location: Transition > Name Change > Legal Process
Although my driver's liscense is from Florida and my car is registered in Florida, I am registered to vote in Vermont and have lived in Vermont for the past three years. Luckily, this was enough for me to change my name in Vermont, instead of Florida.
To begin, I looked up Vermont State Courts online to find out which one handles name changes. After finding out it is the Probate Court, I researched where the Chittenden County Probate Court is located, 175 Main St. Burlington, VT. While stopping for sandwhiches one day near there, a friend and I went by the Probate Court. I inquired about an adult name change and was handed these two forms:
Then, I emailed my dad to ask him for a certified copy of my birth certificate (as that's #2 on the required documentation list), and about a week later I received it in the mail (thanks Dad!). The first thing on the required documentation list is the Name Change Form signed in front of the Register of the Court. The instruction sheet me the impression that I had to sign the form in front of someone, then call the number on the bottom of the sheet. So on January 22, 2003, I went down to the Chittenden County Probate Court to sign the form in front of the "Register of the Court," whoever that was.
When I got there, I found out that I was supposed to call the number first to make an appointment to then sign the form in front of the Register of the Court (who apparently is the reception lady at the Probate Court office). But the lady was wicked nice and said, "Well, since you're here and it's cold out, just give me a couple minutes and I can do it right now for you." So I made out the required checks: $35.00 filing fee to the Chittenden Probate Court and $80.00 to Vermont Times (the name change must be published in a local newspaper for two non-consecutive days over two weeks) and patiently waited my turn.
When she was ready, I signed the form in front of her (with my birth name) and gave it to her to be typed up. While she typed up the formal Name Change Notice, which is what will be published, I practiced my new signature for it. I signed it, and voila:
She told me the Judge would sign it, and I would receive two certified copies of the offical name change by mail in 10-15 days. I didn't have to stand in front of the judge or anything, she just told us we could leave. Sure enough, 12 days later they came in the mail. It was also published in the Vermont Times.
Then I set out to change everything else in my life (bank accounts, drivers license, birth certificate, car registration, insurance, etc). The first place I went was my school. I was desparate to get it changed through UVM so I could get a new email address, ID card, as so on. However, they require two forms of ID, both of which have to have your new name on them. As I only had one (the court order), I had to try for the social security card first.
To change my name on my social security card, I went to Social Security Online and printed out the Application for Social Security Card form. I filled it out, found my local SS office, went down there, waited a half an hour in line, and turned it in. They only needed to look at my court document (they didn't take it), and they claimed I would get a notice and the new card "in a couple of weeks." All for free.
At the bank, after being called Ms. F______, the bank teller simply filled out a bunch of forms for me, both for changing my name on my accounts and to get new ATM cards. They claimed the cards would come in about 10 days and the name change should take effect in "a couple of days." I didn't argue. After one of my cards didn't come in over 2 weeks, I found out one of my forms was "mysteriously lost." So I filled it out yet again, and sure enough, 10 days later I got my other new ATM card.
Once I received my new social security card, I was be able to change my name with my school. I promptly did so and got a new email address and a new student ID card: