I have two friends who have alter egos: Evo Terra and Kade Dworkin. These are not their real legal names, but they have act as if they could be. I know what both of their legal names are, but I’ve never used them. Funny enough, when they selected their alter egos, neither one gave themselves a middle name so I had to make them up for when I get frustrated with them. As far as I know, Evo and Kade and have no intention of legally changing their names to their alter ego, but how hard would it be if they did?
We’re given names a birth, but if you’re not happy with it, there’s no reason why you have to be stuck with it. On the documentary Trekkies, they featured a Star Trek fan who legally changed his name to James Tiberius Kirk. Allegedly, there’s a bartender in Tucson who legally changed his name to God. And last year, my friend Jason auctioned off his last name for $45,500 and legally changed his name from Jason Sadler to Jason Headsetsdotcom. And he just announced that he’s doing it again.
So what do you do if you want to join the ranks of people who picked their own name. In Arizona the process is pretty simple. All it takes is paperwork, money, and a court hearing.
The paperwork to legally change your name in Arizona is available online in the court’s Self-Service Center, and it’s super simple. You have to provide your current contact information, your birthdate and birth place, whether you’ve been charged or convicted of a felony, what you want your new name to be, and why you want to change your name.
Once you complete the forms, you have to file them in a court in your county and pay the $319 filing fee. The clerk will give you a court date for your hearing. Yes, you have to appear before a judge to change your name. How long you have to wait for a hearing date depends on how busy the court is, so you may want to call the courthouses in your county and file your paperwork at the court that can get you the earliest date. If the court suspects you’re changing your name for fraudulent reasons, they may require you to submit a set of fingerprints for a background check.
Your hearing will probably be a straight-forward event. The judge may ask you why you want to change your name, but as long as it sounds like a legitimate reason and you didn’t apply to change your name to something that includes profanity, a name that’s not made up of letters (i.e., the artist formerly known as Prince), or something along those lines, the court will probably approve it. There are many reasons why you might want to change your name – you got divorced and want your maiden name back, you never liked your birth name, changing your name would give you a professional advantage, etc. Since you’re an adult, it’s unlikely that anyone would contest your name change even if they oppose it.
Given what celebrities are allowed to name their kids, you have a lot of leeway when it comes to selecting your new name. There have been some pretty awesome and pretty ridiculous legal name changes allowed by the courts.
When the court approves your name change, it will give you a court order for it. With that, the Social Security Office will issue you a new social security card with your new name on it. Once you have your social security card, you can get your new driver’s license. You can use your new social security card and driver’s license to update all your other accounts – bank accounts, credit cards, utilities, loans, gym membership, your employee file at work, etc.
So that’s how you change your name – pretty simple and straight-forward. If you want to chat with me about this or any other topic, you can connect with me Twitter, Google+, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, or you can email me.
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