Earlier this month, we shared a guide to help navigate the process of changing your last name after you say, “I Do.” The process can be a lot to handle – trying to gather the appropriate paperwork and making sure you change everything in your life from your driver’s license to your voting registration – but what if you are taking an extra step and hyphenating your new last name with your maiden name?
Kelly here: When I first set out on this research, I was ignorant to the fact that hyphenating a last name would be a separate process than just taking on the last name of your spouse. Because hyphenating a last name is not the same as your spouse’s last name, it is considered a legal name change and there is a court petition involved. This is the process I had to go to when changing my last name after high school, see explanation in part 1 of this series.
In Louisiana, the process to change your name legally requires a petition with the Clerk of Court and a hefty, in our opinion, fee of $500.
While part one of our series is a great resource for after your name is legally changed, the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans has an exceptional resource for the exact location and way to change your name, the full list of which you can find here.
You will have to head to the Orleans Parish Courthouse on Loyola Avenue to fill out a petition of name change. Remember to have all your current identification with you at the time of your visit, as well as cash or a money order made out to the Clerk of Court for the petition fee. You will receive a file and case number and the clerk will perform a background check on you – just to make sure you’re not a criminal or evading debt, etc. Typically, that is the end of the process, however, a judge may require a hearing to discuss the reason for the name change petition. Once all of that is over and everything is approved, you will receive word that your paperwork is ready for you to pick up. When the final judgement is recorded in the parish records, your name change is official, and your new name is legal.
You can now, finally, proceed to all of the other steps we have listed in part one to obtain a marriage license and change your name anywhere and everywhere.
Though this process is longer and a little more in depth, there are some pros to hyphenating your last name. This allows you to honor your spouse, while also keeping part of your identity or paying homage to your family. Additionally, it can be a good choice for someone whose maiden name is widely known – like a politician or a writer – and would be confusing to drop the last name all together.
Have you gone through the process of hyphenating your last name? Let us know your story in the comments!