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How to Change Your Legal Name in Florida

Some states are very restrictive in their requirements to change a person’s legal name.  Fortunately, Florida is relatively permissive, and Family Diplomacy has successfully represented dozens of clients to help get their name legally changed.

What follows is a step-by-step guide on how someone can request a change of name in Florida.

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Could Chelsea Manning Have Received A Legal Name Change in Florida?

A couple of weeks ago, the Washington Post reported that an army soldier convicted of leaking classified materials had changed her legal name from Bradley Manning to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.  Ms. Manning’s name change has come after her public acknowledgment that she is transgender.

So could Chelsea Manning have been granted a name change in Florida?

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Athletes Have Changed Their Legal Name…And So Can You

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.

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Born Outside of Florida? You Can Still Get a Legal Name Change.

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.

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How Long does a Florida Legal Name Change Take?

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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Florida Transgender Name Change

Transgender residents of Florida, just like all other residents, have the right to petition the court for change of a legal name.  As in every name change case, whether the petition will be granted is determined by the following eligibility guidelines:

  • Whether the petitioner has an ulterior or illegal motive in seeking the name change (such as attempting to avoid criminal prosecution, attempting to avoid a debt, or attempting to assume the identity of someone else).  Though there is not much case law on the matter, changing a name to reflect a transgender identity should not be considered an ulterior motive.

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