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Where Do I Go To Change My Name?

The name change process involves submitting petitions through the court system. But knowing exactly which court and office handles name changes for your type of name change is key. Here’s a quick guide to finding the right place to go to get your new name approved.

Check Your Local County Courthouse

Name changes are handled at the county level through your local county courthouse. So the specific court you will visit to file paperwork and attend a hearing is your county’s superior court (also sometimes called district court or common pleas court depending on your state).

Most counties have a civil division of the court that handles private disputes and matters like name changes. Some may also have a separate family court division specifically for name changes related to children, marriages and divorces.

Visit Your County Court Website

Your county court website will have specifics on name change procedures and exactly where to go. You can also contact a name change specialist for faster specific information. Government websites are sometimes confusing to navigate, so here are some tips:

  • Look for sections titled “Name Change” or “Change of Name”
  • Check civil court pages
  • Search sections on family court/marriage/divorce
  • Type name change specialist in your browser search bar
  • Try searching keywords like “petition” or “application”
  • Scan court forms or public notices pages
  • Check FAQs or “how to” change name sections

Ideally the website will have forms available for download. If not, look for a full service name change company and note their contact info for how to sign completed forms.

Call the Court Clerk

If the website lacks clear instructions, call the court clerk’s office directly. Ask the following:

  • “Where do I go to file a name change petition?”
  • “What forms and documents are required for a name change?”
  • “What are your office hours for name change paperwork?”
  • “What is the process after paperwork is submitted?”
  • “How much are the name change filing fees?”
  • “How long does the name change process usually take?”

The court clerk personnel are there to help guide you through the system and requirements. Don’t be afraid to call and speak to them directly for personalized guidance. Just remember to be patient, polite and take notes.

Visit In Person

For the most direct assistance, visit the courthouse in person and speak to the clerk at the civil filing desk/office. This way they can walk you through everything face-to-face.

For the most personalized service, call or email a name change specialist. Try and find a full service office that can put all your information on all the court forms correctly and file it all in the right courthouse.

If you do contact the court directly, submitting your paperwork in person also ensures it is complete and accurate in one visit. You can even ask ahead what line/window specifically handles name change petitions.

Extra Tips

A few additional pointers for finding the right place:

  • If needed, don’t hesitate to request wheelchair access or accommodations like sign language interpreters.
  • Understand security procedures like metal detectors, banned items, and ID needs for the courthouse.
  • Know options like metered parking or garage parking nearby to make the visit easier.
  • If possible, complete a mock run visiting the courthouse first so you know exactly what to expect.
  • Remember name changes are public record, so media may potentially access documents. If privacy concerns exist, such as for transgender name changes, ask court personnel about keeping sensitive personal information confidential.

In summary, visit or call your local county courthouse and speak directly with court clerks to get specifics for submitting your name change forms. They are there to help and guide you through the process directly. With the right courthouse location identified upfront, you can complete the required legal steps smoothly. If you can get a name change specialist to help you, you can save a lot of time and aggravation.

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