Legal name change?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Ponypal, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. Ponypal

    Ponypal Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2013

    I"m thinking of legally changing my first and middle name. I will try to make this post short, but I wanted to give some background information first.

    My mom has filed for divorce after 43 years of marriage. My father has been abusive and unfaithful.

    When I was a child I had asked about my name and it was explained in a way that a child would understand. When I was older I learned that I was actually named after someone who was brutally murdered. I just recently learned that my father chose my name. My mother didn't have the knowlegde at the time who this person was that I was named after. Those close to me were horrified when I told them the story about my name. They know of the person who had died.

    Since my father has had such a negative impact on my life all these years, I would like to try to allieviate this everyday reminder of him by changing my name. He has moved out of state and has taken on another "family".

    My friends and family are supportive and my mom even suggested another name. Do you have any advice?
     
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  3. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Jun 27, 2013

    Changing your name won't help you deal with the hurt you have had over your lifetime.

    Changing your name will make people question why. It is not normal to change a first and a middle name. It is common to change a last name due to marriage or divorce. "Because I felt like it" won't be a reason that will sit well with others. Although you owe no one an explanation, it is something so drastic that people will wonder about your credibility or your stability. Kind of like

    Honestly, I think you should focus on getting emotional help for the hurt you dealt with. But then, I'm an outsider that would really wonder why an entire name change. It is really not the norm.
     
  4. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I think changing your name will actually start the healing process. I have a friend who changed her first and last name for very personal reasons and for her it was an important step to moving on from a hurtful past.

    You shouldn't not change your last name because people will think it's weird and ask why. Just tell them "it's personal" People are too nosy anyways.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 27, 2013

    Names matter. I'm with lucybelle: I think you've got every reason to change as many of your names as you see fit - and, for the record, I know people who've changed first and/or middle name and not one of them regrets it.
     
  6. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jun 27, 2013

    I think if you want to change it, go ahead.

    There are lots of baby name websites that give the meaning of names.
     
  7. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Jun 27, 2013

    I agree with Lucy and TG. Just be prepared though- it can be expensive. When I got married I wanted to make my maiden name my legal middle name and the lady at the social security office told me (at least in NJ and at the time 4 years ago) it took a lot of court appearances and about $1,000. Not to deter you- just to give you a heads up. I too think it would help you with the healing. I'm so sorry you've gone through this. :(
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 27, 2013

    That's so surprising. I ended up changing my name two different times after getting married--same marriage. The first time I hyphenated. After a few years I decided that I didn't like the hyphenation, so I went back in and dropped my maiden name entirely. While I was at the Social Security office, they initially thought that I meant to change my middle name to my maiden name. I got the impression that it would have been no problem whatsoever. Ultimately it was no problem whatsoever to do what I wanted to do. It seemed like they were willing to put any combination or variation of whatever name I wanted, as long as each word was reflected somewhere on my marriage license.

    To the OP, I think changing a name to an entirely new name would be potentially expensive. If it is something that you want to do, however, it could definitely be money well spent. I say go for it.
     
  9. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Jun 27, 2013

    I'm with everyone else. It can be very healing for you to cut that out of your life. I've recently cut ties with my parents (well, they cut the ties; I obliged) and I've taken on my fiances last name for everything except legal things. Obviously when we get married, I'll take his last name officially. But even now, my last name is used where I work on everything except my paycheck and legal documents.

    And I have to say, it's relieving. It really is. People can be very supportive about it even before it's official.
     
  10. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Jun 27, 2013

    The quickest way to change your name and find out the cost is to consult an attorney. Years ago the cost to change a name (not by marriage) was 250 dollars. I'm sure it is more costly now. Call several lawyers to find out the price.

    I think its a great idea, especially since you have your mom's blessing.
     
  11. eternalsaudade

    eternalsaudade Companion

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    Jun 27, 2013

    Really? That seems ridiculous. In my state, you:

    1) Fill out a form and get it notarized.
    2) Turn in the form, pay $132, and set a hearing date.
    3) Before your hearing date, you are required to publish the name change in a newspaper. It is possible to get this waived if you are worried that harm may come to you by publishing it.
    4) Attend the hearing, answer a few questions so the judge can make sure you are not trying to commit fraud/avoid debts, and then bam, new name.

    It is a bit of work, but not too expensive and only one court appearance. It is your legal right to change your name, the only thing they are worried about is fraud and such but if you have a legitimate reason, it shouldn't be an issue.

    Anyway, I think that if your name is causing you distress in any form, you should absolutely change it. Sometimes gestures like these can be part of the therapeutic process, so do whatever it is you need to do to heal and move on from your negative experiences. :)
     
  12. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Jun 27, 2013

    I agree... best of luck with the name change process. It sounds like it could be the first step in an important healing process.
     
  13. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Jun 27, 2013

    It is your life and if you need this to help heal, then do it!

    I believe I speak for most of us here on A to Z:
    YOU have our permission!

    SO give yourself permission to change it

    And God bless you in your quest
     
  14. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jun 27, 2013

    I agree with Irishdave. Both my GSs changed their names. One because he was adopted, and one to eliminate his father's last name. Without a lawyer, it is pretty cheap.
     
  15. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Jun 28, 2013

    In NJ, it costs $200.

    http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/prose/10551_namechg_adult.pdf
     
  16. Ponypal

    Ponypal Comrade

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    Thank you for all of the support and advice. Some of you mentioned that I'd need to invest time and money into this. It really feels that both would be well spent. It would be a way for me to move on without his constant reminder of the past.
     
  17. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Thanks, bros. I never looked into it after my conversation with her. There are some additional fees, it's not just the $200, but it doesn't look like it costs the $1000 she told me. (maybe she was including a lawyer's fees in her estimate)
     
  18. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    I agree it would be money and time well spent! Good luck :)
     
  19. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Jun 29, 2013

    Motor vehicle is ~30

    Teaching cert is ~80

    Getting your name changed with social security is free (I had to do it when I was applying for SSI and noticed that my name on my social security card was incorrect - my two middle names were written as one name).
     
  20. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jun 29, 2013

    Due to this unique situation in which your name is so connotated to such sadness & pain for you, I think changing your name will be freeing & exhilerating for your emotional well being. Life is too short to remain dealing with any type of sorrow. If you truly believe you'll be happier, then go for it!
     
  21. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Jun 29, 2013

    I agree that if it makes you happy, go for it! There's no real reason not to. As HeartDrama said, talking to a counselor might be a good step in the healing process as well. :)
     
  22. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    It's your life - do what you want, be happy with it, and don't look back!
     

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