Real Life

Say My (New) Name: What’s in a Name Change?

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Maybe you and the Kardashians have more in common than you thought. 

If you didn’t hear the news, Kylie Jenner had her second child with Travis Scott in early 2022 and originally named him Wolf. But after getting to know her son a little more, the couple decided that the name didn’t really fit him like they originally thought it would and decided to go through the process to change it.

Changing the name of your baby is only one situation in which you may want to inquire about a name change. You may be surprised to find there are many more instances that may warrant one.

Getting married

Name changes through marriage are not as cut and dry as you maybe once thought. There are, in fact, a lot of different options to consider before you wed. Whether you want to take your partner’s name, hyphenate your last names or come up with a new last name entirely, the world is your oyster when it comes to your marriage license, depending on the state you live in.

But after you say, “I do,” don’t stop in your tracks. You’ll still need to go through the process of changing other legal documents to reflect your name change. These documents may include your driver’s license, your Social Security card, etc. And you’ll definitely want to wait on an international honeymoon until you change the name on your passport!

Legal change required? Yes.

Getting divorced

Sigh. While changing your name after divorce is entirely optional, a lot of people revert to their original last name to remove such a constant reminder of their breakup. This is typically done during divorce proceedings, which is also the easiest way. Simply ask the court to include your name change in their decision via the divorce decree.

Legal change required? Yes.

Changing your gender

If the name you were assigned at birth doesn’t match up with your gender, there’s no need to keep it. While the legality of changing your first name varies from state to state, a network attorney can help you determine whether updating your relevant documents with your chosen name is possible where you live.

Until then, many institutions give the opportunity to provide a preferred name, whether you’re applying for a credit card or a job.

Legal change required? Depends on the state.

Career aspirations

Did you know that Shania Twain’s real first name is actually Eilleen? While we personally like that name, we understand why she believed Shania would possess a little more star power. If you identify with Eilleen – ahem – Shania and want to pursue the stage or the big screen, there’s no need to legally change your name. You can start going by your stage name literally today. Remember us when you’re famous!

Legal change required? No.

Adopting a child

If you don’t adopt your child directly after they’re born, you may not have a say in the name that makes it onto their birth certificate. Whether you decide to change it is up to you, but keep in mind that adopting children older than infants may complicate your wishes to change their name, if it’s not in the interest of their personal safety. It’s important to consider what feelings the child may have surrounding their name and how the change may negatively impact their development.

Legal change required? Yes.

Personal safety

We’re ending on a serious note here, folks. Sometimes, it’s in the best interest of your personal safety to change your name/the name of your children, based on extenuating circumstances. Whether you’re looking to relocate after escaping an abuser or want to mask your child’s identity after adopting them from an unsafe situation, you may feel safer under a different name.

Legal change required? Recommended.

Regardless of your situation, a name change may be on your to-do list. And a network attorney from ARAG can help! Contact us to confirm coverage and get your case started.


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