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How to Change Your Name in Maryland

The process of changing your name in Maryland depends on why you're seeking a name change. In this article, we'll cover how to:

  • Identify the proper name change process for you
  • File the appropriate paperwork with government agencies
  • Start using your new name

We'll also discuss name changes for minors and how to update your gender designation on official documents.

Identify the Right Legal Name Change Process

While Maryland technically allows residents to change their name by consistently using a new one, updating official documents like your driver's license and Social Security card requires something more official.

Most name changes occur when a person gets married or divorced. But Maryland also provides a more general petition for a name change.


Tying the knot is the most common time for changing names. After getting married, couples will often take one partner's last name, hyphenate their names together, or agree on a new name.

You can take any name after getting married in Maryland. You just have to do so consistently and without any fraudulent or illegal purpose.

Once married, a copy of your marriage certificate will be sufficient to change your name with the Social Security Administration and the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.


Ending a marriage can be an emotional, expensive, and time-consuming process. Splitting up assets, arranging child custody, and figuring out your future are all part of the divorce process.

Fortunately, going back to your former name can be accomplished at the same time. In Maryland, a divorce court can change your name back to any former name. You will have to ask for this name change and can normally do so when filling out divorce forms. The final divorce decree will include the name change.

Once the courts issue a divorce decree, use a copy to change your name on official records and documents.

Petition for a Change of Name

All other name changes happen through a petition to your local court for a name change order. This process isn't as complicated as a lawsuit but still involves some paperwork.

The name change petition also requires payment of a $165 filing fee. But, sometimes, a judge can waive your court filing fees. Below, we outline the basic steps for an adult to change their name in Maryland. We'll discuss name changes for minors in a separate section of this article.

To complete your name change, you'll submit a petition form that includes:

  • Your current legal name
  • Your address
  • Your birth name
  • The desired name change
  • Why you want to change your name

Along with your petition, you'll provide a copy of a document with your current name, such as your:

  • Birth certificate
  • Driver's license
  • Passport
  • Divorce decree restoring your former name
  • Adoption decree

You can file your name change petition with the court where you live, run a business, work, or where you were born.

Once you file the petition, the court will issue an official notice of your name change. This notice aims to prevent people from fraudulently or illegally changing their names. It notifies creditors, judgment holders, and the general public in advance.

Anyone can object to a name change in Maryland. For example, say you know firsthand that someone is changing their name because they committed a crime. After the judge issues its notice of name change, the public has 30 days to object.

If someone objects to your name change request, you must file a response with the court within 15 days. The court will also schedule a hearing on the issue. A judge will not deny a name change petition without a hearing.

If no one objects, the court can rule on the petition without a hearing and issue an order changing your name. That order is your legal proof of a name change.

File the Appropriate Paperwork with Government Agencies

A marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order proves a name change. You'll need one of these documents to update your driver's license, Social Security card, and similar documents.

Whichever form of proof you have, first take it to your local Social Security office to update your Social Security card. Then, make an appointment with the Maryland MVA to change your driver's license. An updated Social Security card and driver's license are essential to a successful name change.

Start Using Your New Name

Consistency is essential to a name change. So, once you've completed all your paperwork, it's time to start using your new name!

Inform family, friends, employers, colleagues, banks, insurance companies, and everyone you know and interact with about your name change. Be sure to update your voter registration, credit cards, online accounts, email, and social media accounts as well.

Name Changes for Minors in Maryland

A child's parent, legal guardian, or custodian can petition to have the child's name changed. There are only two situations where you won't need a court order for a minor's name change:

In all other cases, both parents must consent, and a court must issue an order granting the name change. Similar to the adult name change petition, the courts require the following information for a minor's name change:

  • Their current name
  • Information about the child's parents or guardians
  • A copy of their birth certificate or other documentation (driver's license, passport, etc.)
  • Where the child was born and their birth date
  • The child's current address
  • Why you are requesting to have the child's name changed

You can file the petition where your child lives or where any of their parents or guardians live. All parents or guardians must be served with notice of the petition for the child's name change. They then have 30 days to consent or object to the name change. If the child is older than ten, you must also attach their written consent to the name change.

If anyone objects, the court will hold a hearing. If the court finds a new name is in the child's best interests, it will issue an order granting the name change. Once you have this court order, you can change the child's name with other agencies, as discussed above.

Changing a child's name does not modify custody rights or other legal obligations.

Changing Your Gender Marker

Maryland courts can also issue a "declaration of gender identity," which officially states a person's gender from a legal standpoint.

However, you can correct your gender designation on several documents without a court order, including your:

If you need to update records in other jurisdictions or need to change your gender marker for access to other important services, you may need a court order. Maryland's petition for a declaration of gender identity can include a name change, or you can choose to address only the gender designation.

Remember that obtaining this court order also requires a $165 filing fee. So, if you're planning a name change as well as updating your gender marker, it will reduce costs to complete them at the same time.

Get Help Changing Your Name in Maryland

Thanks to forms from Maryland courts, many people can accomplish a name change on their own. But if you encounter any problems, such as a child's other parent objecting to their name change, it can help to enlist the help of a local family law attorney.

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