Legal Name Change in the state of Texas

I was looking for an easy, documented way to change my name in Texas, but could not find any free information that supplied what I needed in one place.  Brandy did some research and found some scattered information in several place, so I thought I would compile it into one place, in case someone else faced the same problem.

  • Step One – Prepare documents for filing
    • There are two possible documents you will need to prepare in order to get a name change granted.  These documents are normally prepared by an attorney, and the court recommends that you retain the services of one.  A lawyer is not totally necessary, as you can use the template provided here to prepare your own.  As with anything, if you feel uncertain about homegrown techniques, you should employ professionals.
    • The first is the petition, which will outline what you are trying to have done.
    • The second document is the order, which you may prepare, but the court may also piece together for you. You will present this order, once signed, to all the vendors in order to prove the legality of the name change.  I have not provided an example of this document as it was provided for me by the court.
  • Step Two – File prepared documents
    • This is done at the county district clerks office, which in Houston is located at  I went down and presented the paperwork along with the fee ($150.00 US) and received a receipt for the payment and the filing.
  • Step Three – Fingerprint check
    • A background check must be run against your fingerprints, which can be done at select police stations for a fee ($10.00 US).  I went to the one off of I-10 South just East of Barker Cypress.  Here I was jailhouse-style finger printed with rollers on two different fingerprint cards, even though you only need one.  After you get fingerprinted they will then present both fingerprint cards to you.
    • When you get the fingerprint cards you will need to send one of the cards in for the background check.  You will need to pay DPS ($15.00 US) and the FBI ($24.00 US) to process the background check by mailing a certified check for ($39.00 US) made out to Texas Department of Public Safety and mail to the following address:
      • Texas Department of Public Safety
        Central Cash Recieving
        P.O. Box 15999
        Austin, TX 78761-5999
  • Step Four – Court appearance
    • After the court receives the fingerprinting results the districtclerks office will contact you and set up a court date.  In Houston the normal docket day for court appearances is on Fridays, and the schedule seems to be fairly flexible.  I was able inject myself into the docket on the very day I received the call from the clerk.  This is probably due to the clerk just being nice, but I’m not sure.
    • In court appearance you will go before the judge and present the reasons for the name change, and the judge will then rule whether or not to grant the change.  If approved, the judge will then sign the order granting the name change.  This document is what will be presented to the different vendors to prove the change of name, and you will need several certified copies.
    • The signed order will probably not be available immediately, and you will likely have to wait for the document to get processed or imaged.  Once this is done you should be able to get as many copies as you desire for a fee ($1.00 US) per copy.
  • Step Five – Present order to vendors
    • Now you must present the certified copies of the order granting the name change to all the vendors you have accounts with.  This include drivers license, SSN, credit cards, etc.