Do you need proof of a name change? The process of changing a name requires petitioning, or asking, the court. This means that specific forms need to be completed and filed at the court house, and, once the forms have been filed, there will be a court hearing addressing the reason for the name change. Since name changes do require a court hearing, the records for name change petitions are filed and can be viewed by the public, unless the court determines there is a reason for the information to be sealed.
Name change requests typically occur in a court located in the county where the requester lives. Depending on the state court system, this will be a court with general jurisdiction, such as district court or superior court. In most states, once a name change has been approved and signed by a judge, the records are filed with the county recorder office. To obtain access to these records, check with the county to determine the exact process. Some counties such as King County in Washington State have an online system, while other counties may require written requests. Name change records available online are unofficial. If you need an official copy of the record, most counties require the request be made in person, at the recorder’s office.
Interestingly, information about pending name change cases can sometimes be found in your local newspaper. For example, in Santa Clara, California, certain forms related to the name change request must be published for 4 consecutive weeks before the final hearing.