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How to Change Your Legal Name in Alaska

Are you a resident of the state of Alaska looking to legally change your name? Fortunately, in most instances, the process is fairly straightforward. This article will help you figure out:

  • What process you need to follow, which depends on why you're changing your name
  • The steps you'll need to take for each process
  • Who to notify after you've changed your name

Changing Your Name Due to Marriage

Alaska's process for requesting a name change due to marriage is different from most other states. In most states, you can simply indicate the name you want to use on your marriage license application. That won't work in Alaska. Instead, you'll need to take the following steps after you're married:

The certified copy of your marriage certificate can be used to change your name and vital records with the Social Security Administration (SSA), Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), banks, credit card companies, and other institutions. You will need a new Social Security card and Alaska driver's license.

Changing Your Name Due to Divorce

If you want to change your name when you're getting divorced, you'll need first to decide whether you want to go back to using the name you had before you were married or whether you want to go by something entirely new.

If you want to return to using your prior name, all you need to do is write that name in the appropriate space on your divorce petition. Nothing else is required.

If you want to go by a new name, though, you'll need to fill out an application for a name change. Making this request will delay your divorce proceeding since a hearing is required. You might also need to satisfy notice requirements by publicly posting your new name for a set length of time.

In either case, once you've received your divorce or dissolution judgment, you can use that judgment as proof of your name change. Present the judgment to the Social Security Administration, DMV, banks, and other institutions to have your name changed with them.

Changing Your Name Through Court Order

Do you want to change your name as part of a gender transition process? Or maybe you never liked the name given to you at birth, or you want a fresh start. If you're changing your name for a reason other than marriage or divorce, you'll have to petition the court for a name change under Alaska statutes. Here's what you'll need to do:

  1. Fill out a petition for change of name and get it notarized by the court clerk or a notary public
  2. Consider whether you want to be excused from complying with the requirement of posting your name change on the court's legal notice website. If you're concerned that your personal safety will be at risk if your name change is publicly posted, you'll want to fill out a form to request to waive posting of your name change
  3. Complete an application for a legal name change. This form is issued by the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics and is different from the petition for name change, so make sure you complete both forms (this is not the same as an affidavit)
  4. File all of the above forms with your local court clerk and pay the associated filing fee
  5. Attend your court hearing on the specified hearing date. Be prepared to explain the reason you're seeking a name change. If the judge finds you have given sufficient reasons in your change of name case, it will issue a certificate of name change. The court will need to find that there's a valid reason for the name change and that the name change is in the public interest
  6. Start using your new name on the date provided on your certificate of name change

As is the case with a name change due to marriage or divorce, you'll still need to contact the Social Security Administration, DMV, and other institutions with which you do business to update your name with them.

The above process only applies to adults (ages 18 and older) seeking an adult name change. If you're a minor or are seeking the change of a minor child's name, the forms you'll need to complete will be slightly different. Note that a minor child's name change requires parental consent.

Changing Your Name on Your Birth Certificate

If you're changing your name as part of a gender transition process, you might want to consider having your name changed on your birth certificate, too. To apply for an amended birth certificate, you'll need to submit:

  • A birth certificate request form
  • A photocopy of your identification
  • A certified copy of your certificate of name change or other court order
  • The fee associated with amending your birth certificate

After the Department of Vital Records receives the above submissions, you'll be issued an amended birth certificate. Keep in mind that the information that was changed will be noted at the bottom of the document. Alaska doesn't issue an entirely new birth certificate.

Need Legal Help?

If you still have questions, or your situation is unique, reach out to a local attorney who can give you legal advice and help you navigate your name change process!

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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