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To initiate a name change in Florida outside of marriage or divorce, follow these steps:

Step One: Conduct a Background Check

For any name change not associated with marriage or reverting to a previous name, undergo a state and national fingerprint-based background check through the Department of Law Enforcement. Ensure payment of the required processing fees before commencing the check. The court clerk will guide you on the locations offering this service.

Results from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement typically take 72 hours, but federal checks may extend the duration. If using a third-party provider, additional time might be necessary.

Step Two: File a Petition for Name Change

Prepare the Petition for Name Change, the document necessary for the court to review your name change request. Refrain from signing until a notary public notarizes your signature. If someone other than an attorney assisted in completing the form, they must fill out the relevant section. Case information can be provided by the court clerk upon petition submission.

Step Three: Submit Your Petition

Submit the completed petition to the circuit court along with the required filing fee. Filing fees vary by county but are generally around $400. Await your hearing, which may occur on the same day. During this waiting period, complete the Final Judgment of Name Change form, which the judge will sign post-hearing, serving as proof of your new legal name.

Step Four: Attend Hearing and Final Filing

Appear before the judge at the scheduled time for the final hearing. Answer any questions they may have about the name change. Upon approval, the judge will sign the final judgment.

Post-hearing, take the signed judgment for filing and obtain certified copies. These certified copies are crucial for updating your name with the Social Security Administration and other government offices.