All counties in Florida are governed by Florida Statute §68.07 regarding name changes. Before you begin the process you must consider why you want to change your name. There are different steps if you are changing your name pursuant to a marriage, divorce, or changing your name back to a prior name. If you seek a name change in Dade County, Broward County or West Palm Beach County, you must have fingerprints submitted to the court before you can have a hearing on a name change. There are slightly different rules regarding the hearing if a former name is being restored. These fingerprints will be used for a criminal history check. The court will consider the results of the criminal history when evaluating whether to grant the name change petition.
It is important to file your petition for a name change in the correct court. If John Smith has a house in Boca Raton and also a condominium in Miami Beach Florida, which court would be the appropriate court for a name change petition? The answer will depend on which home is his primary residence. For example, where does he receive his mail, which residence does he claim as his homestead property, and which address is listed on his driver’s license? Once you have determined the proper court you will need to contact that clerk to find the proper agency to take and submit your fingerprints.
You can visit the clerk of court in the county you reside in for information on the fingerprinting process. West Palm Beach Clerk of Court website is located at website address: http://www.mypalmbeachclerk.com/
The Broward County Clerk of Court website is located at: http://www.clerk-17th-flcourts.org/ClerkWebSite/Welcome2.aspx You can visit the Dade County Clerk of Court website at: http://www.miami-dadeclerk.com/
Regardless of which Florida County your name change petition is filed it has to include the following information:
- That the petitioner, or the person who wants to change their name, is a resident of and lives in the county where the change of name is sought.
- The date and place of birth of the petitioner, the petitioner’s father’s name, the petitioner’s mother’s maiden name, and where the petitioner has lived since birth.
- The petitioner’s marriage status, the name of the petitioner’s spouse and if the petitioner has children, the names and ages of each and where they reside.
- If the petitioner’s name has previously been changed and when and where and by what court.
- The petitioner’s occupation and where the petitioner is employed and has been employed for 5 years next preceding the filing of the petition. If the petitioner owns and operates a business, the name and place of the business, how the petitioner is connected to the business and how long the petitioner has been identified with that business. If the petitioner is in a profession, the profession shall be stated, where the petitioner has practiced the profession, and if a graduate of a school or schools, the name or names thereof, date of graduation, and degrees received.
- If the petitioner has been generally known or called by any other names and if so, by what names and where.
- If the petitioner has ever been adjudicated bankrupt and if so, where and when.
- Whether the petitioner has ever been arrested for or charged with, pled guilty or nolo contendere to, or been found to have committed a criminal offense, regardless of adjudication, and if so, when and where.
- Whether any money judgment has ever been entered against the petitioner and if so, the name of the judgment creditor, the amount and date thereof, the court by which entered, and whether the judgment has been satisfied.
- That the petition is filed for no ulterior or illegal purpose and granting it will not in any manner invade the property rights of others, whether partnership, patent, good will, privacy, trademark, or otherwise.
- That the petitioner’s civil rights have never been suspended or, if the petitioner’s civil rights have been suspended, that full restoration of civil rights has occurred.
If you are changing a name pursuant to a divorce or for an adopted child there are different rules than those listed here.
Florida provides a form petition number 12.982(a), with all of the above requirements already included in the form. This form may be accessed through the State of Florida’s website: http://www.myflorida.com/ . After your fingerprints have been submitted and your petition has been filed in the correct court you can set a hearing for a final judgment of name change. You may be required to attend the hearing and should bring Form 12.82(b) for the judge to sign. After that you will have legally changed you name.
After you have the final judgment name change signed by the judge, you will want to bring certified copies of that signed judgment to any agencies or businesses that need notification of your new name. This includes the Social Security Administration, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, U. S. Passport agency, the post office, credit cards, bank accounts, investment accounts and any organizations you are involved with.
If you live in the Miami-Dade, Broward, or West Palm Beach area and need help with name changes or other legal issues please feel free to contact Chepenik Trushin at 1-866-626-989 or at local telephone number 305-9818889. The experienced attorneys at Chepenik Trushin are happy to meet with you for an initial consultation.