$350average costWith attorney: $1,100-$2,300

Whether it's the result of marriage, divorce, adoption, gender change or simply wanting to shed an ill-fitting moniker, legal name changes are commonplace. The process to carry out a name change varies by state and involves differing levels of complexity and expense.

Typical costs:

  • Several companies charge $19.99-$39.99 for legal name change request forms. Do-it-yourself legal publisher Nolo.com's[1] $26.99 book, How to Change Your Name in California[2] , includes step-by-step instructions and forms. NameChangeLaw.com[3] sells the required documents for all states for $39.95 and will prepare the forms for $79.95 for adults and $99.95 for minors. LegalFormsBank.biz[4] sells individual states' name change forms for $19.99. In California, flat-price firm Legal Action Workshop[5] charges $400 to prepare and file documents and set the court hearing date.
  • People can find required name change forms online for free. LawHelpInteractive[6] for example, provides forms needed to file with the New York Supreme Court.
  • Court filing fees vary by state and region, ranging from less than $100 to more than $200. The fee is $82.50 at the Fulton County Superior Court Family Division covering Atlanta, Georgia. The fee is $210 at the New York Supreme Court, which covers the state outside of New York City, while within New York City, the filing fee is $65, according to New York Court Help[7] . In New Jersey, the filing fee is $200, says Legal Services of New Jersey[8] .
  • Lawyers typically charge $1,100-$3,200 or more for a name change. Texas attorney Michael Granata said his firm charges about $1,000 to complete an adult's uncomplicated name change. Geiger, the Atlanta lawyer, estimated her fee would be $900.
  • Certain factors can push up lawyer costs. "If someone has been convicted of a past felony, that's an issue that could make the fees go up," said Florida attorney Adam Cordover, who charges between $1,000 and $2,000 to handle name change requests.
Related articles: Adoption, Marriage License, Divorce, Sex Reassignment Surgery, Attorney Fees

What should be included:
  • Lawyer fees should include document preparation and court appearances. Exact costs depend on the complexity of the case and the lawyer's hourly charge.
  • Name change requests resulting from divorce often do not need to go before a judge. In Georgia, spouses are permitted to revert to any prior last name they've used without an extra charge, according to Atlanta attorney Heidi Geiger. The new name can be designated on the divorce order, she said.
Additional costs:
  • Expect modest costs associated with obtaining certified copies of documents and, if items are mailed, sending them by a traceable postage method.
  • After a name change, individuals must update other documents. There's no charge to change a name on a passport, according to the U.S. Department of State[9] . A name change on a social security card[10] is also free; just show the original name change document or a certified copy.
  • The cost of a name change on a California birth certificate is $20 according to the California Department of Public Health[11] while New Jersey charges $27, says Legal Services of New Jersey[12] .
  • The Arizona Department of Transportation[13] charges a $4 fee for a duplicate drivers license displaying the new name.
  • Some states also require an applicant's new name to be published in a general circulation newspaper or legal journal before the change is granted. California's Legal Action Workshop uses Metropolitan News Company[14] , which charges $95. Other newspaper listings cost between $65 and $441, according to the Probate Division of Santa Clara Superior Court[15] . The average cost among the 17 publications: $276.
Discounts:
  • Courts including Minnesota District Court[16] and the Superior Court of California[17] permit low-income applicants to request a filing fee waiver.
Shopping for a legal name change:
  • Newlyweds in most states can assume their new spouse's last name without going to court. However, they must show a certified copy of their marriage license to the Department of Motor Vehicles, credit institutions and others, according to the Superior Court of California[18] .
  • Legal name changes are not granted to people attempting to avoid paying debts, keep from being sued or get away with a crime, according to Nolo.com[19] .
  • Nolo.com[20] offers a searchable directory of attorneys.
  • Following a name change, a court order may require that others be notified. Here's a list of what's required by Minnesota's Hennepin County District Court[21] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.nolo.com
  2.  www.nolo.com/products/how-to-change-your-name-in-california-name.html
  3.  www.namechangelaw.com/
  4.  www.legalformsbank.biz/
  5.  www.legalactionworkshoplaw.com/
  6.  /lawhelpinteractive.org/login_form?template_id=template.2009-05-15.2422172102
  7.  www.nycourthelp.gov/namechangeinfo.html
  8.  www.lsnjlaw.org/Courts/Forms-for-Lawsuits/Pages/default.aspx?OtherTopics=Forms+for...
  9.  travel.state.gov/passport/correcting/ChangeName/ChangeName_851.html
  10.  ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/315
  11.  www.sfdph.org/dph/files/vitalRecsDocs/courtOrderNameChnge072009.pdf
  12.  www.lsnjlaw.org/Courts/Forms-for-Lawsuits/Pages/default.aspx?OtherTopics=Forms+for...
  13.  www.azdot.gov/mvd/faqs/scripts/FAQsResponse.asp?Category=1&Keyword=
  14.  www.mnc.net/
  15.  www.scscourt.org/court_divisions/probate/probate_home.shtml
  16.  www.mncourts.gov/selfhelp/?page=514
  17.  scscourt.org/forms_and_filing/faqs/feewaivers.shtml
  18.  www.scscourt.org/self_help/probate/namechange/namechange.shtml#tabtwo
  19.  www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/name-change-faq-29091.html
  20.  www.nolo.com/lawyers
  21.  www.mncourts.gov/selfhelp/?page=600
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