Hello Sooners! Many people in your state change their name each year – whether for marriage, after a divorce, or out of personal preference and a desire for a change. But there's some paperwork involved. You'll have to legally change your name, a process that differs depending on your exact situation. Then you'll need to update your personal information, including your driver license and Social Security.
There's no need to worry though, because if you're trying to learn how to change your name in Oklahoma, then this article is for you. We'll cover how to:
- Find the right process for you;
- Determine what paperwork should be filed; and
- Start using your new name once it's changed.
1. Legally Change Your Name in Oklahoma
Most name changes occur when people get married, go through a divorce, or petition a court to change their name. It's relatively easy to change your name when getting married (so many people do it, after all), but more of a hassle to change your name through the courts. Oklahoma law provides different ways to go about each of these.
Marriage is the most frequent time to change your name. And it's also the easiest. Like most states, Oklahoma recognizes a valid marriage certificate as proof of a name change.
Simply fill in both of your current legal names and the names you'll take after marriage on your Oklahoma marriage license application. Either party to a marriage can change their name this way in the Sooner State. Once the knot is tied, endorse the marriage certificate using your newly married names.
Your marriage certificate proves your name change. Be sure to obtain a few certified copies of it, as you'll need these to update your official documents and records.
Divorces tend to be lengthy and acrimonious proceedings, determining spousal support, child custody, child support, and divvying up property. What marriage joins, a divorce can dissolve. And this includes changing your name back.
Oklahoma courts will restore your name from before marriage during the normal divorce process. This applies to both parties, and is a routine request. The restoration of your pre-marriage name will be included in the final divorce decree.
Petition for a Change of Name
Outside of marriage, divorce, or another legal proceeding, you'll need to petition a court to change your name. This is a special proceeding and, while it's usually not contested, involves more legal steps. You should be prepared to:
- File a petition in state court, in the county where you live;
- List your date and place of birth, birth certificate number, and other personal information;
- Give your desired name and reasons for changing your name;
- Publish notice of your petition for a name change in a local newspaper; and
- Attend a court hearing where a judge can decide your case.
Oklahoma courts will ordinarily grant name change petitions. The main exception is when a judge believes a name change is being sought for illegal or fraudulent purposes. This can be a crime under state law. It's also grounds to deny a petition when material allegations made in the petition are false. A name change can't be used to get out of debts, lawsuits, court-ordered support payments, and similar legal obligations.
If the court grants your petition, it will issue an order changing your name. That's the legal proof you'll need for updating your Social Security card and driver license.
2. File the Appropriate Paperwork with Government Agencies
Use your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order to update your official documents and identification. Contact your local Social Security office first, as most states will verify a name change through their database. Then change the name on your Oklahoma driver license within ten days. Updating these documents is an important first step when changing your name.
3. Start Using Your New Name
Once you've got it, start using your new name! The law is concerned about fraud and illegality, so it's best to make sure everyone knows about a name change. Tell your family, friends, and neighbors. Inform your bank, insurance company, creditors, and school contacts. It's also a good idea to update your email and social media profiles.
Get the Forms You Need in Oklahoma
Changing your name can involve some considerable research and paperwork. Hiring a lawyer to do it for you can be expensive as well. The goods news is that you can avoid the research and cost of hiring an attorney. Consider using our Oklahoma name change forms to help you along the way.