Texas Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in TX

A Texas name change form allows residents of all Texan counties to petition for a name change through their local court. Aside from marriage or divorce, there are many incentives for which one might change their first and/or last name; politics, religion, or other personal reasons may play a part. Adult name changes (for persons over eighteen years of age) are often granted as long as the individual is not a convicted felon and the change is in the interest of the public. A parent, guardian, or conservator must file a petition for the change of name of a minor (persons under the age of eighteen) under their care, and it is for the court to decide whether or not the change is in the child’s best interest.

Laws§ 2-C-45 

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

Changing your name after marriage is a simple process, and can be accomplished without filing a petition and attending a hearing at your county’s courthouse. Simply enter your proposed new name onto your marriage license and, after the wedding, file your marriage license with the county court. A copy of your marriage certificate will be sent to you – this will serve as your primary legal name change document. Use it to update your married name with various government agencies and financial institutions.

Name Change After Divorce

Many people wish to change their name after they get divorced, in the case where they have taken the name of their now-divorced spouse. Those interested in reverting back to their maiden name only need to include a clause in the divorce petition stating their desire to do so. The court can order the name change within the divorce decree, as long as they are certain you are not changing your name to avoid criminal prosecution or debt collectors. The divorce decree is proof of your legal name change; you can use it to update your name on all your accounts, licenses, and ID cards.

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

A legal adult name change must be processed through the petitioner’s local county court. Anyone under the age of eighteen (18) cannot petition for their own name change; their parent, guardian, or conservator will have to be involved. According to the Texas statutes, an adult with a felony conviction, or an adult who is a registered sex offender can only petition for a name change if one (1) of the following circumstances apply and the name change is in the interest or to the benefit of the petitioner and the general public:

  • Individual has received a certificate of discharge
  • Individual has completed a period of community supervision or probation ordered by a court
  • Individual has been pardoned
  • Individual has notified the appropriate law enforcement agency of the name change and provides proof for the court (sex offender)

Step 1 – Background Check

The first step in petitioning for a name change is getting your fingerprints taken for a background check. Visit your local law enforcement agency or a “Print and Go” location to have your fingerprints taken. (You can download a copy of the fingerprint form here if need be.) Both the Texas DPS and the FBI must obtain your fingerprints, and they charge $15 and $14.75 respectively. Mail your fingerprints and the appropriate fees to the following address:

  • Texas Department of Public Safety
    Central Cash Receiving
    PO Box 15999
    Austin, TX, 78751-5999

Step 2 – Complete Petition and Order Forms

The two essential forms required for applying for a legal name change are the Petition for Change of Name of Adult Form and the Order Granting Change of Name of Adult Form. Download them both and fill them out. Make sure to leave the signature fields blank; the Petition should only be signed in the presence of a notary public, and the Order Form will be signed by the judge only if they approve of the name change (leave the date field blank as well).

Step 3 – Notarize Petition

To ensure that the information provided on the Petition is true, you must appear before a notary public to sign the document. To find a notary public, go to your local bank, visit the Secretary of State’s website, or perform a private notary service search. If you have a personal account open with a bank, they may waive the notarization fee. Make sure to bring a piece of identification with you to present to the notary.

Step 4 – Gather Documents

Make copies of your Petition, Order, fingerprint card, and a piece of photo identification. You will be required to file all of these documents with the court clerk; retain copies for your own records.

Step 5 – File Petition

Visit your county’s courthouse and file the Petition, fingerprint card, and a copy of your ID with the court clerk. The clerk will ask for a filing fee, which ranges from $250-300. A hearing date will be set once you have filed your petition.

Step 6 – Attend Hearing

On the day of your hearing, you must appear before the judge with a copy of the Order Form. You may need to go to the court clerk and pick up the rest of your name change documents, although sometimes the judge will already have copies in front of them. The judge may choose to have you testify; that is, swear an oath attesting to the truthfulness of the provided information and that the name change is in the public’s interest. They may also ask you to repeat the reasons for your name change. If the judge deems the name change appropriate, they will sign the Order. File the Order with the court clerk and ask them to make certified copies. Use the certified copies to change your name with various government agencies, financial institutions, and the like.

Driver’s License

To update your new name change on your driver’s license, you must first contact the Social Security Administration and notify them of your new name. There is no online option, so you will have to complete the process in person or by mail. First, download and complete the Application for a Social Security Card Form. Next, gather documents that prove your legal name change, identity, and U.S. citizenship and make copies of each. Send by mail or hand-deliver the completed Application Form and the copies of the necessary documents to your local SSA office. Updating your driver’s license to reflect your new name must be done within thirty (30) days of the legal change. Visit your local DMV office (cannot be online or by mail) and provide your current driver’s license, the certificate/decree/court order proving your legal name change, and a payment of $11 for your new card. You will be given a temporary driver’s license, and within forty-five (45) days you will receive your permanent driver’s license.

Voter Registration

Texans who have recently legally changed their name should update their voter registration information as soon as possible. To do so, visit txapps.texas.gov and re-register online (click the Continue button at the bottom to proceed with the online registration process). There is a voter registration application form, but this is intended for individuals who have not only changed addresses, but have moved to a different county.

Minor (Child) Name Change

Minor name changes (persons under the age of eighteen) are processed in the county court where the child resides. A parent, legal guardian, or appointed conservator must be the person who files the petition with the court clerk. The procedure is slightly different than that of an adult name change, and the forms vary depending on how many of the minor’s parents are involved in the filing of the petition. Furthermore, written consent from the minor is required if the child is over the age of ten (10). Judges will determine whether the name change is in the child’s best interest before approving a minor name change petition. Follow the set of instructions below that applies to your particular situation – this will eliminate the possibility of completing incorrect forms.

Minor Name Change – Filed by Both Parents

Step 1 – Complete Necessary Forms

Download the Petition to Change the Name of a Child Form, the Order Changing the Name of a Child Form, the Civil Case Information Sheet, and the Information on Suit Affecting the Family Relationship Form. Enter all the appropriate information onto the forms. You need not sign the Petition in front of a notary public; however, you are signing the form under penalty of perjury (“Declaration” section of the Petition Form). Leave the date, judge’s name, and judge’s signature fields blank on the Order Form.

Step 2 – Consent Form (If Applicable)

All children under the age of ten (10) whose parents are petitioning for their name change must sign the Child’s Consent to Name Change Form. Download the Consent Form and have the child provide all the necessary information as well as their signature. The Petition will not go through the system if the child is over ten (10) and has not signed a Consent Form.

Step 3 – File Forms

Visit your county’s courthouse and file all the forms except for the Order Form with the court clerk. (You may want to make copies of the Petition and Consent Forms before filing them.) Pay the appropriate filing fee; this fee varies from county to county but it is typically around $300. The court clerk will give you a cause number and court number, and they will file-stamp all the documents. The clerk will also let you know if you can present your Order Form to a judge that day or if you must do so at a future date and time.

Step 4 – Appear Before Judge

Sometimes you will be able to see a judge on the same day you file your Petition, otherwise come back to the courthouse on the established date. Bring with you the Order Form, the stamped Petition, and the stamped Consent Form (if applicable). The judge will most likely ask for the reason(s) you are changing your child’s name and, if they deem it an appropriate change, they will sign and date the Order Form.

Step 5 – File Order Form

Bring the signed Order Form to the clerk’s office and ask them to make certified copies. (If you do not file the Order with the clerk, the name change will not be final.) Use the certified copies to change the minor’s name on their identification, and with all the pertinent government agencies.

Minor Name Change – Filed by One Parent

In situations where only one (1) parent is filing their child’s name change petition, the other parent must be served with the initial court papers. In cases where the other parent is dead or has had their parental rights terminated, the petitioning parent will have the chance to make that clear in the Petition Form.

Step 1 – Complete Petition

Download the Petition to Change the Name of a Child Form. Fill out the form according to the familial situation. Sections ‘3’ and ‘4’ on the form allow the petitioning parent to supply information on the minor’s other parent, guardian, or conservator; known henceforth as the ‘respondent’. If the respondent is dead or no longer has parental rights, service will not be required, however, you must attach a copy of either the death certificate or certified court order that terminated the parent’s rights. Sign the Declaration section at the bottom of the Petition Form (it’s important to note that you are signing under penalty of perjury).

Step 2 – Complete Order 

Download the Order Changing the Name of a Child Form and provide all the necessary information. If the other parent is willing, have them sign the Order and complete the Respondent’s Answer Form as well. Otherwise you will have to serve them the initial court papers (this will be covered in ‘Step 6’). Do not complete the following fields: date of judgment, judge’s signature, judge’s printed name.

Step 3 – Complete Case Forms

Download and complete the Civil Case Information Sheet and the Information on Suit Affecting the Family Relationship Form.

Step 4 – Consent Form (If Applicable)

All minor’s under the age of ten (10) must sign a Consent Form if their parent is petitioning for their name change. Download the Child’s Consent to Name Change Form and have them complete all the fields, including the signature field.

Step 5 – File Forms

Make copies of the Petition Form and the Child’s Consent Form before visiting the courthouse. When you have all the documents ready, go to your county’s courthouse and file all the forms with the court clerk. You will be asked to pay the filing fee, which is usually around $300, however, the fee is different in every county. The clerk will file-stamp each form and return to you the Petition, Order, and Consent Forms. You might be able to appear before a judge the same day you file your petition unless you are required to serve the other parent, in which case you will be given a future court date.

Step 6 – Serve Other Parent (If Applicable)

If you are required to serve the minor’s other parents (i.e., you have completed Respondent A or Respondent B section, or both, on the Petition Form), let the clerk know you would like the parent to be served in person. The clerk will attach a copy of the Petition to a ‘citation form’ (together known as the “initial court papers”) and give them to you. Deliver the court papers to a constable, sheriff or private process server in the county in which the other parent resides (there will most likely be a fee involved). They will serve the other parent and will complete a “Return of Service” form once they have completed this service. Next, the server will either file the Return of Service with the court or deliver it to you so you can file it yourself. The Return of Service must be filed at least ten (10) days prior to your court date.

Step 7 – Waiting Periods (If Applicable)

If ‘Step 6’ applies to you, you will be required to wait of twenty (20) days after the other parent was served with the court papers to continue with the case. This period of time gives the parent time to look over the papers and decide whether or not they will contest the name change. Follow the appropriate instructions below, depending on the circumstances:

  • If the parent does not reply by 10 a.m. the Monday after the 20-day waiting period, you are able to finish the case by default. To proceed with the case by default, additional forms must be filled out. Download the Certificate of Last Known Mailing Address and Military Status Declaration (or Military Status Affidavit if your case is filed in Harris County – must be signed in front of notary) and complete all the necessary fields. Make a copy of each form so you can file them with the court clerk when you revisit the courthouse.
  • If the parent agrees to the name change, they must sign the Order Form and complete the Respondent’s Answer Form.
  • If the other parent does not agree with the name change, it becomes a “contested case” and a final hearing must take place. The other parent should be notified forty-five (45) days prior to the final hearing. You cannot continue with the normal name change proceedings and it is recommended that you seek attorney counsel if this situation applies to you.

Step 8 – Appear Before Judge

As long as the other parent has signed the Order Form and completed the Respondent’s Answer Form, or you are permitted to finish the case by default, it’s time to visit the courthouse on the appointed date. The court clerk will file-stamp the Certificate of Last Known Mailing Address and Military Status Declaration (if applicable), and will give one (1) copy of each back to you. Bring the following documents with you to the courtroom:

  • Order Form
  • File-stamped Petition
  • File-stamped Consent Form
  • Death Certificate of other parent (if applicable)
  • Order of termination of parental rights (if applicable)
  • Return of Service (if applicable)
  • File-stamped Certificate of Last Known Mailing Address Form + 1 copy (if applicable)
  • File-stamped Military Status Declaration (if applicable)

The judge will call your case and you will be asked to state the reasons why you are petitioning for the name change of your child. After reviewing your testimony and the submitted forms, the judge will sign the Order only if they deem the name change in the child’s best interest.

Step 9 – File Order Form

Bring the signed Order to the court clerk and have them make certified copies. Use the certified Order to update the minor’s name on their Social Security, birth certificate, and any other important documents and pieces of identification.