How much does it cost to change your name?
Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to change your name?

Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to change your name?

$10 – $500 petition cost
$35 – $770 total average cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$10 – $500 petition cost

$35 – $770 total average cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Jennifer Carlson
Written by
Jennifer Carlson
Edited by
Tara Farmer
Fact-checked by
Kristen Cramer

Cost to legally change your name

Changing your name costs $10 to $500 in court filing fees, depending on your location and the reason for the name change. Over half the states in the U.S. have name change filing fees in the $100 to $350 range. Changing your legal name on your vital documents afterward costs $25 to $270 on average.

Cost to change your name
Fee type Cost
Filing fees $10 – $500
Document changes $25 – $270
Total cost $35 – $770

  • States with the lowest filing fees include Alabama, DC, Hawaii, Maine, Virginia, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

  • The most expensive states to file a name change are California, Florida, and Louisiana.

  • A parent can change their child's name as long as both parents consent.

Get free estimates from lawyers near you.

Name change cost factors

People change their names legally for various reasons: marriage, divorce, adoption, gender change, or other personal reasons. To change your name, you must go through the proper channels. This includes a court petition and legal paperwork. Depending on your specific situation, the following factors may influence the cost:

  • Location: Every state has different filing fees for name changes, and some vary by county, too. States like Alabama only charge $10 to $80, while Louisiana charges up to $500. Some states have online applications, while some require a visit to a county clerk's office.

  • Legal help: If you need help filing your name change paperwork, lawyers charge $150 to $400 per hour on average. An attorney can file your petition for you and help avoid having your new name published in a local newspaper, as some states still require.

  • Reason: Your costs may vary depending on the reason you're changing your name:

    • Marriage: Name changes are most common after getting married. After listing your desired name on your marriage license, you'll need to pay a fee and file your paperwork with the Social Security Administration.

    • Divorce: Some people also choose to return to their maiden name or original last name after divorce. Often, the divorce decree will include a name change at no additional charge. If you wait until after the divorce, you'll have to pay the filing fee.

    • Adoption: When you adopt a child, they receive a birth certificate with their new name as part of the adoption process. You won't need to do anything else unless they have existing IDs to change.

    • Other: Some states may require a notarized affidavit and a background check if you're changing your name for a reason other than marriage or divorce. This is to prevent people from trying to get out of debt or starting over after committing crimes.

Vital documents

After filing your petition and receiving your paperwork back from the court, you'll have to change your name on your personal documents. This includes:

  • Social Security card: This change is free but can be time-consuming since it involves a trip to the Social Security office.

  • Driver's license or ID: A new license or ID costs $25 to $50, depending on your location.

  • Voter registration: There is no fee for changing the name on your voter registration, but it's best not to put it off or forget it. You could risk being turned away at polls otherwise.

  • Passport: A change of name on a passport costs $0 to $160, depending on how long ago you got the passport. If it's been less than a year since you got a passport and changed your name, the change is free. If you choose expedited processing, you'll pay an extra $60.

  • Other accounts: Changing your name on bank or utility accounts is free but can be time-consuming. Some institutions require proof before they'll let you change your account name.

Paperwork to legally change your name, next to a U.S. passport
Paperwork to legally change your name, next to a U.S. passport

FAQs about changing your name

Can you change your last name?

Yes, you can change your last name legally by filing a petition with your local court. You can change your name to anything you want, except for the following scenarios:

  • The name is obscene, racist, or offensive.

  • The name is confusing or has symbols in it.

  • The name infringes on a trademark or celebrity name.

  • You're using a new name to avoid debt, criminal punishment, or liability.

How long does it take to change your name?

The name change process typically takes 1 to 3 months from start to finish, depending on the state you live in and your reasons for changing your name. If you're changing it during a divorce, you'll have to wait until the divorce is finalized, which can take months.

Do you need a lawyer to change your name?

You don't need a lawyer to change your name. However, you may want to hire or consult a lawyer if you need help with the paperwork or if you have a tricky case.

A family law attorney, for example, can help if your child wants to change their name after you get divorced but the other parent doesn't want to give consent. A lawyer can also help with potential issues like keeping your new name private instead of having it published in the local newspaper.

How old do you have to be to change your legal name?

You can change your name on your own starting when you're 18 years old. Children and minors need the consent of at least one parent or guardian, and there are sometimes different forms to fill out in the process.

What to look for in a lawyer

If you decide to get a lawyer's help changing your name, you can search our list of lawyers and then follow these steps:

  • Compare 3+ estimates from different law firms.

  • Read reviews on Lawful and Google.

  • Choose a lawyer with experience and a good reputation.

  • Ask if they passed the bar and can represent you in court.

  • Choose someone who makes you feel comfortable and at ease.

  • Get a contract in writing before they begin any casework.

Questions to ask a lawyer

When looking for or consulting with a lawyer, ask the following questions:

  • How much experience do you have?

  • When did you pass the bar, if you have?

  • How much experience do you have filing on behalf of clients?

  • Do you give free consultations?

  • Can you take on new clients right now?

  • How long do name changes usually take?

  • Does this state require new names to be published in the newspaper?

  • If so, can you help keep my name out of the newspaper?

  • Do you charge a flat rate or by the hour?

  • Can you give me a contract in writing?