Requirements and Process of Changing Your Name in Illinois

After a major life event, such as marriage, divorce or adoption, a name change can signify the start of a new life or closing of the previous chapter. Though many name changes occur after a major event, obtaining a legal name change does not require a qualifying event.  While it is possible for a person to complete this process on their own, as the process varies depending on the circumstances, having a lawyer by one’s side can relieve the stresses and unknowns of the process. Kogut & Wilson outline the eligibility requirements and process of an official name change. 

Name Change After Divorce or Adoption

In many court proceedings, including dissolution of a marriage or civil union, or finalization of an adoption, the ability to create a new name, or resume use of a former name, is included as part of the final order. After entry of the order, documentation can be presented to the proper entities to effectuate the name change and obtain new documentation, including a new birth certificate, driver’s license or social security card as applicable.

Adult Name Change Eligibility and Legal Documents

An individual seeking to change their name absent a connection to another legal proceeding is eligible to do so in Illinois if they: 

  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Have resided in Illinois for at least six months
  • Are not required to register as a sex offender

Additionally, if one has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor sexual offense, they must wait until 10 years have passed since the end of their sentence.  

To make the name change official, there are several forms required including:

  • Request for Name Change
  • Notice of Filing a Request for Name Change
  • Judgment Order for Name Change once the request has been granted

After these documents are completed, they will be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county where the individual resides.  A hearing date for the Change of Name will be set at least eight weeks in the future, allowing time to publish notice. 

Name Change Hearing 

Name change hearings are often simple, though a judge may ask about the individual’s history and motivation for wanting to change their name. Having a lawyer present for support can be both comforting and helpful.

 At the hearing, a judge will request the following: 

  • Request for Name Change
  • Notice of Filing a Request for Name Change
  • Judgment Order for Name Change
  • Certificate of Publication
  • A photo ID with current name
    • Any evidence showing that it has been 10 years since the end of any sentence relevant to getting the name changed, if necessary 

After the Hearing 

If the petition is granted, the judge will sign the Judgment Order and file it with the court. While the required legal work is done, often other official documents containing the individual’s name will need to be updated.

The three most important documents that need to be updated are: 

  • Social security card
  • Birth certificate
  • Driver's license or state ID

There is a statutory requirement to notify the Secretary of State within 10 days of the date of a name change, so it is important that these processes are started quickly. Other important documents to tackle are: 

  • Passports
  • Bank accounts
  • Retirement accounts 
  • Insurance policies
  • Credit cards 

Name Changes for Children

It is also possible to change the name of a minor child.  However, in addition to the submission of all required documentation, the petitioning party must also prove by clear and convincing evidence that the name change is in the best interest of the child.

Because this process can be time-consuming and time-sensitive, it is important to have a team of knowledgeable, experienced attorneys to help you through this process. Contact Kogut & Wilson attorneys to get started today. 


Need Help Through This Tough Time?