The process you'll need to follow to legally change your name in the state of Arizona will depend on your situation. We'll cover the most important considerations, including:
- Identifying the right process for you
- Figuring out what steps you'll need to take once you've identified the correct process
- Using your new name once it's legally changed
1. Identify and Follow the Correct Arizona Legal Name Change Process
Changing your name involves some form of legal process. What's required depends on the situation.
This is the easiest way to achieve a name change. In Arizona, as in most states, you can make a name change request when you apply for a marriage license. Fill out your new name on the application for a marriage license and, once married, your validly-issued marriage license serves as proof of your married name.
While the divorce process can be long and painful, changing your current legal name usually isn't. Since you're going through a court process anyway to dissolve your marriage, returning to your former name can happen at the same time.
Arizona allows either party to a divorce to request the restoration of a former name during divorce proceedings. This has to happen before the decree of dissolution is final and must be for legally returning to your former name. Beyond that, there aren't many requirements. Courts will generally order the restoration of a divorcing party's former name.
Petition for a Change of Name — Adults
Assuming you're an Arizona resident, you can petition your local superior court to grant a change of name request. For example, if you live in Phoenix, this will be in Maricopa County. This is the route you'd need to take if, for example, you're seeking a name change as part of a gender transition process.
The name change forms are pretty straightforward. You'll start by filling out an application for change of name:
- Setting forth the reasons for changing your name
- Listing any felony convictions or pending felony charges
- Stating under penalty of perjury that the name change is not knowingly sought for accomplishing any crimes
- Acknowledging that a name change doesn't release you from any obligations or rights held by others
- Swearing to the truth of the statements in the application before a deputy clerk of court or getting the application notarized by a notary public (do not make any false statements in your application)
Note: You can't use a change of name to get out of alimony or child support. You'll still owe the same debts and money judgments, and you can still be sued for any wrongs committed in your old name. Also, if you're convicted of any crimes related to fraud or dishonesty, a court may be able to set aside a legal name change or deny a pending petition.
You file the required paperwork (including a civil cover sheet and a notice of hearing regarding application for change of name) with the superior court clerk and pay the filing fee. You may need to file an affidavit of service, acceptance of service, marital waiver of notice, or signed waiver of notice from any interested parties.
You should be prepared for a court hearing on your petition. A judge may also require you to give notice of the petition, either by publication or by serving someone interested in the proceeding, several business days before the proceeding.
Assuming there are no issues and you're seeking your name change for legitimate reasons, the court will grant your petition and issue an order changing name for an adult.
Petition for a Change of Name — Minor Child
The process is similar if you are seeking a change for a minor child's name, but the name change forms are different. Also, the minor needs parental consent or the consent of a legal guardian to change their current legal name. You complete the required paperwork and file them with the court administrator.
2. File the Appropriate Paperwork With Government Agencies
Next, you'll need to start changing your name on important government documents and vital records. You will want at least one certified copy of the document that legally changed your name, whether it be a court order, divorce decree, or marriage certificate.
The first thing you'll want to do is contact your local Social Security office to have your name changed with the Social Security Administration and get a new Social Security card.
To get a new driver's license, you'll need to contact the state Department of Transportation or go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles.
3. Start Using Your New Name
It's important to start using your name once it's changed. Tell your family, friends, employers, neighbors, and acquaintances that you are no longer going by your birth name. Make sure your bank, credit card companies, utility providers, and others who regularly send bills to you know about your new name, too. Your email accounts and social media handles should be updated as well so they don't have your original name.
Still Have Questions?
If you still have questions about an Arizona name change, reach out to a local attorney for legal advice.
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.