There are many different reasons why someone might want to change their name. Perhaps they have had a nickname their entire life and want to make it “their official name.” Maybe they got divorced and never changed their name and now they want to be rid of their prior married name.
Whatever the reason, making a legal Nevada name change can be intimidating. There are quite a few forms to fill out and several trips to court to make sure the legal name change paperwork is processed correctly.
In this article, we will answer your most frequently asked questions about legally changing your name in Las Vegas.
By the time you are done reading, you should understand how the legal name change process in Las Vegas works, how much you can expect to spend to change your name and the circumstances under which your name change might not be approved.
For more about the legal name change process in Las Vegas, keep reading:
1. How Can I Make My Name Change Legal In Las Vegas If I Am An Adult?
First, you need to decide what you want to change your name to. In Nevada, there aren’t really any restrictions on what new name you can have. However, red flags will go up with the judge reviewing your name change paperwork if you take on an extreme name.
Once you have decided on your new name, you will need to fill out a petition for a legal name change. You will need to demonstrate to the Court that you meet the residency requirements for a name change in Nevada. This means you must live in Nevada at least six (6) week prior to filing the name change petition AND you must have plans to remain in Nevada once your name change is complete.
In the petition, you must explain to the judge why you want the new name. Keep in mind that you cannot take on a new name to escape debt or criminal prosecution.
Once you have filed your petition for a name change, you will need to file a notice. The notice will then need to publish, in Clark County, for at least ten (10) days. This is known as the objection period. If anyone wants to object to your name change, they must do it during this time.
After the publication is complete, you will need to file an affidavit proving that your notice has published for the required period of time.
Once all of your paperwork is submitted to the Court, you will provide a copy of your proposed Order of Name Change to the judge. The judge will then review all of the paperwork and make a finding that it is within the public interest to grant the name change. Assuming the judge approves the name change, you will receive the Order for Legal Name Change. You will need certified copies of this order to change your name with the DMV, social security, and Department of Vital Statistics.
If there is a written objection or if the Court has questions or concerns about your name change, the Court can schedule a hearing to ask you questions about the name change. It is up to the judge to decide whether the name change will be granted.
2. What If I Got Married – How Do I Legally Change My Name?
If you got married and now want to change your name, chances are you wont have to go through the name change process described above.
If you want to change your name after you married, you will need to bring a certified marriage certificate with you. For example, if you want to change your name on your driver’s license to your married name, you will need to bring your current ID and a certified marriage certificate.
The marriage license issued before the wedding ceremony will not be sufficient. You must present proof of your certified marriage certificate to legally change to your married name.
3. Can I Change My Child’s Name?
Changing your child’s last name is a little more complicated than the process we identified in part one of this article. You will still need to file a petition and publish the notice and the same time limits apply to a child name change as they do to an adult name change.
However, to change your child’s name it is strongly recommended that you must have the consent of both parents.If you cannot obtain the other parent’s consent, you can still pursue a name change for your child but it is likely to be a complicated process.
If you have sole legal and sole physical custody of your child, it is likely your child’s name change will be granted, but you must still make an effort to serve the non-custodial parent with the name change petition.
If you have terminated the other parent’s parental rights, you can petition for a name change; however, you must still convince the Court that changing the child’s name is in the child’s best interest.
If you haven’t terminated the other parent’s rights, if you don’t have consent or you don’t have sole legal and sole physical custody of the child, you will have to serve the other parent and still convince the Court that changing the child’s name is in the child’s best interest.
4. How Do I Change My Last Name After Divorce?
If you changed your name in the Decree of Divorce, you will need a certified copy of your divorce decree to change your name.
If you did not change your name in the Divorce Decree, you will be required to file a formal name change petition and follow the steps in part one of this article.
5. Do I Need To Change My Name To Get A Real ID In Nevada?
Lately, we are seeing a lot of clients wanting a name change because they are unable to obtain a Nevada Real ID.
To get a Real ID in Nevada, you need your birth certificate and two documents that prove you are a Nevada resident. The name on all three documents MUST match.
So many people use nicknames or surnames, that when it comes time to obtain their Real ID, their given name on their birth certificate does not match their proof of residency documents.
Moreover, people who have been known by one name their entire life, but they don’t identify with their birth name, will have their birth name on their Nevada Real ID, unless they do a name change.
If you want to change your name to match your documents, you must follow the name change protocols set forth in part one of this article.
6. How Much Does It Cost To Legally Change My Name In Nevada?
If you are filing your name change in Clark County, Nevada, the filing fee is $270 to file your paperwork with the Court.
In addition to the filing fees, you should expect to pay at least $100 for publishing your name change.
There may be additional fees for notary services and court runner fees if you are doing the name change yourself.
If you hire a name change attorney, usually the total fees include the costs for filing the paperwork, notary fees and the publication costs.
Beware of anyone telling you they can do a name change for $150. This usually means you are paying a notary or paralegal NOT a lawyer and it is highly likely that this does not include filing fees and publication costs. For $150 you might find yourself do most, if not ALL of the work to get your name changed.
7. Can I Change My Name If I Have A Criminal Charges?
If you have been convicted of a felony, you will need to disclose that in your name change petition. Failing to disclose a felony charge can result in your name change being set aside.
Once you submit the name change petition and disclose the felony, it will be up to the judge to decide if good cause exists for you to change your name.
If the judge approves the name change, a copy of the name change order will be sent by the Clerk of the Court to the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History for inclusion in your record of criminal history.
If the name change petition is denied, the Court will simply deny your name change. It is likely the Court will have a hearing to determine whether there is good cause to change your name before deciding to deny the name change petition.
8. Can I Change My Gender Marker When I Do My Name Change?
If you want to change your gender marker, you must request that the Court order the Department of Vital Statistics to change the gender marker on your birth certificate when you make your name change.
What this means is that you will have to follow the steps in part one of this article to secure your name change. In addition, you will need to include in your petition that you want to change your gender marker. In the order granting the name change, you will need to include an additional statement that the Department of Vital Statistics is to issue a new birth certificate with the name change AND changing your gender marker.
It is strongly recommended that you obtain an affidavit from a friend, family member, or physician that supports the gender marker change. The affidavit should include that they have personal knowledge of your current gender and how they have that knowledge – whether friend, family member, or physician. The affidavit should also state your gender identity and the gender you wish to maintain.
9. Do I Have To Be A Nevada Resident To Legally Change My Name In Nevada?
The simple answer here is YES, you must be a Nevada resident in order to get your name legally changed in Nevada. This means that you must have lived in Nevada at least six weeks prior to the filing of your name change petition and you must have an intent to remain in Nevada once the name change process is complete.
10. Do I Have To Hire An Attorney To Do MyName Change Documents?
You do not have to hire an attorney to do your name change but it is strongly recommended. Doing the paperwork yourself will require at least two trips to the courthouse, filing multiple documents, and ensuring publication is done correctly.
As experienced name change attorneys, we provide fast, efficient, and low-cost name changes. It usually takes our office less than thirty days to file and complete the name change process so long as the name change is uncontested and there is no criminal background. We hope this article has proven helpful and provided some quick insight into legal name changes in Las Vegas. If you found this article useful please leave some feedback below in the comments section. If you are looking to hire an attorney for your Las Vegas Legal Name Change, call us at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line form. We can help.