Name changes are a huge part of the transitioning process in life changes. For most people, courthouses can be scary, and the prospect of facing a
judge’s questions can be intimidating. A lot of that anxiety is rooted
in unfamiliarity. I’m a family law attorney, and I offer here a few
pointers on name change in Florida. I’m confident that, with this
information, you should be able to file the paperwork and attend the
hearing on your own, without having to incur the expense of retaining an
The State of Florida has a standard form for name change petitions:
The required background check can be confusing, but both Pinellas and
Hillsborough County have streamlined the process. If you live in
Pinellas County, the Sheriff can fingerprint you. The information on the
service is available at:
If you live in Hillsborough County, Tampa Police Department can handle
the process. More information available here:
There are private providers that may also be able to handle the
requisite background check, but I have used private providers for other
matters in the past, and it’s been an unpleasant experience.
In Florida, petitions are filed online at
https://www.myflcourtaccess.com/default.aspx. The fee for a Petition for
Name Change is set by statute at $400.00, but you can apply to have
those fees waived using this form:
The Court will require one hearing. Sometimes the Clerk sets this
hearing automatically and will send you a Notice of Hearing. Other
times, you may have to call the Court to set a hearing. Usually this
hearing is held on the case management docket, open docket, or “cattle
call” docket, meaning that you’re in front of the judge very briefly,
along with many other cases. Dress well, to the best of your ability,
but don’t worry if you can’t access or afford a suit – you will be
surprised as to what the other litigants will be wearing! On the day of
court, show up a few minutes early check in with the bailiff, or
sheriff’s deputy for the courtroom your hearing is scheduled in.
When it’s your turn, the bailiff will call the name you seek to change,
and the judge will have you swear an oath and ask you questions
regarding any current criminal investigation or prosecution, bankruptcy,
evasion of creditors, and also perhaps why you seek the name change. It
shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, though you may wait a while
(perhaps hours) for your turn, depending on how efficient the judge
handles their docket. You will probably also need to fill out and bring
a final judgment for the judge to sign. The standard form is available
For the rest of the process, including changing your documents to
accurately reflect you, there’s a wealth of information at
If you have any other questions, or wish to discuss hiring me to manage
the process and fill out the forms with you, feel free to email or call.
I wish you the very best of luck in your transition!
Hannaway Law, P.A.
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