Hello, Utahns! If you're looking to change your name, know that it's a fairly common legal request. Many people change their names when they get married or divorced, but they may also do so for personal or professional reasons. It's a matter of choice and Utah, like most states, enshrines this in its state law. Making sure you understand the law and the legal process is important and FindLaw is here to help.
In this article we'll cover how to change your name in Utah here, including:
- Finding the best option for your name change;
- Sorting out what needs to be done, and where; and
- How to make your name change final and official.
1. Legally Change Your Name in Utah
Folks have been changing their name going back centuries. It's a practice that predates most of the United States and, accordingly, most states recognize that changing names should be relatively painless. When the process is over, it's important that you receive official documentation of your name change in order to update your driver license, Social Security information, and other important records.
When getting married, either partner can change his or her name when applying for a marriage license. Both parties must fill out an application at the county clerk's office, listing their full name and that of their spouse-to-be, along with other required information.
Once married, make sure you obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate. This certified copy serves as proof of your name change, and will be necessary to update other records (more on this below).
When a marriage falls apart, the divorce process will legally separate the spouses, divvy up their property, and resolve any child custody issues. If one or both parties changed their names when getting married, it's often the case that they will undergo another name change when getting divorced.
Utahns can ask a judge handling their divorce to restore their former name or birth name. The court can order your name change as part of the divorce decree, and a certified copy of the decree serves as legal proof of your name change. This must be done before the divorce becomes final. If not, the party will need to utilize the petition process.
Petition for a Change of Name
Absent another court proceeding, an adult must petition a court for an order changing their name. This is a separate legal proceeding, and can potentially become quite involved. You can expect to:
- Fill out a petition form, listing relevant information;
- Provide reasons for seeking your name change;
- Certify that you aren't prohibited from changing your name;
- Attend a court hearing where a judge will consider the petition; and
- Complete any other steps required by law.
A name change proceeding is, usually, pretty straightforward. But there are some notable exceptions. Litigants and registered sex offenders and child abusers cannot change their name. Nor can a name change be sought to avoid debts and creditors or criminal charges or for fraudulent purposes. Utah courts also won't grant petitions changing someone's name to "something bizarre, unduly lengthy, ridiculous, or offensive to common decency and good taste." And a name change will not affect any legal action, proceedings, or property interests.
When a court grants a name change, a certified copy of the court order serves as proof of a change of name.
2. File the Appropriate Paperwork with Government Agencies
Your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order serves as proof of a name change. This is important, because proof is required to update your identification and official records. Visit a local Social Security office to update your records and receive a new Social Security card. Then contact the Utah Driver License Division to receive a revised driver license. It's also a good idea to update your passport, voter registration, and similar records.
3. Start Using Your New Name
Once you've got your new name, start using it! Let family, friends, neighbors, employers, banks, insurance companies, and creditors know about a name change. This avoids confusion and will make it easier for you in the long run. It's also a good idea to update your social media and email accounts.
Get the Forms You Need in Utah
A name change is a relatively simple legal task, yet for non-lawyers it can be time-consuming and potentially confusing. Consider avoiding both the hassle of figuring it out on your own and the expense of an attorney by using our Utah name change forms.