Last week I went ahead and bit the bullet, I applied for a legal name change. Much to my surprise, it was incredibly easy. I had expected it to be a fairly involved affair, but it wasn’t difficult at all. It only took about 15 minutes of my time and didn’t require much work. In fact, I had massively over-prepared.
I don’t how it is in other states, but in my state, the process for getting a name change was incredibly vague. Every city and county is allowed to set their own rules and use their own forms which creates some confusion. Even worse, most counties, including my own, don’t detail what is needed online. I had no way of knowing what I actually needed to bring to get a name change. The only constant requirement for a name change across all counties was a notarized application. I was worried about facing discrimination from a notary, but it was ultimately uneventful and quite inexpensive (5 dollars). I had no idea what I needed to bring besides the application, so I brought everything. I packed a folder with the application and every document I could conceive of them potentially asking for.
Despite some uncertainty in preparing, The actual filing of the application was incredibly straightforward. I had to go to the local circuit court to file the petition. The place was almost completely empty, which was perfectly fine with me. I went to the counter, told the clerk that I was there for a name change, and gave her the application. I asked if she needed anything else and was told that I didn’t. The clerk left for about 5 minutes and then came back and said that everything came back fine and I just needed to pay the filing fee. I paid extra for additional copies of orders, but the total only came out to $49. I was surprised by how cheap it was, I had expected it to be closer to $60-70. Payment was the end of it, I was told to expect to hear back in 1-4 weeks and that I could come back to pick up the orders then.
Contrary to my expectations, applying for a name change was incredibly simple. Now I just have to wait and hope that it gets approved. I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t, but it is ultimately up to the whims of a judge. I have heard from other people in my area that courts are fairly quick about name changes, so I may hear back very soon.