OVERVIEW OF A NAME CHANGE
In the state of Nevada, any person wishing to have his or her name changed may file a petition with the clerk of the district court in which he or she resides.
Typically, you may legally change your name to whatever name you’d like, although state marriage laws may also provide some additional legal guidance.
There are some exceptions though. For example, you can’t:
• Change your name to escape debt liability or hide from criminal liability;
• Change your name in order to commit a crime;
• Change your name with the intention to mislead, which usually involves taking the name of a famous person (courts typically do not allow this, unless you have a convincing reason that’s not related to the famous person or the use of his or her name);
• Choose a confusing name that includes numerals or punctuation (although some courts have permitted people to spell out the numbers, for example “Seven” instead of “7”); or
• Choose a name that would intimidate, offend, be considered obscene, or is a racial slur.
Requirements for a Name Change
Requirements for a name change depend on whether the name change is for an adult or a minor.
• You must list your current name, the new name you wish to take, and the reasons for the change.
• You must disclose any felony convictions to the court. If you have been convicted of a felony, you will need to get fingerprinted and submit your fingerprints to the Court with the name change forms. If the name change is granted, the court will submit a copy of the name change order to the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History for inclusion in your criminal record.
• You must publish a notice of the proposed name change one time in a newspaper in Clark County. (If you are changing your name for gender identity reasons, you do not have to do this.) If you believe that publishing your proposed name change would put your safety at risk, you can ask the court to waive the publication requirement.
• A parent must apply for a name change on behalf of a child.
• If a child is age 14 or older, the child must consent to the name change.
• The parents must explain the child’s current name, new name requested, and the reasons for the change.
• Usually, both parents must consent to a child’s name change. Only one parent’s consent is required if the other parent is deceased, had their parental rights terminated, or has no legal rights regarding the child.
• Any parent who will not consent to the name change must be served with copies of the papers asking for the child’s name change. That parent can object to the name change. If the other parent cannot be found, the petitioning parent can request permission from the court to put a notice in a newspaper instead.
After a Name Change
Getting a court order for a name change does not automatically change your name with government agencies, banks, the DMV, etc. After you get your court order, you will need to contact each office to change your name. Most will want to see a certified copy of the name change order before changing your name on their records.
You can request a new birth certificate to be issued with the new name as part of your final name change order. If so, you will need to contact the vital records department where you were born to find out their requirements. If you were born in Nevada, please see the Nevada Office of Vital Statistics to find out how to get your birth certificate changed.
Be sure to change your name on all of your personal documents, such as wills, deeds, titles, trusts, accounts, and powers of attorney. Changing your name on estate planning documents will make it much easier on your heirs in the future. While your heirs can’t be disinherited because of a name discrepancy, they may have to go through more steps in order to show your former name and true identity before being awarded their share.
In addition to your friends and family members, here are some of the entities that you should notify once you legally change your name:
• Post office (via change of address form)
• Department of Motor Vehicles
• Social Security Administration
• Department of Records or Vital Statistics (issuers of birth certificates)
• Banks and Other Financial Institutions
• Creditors and Debtors
• Telephone and Utility Companies
• State Taxing Authority
• Insurance Agencies
• Registrar of Voters
• Passport Office
• Public Assistance (Welfare) Office
• Veterans Administration
If you’re considering filing a petition for a Name Change… We Can Help!
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