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Changing Your Name in Louisiana: Everything You Need to Know

Changing Your Name in Louisiana: Everything You Need to Know

Changing your name is a significant decision that can have a lasting impact on your life. Whether you are seeking a fresh start or aligning your name with your true identity, the process of changing your name in Louisiana requires careful consideration and adherence to requirements. In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about changing your name in Louisiana, from the reasons behind a name change to the necessary steps and considerations.

Reasons for Changing Your Name

Personal Preference

One of the most common reasons individuals choose to change their names is personal preference. Some people may simply not feel connected to their birth name and wish to adopt a name that better reflects their identity or personal aspirations.

Marriage or Divorce

Another prevalent reason for changing your name After Marriage or divorce. When getting married, some individuals may decide to take their spouse's last name or hyphenate their names to signify their union. Conversely, during a divorce, individuals may want to revert to their maiden name or choose an entirely new name as part of their fresh start.

Gender Identity

For individuals who identify as transgender or non-binary, changing their name is an essential step toward aligning their name with their gender identity. By adopting a new name that affirms their identity, they can feel more comfortable and authentic in their daily lives.

Religious or Cultural Reasons

Religious or cultural beliefs can also influence an individual's decision to change their name. Some religious conversions or cultural traditions may require or encourage the adoption of a new name as a sign of devotion or connection to their faith or heritage.

Requirements for Changing Your Name in Louisiana

To change your name in Louisiana, certain requirements must be met. It's important to familiarize yourself with these steps to ensure a smooth Name Change process.

Petition for Name Change

The first step in changing your name in Louisiana is to file a petition for a name change with the appropriate court. The petition serves as a formal request to change your name and includes important details such as your current name, the desired new name, and the reasons for the name change. It is essential to provide accurate and honest information in your petition.

Filing the Paperwork

Once you have completed the name change petition, you must file it with the district court in the parish where you reside. You will need to submit the original petition along with any required supporting documents and pay the necessary filing fees. It's advisable to make copies of all the documents for your records.

Publication Requirement

Louisiana law requires a publication requirement for name changes. After filing the petition, you must publish a notice of your name change in a newspaper in the parish where the court is located. The purpose of this requirement is to notify the public of your intention to change your name. The newspaper will provide you with proof of publication, which you will need to present to the court.

Court Hearing

Once the publication requirement is fulfilled, the court will schedule a hearing to review your name change request. During the hearing, you will need to present your case to the judge and explain your reasons for the name change. The judge will consider your petition, supporting documents, and any objections raised by third parties. If the judge approves your name change, they will issue a court order officially granting the name change.

Steps to Change Your Name in Louisiana

Now that you are familiar with the requirements, let's explore the step-by-step process of changing your name in Louisiana:

Gather necessary documents:

Before filing the name change petition, gather all the required documents such as your birth certificate, social security card, driver's license, and any other identification records.

Fill out the name change petition:

Complete the name change petition accurately, providing your current name, desired new name, and the reasons for the name change. Be concise and clear in your explanations.

File the petition with the court:

Submit the original name change petition along with the required documents to the district court in your parish. Pay the filing fees as instructed by the court.

Publish notice of name change:

After filing the petition, follow the court's instructions to publish a notice of your name change in a local newspaper. Obtain proof of publication from the newspaper for submission to the court.

Attend the court hearing:

Once the publication requirement is met, attend the scheduled court hearing. Present your case to the judge, explaining your reasons for the name change and providing any supporting documents or evidence. Address any objections raised by third parties, if applicable.

Obtain the court order:

If the judge approves your name change, they will issue a court order granting the name change. Ensure you receive a certified copy of the court order, as it will serve as legal proof of your name change.

Update legal documents and records:

After obtaining the court order, proceed to update your identification documents, such as your social security card, driver's license, and passport. Notify relevant institutions, including banks, credit card companies, employers, and educational institutions, about your new name.

Costs and Timelines

It's important to consider the costs and timelines associated with changing your name in Louisiana. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

Filing Fees

When filing the name change petition, you will be required to pay filing fees. The amount may vary depending on the court and parish, so it's advisable to check with the court clerk for the current fee schedule.

Publication Costs

Publishing a notice of your name change in a newspaper incurs additional costs. The newspaper will charge a fee for running the notice, which varies depending on the publication. Contact the newspaper's advertising department to inquire about the cost and any specific requirements for the publication.

Processing Time

The entire process of changing your name in Louisiana can take several weeks to months, depending on various factors. It involves gathering documents, filing the petition, fulfilling the publication requirement, attending the court hearing, and updating legal documents. Delays can occur if there are objections to the name change or if there are any discrepancies in the paperwork. It's important to be patient and allow sufficient time for the process to be completed.

Changing Your Name After Marriage or Divorce

Marriage Name Change

If you are changing your name due to marriage, you have the option to take your spouse's last name, hyphenate your last name with your spouse's, or create a new last name altogether. In Louisiana, you can indicate your desired name change on your marriage license application. After getting married, you can use your marriage certificate as proof of your new name to update your identification documents and records.

Divorce Name Change

In the case of divorce, you may wish to revert to your maiden name or choose a new name entirely. During the divorce proceedings, you can request a name change by including it in your divorce petition. The court may grant the name change as part of the divorce decree. Once the divorce is finalized, you can use the divorce decree as legal documentation for updating your identification records.

Changing Your Name for Gender Identity Reasons

Understanding Gender Identity

Gender identity refers to a person's deeply held sense of their own gender, which may be different from the sex assigned to them at birth. For individuals seeking to change their name to align with their gender identity, the process involves following the same legal requirements mentioned earlier.

Transgender Name Change Process

To change your name as a transgender individual in Louisiana, you will need to file a name change petition with the court, provide the necessary documentation, fulfill the publication requirement, and attend the court hearing. It's crucial to consult with an attorney or a transgender advocacy organization for guidance and support throughout the process.

Changing Your Name for Religious or Cultural Reasons

Religious Name Change

If changing your name is motivated by religious beliefs, consult with your religious organization or spiritual leader for guidance. Different religions may have specific procedures or rituals associated with name changes. It's advisable to seek legal advice to ensure compliance with Louisiana's name change requirements while honoring your religious traditions.

Cultural Name Change

Similarly, if you wish to change your name for cultural reasons, research and understand the cultural customs and practices associated with name changes in your community. Consulting with community leaders or cultural organizations can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the process.

Updating Legal Documents and Records

Once your name change is legally granted, it is important to update your identification documents and records to reflect your new name. Here are some key areas to consider:

Social Security Administration

Visit the local Social Security Administration office to update your social security card with your new name. Fill out the necessary forms and provide the required documentation, such as your court order, identification, and proof of citizenship or legal status.

Driver's License and Identification

Contact the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles to update your driver's license or state identification card with your new name. You will need to provide the court order, proof of identity, and proof of residency. Pay any applicable fees for the updated identification.


If you have a passport or plan to apply for one, you will need to update your name. Follow the procedures outlined by the U.S. Department of State for name changes on passports. Here's what you need to do:

Obtain a certified copy of your court order granting the name change.
Complete the passport application form with your new name and provide the necessary supporting documents, including proof of citizenship, proof of identity, and a recent passport photo.
Submit the application, supporting documents, and applicable fees to the nearest passport acceptance facility or passport agency.
If you already have a valid passport, you will need to submit your current passport along with the application. The passport will be canceled and returned to you along with your new passport reflecting your updated name.
If you have an upcoming trip, consider expediting your passport application for faster processing.
It's important to note that updating your passport is crucial for international travel. Make sure to inform the relevant authorities of your name change to avoid any complications during your travels.

Bank Accounts and Credit Cards

Contact your bank and credit card issuers to update your name on your accounts and cards. They will require a copy of your court order or updated identification documents as proof of the name change. This will ensure that your financial records and transactions accurately reflect your new name.

Employment Records

Notify your employer about your name change and provide them with the necessary documentation. This includes your court order or updated identification. They will update your employee records, payroll information, and any other relevant documents with your new name.

Schools and Educational Institutions

If you are a student, inform your school or educational institution about your name change. They will update their records and issue new identification cards, transcripts, and diplomas with your updated name. Provide them with the necessary documentation, such as your court order or updated identification.

Government Agencies

Notify government agencies that have your records, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Social Security Administration, and the Louisiana Department of Revenue. Each agency will have its own process and requirements for updating your name. Visit their respective websites or contact them directly for guidance on how to proceed.

Remember to keep copies of all the documentation related to your name change, including court orders, updated identification, and receipts for fees paid. These documents will serve as proof of your name change and will be required when updating your records with various institutions.

Changing your name in Louisiana involves navigating requirements, and paperwork, and updating numerous records. By understanding the process and fulfilling the necessary steps, you can successfully change your name and update your identification documents and records accordingly.