Instructions for Filing for a Name Change - Adult
Talk to a Lawyer
The information on this page is not a substitute for legal advice. You are not required to hire an attorney, but legal matters can be complicated. Consider talking to an attorney to go over your options.
See our Finding Legal Help page for information about ways to get legal help. One way to talk to an attorney is to visit a free legal clinic. Clinics provide general legal information and give brief legal advice. You might also hire an attorney for just part of your case or to do one particular thing, rather than represent you for the whole case. Legal help is also available at discounted rates for people with modest incomes.
Changing Your Name
An adult may obtain a court order legally changing his or her name. You can choose any name you wish so long as you do not intend to commit a crime and you do not interfere with the rights of others.
However, just because you use a new name, the rest of the world (especially institutions and public agencies) may want to see legal proof of your new name. Legal documents like a marriage certificate or a court order may be needed to prove your name change.There are several reasons you may want to change you name, including:
- because you want to officially change your sex or gender
- because the name you have been using most of your life is different from the name on your birth certificate
- because you just want a different name
Minimum Requirements for a Court-Ordered Name Change
- Live in the county where the name change petition will be filed for at least one year before filing.
- Be 18 or older.
You cannot request a name change...
- While you are involved in any kind of lawsuit, or while you are on probation or parole.
- If you are barred as a sex offender from changing your name under the provisions of Utah Code Section 77-41-105(9).
- To avoid creditors, fines, or sentences in criminal actions.
- For an unworthy motive, or to commit fraud on the public.
- To change your name to something bizarre, unduly lengthy, ridiculous, or offensive to common decency and good taste.
Petition for Name Change
To ask the court for a name change, you will need to fill out all the forms in the Forms section below, file them with the court, and go to the scheduled hearing. If you are changing your name because of marriage or divorce, please see those sections below.
Certification Regarding Sex Offender Registry
The first step in the name change process is to request a certification from the Utah Department of Corrections showing that you are not on the sex offender registry. Fill out the form and mail it and a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Department of Corrections at the address listed on the form. It may take some time for the Department of Corrections to complete the form and return it to you.
When you file your required forms with the court, the court will schedule a hearing. You must appear at the hearing to answer any questions the judge might have about the name change request.
Name Change Because of Marriage
When you marry, you can keep your own name, take your spouse's name, or create a new name. For example:Jane Smith and Tony Jones marry
- Jane changes her last name to Jones, or
- Tony changes his last name to Smith, or
- Jane and Tony change their last names to Smith-Jones
- Tony changes his last name to Marcos
- Jose changes his last name to Perez-Garcia
- Tony and José both change their last names to Perez-Garcia- Gómez -Marcos.
Whatever your choice, follow the steps in the Changing Identification and Records section.
Name Change Because of Divorce
When you get divorced, you can ask the judge to make a formal order in your divorce decree to restore your former name or birth name. The decree should state clearly the married name and the name being restored to you after the divorce. If your divorce decree includes this order, it is the only court order you will need to change your identification and records.
If your divorce decree doesn't order a name change, you can still start using your former name and try to have it changed on your personal records. However, some government offices - like social security or the department of motor vehicles - may not accept your changed name without a court order that states specifically your changed name.
If you find you need a court order other than the original divorce decree to prove your name change after your divorce is final, you usually have two options:
- You can go back to court and ask for a modification of the divorce decree, or
- You can go to court and ask for a name change as a new action, separate from your divorce.
Modifying Your Divorce Decree
To modify your divorce decree, you will have to:
- File a Petition to Modify Decree of Divorce with the court that granted your decree,
- Provide notice to your former spouse, and
- Attend a hearing to ask the court to restore your former name or birth name.
For some people this procedure may be difficult, especially if you do not want to have contact with your former spouse or if you think your former spouse will object to your name change.
Starting a New Case
The other way to change your name after a divorce is to file a petition with the court asking for a name change order. Unless the judge orders you to notify your ex-spouse or other persons (which is rare), you do not need to notify anyone about your request to the court to change your name.
Once the court has ordered your name changed, follow the steps in the Changing Identification and Records section.
Changing Your Name as Part of a Sex or Gender Change Case
You may want to ask the court to change your name as part of a sex or gender change case. The court does not have forms to ask to change your sex or gender. Consider talking to an attorney to go over your options. See our Finding Legal Help page for information about ways to get legal help. You might also contact the Utah Pride Center for help.
Changing Identification and Records
Once you have your new name, you need to tell others about it. Start by getting a new driver license or state I.D. card, and a new Social Security card. Once you have a driver license and Social Security card with your new name, you can use them to let others know about your new name.
Driver License or State I.D.
Information about getting a driver license or a Utah I.D. card with your new name is available on the Driver License Division website. You will need to provide legal proof of the name change with a state-certified birth certificate, marriage certificate, a certified court order (like a divorce decree or name change order), or some other legal documents like citizenship papers.
Social Security Card
Information about getting a Social Security card with your new name is available on the Social Security Administration's website.
Be sure to tell both the Social Security Administration and your employer about your new name to ensure that your employer reports your earnings correctly, and that they are recorded correctly in Social Security's records.
Other Parties to Notify
Consider contacting these people and institutions about your name change:
- Post Office
- Health care providers
- Landlord or tenants
- Mortgage companies
- Telephone and other utility companies
- Insurance companies
- Banks and other financial institutions
- Creditors and debtors
- State and local taxing authorities
- Registrar of voters
- Public benefits agencies
- Veterans Administration
- Passport office
- DMV to change vehicle registriation
- Any other institution or agency with which you have regular contact
Contact the people and the institutions you deal with and ask what they need to make your name change official in their records. Institutions like banks, investment companies, and insurance companies may have you complete their own form, and will also want proof of your identification. In the case of a name change due to marriage, they may want to see your marriage certificate and some other proof of identity like a driver's license.
Update Legal Documents
Update other legal documents like your will, advance health care directive, and power of attorney for financial matters to show your new name.
Changing Your Birth Certificate
After you have a court order changing your name, you can change the name on your birth certificate if you wish.
Contact the Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics to make the change. You can do this in person, or by mail. The mail process usually takes several weeks. You will need to provide a certified copy of the court order.
For birth certificates issued in states other than Utah, consult the Where to Write for Vital Records page for contact information.
There may be several fees in a name change case. There is a filing fee for a name change petition and for a petition to modify a divorce decree. There may be fees associated with serving papers. There is a fee for a certified copy of the final order. If you cannot afford to pay a filing fee, you can ask the court to consider waiving the fees involved in your case. See our webpages on Fees and Fee Waivers for more information and forms.
- Cover Sheet for Civil Actions - PDF | Word
- Petition for Name Change - PDF | Word
- Department of Corrections Certification Regarding Sex Offender Registry - PDF | Word
- Request for Hearing on Petition for Name Change - PDF | Word
- Order on Petition for Name Change - PDF | Word
- Notice for Hearing on Petition for Name Change -
(Required if the judge orders the petitioner to notify other parties of the name change petition)
- Fee Waivers
- Filing Procedures
- Finding Legal Help
- Free Legal Clinics
- Going to Court
- Rules of Civil Procedure
- Serving Papers
- Utah Code §42-1-1 through §42-1-3 (Change of name)