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I want to change my name.

Name Change

How to file for a name change in Texas if you are 18 years or older and want to legally change your name.
Overview

Guide Overview

Warning: The information and forms in this guide are not a substitute for the advice and help of a lawyer. This guide tells you how to change your name. 

Research Tips

The legal system is complex and it is not possible for TexasLawHelp.org to answer every question. You can also go to a law library to conduct legal research. How? See the TexasLawHelp Legal Research Guide.

There is a directory of local law libraries available for public use at Law Libraries in Texas. But if you are not near a law library, you may be able to access more information (if you are a Texas resident) by registering for a free Texas State Law Library Account. With this account, you can access a variety of online sources. 

Examples of books and guides to look for at a law library:

  • O’Connor's Texas Family Law Handbook
  • Texas Family Law Practice Manual
  • Texas Family Code Annotated
  • Texas Jurisprudence

WestLaw Resources – If your local law library has free WestLaw access you can look for secondary resources such as:

  • Texas Practice Series
  • Texas Family Law Service
  • Texas Practice Guide Family Law

Common questions about Name Change of an Adult

You will usually need a court order to change your name.

If you were recently married, you may be able to change your last name to your spouse’s last name without a court order by providing proof of your marriage to the social security office and driver’s license office. See How to Change Information on Your Driver License or ID Card and How do I change or correct my name on my Social Security number card?

If you need a court order, you can use the forms in this toolkit. 

Maybe. In general, a court will change your name if the court finds that the name change would be in your interest and the public’s interest. You must provide information about your criminal record and the judge will consider that information when deciding whether to change your name.

A court cannot change your name if you have a felony conviction, unless you provide proof that:

  • you have been pardoned, 
  • it has been at least two years since you were discharged from prison or completed probation, or
  • you are asking to change your name to the primary name used in your criminal history record information. 

A court cannot change your name If you are required to register as a sex offender, unless you also provide proof that you notified your local law enforcement authority that you are asking the court to change your name. 

No. You must be at least 18 years old to use these forms. If you are under 18, your parent or legal guardian can ask the court to change your name using the forms found in this toolkit: I want to change my child’s name.

The court filing fee may be between $150 - $300 depending on where you live. Contact the district clerk’s office in your county to learn the filing fee for an adult name change. If you have a low-income, you can ask the Court to waive the filing fee by filing a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs form. Learn more here: Court Fees and Fee Waivers.

You must also pay to be fingerprinted and, in some counties, pay for a criminal background check.

You may be able to correct the spelling of your name without going to court. Contact the Texas Vital Statistics Unit to discuss your situation. If you need a court order, you can use the forms in this toolkit.

You will probably need a court order to change your name from the name currently on your birth certificate to the name you have always used. You can contact the Texas Vital Statistics Unit to discuss your situation. If you need a court order, you can use the forms in this toolkit.

If the court ordered your name changed in your Final Decree of Divorce, your name is changed. However, it is your responsibility to have your official documents (such as your social security card and driver’s license or state identification card) changed to show your new name.

If the court did not order your name changed in your Final Decree of Divorce, your name is not changed.

No. Changing a child’s name is a different process and requires different forms. If you want to change your child’s name, use the forms found in this toolkit: I want to change my child’s name.

Instructions & Forms

Warning: The information and forms in this guide are not a substitute for the advice and help of a lawyer.

You can use the forms in this guide to ask a court to change your name if:

  1. You are at least 18 years old.
  2. You file a petition asking for a name change in the Texas county where you live.
  3. You provide the court with complete information about all felonies and Class A or B misdemeanors with which you have been charged.
  4. You have either:
  • Never been convicted of a felony, or
  • If you have been convicted of a felony, you provide proof that you were either pardoned or it has been at least two years since you were discharged from prison or completed probation.

    Note: Even 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 45.103(b)(2).
  1. You are either:
  • Not required to register as a sex offender, or
  • If you are required to register as a sex offender, you provide proof that you notified your local law enforcement authority that you are asking the court to change your name.

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

Checklist Steps

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. 

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. 

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 45.103(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. 

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.

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. 

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.

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

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.

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.

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