How Much Does a Legal Name Change Cost?
There are many different cases in your life where you may feel that it’s time for a legal name change, such as marriage, divorce, a change of gender identity and more. But how much does it cost to change your name?
Some name changes are very affordable, while others may take a little saving. The cost to change your name will vary based on your location and the reason for changing your name. Keep reading below to learn how much it might cost you to change your name.
How Much Does a Name Change Cost?
In general, the total cost of changing your name might range between less than $100 and up to $500. For example, a name change in California may cost between $435 and $450. However, a name change in New York may only cost $210 or even as low as $65 if you live in New York City.
The cost to legally change your name varies depending on a few factors. Each state will have different filing fees, and each county might have its own as well. In addition, the reason for changing your name will impact how much you have to pay. If you decide to hire a lawyer or use an online service, you will also have to pay service fees.
Some of the extra fees associated with name changes might include:
- Certified copies of court documents.
- Background checks and fingerprint cards.
- Having your name change published in a local paper.
Can I Change My Name for Free?
In the cases of getting married or getting divorced, many states will allow you to change your name for free or for a reduced fee. For example, you might list your preferred name on your marriage license, and then you only have to pay fees to get essential documents replaced.
In addition, most states have fee waivers. You can fill out a fee waiver form, but you will likely need to meet income requirements and show proof that you make less than a certain amount.
Tips for Legally Changing Your Name
Changing your name may seem like an overwhelming process, but it’s generally simple. The first step of the process is gathering all the necessary paperwork.
While many people have to file with the courts to change their name, if you’re filing because of a marriage or divorce, you typically only need your marriage certificate or divorce decree. In some cases, the courts may be able to change your name at the same time you file for your marriage certificate or your divorce is finalized instead of having to go through two different court processes.
After you have filed with your state to change your name, make sure to also change your name on the following documents:
- Your Social Security card
- Your driver’s license
- Your financial accounts
- Your insurance policies
- Your passport
- Your lease
You should also consider encouraging your friends and family to start using your new last name immediately and consistently. It helps the change become more concrete and lessens confusion between personal and professional situations.
Finally, if you feel that the name change process is too much for you to handle on your own, you might consider looking for an online name change service, such as LegalZoom or Update My Name. You can pay a fee and have them make sure you don’t miss any steps.
Changing Your Name on Your Social Security Card
Fortunately, changing your name on your Social Security card is free, so you won’t have to worry about paying another fee. However, you must provide documentation proving your legal name change, your identity and U.S. citizenship. This may include documents such as:
- A marriage license or divorce decree
- Certificate of Naturalization
- U.S. driver’s license or another ID card
- U.S. passport
- U.S. birth certificate
- Certificate of Citizenship
How To Legally Change Your Name
The process for changing your name will vary depending on the reason for changing your name. You likely will need to begin by filing a petition to change your name and paying filing fees. Some states will also require that you publish a notice in the newspaper and obtain background checks, so you should check with your state or county to see if you are required to do this. In some cases, you may need to attend a name change hearing, where a judge will need to approve your name change. You can then use a copy of the court order to change documents, such as your birth certificate, mortgage, bank information, insurance policies, voter registration and more.
FAQHere are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the cost of changing your name.
- Does changing your name cost money?
- The cost of changing your name can vary widely. In some cases, like getting married or divorced, many states allow you to change your name for free or for a reduced cost. Each state and county has different filing fees and in some situations, the cost to change your name can be up to $500.
- How much does it cost to change the name on my Social Security card?
- Changing your name on your Social Security card is free. Keep in mind that you must provide documentation proving your legal name change, your identity and U.S. citizenship.
Information is accurate as of Jan. 23, 2023.
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