Changing Your Name in Illinois

Changing Your Name in Illinois

Last updated: July 2013

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Changing your name is not as simple as deciding to call yourself something else. You need to ask the court's permission. You can do this by filing a "Request for Name Change." It will cost money to change your name. You must pay a filing fee and pay to publish your name change in the newspaper.Click on words that appear like 'this' to learn what these words mean.Does it cost money to change my name? Yes, you will need to pay several fees. These fees include:A filing fee with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. To find out how much this will cost, contact your Circuit Court Clerk by visiting the Illinois Courts website;A publication fee to put your notice in the newspaper; A certified copy fee if your name change is granted and you need certified copies of the court order; andThe Illinois Department of Public Health's fee for changing your Birth Certificate.If you cannot afford the fees to file your case, you can ask the judge to let you file for free, called "waiving" your court costs. You will need to file a Petition with the court to do this.Go to the "Related Articles" section of this guide to learn how to waive your court costs.Do I have to be an Illinois resident to change my name? Yes. You must be a resident and have lived in Illinois for at least six months.How do I change back to my maiden name after a divorce? Under Illinois law, you can return to your maiden name after a divorce if:You requested your maiden name in your divorce petition; and A judge granted your request in your divorce judgment.Most agencies, like the Illinois Secretary of State, will need a certified copy of your divorce judgment to change your name. To get a certified copy, contact the Circuit Clerk of the courthouse where your divorce judgment is filed. There is usually a charge for getting a certified copy. To find out how to contact your Circuit Clerk, visit the Illinois Courts website. Can I change my name if I have been convicted of a crime? If you have been convicted or given probation in Illinois or any other State of any of the following crimes, you cannot file a name change in Illinois (unless ten years have passed since the end of your sentence or you have been pardoned):Any felonyMisdemeanor criminal sexual abuse when the victim at the time of the act was under 18Misdemeanor sexual exploitation of a childMisdemeanor indecent solicitation of a childMisdemeanor indecent solicitation of an adultIdentify theft or aggravated identity theftCan I change my name if I have to register as a sex offender? No. If you are required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act, you may not change your name until you no longer have to register.Can I change my name to whatever I want? No. While most name change petitions are granted, the court can deny your request if they have a reason. Do I need a reason to change my name? While the law does not specifically require a reason for you to change your name, the court can deny your request. In that case, you may need a reason to change your name.Can I change my children's names? Yes, you can ask to change your children's names by filing a Petition for Name Change. However, you will need to take extra steps in order to change a child's name. For more information on changing a child's name, see the "Related Articles" section of this Guide. Fill Out Your Forms Fill out the following forms (which you will find in the forms tab of this guide):Request for Name Change: gives the court information needed to decide if you can change your name. A person who knows you must sign the form;Notice of Filing a Request for Name Change: tells the public you are asking the court to change your name and is published in a newspaper for 3 weeks.Order for Name Change: is used by the judge to say you Request for Name Change is granted or denied. Make three extra copies of each form once you have filled them out.Get a Hearing Date Go to your Circuit Clerk's office. Tell the Circuit Clerk that you are filing a Request for Name Change and need to get a hearing date. The Clerk will give you a hearing date and time. Write them on the Notice of Filing a Request for Name Change. Make sure the hearing date is at least 8 weeks after the date you file the forms at court. Have the Circuit Clerk also stamp the extra copies of your forms. You can file a name change at any of the cook county suburban courthouses or the Daley Center. You don't need to file your name change in your district, but it might be more convenient. See Illinois' courthouse page to find your closest courthouse.Publish your Notice of Filing in the Newspaper If you got your court costs waived, then you can also ask the court to waive your publication fee. You will need to complete:A Motion to Waive Publication CostsAn Order Waiving Publication CostsFile them with the Circuit Clerk. The Circuit Clerk will give them to a judge for approval.You will have to wait a few days to see if your Motion is approved. If it is approved, the Order Waiving Publication Costs will be returned to you with the judge's signature. If it is not approved, you will have to pay the publication fee.To publish your Notice: Contact a newspaper in your county and set up publication of the notice.You can do this with the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. You need:One copy of your Request, including the court date, time, name of the judge, the courtroom number, and the case number Your Order Waiving Publication Costs, if you got your publication fee waivedA check for 143$ if you did not get your publication fee waivedSend all of this to:Chicago Daily Law Bulletin 415 N. State St. Chicago, Illinois 60610If you file your Request at one of the suburban Cook County courthouses, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin will mail you a Certificate of Publication. File the Certificate of Publication After your Notice has run in the newspaper for 3 straight weeks get a Certificate of Publication from the newspaper. Ask the newspaper how they will send the Certificate of Publication. They will typically:Send the Certificate directly to the Circuit Clerk,Mail the Certificate directly to you, ORTell you to pick up the Certificate in person.Take the Certificate of Publication to the courthouse and file it with the Circuit Clerk before your court date. If the newspaper sends the Certificate directly to the Circuit Clerk, make sure it arrives before your court date and ask the newspaper to send you a copy. Go Your Court Hearing Get to court at least 45 minutes before your hearing time;Bring these items to your court hearing:Photo I.D.;Stamped copies of: Request of Name Change, Notice of Filing a Request for Name Change, and Certificate of Publication;Order for Name Change; AND Other papers related to your Request (like papers showing that at least 10 years have passed since completion and discharge of your sentence).Confirm the court room number and go that room.Check in quietly with the judge's clerk, court assistant, or court bailiff. Wait for your name and case number to be called. You may be placed under oath, answer the judge's questions truthfully. The judge will either GRANT or DENY your Request. The judge will write this on the Order and sign it. File Your Order and Get Certified Copies File the signed Order with the Circuit Clerk. You should also get certified copies of your Order from the Circuit Clerk.You need a certified copy of the order to change your name on records like a Birth Certificate, Social Security Card, and Driver's License. Change the Name on Your Birth Certificate If you were born in the state of Illinois you will need:A certified copy of the Order;A money order for $15.00, payable to Vital Records, Springfield;A note stating your date and place of birth.Mail these three things to the address below:Bureau of Vital RecordsState of Illinois - Dept. of Health605 West JeffersonSpringfield, IL 62702-5097If you were born in a state other than Illinois, contact the office that keeps birth records in the state where you were born. Ask a representative in that office how to change the name on your birth certificate.Change the Name on Your Social Security Card to Your New Name Go to any Social Security office;Bring a certified copy of the Order;Bring a piece of identification, such as your old Social Security card, old ID, or Birth Certificate;Fill out an application and submit it to the Social Security staff;There will not be a fee for this change.If Your Name Change Request Is Denied If your request was denied because of a procedural mistake on your part (for example, you did not do the publication correctly), then you should correct the error and request another hearing.Fill Out Your Forms Fill out the following forms (which you will find in the forms tab of this guide):Request for Name Change: gives the court information needed to decide if you can change your name. A person who knows you must sign the form;Notice of Filing a Request for Name Change: tells the public you are asking the court to change your name and is published in a newspaper for 3 weeks.Order for Name Change: is used by the judge to say you Request for Name Change is granted or denied. Make three extra copies of each form once you have filled them out.Get a Hearing Date Go to your Circuit Clerk's office. Tell the Circuit Clerk that you are filing a Request for Name Change and need to get a hearing date. The Clerk will give you a hearing date and time. Write them on the Notice of Filing a Request for Name Change. Make sure the hearing date is at least 8 weeks after the date you file the forms at court. Have the Circuit Clerk also stamp the extra copies of your forms. Publish your Notice of Filing in the Newspaper Contact a newspaper in your county and set up publication of the notice.If there is no newspaper in your county, contact a convenient newspaper published in Illinois.Give a copy of the Notice of Filing a Request for Name Change to a newspaper. The notice must appear in a newspaper for 3 weeks in a row and for the first time at least 6 weeks before your hearing date.Newspapers may charge you a publication fee. If you got your court costs waived, then you can also ask the court to waive your publication fee. You will need to complete:A Motion to Waive Publication CostsAn Order Waiving Publication CostsFile them with the Circuit Clerk. The Circuit Clerk will give them to a judge for approval.You will have to wait a few days to see if your Motion is approved. If it is approved, the Order Waiving Publication Costs will be returned to you with the judge's signature. If it is not approved, you will have to pay the publication fee.File the Certificate of Publication After your Notice has run in the newspaper for 3 straight weeks get a Certificate of Publication from the newspaper. Ask the newspaper how they will send the Certificate of Publication. They will typically:Send the Certificate directly to the Circuit Clerk,Mail the Certificate directly to you, ORTell you to pick up the Certificate in person.Take the Certificate of Publication to the courthouse and file it with the Circuit Clerk before your court date. If the newspaper sends the Certificate directly to the Circuit Clerk, make sure it arrives before your court date and ask the newspaper to send you a copy. Go To Your Court Hearing Get to court at least 45 minutes before your hearing time;Bring these items to your court hearing:Photo I.D.;Stamped copies of: Request of Name Change, Notice of Filing a Request for Name Change, and Certificate of Publication;Order for Name Change; AND Other papers related to your Request (like papers showing that at least 10 years have passed since completion and discharge of your sentence).Confirm the court room number and go that room.Check in quietly with the judge's clerk, court assistant, or court bailiff. Wait for your name and case number to be called. You may be placed under oath, answer the judge's questions truthfully. The judge will either GRANT or DENY your Request. The judge will write this on the Order and sign it. File Your Order and Get Certified Copies File the signed Order with the Circuit Clerk. You should also get certified copies of your Order from the Circuit Clerk.You need a certified copy of the order to change your name on records like a Birth Certificate, Social Security Card, and Driver's License. Change the Name on Your Birth Certificate If you were born in the state of Illinois you will need:A certified copy of the Order;A money order for $15.00, payable to Vital Records, Springfield;A note stating your date and place of birth.Mail these three things to the address below:Bureau of Vital RecordsState of Illinois - Dept. of Health605 West JeffersonSpringfield, IL 62702-5097If you were born in a state other than Illinois, contact the office that keeps birth records in the state where you were born. Ask a representative in that office how to change the name on your birth certificate.Change the Name on Your Social Security Card to Your New Name Go to any Social Security office;Bring a certified copy of the Order;Bring a piece of identification, such as your old Social Security card, old ID, or Birth Certificate;Fill out an application and submit it to the Social Security staff;There will not be a fee for this change.If Your Name Change Request Is Denied If your request was denied because of a procedural mistake on your part (for example, you did not do the publication correctly), then you should correct the error and request another hearing.

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