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Legal name change in TX not relating to marriage/divorce
November 11, 2009 7:04 PM   Subscribe

How can I legally change my last name in Texas without it being due to marriage or divorce?

My father just passed away. I am his daughter, his only child. I am married and took my husband's last name. Now that my dad is gone, I want to carry on his name by hyphenating my last name with maiden-married. Some places on the internet says I can just fill out some forms, others say I need to hire an attorney. Anyone out there change their name in Texas without it being due to a marriage/divorce and did you have to hire an attorney? Thank you.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (6 answers total)
 
Go to the district court clerk's office in your county and ask them for a name change petition. Filing fees run about $140-$200, and should be signed by the judge in fairly short order without a hearing.
posted by fireoyster at 7:15 PM on November 11, 2009


I am sorry for your loss.

You may be able to download the form you need. For example, here is one from Harris County. (pdf) I found it by googling "forms available at texas county clerk office." This one was listed under "Family Forms."
posted by zinfandel at 7:37 PM on November 11, 2009


The first link on this page (which I think is the Texas Legal Aid website) is a pdf with instructions for a basic adult name change.
posted by chiababe at 7:53 PM on November 11, 2009


You don't need an attorney to do this, just the forms with the appropriate county court clerk's office. You may have heard that an attorney is necessary to ensure everything is filled out properly. Some courts will immediately reject applications that are not correctly filled out and make you pay the fee again. But, this shouldn't be very difficult for you to do without an attorney.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:37 PM on November 11, 2009


A little more advice. Call ahead, and if you feel up to it, explain why you are doing it. Having the clerks on your side makes sure things work well.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:56 PM on November 11, 2009


IANAL, and IANYL. I was in Travis County, TX, I changed my name without a marriage or divorce (to match my partner's last name), and I did not hire an attorney.

It was a couple of years ago, so here's what I remember:

You don't technically even have to go to court or file paperwork for a name change in Texas. All that is legally required is that you begin using the new name and that you are not changing your name for purposes of fraud. HOWEVER: try getting your name changed on anything (driver license, SS card) without a name-change document and let me know how that goes.

First, you can get the forms on the internet here and do everything you need to do (fingerprints, I think passport picture?) before you go to the courthouse.

Two trips to the courthouse. One: turn in forms with check. I think it was like $200. Then they will assign you a court date.

You will go sit before the judge with lots of people who are filing divorce papers and name changes. They will likely try to get you out as fast as possible, 'cause you're the least complicated case in the room. The judge calls you up, asks why you want to change your name (I said I wanted to take my partner's last name), they say it's granted, and they sign it. You go get official stamped copies made in the records department.

Then you take those copies to your bank, the DPS, the SS office, and wherever else you have to change you name. Ta da!

I hope this helps.
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:07 PM on November 12, 2009


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