How to legally change your name in Mississippi
Your name is a big part of your identity, so it is important to understand the process if you ever need to change it.
Depending on the scenario, it can be a relatively simple process, especially if you plan to change your name through a marriage application or an existing divorce proceeding. However, if the name change is for reasons outside or marriage, the process can be more difficult, requiring that you submit a petition to the Mississippi chancery court for an order to officially change your name. This article covers each specific scenario.
Changing your name when getting married
The most common reason to want a name change is marriage. There is no legal requirement, but many spouses choose to either change, conjoin or hyphenate their name with their partner’s to symbolize their union. This option is permitted by the state of Mississippi when filed through a marriage license. Once you fill out the application, submit it along with all other required documentation to the clerk of the county circuit court’s office.
Changing your name when getting divorced
If you are changing your name due to divorce, you will be able to take your name back as part of the divorce proceedings. While the road to divorce can be long and hard, reclaiming your name should be relatively simple. The court handling your divorce can include an order to restore your former name in the final divorce decree.
Filling a name change petition
Whether your name change is motivated by personal branding, discrimination, a gender transition or simple dissatisfaction with your given name, the last option, filing a petition for a name change, covers the scope of all reason outside of marital status.
You will automatically be disqualified for a name change if your reasons are found to be motivated by fraud, avoiding a crime or child/spouse support obligations or anything under that scope.
To qualify for a hearing over a name change petition in your county’s chancery court, you must be at least 21 years of age. A name change can also be done for a minor child with the consent of one or both parents.
Minor name changes are most often done to change a child’s last name to reflect their mother’s last name because the presumption in Mississippi is for the child’s last name to be that of their biological father. They are also sometimes requested because a parent desires to change a first name after the birth of a child or because the child has a nickname they are more accustomed to.
Ensuring a successful name change
If you are successful in legally changing your name for any of the reasons above, you will need to hold onto either your marriage certificate, divorce decree or court order to change any other vital records. It will be important that your Social Security card, driver’s license and other necessary document reflect your name change.
The last important step to take is updating your personal information with your insurance company, banks, creditors, utilities, voter registration, email and social media accounts.
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