Wondering how to change your name in Virginia? You’re not alone!
Name changes in Virginia are common, particularly the changing of an individual’s last name in the event of marriage or divorce.
The state of Virginia has different processes for changing your name due to marriage, divorce, and other personal reasons. All you need is the proper paperwork and documents to make it happen.
Read on to find out how to change your name in Virginia!
How to Change Your Name in Virginia Due to Marriage
In the state of Virginia, you can change your last name during the process of obtaining a marriage license. You may take your partner’s last name, hyphenate, or combine the two to create a new, unique surname during the process of a marriage name change.
Find a county clerk near you and bring proof of identity, proof of residency, and your social security card. Proof of identity can exist in the form of a driver’s license, passport, or other federal issued identification card. Both you and your partner must appear together and both must have all of the proper documents.
When you fill out the marriage license application, list both your current name and the name you wish to use after marriage. Once the application and your fee clear, the marriage license is ready for use and is valid for 60 days.
After the marriage ceremony is performed, your officiant must file your license back to the county clerk with their signature to serve as proof that you are legally wed. You will receive your marriage license in the mail, which you can then use to change your name on your social security card and other identifying documents. It’s advisable to request a certified copy from the clerk’s office so that your spouse can apply for these new documents at the same time.
How to Change Your Name in Virginia Due to Divorce
It’s not uncommon for people to wish to return to their previous name after a divorce. As long as you simply wish to return to your maiden name (as opposed to changing it to something entirely new), you may do this while you are going through the legal process of filing for divorce.
Virginia has some pretty strict laws regarding the circumstances under which you can file for divorce. Depending on your reason for filing, you may have had to live apart from your spouse for six months to one year in order to qualify.
You’ll begin the process by filing a complaint in a circuit court that will be served to your spouse. The complaint will include information such as the place and date of your marriage, both of your current residencies, and the grounds for divorce.
Whether or not your spouse contests the complaint, your case will go to court. Near the end of the court proceedings, your legal representative can file what is called a name change affidavit requesting that your name is changed as part of the court’s legal granting. Rarely will there be an issue with this part of your divorce proceedings?
Your official divorce decree will serve as legal documentation of your name change. You can use this to have your name changed on all of your identifying documents.
How to File a Petition for a Legal Name Change in Virginia
If you are changing either your first name or changing your last name for reasons other than marriage or divorce, you will have to file a petition. This also applies if you did not change your last name while applying for your marriage license or finalizing your divorce.
Fortunately for Virginia residents, the process of filing a petition for a name change is relatively streamlined. First, go to your local circuit court where you will file your present name as well as the name you wish to petition for. From here, you will be sworn to tell the truth under oath.
For most individuals, filling out the application will be the last of your requirements. This application includes information about your birth name, your address, and your place and date of birth. You will also need to fill out a questionnaire at the bottom of the application regarding any previous felonies or convictions.
Rarely will these petitions have to go to court for a hearing. If they do, it’s most likely because you are petitioning for the name change of your child and your child’s other parent objects to the change. If the other parent cannot be found to give approval, the petition will be published in your local newspaper to give the other parent the opportunity to object.
Note that name changes that are suspected to be fraudulent will be denied. If someone has been convicted of certain crimes, the court will be allowed (and required) to notify state law enforcement of that person’s name change.
Typically, the petition will be granted quickly. Once you have a court order stating your legal name change, you can use it to file for updated identifying documents.
File For Your Name Change in Virginia with Ease
Whether that’s planning a wedding ceremony, filing for divorce or any other reason, the process of changing your name can seem a bit overwhelming for many.
However, as long as you have all of your forms and documents in order, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem and name change services like UpdateMyName.com make the process even easier by providing auto-filled up today forms for name changing. Once it’s all said and done, you’ll get to enjoy your new name!