Many Floridians want to change their legal name. Sometimes it is because they recently found out that the name they have always used is different than the name on their birth certificate, and they are now unable to renew their driver’s license under the federal REAL ID Act. Sometimes it is because they want to honor a stepparent or foster parent by taking on a surname. Sometimes it is because they want to take on a name that matches their gender identification.
And sometimes it is because they simply don’t like their current legal name.
Whatever the reason, many people who do seek a name change wonder, “Do I need a lawyer?”
If you live in Tampa Bay, Greater Sarasota, or elsewhere in Florida and you are looking to change your legal name, Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm can help you. Whether you seek to correct your birth certificate, honor a loved one, or turn a new leaf in life, Family Diplomacy will sit down with you and set a plan for moving forward.
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.
In Florida, as in most other jurisdictions, women can restore their maiden name as part of the divorce process. However, for a lot of reasons, many women keep their married name.
Sometimes it is so they can maintain the same last name as their minor children, making it easier to communicate with school and healthcare officials. Sometimes it is related to their employment, and they do not want to disrupt an earned reputation by altering their name. And sometimes it is because they simply did not know they had the option to restore their name in divorce proceedings.
So, after divorce, is it too late to restore a maiden name?
There are many athletes who, for various reasons, have changed their legal names.
Basketball star Ron Artest changed his legal name to Metta World Peace to “inspire and bring youth together all around the world.”
Football player Chad Johnson became Chad Ochocinco in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, reflecting his jersey number, 85.
I recently had a conversation where a woman told me that she wanted to get a name change. She had lived in Florida for the past 5 years, but she was born in New York City, and she was wondering if she would have to travel back to NYC to change her name and get her birth certificate amended.
I assured her that she could get the name change here in Florida.
One of the first questions I am always asked by potential clients who are seeking to change their legal name in Tampa Bay or elsewhere in Florida is how long it will take.
First, it depends on whether you retain an attorney who is experienced in name change proceedings. I have helped countless Florida residents obtain a change of their legal name throughout the state, and I have addressed situations that could have caused the name change to be delayed by months.
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