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19th Judicial Circuit > Center for Self Representation > CSR - Name Change
 

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Change of Name 

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Change of Name Overview

Common Reasons For Name Changes
     There are many legitimate reasons why people seek a name change.  Some examples may include being born with an odd surname which for various reasons has caused a problem, or a divorced female spouse who failed to have her maiden name restored at the time of a divorce, or an adopted child now wants to take on the name of his or her adoptive parents.  The list goes on. 

Name Change by Marriage
     When you request a Marriage License Application, you must show proof of your current legal name. If you change your name after your marriage, a certified copy of your marriage license will be required. Please click on the link below or contact the Lake County Clerk's Office for more information. 

Carla N. Wyckoff 
Lake County Clerk
18 N. County Street - Room 101
Waukegan, IL 60085-4364
Phone (847) 377-2400
Fax (847) 360-3608

  -
Marriage License Information
  - Request for Marriage Record Acrobat PDF File

Name Change by Legal Proceedings
     If you are going through divorce proceedings, you can request the name change on your divorce decree.  This type of name change can be changed as part of the divorce proceedings for up to 30 days after the decree is filed. 

     If you wish to change your name for other reasons than listed above, start in the Lake Circuit Clerk of the Courts Office.

Keith Brin 
Lake County Clerk of the Circuit Court
18 N. County Street - Room 
Waukegan, IL 60085-4364
Phone (847) 377-3380

     For other considerations, check our "Frequently Asked Questions" section or search the internet for "Name Changing" or "Change of Name".

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How to Change Your Name> How to Change your Name if you are an Adult
Change of Name
Overview
How to Change your Name if you are an Adult How to Change your Name if you are a Minor Frequently Asked Questions After I Change my Name Web Links

Adult Change of Name

1. If you are a resident of Lake County and lived in the county for at least six (6) months and are not required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act (730 ILCS 150/1) you can petition the court to change your name.

2. Obtain and complete the following forms:

(a)  Petition for Change of Name (171-114 Rev 12/06) (2 copies required)
(b)  Notice of Publication (171-244 Rev 10/05) (2 copies required)
(c)  Decree for Change of Name (171-255 Rev 10/05) (3 copies required)

3. You file your intention to change your name with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Civil/Criminal Division, 18 N County Street, Waukegan, IL by:

(a) Having the two copies of the Petition of Change of Name notarized prior to coming to courthouse to file.

Note: The Notary Public will verify the petition and witness your signature, so do not sign the document(s) prior to having it notarized.

4. After your Petition of Change of Name is notarized, bring all of your paperwork to the Circuit Clerk’s Office to file your Petition for Change of Name. The clerk will set a hearing date by courtroom and assign a case number. This return date will be at least six weeks after your filing date. You will need this hearing date for the Notice of Publication. The hearing date can be scheduled for any normal court work day, Monday - Friday for either the 9:00 AM or 1:30 PM court call. The Circuit Clerk requires a filing fee of $246.00 in cash, money order or Discover Card when filing. No Personal Checks are accepted.

5. Once your hearing date is set, case number and courtroom assigned, you must publish your intention to change your name in a newspaper of general circulation in Lake County for 3 successive weeks by Public/Legal Notice by:

(a) Going to the newspaper to arrange for publication. Bring two (2) copies of the completed Notice of Publication form and be prepared to pay the publication costs (contact the newspaper to find out the cost). Give the newspaper one copy of the Notice of Publication and keep the other for your own records. The Public/Legal Notice must be published for 3 successive weeks, so do not wait for three weeks before publishing. The first insertion (publication) must be at least six weeks before the return date of when the petition is to be heard in court.

(b) After the requirements of the Notice of Publication are complete, the newspaper will mail you a "Certificate of Publication". Keep this Certificate of Publication with your Petition for Change of Name and the Decree for Change of Name and bring all of them with you on the hearing date.

6. Plan to arrive at the assigned courtroom at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. Check-in with the Clerk in the courtroom and your case will be called. After court, you will then be instructed to return to the Circuit Clerk’s Office to obtain certified copies of your Decree for Change of Name. The fee is $6.00 for the first copy and $15.00 for each additional copy. Cash, money order or Discover Card accepted. No Personal Checks are accepted.

7. To amend (change) an Illinois birth record by court order to your new name, send the following to:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Vital Records
605 W. Jefferson St.
Springfield, IL 62702-5097

E-mail -
vitalrecords@idph.state.il.us
Web: www.idph.state.il.us/vitalrecords

1. A certified copy of the court order (legal name change or paternity)
2. Child's full name, date of birth and place of birth if not included in the court order.
3. For paternity court orders, provide the birth father's full name, father's date of birth,
    father's place of birth, and social security numbers of both the mother and father.
4. Check or money order for $15.00 (payable to the IL Dept of Public Health)
5. Your address (one certified copy of the amended record will be sent to you)

     If you have any additional questions, contact the Division of Vital Records at (217) 782-6553.

     If you were born outside of Illinois, contact the office that keeps the birth records in the state in which you were born to find out the proper procedures and fees.

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How to Change Your Name> How to Change your Name if you are a Minor
Change of Name
Overview
How to Change your Name if you are an Adult How to Change your Name if you are a Minor Frequently Asked Questions After I Change my Name Web Links

Minor Change of Name

     If you are under the age of 18 you are considered a minor in the State of Illinois

1. Obtain and complete the following forms:

(a)  Petition for Change of Name (Minor) (171-113 Rev 2/02)(2 copies)
(b)  Decree of Change of Name (Minor) (171-110 Rev 10/05)(3 copies)
(c)  Notice of Motion (171-91 Rev 04/06) (3 copies)
      The Notice of Motion is used only when the natural parents are not cohabitating
(d)  Notice of Publication (171-244 Rev 10/05)(2 copies)
      The Notice of Publication is used only when the whereabouts of the Non-Custodial parent
       is unknown and can not reasonably be determined.

2. When both biological (birth) parents are in agreement as to the name change, both appear in the Circuit Clerk’s Office, 18 N. County Street, Waukegan, IL 60085 at 8:30 AM any day Monday - Friday:

(a) The parents will submit to the Clerk the Petition for Change of Name and pay $260.00 * by cash, money order or Discover Card.  NO PERSONAL CHECKS  are accepted.

(b) The parents will be instructed to go to the assigned courtroom. After court, return to the Circuit Clerk’s Office to obtain certified copies of the decree ($6.00 for the first copy, $15.00 for each additional copy. Cash, money order or Discover Card. NO PERSONAL CHECKS are accepted).

3. If the biological (birth) parents of the minor are not cohabitating,  or consenting in writing to the name change, the custodial parent must file the Petition for Change of Name (Minor) along with a Notice of Motion and mail a copy by certified mail to the non-custodial parent. At the time of filing the Petition, (Petition must already be notarized before filing) a court date will be set and the $245.00 fee paid in cash, money order or by Discover Card. NO PERSONAL CHECKS. On the set court date, parents will appear in the assigned courtroom. Make sure all copies of the Decree of Change of Name are complete at that time.

4. When the whereabouts of the non-custodial parent are unknown, the custodial parent must go to a newspaper to have the Change of Name Request published. Publication may be in any newspaper with general circulation throughout Lake County.  Contact the newspaper to find out the appropriate procedure and fee they require to publish the notice.

Bring (2) copies of a completed Notice of Publication form and be prepared to pay the publication costs (call the newspaper to find out the cost). Give the newspaper one copy of the Notice of Publication and keep the other for your own records. At that time, the parent will select a court date six weeks from the date of the first publication (no Thursdays). On the court date selected (which will appear in the publication), come to the Circuit Clerk’s Office at 8:30 AM to file the Petition for Change of Name (Minor), Decree and Certificate of Publication (the newspaper will have sent the completed certificate back to you), and pay the fee of $260.00* in cash, money order or Discover Card, NO PERSONAL CHECKS.

After filing such papers, proceed to the assigned courtroom. After court, obtain certified copies of the decree in the Circuit Clerk’s Office ($5.00 for each copy, cash, money order or Discover Card. NO PERSONAL CHECKS accepted).

* - Posted fees can change without notice. Please check the Circuit Clerks Filing Fee page for the current fees.

5. To amend (change) an Illinois birth record by court order to your new name, send the following to:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Vital Records
605 W. Jefferson St.
Springfield, IL 62702-5097

E-mail -
vitalrecords@idph.state.il.us

Web: www.idph.state.il.us/vitalrecords

1. A certified copy of the court order (legal name change or paternity)
2. Child's full name, date of birth and place of birth if not included in the court order.
3. For paternity court orders, provide the father's full name, father's date of birth, father's place of birth, and social security numbers of both the mother and father.
4. Check or money order for $15.00 (payable to the IL Dept of Public Health)
5. Your address (one certified copy of the amended record will be sent to you)

     If you have any additional questions, contact the Division of Vital Records at (217) 782-6553.

     If you were born outside of Illinois, contact the office that keeps the birth records in the state in which you were born to find out the proper procedures and fees.

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How to Change Your Name > Frequently Asked Questions
Change of Name
Overview
How to Change your Name if you are an Adult How to Change your Name if you are a Minor Frequently Asked Questions After I Change my Name Web Links

Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions about Changing Your Name

Who else do I need to inform if I change my name?

You should contact the Social Security Office for a new Social Security card, the Secretary of State - Drivers Services facility for a "Corrected License", your place of employment, Credit Card agencies, Bank and Financial Institutes you have accounts with, Insurance Companies you have accounts with, schools and other locations you have provided your proper name to, the post office, etc.

What state law governs Name Changes in Illinois?

735 ILCS 5/21-101 - View it at Illinois Compiled Statutes Online

I just don't like my birth name and I want to change it. Can I choose any name I want?

There are some restrictions on what you may choose as your new name. Generally, the limits are as follows:

  • You cannot choose a name with fraudulent intent -- meaning you intend to do something illegal. For example, you cannot legally change your name to avoid paying debts, keep from getting sued or get away with a crime.

  • You cannot interfere with the rights of others, which generally means capitalizing on the name of a famous person.

  • You cannot use a name that would be intentionally confusing. This might be a number or punctuation -- for example, "10," "III," or "?."

  • You cannot choose a name that is a racial slur.

  • You cannot choose a name that could be considered a "fighting word," which includes threatening or obscene words, or words likely to incite violence.

Do I have to file forms in court to change my birth name?

Maybe not. In all but a handful of states, you can legally change your name by usage only. A name change by usage is accomplished by simply using a new name in all aspects of your personal, social and business life. No court action is necessary, it costs nothing and is legally valid. (Minors and prison inmates are generally exceptions to this rule.)

Practically speaking, however, an official court document may make it much easier to get everyone to accept your new name. Because many people and agencies do not know that a usage name change is legal, they may want to see something in writing signed by a judge. Also, certain types of identification -- such as a new passport or a birth certificate attachment -- are not readily available if you change your name by the usage method.

If it's available in your state, you may want to try the usage method and see how it goes. If you run into too many problems, you can always file a court petition later.

You can find out whether your state requires a court order by contacting your local clerk of court. Or, if the court clerk doesn't give you enough information, you can look at your state's statutes in a local law library -- start in the index under "Name" or "Change of Name" or ask the reference librarian for help.

How do I implement my name change?

Whether you have changed your name by usage or by court order, the most important part of accomplishing your name change is to let others know you've taken a new name. Although it may take a little time to contact government agencies and businesses, don't be intimidated by the task -- it's a common procedure.

The practical steps of implementing a name change are:

  • Advise officials and businesses. Contact the various government and business agencies with which you deal and have your name changed on their records.
    See
    Changing Identification and Records, below.

  • Enlist help of family and friends. Tell your friends and family that you've changed your name and you now want them to use only your new one. It may take those close to you a while to get used to associating you with a new sound. Some of them might even object to using the new name, perhaps fearing the person they know so well is becoming someone else. Be patient and persistent.

  • Use only your new name. If you are employed or in school, go by your new name there. Introduce yourself to new acquaintances and business contacts with your new name.


Changing Your Name After Marriage

I'm a woman who is planning to be married soon. Do I have to take my husband's name?

No. When you marry, you are free to keep your own name, take your husband's name or adopt a completely different name. Your husband can even adopt your name, if that's what you both prefer. Give some careful thought to what name feels best for you. You can save yourself considerable time and trouble by making sure you are happy with your choice of name before you change any records.

Can my husband and I both change our names to a hyphenated version of our two names or to a brand new name?

Yes. Some couples want to be known by a hyphenated combination of their last names, and some make up new names that combine elements of each. For example, Ellen Berman and Jack Gendler might become Ellen and Jack Berman-Gendler or, perhaps, Ellen and Jack Bergen. You can also pick a name that's entirely different from the names you have now, just because you like it better.

What if I do want to take my husband's name? How do I make the change?

If you want to take your husband's name, simply start using the name as soon as you are married. Use your new name consistently, and be sure to change your name on all of your identification, accounts and important documents. To change some of your identification papers -- your Social Security card, for example -- you'll need a certified copy of your marriage certificate, which you should receive within a few weeks after the marriage ceremony.


Changing Your Name After Divorce

I took my husband's name when I married, but now we're getting divorced and I'd like to return to my former name. How do I do that?

In Illinois, you can request that the judge handling your divorce make a formal order restoring your former or birth name. If your divorce decree contains such an order, that's all the paperwork you'll need. You'll probably want to get certified copies of the order as proof of the name change -- check with the court clerk for details. Once you have the necessary documentation, you can use it to have your name changed on your identification and personal records.

If your divorce papers don't show your name change, you can still resume your former name without much fuss. In most states, you can simply begin using your former name consistently, and have it changed on all your personal records (See Changing Identification and Records). If you're returning to a name you had before marriage, you're not likely to be hassled about the change.

After my husband and I are divorced and I return to my former name, can I change the last name of my children as well?

Traditionally, courts ruled that a father had an automatic right to have his child keep his last name if he continued to actively perform his parental role. But this is no longer true. Now a child's name may be changed by court petition when it is in "the best interest of the child" to do so. When deciding to grant a name change, courts consider many factors:

a. the length of time the current name has been used;
b. the need of the child to identify with a new family unit (if the change
    involves remarriage);
c. the wishes of the child's parents and any person acting as a parent who
    has physical custody of the child;
d. the wishes of the child and the reason for those wishes (assuming a
    judge concludes the child is of sufficient age and maturity to express them);
e. the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parents or
    persons acting as parents who have physical custody of the child, step
    parents, siblings, step siblings or any other person who may affect the
    child's best interests;
f. the child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community.

The courts must balance these factors against the strength and importance of the father-child relationship. What this all boils down to is that it's up to a judge to decide which name is in the child's best interest.

Keep in mind that, even if you do change your children's last name, you won't be changing the legally recognized identity of their father. Nor will a name change affect the rights or duties of either parent regarding visitation, child support or rights of inheritance. Changes such as these occur only if the parental roles are altered by court order -- for example, a new custody decree or a legal adoption.

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How to Change Your Name> After I Change My Name
Change of Name
Overview
How to Change your Name if you are an Adult How to Change your Name if you are a Minor Frequently Asked Questions After I Change my Name Web Links

After I Change My Name

Changing Identification and Records

To complete your name change, you'll need to tell others about it. Contact the people and institutions you deal with and ask what type of documentation they require to make your name change official in their records. Different institutions may have very different rules; some may need only your phone call, others may require special forms or a copy of a court document.

It's generally recommended that you first acquire a driver's license, then a Social Security card in your new name. Once you have those pieces of identification, it's usually fairly simple to acquire others or have records changed to reflect your new name.

Here are some of the people and institutions to notify of your name change:

  • Friends and family

  • Employers
  • Schools
  • Post office
  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Social Security Administration
  • Department of Records or Vital Statistics (issuers of birth certificates)
  • Banks and other financial institutions
  • Creditors and debtors
  • Telephone and utility companies
  • State taxing authority
  • Insurance agencies
  • Registrar of Voters
  • Passport office
  • Public Assistance (welfare) office
  • Veterans Administration

If you've made a will or other estate planning document (such as a living trust), it's best to replace it with a new document using your new name. Your beneficiaries won't lose their inheritances if you don't, but changing the document now will avoid confusion later.

Finally, remember to change your name on other important legal papers -- for example, powers of attorney, living wills, trusts and contracts.

What should I do if I have a hard time getting my new name accepted?

Some people and institutions may be reluctant to accept your new name -- particularly if you've changed it without a court order. If you live in a state where no court order is required, however, you should be able to persuade them to make the change.

Start by providing documentation that shows both the old and new names. If you've recently obtained a passport, it may be helpful because it can show your old name as well as the new name as an AKA ("also known as").

If you're stonewalled, you may want to gently but forcefully give a rundown of state law that supports your position. (You can research the law for your state at your local law library.) If the person with whom you are dealing remains uncooperative, ask to speak to his or her supervisor. Be confident that you have the legal right to change your name, even if the people you're dealing with don't know your rights. Keep going up the ladder until you get results. If you have trouble at the local office of a government agency, contact the main office. If you come up against a seemingly impossible situation, get the help of your local elected official.

Finally, if you run into more trouble than you're prepared to deal with, consider going to court and getting a signed order from a judge. It costs more and will take a little time, but an official document will certainly make it easier to handle people and institutions who refuse to accept your new name.

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How to Change Your Name>Change Your Name Overview
Change of Name
Overview
How to Change your Name if you are an Adult How to Change your Name if you are a Minor Frequently Asked Questions After I Change my Name Web Links

We recommend you continue to the
"
Web Links"
section for additional information.

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