When thinking back to some personal name change stories I know about, I remember when my good friend changed her name to avoid a fine! I wanted to find out about it and asked her why she had to “change your name legally” and what she thought about going through it. She agreed to let me share her story.
When she was twelve years old, she was already being called, and calling herself “Kelly”. She wasn’t born Kelly. Whatever name she was born with is so distasteful to her that to this day she won’t reveal it or talk about it. Not even with me. I think there are many personal name change stories like Kelly’s.
So she grew up “Kelly”, and, over time, all her documentation was in the name of Kelly X (She’s a real person, but I’m not going to use her real last name to respect her privacy). Social Security card, driver’s license, paychecks, school registration, everything where her name was recorded read “Kelly X”. When she eventually got married, her married name was recorded as Kelly X-Y”. For all her day-to-day situations in her life, her name was Kelly or Kelly X-Y. Her marriage didn’t work out and she reclaimed her maiden name of Kelly X. All her important paperwork reflected that name, Kelly X, and it wasn’t a problem for her at all.
Then one day she wanted to move to Nevada where there’s a law requiring her to get her Nevada license with current auto registration, name and address information on file and on current Nevada documentation. Failure to comply with that law would subject her to a $1,000.00 fine. No problem. She responsibly went into the DMV offices with her birth certificate and her California driver’s license to record her new Nevada residency information and get her new license and registration. Big Problem.
It turns out that Nevada requires that her Nevada driver’s license and her birth certificate agree as to her “real name”. Her birth name, remember, was the unmentionable name and not “Kelly”. Her California license in the name of Kelly didn’t impress the Nevada DMV people at all. They told her to either get the Nevada license in the unmentionable first name, or get her name legally changed by Court Order. Period.
Kelly hot footed it back to Long Beach, California and filed her Petition in Superior Court to have her Name Changed by Court Order. She scheduled her hearing and public notice legal advertising, and waited. According to the California procedure, Kelly returned to the Court for the hearing and to get her Decree Changing Name, only to find the Court had decided to change her hearing date and no one was in the courtroom. Kelly, being both determined and resourceful, found someone who worked there and explained her predicament. The court employee went and found the judge assigned to Kelly’s Name Change Petition. The judge, who had reviewed the file, signed her Decree and Kelly got her original and certified copies that day.
Kelly remembers feeling pretty good about that day and those moments. She had finally gotten, legally and for all purposes, the name she wanted since she was twelve. And, she had solved her $1000.00 Nevada problem to boot. Like many name change stories, it’s evident how she feels. “I Like my legal name change” she smiles. And even though it had taken some doing, determination and a little money to get it done, she had finally really done it.
With her certified copy of her California Decree Changing Name in hand, getting her Nevada driver’s license and car registration updated was a breeze. Now, several years later, her name change issues don’t come up and she doesn’t think about them. If some other employment, financial, governmental or other issue about her name should come up in the future, she has her magic wand to wave….her Name Change Court Order.
Do you know any name change stories?
Think about it. Time to plant your flag?