Lawyer for name change? USA
January 19, 2021 5:31 PM   Subscribe

Is hiring a lawyer to help with a legal name change worth it? They would charge $1200, and I can afford it. - No unusual circumstances like a criminal record.
posted by ChodenKal to Law & Government (16 answers total)
In general, you can DIY this - I know a lot of people who've done it (at least in NJ and PA) who I'm quite confident don't have $1200 sitting around.
posted by Tomorrowful at 5:42 PM on January 19, 2021 [3 favorites]

I did it myself in WA; it was a very easy process. No lawyer needed.

What state are you in?

If you need help with WA State, feel free to memail me.
posted by spinifex23 at 5:44 PM on January 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The process in Texas was tedious but clearly laid out on the county clerk website. I'm sure the lawyer fees do not include the finger printing, filing fees, notary fees that were required, several hundred dollars IIRC.
posted by muddgirl at 6:16 PM on January 19, 2021 [4 favorites]

$10 in VA iirc. Walked in, filled out a one page form. The hard part is updating everything else.
posted by idb at 6:31 PM on January 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers y'all!
posted by ChodenKal at 6:38 PM on January 19, 2021

Just a note from Texas Law Help, don't know if it applies to your situation:
NOTE: If you’re changing from a stereotypically masculine name to a stereotypically feminine name (e.g., from Alexander to Alexandra), or vice versa, you may not have the most pleasant experience. Even if you aren’t requesting a gender marker change, this may disclose your gender identity to the judge and court staff. However, your name change cannot be denied simply because of your gender identity. If a judge denies your name change, you should contact an attorney.
But I still don't think you need to pay for one in advance.
posted by muddgirl at 7:40 PM on January 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

My partner did a pretty standard name change (reverting back to her maiden name) on her own in DC and it wasn't hard. She did have to briefly go before a judge to explain, which was emotionally a bit difficult for reasons that don't bear elaborating here, so just something to be mindful of if your jurisdiction requires something similar. (The judge was fortunately very kind, and the experience wasn't a negative one.)
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:00 PM on January 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, muddgirl.

My best friend and I both have crap families and want to have the same last name since we're each other's real family.
posted by ChodenKal at 9:15 PM on January 19, 2021 [13 favorites]

That's a lovely reason ChodenKal. Good luck with all the paperwork!
posted by kitten magic at 9:29 PM on January 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

I did the same in Michigan, Chodenkal, and it was very straightforward, though there were multiple steps and lots of waiting. When you are replacing things after your name change, do a bit of research on the order (e.g. is drivers license first or social security card? passport?), so you don't end up backtracking all over town like I did.
posted by ktkt at 9:41 PM on January 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all!
posted by ChodenKal at 3:44 AM on January 20, 2021

For posterity, on the subject of changing your name in Texas if you're trans, you (in most circumstances) don't need a lawyer to change your name (or gender marker for that matter, to my understanding), but you do want to seek out trans-specific resources and talk to people who've done it. That's true for almost anything transition-related, but my understanding of the situation in Texas is that there are particular courts one should go to.
posted by hoyland at 6:00 AM on January 20, 2021

I've done this twice in Texas. Definitely don't need a lawyer. The fee was around $250, plus the charge for the fingerprints (I think around $25?) and paying for certified copies after.

The thing with the judge will feel scary and official, but really, you get in a room with a bunch of people with easy divorces and other name changes, they call you up to the judge who asks if you're doing this to perpetrate fraud or anything like that, and you tell them no, and that's it, they approve it. It's just another Tuesday for them.

The last time I did it was about 10 years ago, but feel free to Memail me if you have any questions. I have also worked filling out name change forms for people in various states (but that was around 7 years ago).
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:54 AM on January 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

We hired a lawyer to do it in Georgia for my trans son. I was scared to mess something up, so throwing a few hundred at a lawyer to know the right forms and which judge to aim for was worth it.
posted by heathrowga at 10:40 AM on January 20, 2021

Yes, for posterity, in Texas, you definitely want to figure out who your judge will be if it's a gender-marker change or similar, and work your connections to get relevant info. You don't need a lawyer, but you do need information. For other name changes, it's well laid-out and if you need help, the clerk's offices are usually great for that.
posted by *s at 11:21 AM on January 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank all, so very much!

I officially have a name I love and family name I'm proud of.
posted by ChodenKal at 12:15 PM on April 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

« Older Starting a plot in a community garden   |   Oldish dog suddenly nipping: cause for concern? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.