If you live in the United States, especially in the state of Alabama, you can change your name for a variety of reasons (that must be justified, of course); it does not matter if you are single, married, or divorced.
This procedure is granted by the Alabama Code, specifically on Sections 26-11-3 and 30-2-11, and even though it is a simple procedure, it has some guidelines you need to follow.
So, if you are interested in knowing what are the options to change your name, keep reading this article.
Option 1: After Marriage
When you plan to get married, one thing you must know is that you can change your name and get the one from your spouse; however, it is not mandatory, so think about it very well.
If you decide to take it, you will have to wait until the marriage is completed and recognized by a jurisdiction in Alabama to formally request your name change.
This is done by showing the marriage license (which will be given to you at the end of the ceremony) at any local government office.
Another important document that you may want to bring with you is the marriage certificate. To get more information about this subject, we recommend you to read this article: How to get a copy of a marriage certificate.
Option 2: After Divorce
It is not the “happiest” option; however, if the marriage did not work out, we are sure you will want to change your name back as soon as you get divorced.
The process is simple:
- Get the divorce decree once the dissolution has finalized.
- Show it at any local government office.
- Request your previous name.
Option 3: Adult name change
If you are not married or divorced, you can still change your name under some conditions, such as:
- An “adult” is considered someone at least 19 years old;
- Who must be a resident of Alabama;
- And cannot have been convicted or a felony or a sex offender.
- Also, cannot have a criminal change or big debts.
But, to sum up, there are also some steps you need to follow to officially apply:
- Fill out a form requesting a name change;
- Give a detailed statement of why you want your name changed;
- Submit or undergo a criminal records check;
- Prove your identity with ID and a certified copy of your birth certificate; and
- Attend a court hearing and make your case to the probate judge.
Regarding step 1, you can get the Petition for Change of Name at the Probate court of your county. The forms may also be available on the Probate court’s website.
On the other hand, you can’t change your name to escape criminal charges, lawsuits, or debts. And it’s illegal to obtain a name change for a fraudulent purpose. While Alabama doesn’t expressly prohibit convicted criminals and registered sex offenders from changing their name, an individual judge might take issue with such a request.
The court will either grant or deny your request. If it’s granted, you’ll receive a decree confirming your change of name.
What to do next
After you complete your name change in Alabama, these are the two things you should do immediately:
- File the Appropriate Paperwork with Government Agencies: Marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court decree changing your name in hand, first visit your local Social Security office to update your Social Security card and information. Their database will be used by other agencies to verify your name change afterward. Once that’s done, go to an Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Driver License Office to receive a driver license reissued in your new name. A new Social Security card and driver license will allow you to update other documents and records.
- Start Using Your New Name: While it’s not a ‘use it or lose it’ deal, it is important to consistently use your new name. Tell family, friends, your employers, the neighbors, and others about your name change. Inform your bank, insurance company, credit card companies to be squared away. Social media and email accounts should be updated too.