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Eugene Nassif

There are a few different ways adults in Iowa can change their names. In this article, we outline different ways that you are eligible to legally change your name in the state of Iowa, including:

  • Changing Your Name After Marriage in Iowa
  • Changing Your Name After a Divorce in Iowa
  • Filing a Petition for Name Change in Iowa
  • Name Changes for Minor Children in Iowa
  • What happens after the court approves the name change?  


Changing Your Name After Marriage in Iowa


The first method is through marriage. You must obtain an application from the county registrar’s office. This application must be signed by you, your spouse and a witness with a notary present. Once the ceremony is performed, the completed Certificate of Marriage will be submitted to the recorder’s office and a Certificate of Marriage will be issued. Once this document is issued, you will be able to use the document to update your personal documents with your name change including your social security card and driver’s license. 


Changing Your Name After a Divorce in Iowa


The second method you can change your name is through divorce. During divorce, a spouse can change their name back to the name they had immediately prior to their marriage or the name on their birth certificate. The request for a name change should be included in the divorce petition or in the response/answer to the divorce petition. 


Filing a Petition for Name Change in Iowa


The third way you can change your name is by filing a petition for a name change with the district court. This petition must include your name, the county where you live, a description of yourself (height, weight, hair/eye color, sex, place and date of birth), where you’ve lived over the last 5 years, the reason for the request, a legal description of any property you have legal interest in and, finally, the new name you want. A certified copy of your birth certificate needs to be attached to the petition. The petition is filed with the court and must also be served to your spouse if you are married. Generally, a court will only allow you to file to change your name once, unless there is a divorce proceeding. 


Name Changes for Minor Children in Iowa


The name change process for children is similar to that for adults. If there is a pending custody action or a pending divorce, a child’s name can be changed. If you’re the petitioner to the action, you will include the request for the name change in the petition. If you’re the respondent, you would include the name change request in the response or answer. The second way a child’s name can be changed is by filing a petition with the district court. This process is similar to that for an adult, though you need to add the parents name filing on their behalf and the rationale for why the name change is being requested. Should the child be under 14, both parents listed on the birth certificate must file their consent for the name change. Should one parent not consent, a hearing will be held with the non-consenting parent. If the child is over 14, the petition must include the child’s written consent to the change.  


What happens after the court approves the name change? 


The clerk of court will provide a certified copy of the decree of name change. First, you should update your birth certificate. In Iowa, this can be done by completing an “Abstract to Change Registrant’s Legal Name on Birth Certificate” and submitting it to the Iowa Department of Health. Next, you will need to update your social security card. This is done by completing form SS-5 and submitting it with proof of identity and a certified copy of your name change order to the Social Security Administration. If you aren’t currently or recently became a US Citizen, additional documents are required. Once your birth certificate and social security card are completed, you should also change your name on any Iowa driver’s licenses or photo ID’s you have. This can be done simply by providing a copy of your birth certificate, social security card, and two documents establishing your residency to the Iowa DOT and having an ID issued. Finally, it is always good to update other various records to your new name. Everything from health insurance to bank accounts, credit cards, voter registration and utility company records will need to be changed. 

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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