How to Change Your Name in Nevada
What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but in Nevada, as elsewhere, legally changing your name sticks with you. People may change their names upon getting married or after a divorce, or because they just don't like their parent's choice, among other reasons. Legally speaking, it's a fairly routine request for most of us. But there are some i's to dot and t's to cross before all is said and done.
This article will cover how to change your name in Nevada, including:
- Identifying the best way forward for you;
- Figuring out what paperwork should be filed and where; and
- How to start using your new name.
1. Identify and Follow the Correct Nevada Legal Name Change Process
Regardless of the process that you use to change your name in Nevada, you're going to receive some sort of certified documentation verifying your new name, such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order. You'll then use this record to update your Social Security number, driver license, and other vital records. Ultimately, the process that you use will depend on the reason for your name change.
Marriage is the most common time for name changes, and Nevada is, shall we say, a famous wedding destination. Whether you're taking your spouse's last name, hyphenating the two, or using some other configuration of a married name, the law makes it simple.
Nevada permits marrying couples to change their names when applying for a marriage license. Simply fill in the application form and, once married, a state marriage certificate is all the proof you'll need for the records agencies.
All states permit name changes as part of a marriage certificate. So whether you're from Reno or simply visiting Las Vegas for the weekend, a Nevada marriage certificate should serve as proof of your new name wherever you live.
It's also common to change your name back after divorce. While divorce is often a long, drawn out, and emotionally tumultuous legal process, changing your name back to a former name can be done at the same time.
Nevada law permits a court to change the name of the wife to any former name when granting a divorce. This can be reduced to an order in the final divorce decree, the point when the divorce becomes final.
Petition for a Change of Name - Adults
Marriage, divorce, adoption name changes take advantage of existing legal processes. When changing your name at other times, you'll need to petition to change your name in Nevada court. You may also need to use the petition process if you didn't change your name when getting married or divorced.
To start, you'll need to fill out the petition forms and file with the local district court. This will include listing your personal information, stating your desired new name, and providing reasons for your requested name change. Applicants must also list criminal convictions.
Nevada law requires name change applicants to publish notice in a local newspaper. This must be done once a week for three straight weeks, but can be waived by a judge under certain circumstances. You might have to attend a court hearing where a judge will consider the petition, but this can often be waived.
Some Nevadans will face additional hurdles. Past criminal convictions must be reported and a court will consider your record. Should you falsely deny having a criminal record, then a court will rescind a name change order. You also can't change your name for illegal or fraudulent purposes or to avoid lawsuits, debts, liens, or taxes. It doesn't work that way.
Once the court grants a name change, make sure you get a certified copy of the order. It'll be necessary to update your important documents and identification.
2. File the Appropriate Paperwork with Government Agencies
Your marriage certificate, divorce decree (with name change indicated), or court order proves a legal name change. A certified copy of one of these will be required to update your Social Security card and driver license – the two next steps after a name change. Visit your local Social Security office first to receive a new Social Security Card. Then visit the Nevada DMV for a duplicate driver's license.
3. Start Using Your New Name
Once you've got it, use it! Tell friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances about your new name. Employers, insurance companies, banks, utilities, credit card companies, and others should be informed as well. If you have children, update schools, care providers, and emergency contact information. You want to avoid any confusion related to identity.
Get the Forms You Need in Nevada
Most people can change their name without needing to hire an attorney, but getting the right forms and guidance can be time-consuming and problematic. We're here to help. Check out our Nevada name change forms to learn more.