Note Changing your legal name does not automatically update your driver's license, Social Security card, or any other records. You will have to update these documents individually. See the page on Updating Your Documents After a Name Change for more information.
There are several ways to change a legal name in Texas. Depending on the situation, you may be able to:
Name changes for children under 18 years old must be requested by the child's parents.
All Texas residents can apply for a name change under Texas Family Code Chapter 45. This chapter defines the formal process for changing a legal name through the courts. A person may request to change their name for any reason, except for reasons against the public interest. The judge will consider the best interests of the applicant and the public when making the decision.
Parents wanting to change their child's name after a divorce or modification to parental rights may have to apply for a court order using this process.
See the following pages for information, instructions, and forms:
A name change can also be a part of a larger legal proceeding like an adoption, divorce, naturalization, or a gender marker change. You may be able to request a name change in the same application. For more information, see the pages on:
In some cases, you may be able to change your name without a court order. This is commonly done after marriage, but a few other situations may qualify.
If you want to take your spouse's last name after marriage, you likely won't need a court order. For more information, see the page on:
Birth Certificate Errors
Some errors on a birth certificate may be corrected without a court order. This includes some hospital errors and minor spelling mistakes. Texas Vital Statistics has more information about making changes to a birth certificate:
Changes to a Texas Driver's License or ID
To change your name on a Texas driver's license or ID, you'll usually have to show some proof of the name change. The proof might be a certified copy of a court order, a marriage license, or another document. Texas Administrative Code Title 37, Rule 15.23(1) makes several exceptions to this rule.
You may not have to provide proof of a name change if:
Some life events may also qualify if you want to go back to a name you had before the life event:
Contact the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to learn what you'll need to bring to your appointment.
Other agencies, such as Social Security Administration, U.S. Department of State, and Texas Department of Vital Statistics, may have different requirements. You should check with each agency to determine if you'll be able to change your name without a court order.
Note Information in this guide is for reference purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice. If you need legal help or have questions about a specific case, please contact an attorney. The library has links to a number of legal assistance resources. Some organizations may offer free legal aid to low-income or qualifying individuals.