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Bill de Blasio, NYC Mayoral Candidate, Has Changed Name Twice

By Betty Wang, JD | Last updated on

Bill de Blasio has changed his name...twice. The NYC mayoral candidate was born as Warren Wilhelm Jr. in 1961, but while in college, he petitioned a Manhattan judge to change his name formally to Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm, according to the New York Daily News. In 2001, the former Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm petitioned a New York judge once again to change his name, this time to Bill de Blasio.

The Democratic candidate de Blasio has attributed the transformation of his name, twice, to the result of a personal journey wherein he developed a connection and identification with his mother's side of the family -- the de Blasios.

Is changing one's name really that easy? What did de Blasio have to go through? Here's a general overview:

Legally Changing Your Name

Changing something that's been a part of you for your entire life may sound like a daunting task, but the legal process is actually fairly simple. First things first, if you want to change your name to something else, just start using it. Refer to yourself as your new name, tell your friends and family, write it on all documents, use it to sign off on emails, etc.

Formal name petition processes vary from state to state, but it's usually a fairly simple task of going though the court system. To change your name, you may need to submit a state government form which may ask:

  • Your old name,
  • Your new name,
  • Your social security number,
  • The reason for your name change, and
  • To sign an oath that you are not changing your name to escape criminal liability.

One may also need to file separate documentation with certain institutions -- like with the DMV or the Social Security office.

Still Some Rules

Despite the fact that changing one's name may be easy, there are some caveats. A person can't just change their name to anything he or she wants for any reason. There are several kinds of name changes that are typically not allowed:

  • Names to escape debt
  • Changes because you're running from the law
  • Names to deceive others (for example, to a popular celebrity's name)
  • Changing your name to something obscene or offensive (a racial slur, for example)
  • Changing your name to the name of your website

Your name is your primary identifier that will follow you for the rest of your life. If, like de Blasio, you want to change your name to something that will make you more comfortable, go for it.

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