Changing an Adult Name
Legal Disclaimer: The following is basic legal information, provided as a public service by Wyoming’s lawyers. The information provided is not a substitute for speaking to an attorney. Only an attorney can give you legal advice regarding your specific situation. Click here for help finding a lawyer.
- Do I need a court order for a name change?
- How do I get a court order for a name change?
- Is my name change private?
- How much does it cost to file for a name change?
- What happens if someone files an objection?
- Is there any reason why a person might not be allowed to change his or her name?
- What do I do after I have the order for the name change?
Do I need a court order for a name change?
A court order is now often required by many institutions to officially accept a name change, even if you have been using another name for a long time. This is because government regulations, created to protect against fraud such as identity theft, often require official documentation for a name change. Therefore, you may need to ask the court to grant an official change of name. The information below explains more about that process.
If you recently got married and want to change your last name to your spouse's last name, you may not have to go to court. You can usually change the name on your driver's license and social security card to your spouse's last name with just your marriage license or certificate. Contact WYDOT and your local Social Security office for more information.
If you are getting divorced and want to change your name to your maiden or previous name, you can usually do that during your divorce case. Click here for more information about divorce.
If you are becoming a U.S. citizen, you may able to change your name as part of the naturalization process. Click here for more information about naturalization. (This link will take you to the USCIS website).
How do I get a court order for a name change?
You will need to file all the necessary forms with the District Court in the county where you live; and follow all required court rules and procedures.
Adult Name Change forms and instructions are available here. Note: These are not official court forms. You may want to check with your local District Court first, to see if they have name change forms they want you to use. Click here for a District Court directory.
Important! If you file a petition for a name change without a lawyer, you are still expected to complete all the court documents correctly, and to follow all court rules and procedures. The District Court Clerk’s office cannot assist you in preparing any legal documents or advise you about the law. If you do not think you can complete the process by yourself, you should consider talking to a lawyer. Click here for help finding a lawyer.
What are the requirements to get a name change in Wyoming?
- • You must have been a bona fide resident of Wyoming for at least six (6) months before you can ask the Court for a name change.
- You may change your first, middle and/or last names.
- You cannot change your name to avoid legal obligations, or to harm or defraud another person.
Is my name change private?
All name change petitions can be viewed by anyone because they are public records. Also, the court will require notice of your name change to be printed in a local newspaper.
If you are applying for a name change because your safety is in danger, it is highly recommended that you talk to a lawyer or a domestic violence counselor. Click here for more information about domestic violence. Click here for help finding a lawyer.
According to a new Wyoming law, if you are victim of domestic violence and your safety is in danger you can request to have your residence information in your name change file kept confidential and you will not have to publish a notice in a newspaper. To keep your information confidential, you will have to file a separate motion with your petition, and you may need to prove to the court why you are a victim of domestic violence and your safety is in danger.
How much does it cost to file for a name change?
Filing fees depend on the county where you are filing. Most are around $120. The District Court Clerk at your local courthouse can tell you what the fees are. Click here for a District Court directory.
In addition, you will need to pay for the cost of publishing your name in the local newspaper. This fee may be substantial (some papers charge as much as $200.00). You may want to call the newspaper first to make sure you can afford the publication fee.
What happens if someone files an objection?
In that case, you should seek the advice of a lawyer. If someone files an objection to your name change, you will need to schedule a hearing to prove that your name change is proper and not harmful to any other person. Click here for help finding a lawyer.
Is there any reason why a person might not be allowed to change his or her name?
Yes. The Court must find that the requested name change is proper and not harmful to the interests of any other person. A person is not allowed to change his or her name to avoid judgments or legal actions against him or her, or to avoid debts and obligations. A person cannot change their name to defraud or defame another person, or for any other illegal purpose.
What do I do after I have the order for the name change?
- Get new identification cards. After you change your name, it is important that you get new identification documents and notify some agencies and organizations about your new name. Each organization will have its own process for updating records. The first thing you may want to do is get a Social Security card and driver's license or I.D. with your new name so you can show them to the organizations along with the court order granting your name change.
- Social Security Administration (Changing a name)
- Wyoming Department of Transportation (driver's license and I.D. card)
- WY Secretary of State (voter registration)
- U.S. State Department (passports)
- Notify agencies and organizations.
- Insurance companies
- Doctor, dentist, pharmacist
- Banks and other financial institutions
- Utility companies (telephone, cable, gas, electric, etc.)
- State and federal tax authorities
- Social service or benefit programs
- Update important papers. You should also think about important papers that have your name on them, like titles to motor vehicles or real estate, a will, health care directive, power of attorney, etc. You may want to update those documents with your new name to avoid any confusion in the future.