The Social Security Administration lists five situations where they will grant a social security name change on a social security card:
- Divorce and Annulment;
- Court Order;
- Amended Birth Certificate; and
It is unlikely that the Social Security Administration will grant a social security name change if you do not fall into one of these categories. Some of the categories only allow you to change your last name.
Marriage Name Change
Marriage is the most common reason for a social security name change. To change your name after marriage, the Social Security Administration requires you present a ‘marriage document’ or ‘marriage record.’ In Texas, this usually means presenting a Marriage License or a Declaration and Registration of Informal Marriage that meets the requirements set forth in the Texas Family Code. If you choose to use one of these methods, the SSA will allow you to change your last name in one of the following ways:
- bride takes the groom’s last name;
- groom takes bride’s last name;
- spouse or partner takes the other parties’ last name;
- spouse or partner takes one part of the other parties’ compound surname;
- compound name (with or without hyphen) of each spouse’s or partner’s original surname for either or both parties.
Divorce and Annulment
Unfortunately, 40-50% of all marriages end in divorce. This leads to a lot of people who need a social security name change. Ideally, a person’s new name is stated in the divorce decree. This is the Social Security Administration’s preferred evidence for a social security name change following a divorce. However, the SSA is also willing to change a person’s name back to a name that was already on file with the SSA, like a maiden name. In addition, the SSA is willing to change a person’s name to what is on their birth certificate if the person is going back to their maiden name. Finally, the SSA will allow a person to change their name back to a prior married name if they can present their marriage document from the prior marriage.
Court Order Name Change
If a person wants to change their last name for a reason other than marriage, divorce, or birth certificate amendment, or wants to change their first or middle name, a court order is usually required. In Texas, a petition must be properly filed with the court to start the process. For adults, an FBI Fingerprint card must be included with the petition.
For children, it is best that the parents of the child file the petition jointly. Otherwise, the non-filing parent will need to be served with process and be given an opportunity to contest the proposed name change in court. Children over 10 must agree to the name change.
Once the petition is filed and the court costs area paid, a hearing is held and the Court will determine if the proposed name change will be granted. If the Court does grant the name change, the Court will sign a properly prepared Order presented to it granting the name change. A certified copy of that order can then be presented to the Social Security Administration as evidence of a court-ordered name change.
The Law Office of Brandon S. Glosson routinely helps clients in the San Antonio and Bexar County area get court ordered name changes. Once the Court Order is obtained, we then assist our clients change their name with the Social Security Administration.
Amended Birth Certificate Name Change
The Social Security Administration will accept an amended birth certificate as evidence of a name change. In Texas, birth certificate amendments are handled by the Texas Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Unit. The Vital Statistics Unit will amend the name on a birth certificates in three circumstances:
- Court Ordered Name Change;
- Changing last name to biological father’s last name; and
- Correction of an error on the birth certificate such as a misspelling.
Once a certified copy of an amended birth certificate has been obtained from the Vital Statistics unit, it can be presented to the SSA as evidence of a legal name change.
Naturalization Name Change
When a person applies to become a citizen of the United States, they may request that the court allow them to legally change their name. When U.S. Citizenship is granted by the court, a Certificate of Naturalization will be issued showing the person’s new name. The Certificate of Naturalization can then be presented to the Social Security Administration as evidence of a legal name change.
Social Security Name Change Attorney – San Antonio
If you live in the San Antonio or Bexar County area and want to change your name, or your child’s name, the Law Office of Brandon S. Glosson can help. We are well-versed in name-change law and can streamline the process for you. Please give us a call to schedule a free consultation at (210) 802-5288.