With Pope Francis’ visit upon us and the recent celebration of the Jewish New Year, many Floridians are looking inward and have decided that they want to turn over a new leaf. For some, that may include a decision to adopt a new legal name.
Fortunately, Florida has procedures that permit most adult residents to change their name.
Upon the filing of a lengthy petition for change of name and the submission of fingerprints for a statewide and federal background check, a judge will hold a hearing to determine if the applicant is eligible for a name change. The main reasons why a judge would deny a name change are because (i) the petitioner has been convicted of a felony and has not has his or her rights restored, or (ii) it otherwise appears that the petitioner is looking to change his/her legal name for illegal or ulterior purposes (for example, to avoid paying a debt).