Recently divorced? Need a change in luck? Want a fresh start? Many clients come to our office and wish they “could start again.” Although you only get one shot at life, you do get several shots at getting your name right – if you qualify.
Name changes in Florida, though relatively simple, can be deceptively dangerous. There are up to twelve (12) different items that the Court requires in any Petition for Name Change plus in some cases, the Court will require finger prints. In all cases, the Court will require a hearing before any Name Change is granted.
What is a Name Change Petition?
Each petition must show that you’re a resident of Florida and have lived in the County of your choice for several months. For example, if you moved to Duval County last week, that is not long enough for Duval County to accept your Name Change Petition. You also have to include other background information such as your birthday and the names of your parents, spouse (if married) and the names of your children. Importantly, you must also list, to the best of your knowledge, each address you have lived at since birth. The Court also needs to know your occupation and where you’ve been employed for the past five (5) years. Although we have just mentioned several requirements for the petition, the above is only the start of the Petition for Name Change. Our office can help you determine which of the twelve are problematic for you and we can draft the Petition in a way to help you avoid failing into one of the potholes created by the twelve (12) requirements.
Do I Need to Supply Fingerprints?
Filing your Petition is not the end of your name change journey. Depending on your case and situation, there may also be fingerprints and both state and national criminal background checks. If you are changing your name, unrelated to a divorce or restoring a former name, the most difficult part of any name change is having your fingerprints submitted for a state and national criminal history records check (unless you are restoring your maiden name). These fingerprints MUST be taken in a mapper approved by Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and must be submitted electronically to the Department for State Processing for a criminal history records check. This Department will also submit your fingerprints to the FBI for national processing. Once these background checks are complete, FDLE will submit the results to the Court for further review. Our office can help direct you on where, when and how to complete these fingerprints. We can help speed up this process and ease you into the next step in the process.
What Happens at a Name Change Hearing?
In all cases, a hearing will be held for the Court to determine whether you qualify for a name change. In these hearings, the Court questions into your motives for changing your name and discusses the results of your criminal background check. Our firm can help you through this hearing and help your voice be heard in this hearing. We can be there to help you answer and in some cases, shield you from questions.
If you’re ready to start the phase with a new slate, call our office to see if you qualify and how we can help you achieve your goal. Change your name and start writing the next chapter of your story.