hide my visit

Instructions to Change the Name of an Adult

Click on each step to expand out with more information and forms.

You can print out these instructions to use as a checklist.  

To print out both the instructions and forms, click here.

 

Hide Checklist

Step 1: Fill out your court forms.

Fill out these forms:

This form asks the judge to change your name. It also tells the judge if you have a criminal record.

This form MUST be signed in front of a notary. Do not sign it until you are in front of a notary.

The judge signs this form to legally change your name. Fill out all spaces on the form except for the judge’s signature.

Fill out this additional form only if you have a low-income, receive public assistance because you have a low income, or cannot pay the court filing fee:

Note: You can print your court forms and fill them out neatly in blue or black ink. 

Fill out all the spaces on the forms unless instructed otherwise. The judge and court clerks will not fill them out for you. The judge may deny the name change if the information is inaccurate or incomplete. 

 

 

Step 2: Get your fingerprints taken.

Get a legible and complete set of your fingerprints made on a Texas Department of Public Safety of Federal Bureau of Investigations fingerprint card. There will be a fee for this service. Check with local law enforcement or do some online research to learn where to get your fingerprints taken. 

 

 

Step 3: Collect additional paperwork if you have a felony conviction or you are a sex offender.

If you have a felony conviction:

For each felony conviction, get proof that:

1) you have been pardoned, or

2) it has been at least two years since you were discharged or completed probation.

Note: if you were convicted of a felony, you may be able to change your name without waiting two years if you are asking to change your name to the primary name used in your criminal history record information. See Texas Family Code 103(b)(2). If that is the case, get proof of what your name is in your criminal history record information.

If you were pardoned, get a copy of your pardon or clemency proclamation from the Secretary of State Registrations Unit. Get more information here: FAQs about Clemency Process.

  • If you served time in a Texas prison, get a copy of your discharge papers from the Classification and Records Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. If you served time in another state or federal prison, get a copy of your discharge papers from that state’s department of criminal justice or the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
  • If you were on felony probation or juvenile probation for a felony, get proof that you completed your period of probation from the district clerk’s office in the county where you were prosecuted.

If you are required to register as a sex offender: Get proof that you have notified local law enforcement that you intend to ask the court to change your name

Write Exhibit at the top of each document and attach each document to your Petition to Change the Name of an Adult form. 

Step 4: Make copies.

Make a copy of your completed Petition to Change the Name of an Adult, fingerprint card and, if applicable, your Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs.

Step 5: File your Petition in the county where you live.

You can file in person or e-file online.

To file in person, take the following to the district clerk’s office in the county where you live:

  • Petition to Change the Name of an Adult
  • Fingerprint Card
  • Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs (only if you are asking the judge to waive the filing fee)

To e-file online, follow the instructions included with the Automated Online Interview for Adult Name Change. You will e-file your Petition and, if applicable, a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs. Contact the clerk's office regarding whether they require a scanned and attached copy of your fingerprint card to the petition and later take your original fingerprint card to your court hearing. 

If you do not use the automated interview, to file your forms online, go to E-File Texas, and follow the instructions there.

To file your forms in person, take your Petition and additional starting forms (and copies) to the district clerk’s office in the county you determined is the correct county to file in. 

At the clerk’s office:

  • Turn in your Petition and other starting forms (and copies).
  • Pay the filing fee (or file your completed Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs if you cannot afford the fee). You can call the clerk’s office ahead of time to learn the filing fee for your case.
  • Ask the clerk if there is a local standing order that you need to follow or attach to any of your documents.
  • Ask the clerk if there are local rules or procedures you need to know about for name changes.
  • The clerk will write your “Cause Number” and “Court Number” at the top of the first page of your Petition. Write these numbers at the top of any document you file in your name change case.)
  • The clerk will “file stamp” your copies with the date and time. The clerk will keep the original and give you back your copies. 
  • Read What Court Employees Can and Cannot Do, because court staff cannot give you legal advice.

Whether you file in person or e-file online, you must pay a filing fee or, if you have a low income, file a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs. Contact the district clerk’s office in your county to learn the filing fee for an adult name change. 

If you file in person, the clerk will “file-stamp” the copy of your Petition with the date and give the copy back to you. 

 

Step 6: Get ready for court.

Contact the District Clerk’s office in your county to learn:

  • How to get an uncontested hearing for an adult name change. Some counties will schedule a date and time for your hearing. Other counties have a time you can walk-in to see the judge.
  • If there are local rules that you need to know for your name change case.
  • If the court requires you to get a criminal background check before your hearing.
    • If you need a criminal background check, mail your fingerprint card to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) with a file-stamped copy of your Petition to Change the Name of an Adult with the court. There is a fee for this service. 
    • DPS will send the results directly to the court. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)'s website has specific instructions on submitting fingerprint cards for a legal name change. Form CS-65 has the steps you need to follow.
  • Read Tips for the Courtroom.
Step 7: Go to your court hearing.

Bring the following to your court hearing:

  • Your Order Changing the Name of an Adult form completely filled out, except for the judge’s signature,
  • A file-stamped copy of your Petition to Change the Name of an Adult and all the exhibits you filed with your Petition,
  • Your fingerprint card (if you e-filed your Petition), 
  • Proof of your identity, such as your passport, driver’s license or state identification card.
  • Sample testimony for adult name change (which you should complete and review before court).

When you get to the courthouse, stop by the clerk’s office to find out where to go and whether or not you need to bring the court file.

When you get to the courtroom, check in with the clerk.

When the judge calls your case, stand in front of the judge’s bench.

  • The judge will swear you in and review your forms.
  • The judge may ask you some questions about your name change, or you may read your sample testimony for adult name change.
  • Some judges will require that you testify under oath that you are not changing your name to avoid criminal prosecution or get out of paying a debt. 

If everything is in order, the judge will sign your Order Changing the Name of an Adult form.

NOTE: During the coronavirus crisis, some courts are letting people go to court virtually or submit something called a "prove up affidavit." Read Virtual Court. Ask if your court is accepting prove-up affidavits. If so, you may be able to use the Adult Name Change Prove-Up Affidavit

 

Step 8: File the Order signed by the Judge and get certified copies.

Once the judge has signed the Order changing your name, the clerk in the courtroom may file the Order or you may need to take the Order to the clerk’s office to be filed. Your name will not be changed until the Order is filed.

Get several certified copies of the Order from the clerk. There is a fee for certified copies, but you will need certified copies of the Order to get your official documents changed to your new name.

Step 9: Change official documents to show your new name.

It is your responsibility to have your official documents changed to show your new name.

To change your social security card, take or mail a certified copy of the order changing your name to your local social security office. For more information visit: U.S. Social Security Administration.

To change your driver’s license or state identification card, you must take a certified copy of the order changing your name to a Texas Department of Public Safety office. For more information, contact the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

To change your name on your voter registration card, notify your County Voter Registrar in writing. For more information, contact the Texas Secretary of State.

To change your name on your passport, notify the U.S. State Department.

You can also change your name on your birth certificate if you choose, but it is not required. If you wish to change your birth certificate, you will need to get an Application to Amend Certificate of Birth from the Texas Vital Statistics Unit.