By Gonzalo Macchi, Identity Theft, Consumer Finance, Collections, Family Law, Contracts, Landlord/Tenant issues, and Traffic Citations Attorney
If you do not like the name you were given, or the name on your birth certificate is different than the one you have been using, you can legally change your name through the courts by filing a Petition for Name Change.
Changing your name is governed by Florida Statute Section 68.07 which requires you to submit to a background check through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, who will then submit the information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a criminal history check. Once completed, you must then file the Petition for Name Change (Form 12.982) with the Family Court clerk and pay the filing fee. After receipt of the background check, the clerk will give you a Notice of Hearing to appear in front of the Judge. At the hearing, the Judge will review your background check and determine whether to grant your Petition for Name Change or not. There are three primary reasons why the Judge may deny your Petition:
If you have a criminal history.
If you filed for bankruptcy.
If the Judge believes that you might be attempting to escape paying a judgment or creditors.
The above does not apply to a name change if you are divorced, adopted, or changing the name of a minor child. If you are divorced and want your maiden name restored, it should have been included as part of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Final Judgment. An adoption order should also state the adopted child’s legal name and both parents’ need to consent to a name change for a minor child. If you are unsure if your maiden name has been restored after a divorce, an attorney can review the Final Judgment for you.