"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" - Shakespeare
While you may agree with the English playwright in the philosophical sense, it's also true that there is a lot connected with a name. Your whole public persona is connected with your name. It's an inseparable part of your identity. You won't realize how deeply connected, your name is, with your public profile, until you attempt to change it. People who are not happy with their name or who need to change it after marriage, can get it changed legally to anything they want (well almost anything).
There have been cases of name change to escape bankruptcy, cases of identity change for impersonation and many other such occurrences, which has prompted federal authorities to put a proper legal procedure in place for name change. So you can't change your name to anything on a whim, without following a proper legal procedure. People need to change names for various reasons. The most common reason is the change of maiden name after marriage. Whatever be the reason, here I shall present an overview of the generic legal procedure for name change.
How to Legally Change Your Name?
Changing a name, may involve changing the first name, middle name or last name or your full name entirely. First part in the name change procedure is of course finalizing on what new name you intend to take up. Think carefully before taking up one, as you are going to be stuck with it, after the procedure is complete. Say goodbye to your former identity and get ready to embrace your new one!
You can take up any name you want, as long as it's not violating any trademarks, doesn't contain any obscene words and doesn't imply that you're trying to impersonate someone. Once you have finalized the name, you plan to take up, you must first begin the legal procedure that will provide you with authorization to change your name on all of your personal documents, which includes the social security card, your driving license and other such documents.
The procedure for name change varies in every state in the USA. Still almost all county courts require you to file a petition for name change and make a formal public announcement through a newspaper. After you have submitted the petition along with other requisite legal documents and made a public announcement through the newspaper, your case will be taken up by the court. You may have to wait for this procedure to take its course. Then you will have to appear for the court hearing after which you will be granted a legal document authorizing your name change. Known as 'Order Granting Change of Name', it's the document that finalizes your change of name in public domain.
Make copies of the order as you will need it to change your name on the social security card, driving license and birth certificate. Apply for a social security card name change. Once you get the name changed, you can apply for a new driving license with the changed name. This can be followed up with an application to change name, on your birth certificate. When you are finished with all the legal procedure and have been granted the order, you can start officially using your name.
Contact your local court authorities for the exact details of name changing procedure in your county. As discussed before, once you get a valid court order legalizing your name change, you can go about changing your name on your social security card, driving license and other legal documents that are connected with your public profile. You may take help from a lawyer who can entirely handle the court procedure for you.