There may be different reasons for changing a person's name. The most widely spread ones are marriage, divorce, aversion to the name given by the parents, desire to assume a beautiful, expressive or rare name, necessity to disappear, etc. Thus, if your name is Gaylord Focker (remember the main character from the "Meet the Parents" movie?) you may want to change it. We will explain you how to do it.
Changing Your Name after Marriage
Marriage is the most common reason for changing the last name of a girl. Divorce is the second one in popularity. After marriage you will have to undertake the following steps:
Order attested copies of the marriage certificate. Many agencies require originals.
Claim a new card of Social Security1. Call them for instruction.
Go to the local motor vehicle department to order your new driving license. It is better to call them beforehand in order to get information about the documents which you must bring with you.
Call a passport agency for getting instructions from them. You will have to bring the current passport and an attested copy of the marriage certificate. Then they will ask you to complete necessary papers and to pay fees.
Then you should order new credit cards, checks, business cards, etc.
Do not forget to inform your employer or school administration about your new name.
Visit your insurance company.
Call your friends and relatives, or send them stationery cards with the new name on them.
Changing Your Name for Personal Reasons
If you are going to change your name for some personal reasons, most probably you will have to explain them to a judge during a court hearing. Fill out the name change petition, notarize the paper and submit it to the office of the local county clerk. Then just wait for a notification. They may ask you to be present in the hearing or do everything without you.
When you get the affidavit2 from the court, you should put up a notice in a newspaper informing about your name change. After that the court will give you the order which will be your ID before you get new passport, driving license, and card of social security.