Changing your name legally is a big decision. You can change a name that was given to you at birth or, in the aftermath of a divorce, can change back to the name that you gave up when you got married. Either way it represents a big change in your life and before you do it you need to be absolutely certain that it is the right decision. After all, it costs money to do it, so you will need to be confident that you want to take this step. If you are changing the name because it will give you freedom from a period of your life that you wish to put behind you, the legal costs can be viewed as an investment in a better future. Here are five reasons people change their names.
1. In the aftermath of a divorce, people often want to change their name back to the name that they went by before they were married. It may be in order to remove any aspect of their ex-spouse from their lives in the case of an acrimonious split, or it may be simply to ensure a fresh start and a point from which to relaunch your life. Just as taking your spouse’s name marked a new era, so will taking your old name back.
2. Equally, getting married is a time when you may change your name, usually to that of your new spouse. Some people, however, take the opportunity to keep their old name and add that of their spouse, in order to reflect the joining of two family lines. This is also a way of avoiding the awkwardness of telling one’s family that they have chosen to take a different name. Either way, making the decision to change one’s name marks a new chapter in life.
3. On immigrating into the country, an individual with a specifically non-American name may well choose to take the step to adopt a more Americanized name. This is a step that is often taken at the stage where the individual applies for naturalization, and during the interview that takes place as part of this process they may choose to prepare a petition for name change. The name change will become final once the federal court passes the application for naturalization, and can give the individual the chance to be treated as an ordinary American.
4. Changing one’s name does not need to be the result of a change in legal circumstances. It may be the case that you wish to make a break with your name, due to circumstances that make living under the current name difficult. This may be the result of major adverse publicity for yourself or for another person with a similar or identical name, which could cause you to be treated differently and unfairly. For example, there are very few people in the world today living under the name “Hitler”.
5. People may change their name for business reasons. The motivation behind this can vary, but as an example one might feel that a name which is also held by a well-known individual operating within their industry, or in one that is at odds with their own, might cause an adverse effect on their business. It is unlikely that one will be able to convince a court to agree to a frivolous name change however, so it is wise to be cautious.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.
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