5 Common Reasons People Change Their Legal Name

5 Common Reasons People Change Their Legal Name

by Oct 2, 2019Family Law

It is perfectly legal for anyone to change their legal name at any time, for any reason. The only exception is if someone wants to change their name for fraudulent or deceptive purposes. But aside from changing your name due to marriage or divorce, why would you?

As it turns out, there are a lot of fairly common reasons why people want to change their legal name. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it illustrates some of the most popular reasons people cite when considering a name change.

1) They Don’t Like Their Given Name

Unfortunately, not every parent puts a lot of effort or consideration into naming their child. This means some children end up with names that can be unflattering or even embarrassing as they become adults.

Changing their legal name offers people in this situation a way to avoid problems and harassment as they go through life.

2) They Want A Less “Ethnic” Name

Being an immigrant in the United States is often difficult. Social harassment based simply on the sound of a name can become an unbearable burden for those who are simply trying to start fresh in a foreign country.

To avoid this stigma, some people choose to legally change their name to something that “sounds more American.” While it would obviously be better if people didn’t feel the need to take such a drastic step, it is an option for those who do.

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3) Transgender Name Changes

Transgender people often request name changes to reflect their preferred gender. Names can be changed to the masculine or feminine form of their current name or can be a new name altogether.

4) Shared Surname For Same-Sex Partners

Same-sex partners who either can’t or prefer not to marry legally may still opt to change their legal names to share matching surnames.

Aside from a show of romantic commitment, sharing a surname can be convenient for practical matters like financial and legal transactions.

5) Making A Political Statement

It may sound wild to most, but some people change their legal name for a cause, an idea, or to make a political statement.

One of the most famous people to legally change their name for political purposes was the human rights activist Malcolm X. His given name at birth was Malcolm Little.

How To Change Your Legal Name

If you would like to legally change your name, consider speaking with a family law attorney first. While an attorney is not required to change your name legally, the process is fairly complicated and can be confusing for those unfamiliar with how it’s done.

To learn more, or to get help with changing your name, please contact us today.


At Vonder Haar Law Offices, we offer every client a free phone consultation to discuss their unique situation and determine how we can help. To arrange a consultation, please fill out the adjacent form or call us at: (707) 529-3200.

We provide representation in California State and Federal Courts. We accept most major credit cards for your convenience.

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