Name Change Petitions
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In Alabama, name changes are handled through the Probate Court. You can usually file the Petition for Name Change on your own, but if you would like a family law attorney to help you with the paperwork or go to the hearing with you then we can help. We are currently charging a $200.00 flat fee to help you file the paperwork on your own or $500.00 to file it for you and go to the hearing with you as well.
The clerk’s offices can usually provide the forms for you to file, but they cannot help you fill them out properly. Let us know if you need any help getting your name changed where you live.
In many other proceedings, like divorces, you usually have a few options as to which county you can file a case. However, with name changes you must file for the change at the Probate Court of your county of residence. The court will provide you with the correct forms to fill out if you go by there and ask and some post them online for convenience. It is not necessary to hire an attorney, but the court cannot assist you in filling out the forms. Therefore, if you would feel more comfortable having an attorney file it for you we can help.
Why change your name? There can be many reasons. Probably the most common is after a divorce, a wife will want to change her back to a previous name. During the divorce proceedings you can sometimes successfully request the court grant you permission to use your maiden or other previous name. However, if the court grants your divorce and you did not request to go back to a previous name, you must change it through the probate court. Other reasons for a name change can include for religious reasons or maybe you just don’t like the name that your parents gave you. If your requested name change is not profane, the court will usually grant your request.
Check with your local probate court for county-specific requirements. Some general things to be aware of are that to change your name you must be at least nineteen years old, you cannot be requesting the name change to avoid paying debt or a judgment against you, you cannot be requesting the name change to defraud someone, and you must not be a convicted criminal sex offender or a Defendant in a criminal proceeding. For minors, if both parents are on the birth certificate, both parents must sign the petition for a name change.
Once you file your petition for a name change, the court will schedule a hearing. When you file the petition you authorize the court to perform a background check on you. Some documents you will need to provide with your petition include: Alabama Drivers License or State Issued ID, Birth Certificate, Supporting Marriage and/or Divorce Documents, and Two (2) Proofs of Residency (e.g., current utility bill, voter registration, deed, mortgage, tax card, etc.). You must sign the petition in the presence of a notary public and file it with the appropriate documents at the Probate Court in the county you are living in.
If you provide all the requested documentation, do not fall into any of the categories that prevent you from changing your name, and are not requesting a name that is considered profane, you should be able to get your name changed once the hearing takes place. Your name change is not effective until the judge approves your petition. Costs to file the petition can vary based on which county you file in and the number of copies that need to be made for your case.
For example, in Jefferson County, the costs can range from $65.00 to $80.00. We charge a $500 flat fee plus filing fee to do it for you or you can do it yourself. Whether you live in Birmingham, Anniston, Huntsville, Decatur, Jasper, Montgomery, Prattville, Leeds, Moody, Cullman, Tuscaloosa, or anywhere else in Central and Northern Alabama we can help you file the Name Change Petition. Call today for more information.
Filling Out the Name Change Petition
The form to fill out for a Name Change is called a Petition. There are a good deal of documents you will need to file along with the Petition and you must fill out the forms completely. When filling out the Petition yourself, you need to make sure you fill it out correctly. Some things to remember are to list your full legal name (no initials), full physical address (no P.O. Box), use the type of ink they tell you to, and generally follow the instructions given to you on the particular form that your county clerk’s office hands you.
Many people fill out the forms and file on their own. However, if you would like us to fill the forms out for you and give them to you to file yourself then we charge a flat fee of $200.00 to do this. Whenever such a petition is filed, there will be a hearing set. This fee is for you to file it yourself and go to the hearing on your own.
The hearings are usually fairly quick and the judge will grant the petition in most cases. However, if you want an attorney to be present with you at the hearing then we can do this. We charge a flat fee of $500.00 to prepare, file your paperwork, and attend your hearing with you.
If you do not get your name changed in your divorce, then you will have to go through probate to resume your maiden name. There are many other reasons you might have to file a Petition for Name Change but as long as it is not profane, and you are not doing it to avoid creditors or otherwise defraud someone, then it is usually granted. If you have any questions about the Name Change process, then give us a call today for a quick consultation with local attorney over the phone.