It’s easy enough to ask people to call you by a different name. But when should you have it legally changed?
Unless you change your name legally, your new name won’t appear on your official documents, like your driver’s license or passport. Doctors, lawyers, and anyone who meets you on paper before they meet you in person will continue to use your previous name.
Getting a name change in Maryland isn’t impossible, but there are certain things you’ll need to provide and steps you’ll need to take to complete the process.
Read on to find out how to change your name in Maryland under three different circumstances.
3How to Change Your Name in Maryland Due to Marriage
Perhaps one of the most common reasons to change your name is due to marriage. Whether you’re taking your partner’s last name, hyphenating both last names, or coming up with your own unique combination, you will be able to take care of the legal change when you apply for your marriage license.
You will need to get your marriage license in the county where you are getting married. You will need to fill out an application that requires identifying information for both you and your partner. This includes both birthdates and places of birth, full legal names, social security numbers, and current places of residence.
Once you’ve filed your application and paid your fee, your application will be reviewed and if everything is in order, the marriage license will be granted. Bear in mind that it won’t go into effect until the following day. Get your license no more than six months before the date of your wedding or it will no longer be valid.
After you are married, you can begin to use your new name immediately. To get it changed on your official documents, you will need to have either the original marriage certificate or a certified copy. This along with other required documents, which can include passports, birth certificates, and so forth, can be used to change your name with the social security administration, and DMV so you can get an updated social security card and driver’s license.
2How to Change Your Name in Maryland After a Divorce
To return to your former name after a divorce, you will need to file this name change with your divorce decree. Begin with the Complaint for Absolute Divorce and include the name you wish to adopt on the form. If you forget to do so or decide to do so later, you have up until 30 days before your divorce hearing to amend the document.
The Complaint will then go to your county’s circuit court and to your spouse. Request a hearing. Note that if your spouse also resides in Maryland and does not respond to the complaint in 30 days or less, you can receive a default ruling granted in your favor.
During your divorce hearing, a judge will ask you if you wish to return to your former name. The judge must include your decision in the final divorce decree for it to be made legal. You will then want to obtain a certified copy of the divorce decree in order to apply for updated legal documents.
It’s important to note that you cannot pick a name you’ve never gone by before. To legally change your name after a divorce, you have to use the name you legally held before the marriage. If you want to change your name to something entirely new, you will have to follow the steps below to file a petition for a name change in the state of Maryland.
1How to Petition for a Name Change in Maryland
If you want to change your first or middle name or you want to change your last name for personal reasons other than divorce or marriage, you will have to petition for a name change. Petitioning for a name change in Maryland is a bit more complicated than changing your name due to marriage or divorce. There are more steps involved and the full process can take more time.
First, you will need to fill out and file a Maryland Name Change Position. When choosing your new name, bear in mind that certain names can be rejected outright, especially if they are considered fraudulent. Along with this form, you will need to file your birth certificate, an Order for Change of Name, and a Notice for Publication, and the fee to your county’s circuit court.
Maryland requires that before your petition is granted, you must publish a notice in your local newspaper detailing your change in name. This is done to allow people to object to your name change before it becomes legal.
Fortunately, there are very few reasons that someone could object to a name change. The first is that the objector can prove that you are changing your name to commit fraud or evade financial obligations like taxes. The second is that one parent has filed for the name change of a minor and the other parent objects.
As long as there are no objections, a judge will consider your petition. If everything is in order and you’ve provided all of the proper documents and information, your petition will be granted, and the judge will sign an order granting your new name.
It is recommended to get multiple certified copies of the order from the court to help expedite the process of changing your name with other institutions.
Changing Your Name in Maryland is Easier Than You Think
When you’re reading about how to change your name in Maryland, it may feel like you have to jump through a lot of hoops to get your name change legalized. While it is true that failing to provide the proper information and documentation will slow down the process, it’s not as hard to get everything in order as you may think.
To make matters simpler, name change services like UpdateMyName.com can help you track down all of the necessary forms and auto-fill them out for you. As long as you know what you need, you should have little to no hiccups during your name change process.