How Do I Legally Change My Name?
People decide to change their names for many reasons. Once a person chooses a new name, it can be difficult to know what steps to take next. For Wisconsin residents who want to legally change their names, there are a few requirements that must be completed. While these requirements do not necessarily need to be completed by an attorney, some people may find that they do not have the time to complete the process themselves, or may desire to have an attorney complete the name change to ensure it is done properly. Continue reading to receive a short outline of the necessary steps to complete a legal name change in Wisconsin.
There are seven main steps in the name change process. First, a Petition for Name Change form must be filled out. It’s important to know that you must sign this in front of a notary and make sure to make at least two copies. Second, a Notice and Order for Name Change Hearing form must be filled out. You’ll need at least two copies of this form too. Third, an Order for Name Change form must be filled out. This form can also be completed by the Clerk of Courts. Don’t forget to make at least two copies. Fourth, you must file the above forms with the Clerk of Courts in the county where you live. In order to file these documents, you will have to pay a fee which varies depending on the county you live in. Fifth, you must arrange for the publication of the Notice and Order for Name Change Hearing form. This must be done in a local newspaper that is published in the county where the person who wants to change their name lives. There is usually a fee required for publication, but the amount of the fee varies depending on the newspaper. Usually, the publication must occur at least one time per week for a total of three weeks. After that time passes, the newspaper will send you proof that they published the notice. This proof is called an “Affidavit of Publication.” Sixth, you must attend a hearing on the name change Petition. A judge may ask you questions about the forms you filled out and filed. Don’t forget to bring your original birth certificate or a certified copy of it. You should also bring the Affidavit of Publication. At the end of the hearing, the judge will either grant or deny your Petition for Name Change. Finally, if the judge grants the Petition for Name Change, the final Order for Name Change must be filed with the Clerk of Courts and signed by the Judge. Depending on the county in which you live, there may also be a few more follow- up steps.
Now that you understand the basic steps in the process of a legal name change, you may have questions about this process particular to your own situation. A blog post can serve as a valuable introduction to certain legal topics, but it should not be considered legal advice. If you have questions about the process of legally changing a name, please contact an attorney at Kelly & Brand, Attorneys at Law, LLC who can provide guidance through the process.