As time passes and life happens, you might find yourself wanting to change your name. Whether you get married, divorced or have personal changes, there are all kinds of reasons that you may want to change your name. You might wonder if the State of Nevada allows you to change your name.

Fortunately, the State of Nevada allows people to change their names under most circumstances. Although there’s some paperwork that can be a bit confusing, Nevada lawmakers have tried to make the process as streamlined as possible. However, you still may want to work with an attorney for name change to ensure everything is done correctly. Here’s how to change your name in the State of Nevada.

Filing a Petition for a Name Change

Nevada law 41.270 is Nevada’s law about name changes. To change your name, you file a petition with the District Court and pay the filing fee. Your petition must include your old name, your new name and the reason you want to change it. You must state whether you have any felony convictions.

Filling out Name Change Paperwork

One of the requirements for a name change is publishing notice of the petition. You must publish the notice in a county newspaper once a week for three consecutive weeks. You can ask the court to waive that requirement if you think posting the notice might compromise your safety.

Ten days after the third publication, you check to see if anyone has filed an objection to your application. If the answer is no, you then submit a request to the judge to summarily grant your name change. When someone objects, you have to have a hearing. At the hearing, the court decides whether there’s a good reason for you to want to change your name. If the court finds there’s a good reason for the change, they enter an order granting your request.

What if I Have a Felony Conviction?

A petitioner that has a felony conviction must submit fingerprints as part of their application. If the court grants the name change, the court submits a copy of the court order to the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History.

The name change order stays with your criminal record. If you tell the court that you don’t have a felony conviction when you actually have a conviction, the court must rescind the order for the name change as soon as they learn the truth.

Why Would the Court Deny a Petition for a Name Change?

The court might deny a petition for a name change if they think you’re asking for the change for a bad reason. An example might be to prevent others from finding out about your criminal history.

Another reason to deny a name change is if the court thinks it’s to defraud creditors. In the case of joint custody, the courts are often hesitant to change a child’s last name if the child’s parent with the same last name is active in the child’s life and substantially compliant with custody orders.

What if I’m Changing My Name Because of Gender Identity?

If you change your name because of a change in your gender identity, you don’t have to publish notice of your petition. A petition because of gender identity is the same as a typical petition only without a publication. The courts typically grant a request for this reason unless there are other factors at play.

Filing a Petition on Behalf of a Child

A parent can file a petition on behalf of a child. If the child is 14 years old or older, the child must consent to the change. You must serve the other parent with a copy of the paperwork. The other parent can object. Both parents must agree to the name change unless a parent is deceased or they don’t have legal rights regarding the child.

Where Do I File My Petition?

In cases involving both adults and minors, you file your petition in the District Court. In Las Vegas, that’s the Clark County District Court. You must pay a $270 filing fee with cash, money order or credit. If you can’t pay the fee, you can request a fee waiver. There are three ways to file your papers:

  • In person: Take your paperwork to the District Court Clerk’s Office – Family Courts and Services Center. Arrive by 3:40 p.m. to meet the deadline for the day that you want to file.
  • Mail: Send your paperwork to the District Court Clerk’s Office – Family Courts and Services Center
  • Online: Create an account with Nevada’s eFile system. There’s an additional $3.50 fee for using eFile.

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Changing Your Name Because of Marriage

When people think of Las Vegas, they often think of weddings. If you want to change your name when you get married, you don’t have to go through the process of filing a petition. Instead, you must simply note the change on your marriage license.

After your marriage, present a copy of your marriage certificate to the government agencies and private organizations that you want to use your new name. You can get a copy of your marriage certificate from the Clark County Recorder.

Changing Your Name Because of Divorce

If you change your name because you get divorced, you can avoid the process of filing a petition. Instead, you can make your name change a part of your divorce judgment.

As long as you’re reverting to a previous name, all you need to do is include the change in your judgment of divorce. Once you have the judgment of divorce, you’re ready to present it to agencies that you want to use your new name.

What Happens After I Make the Change?

Once you have the name change order in your hands, you’re ready to try out your new name. Show the order to government agencies like the Department of Motor Vehicles, your bank, your employer, and anyone else that you want to use your new name. These organizations may ask for a certified copy of the court order, so it helps to have copies on hand when you make your request. You can get a copy of your order from the Clerk of Courts Record Department.

You can also request a new birth certificate. Contact the vital records office where you were born. If you’re born in the State of Nevada, review the information from Nevada’s Office of Vital Statistics to see how to change your birth certificate.

Nevada Name Changes and Real ID Licenses

If you have been to the DMV in recent years, you have likely heard of Real ID’s. These are identification cards, including driver’s licenses that comply with the 2005 federal Real ID Act. The Act establishes a minimum security standard for license issuance and restricts Federal agencies from accepting identification that does not meet these standards. Beginning October 1, 2020, a Real ID will be required for anyone wanting to use an identification card or driver’s license to board domestic flights on a commercial aircraft or access federal facilities such as military bases or nuclear power plants.

It’s important to remember that the program is optional, as there are other forms of federally accepted identification, such as passports, that can be used. You may be wondering what this change to Real ID means if you have a name change or are planning to change your name in the future. The process and the documents you must present are generally the same as those shown to get your ID the first time.

Nevada Real ID Name Change Documentation

Regarding name changes and Real ID’s, you will need to bring documentation to prove all legal name changes. Your name change must be filed with the Social Security Administration before changing it on your identification. Name change documents can be a marriage certificate, judgment of divorce, or an order of name change granted by local courts. These documents will need to be valid originals or certified copies issued in the U.S.

Additionally, to get your Real ID, you will need to present proof of identity, proof of your social security number, and proof of Nevada residence. Your attorney can help ensure you have the correct name change documents if you are planning on upgrading to a Real ID.

How Can a Family Law Attorney Help?

Preparing a petition for a name change can be confusing. If you’re not sure how to file your petition or if you’re worried about making your petition successful, working with a name change attorney is the best way to ensure a smooth process. Your lawyer can help ensure your paperwork is correctly compiled and that you meet all of the requirements to change your name.