Q: What do I need to know about getting a legal name change?
You can file the appropriate legal documents with the court in the county where you reside. The court may require that you publish certain notice of the proceeding in a newspaper in circulation where you reside. This is done to put the public and any creditor you may have on notice of your intent to change your name.
You will have to notify several state departments including the Attorney General or County Prosecutor of your Application for a Name Change. You will have to also notify the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice in Trenton.
The process can be quite difficult and expensive. The court filing fee is $250 and the court has a pro se packet for name change petitions. Here is the link for the packet: https://www.njcourts.gov/forms/10551_namechg_adult.pdf
You may also hire an attorney to help you obtain a name change. My firm, as well as many others, can help.
Presuming that you are over the age of 18 and presuming that you are not trying to hide from creditors or because of a bankruptcy or criminal prosecution or because of any illegal reason, changing your name is not a difficult process but it does have a number of steps that need to be followed since it starts with the filing of a legal document called a complaint for name change.
As long as you are good at following procedures, you can get the free pro se name change package from the superior court system in the county where you live. Fill in all of the items in the complaint, and file it with the court along with the filing fee. The pro se package will walk you through the various steps in the process but please do not skip any steps because you will be required to file proof of compliance with each step with the court and if you skip a step, you will have to start over again.
If your request for a name change is because you recently got divorced and want to change your name, the process is even easier. In that setting, you can file an application with the family part judge handling your divorce, and the judge has the authority to enter an order for name change.
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