Can a Name Change Be Confidential and the Records Sealed in Florida?
The answer will depend on the reasons for seeking confidentiality. For an order of name change to be granted, the court must find sufficient reasons for the change and also find it consistent with the public interest. A change of name upon marriage, dissolution, or divorce meets these requirements. In some cases, such as adoption proceedings, the case may include sealed name change records. Some states, such as CA, allow for a confidential name change in cases involving a need to protect a victim, such as of domestic abuse. Florida has not created a similar program, however, it is possible a court may grant the request under its equitable powers.
Is Publication of a Notice Required? No.
Can individuals "object" to my Petition for Name Change? Yes. Any reasonable objections made to the court may influence the court's findings as to whether the change of name is consistent with the public interest.
After the court grants my Petition for Change of Name, may I obtain a new birth certificate? Yes. See information below.
The process for obtaining a name change for an adult in the State of Florida begins with the filing of a Petition with the Superior Court in the jurisdiction in which Petitioner resides. The petitioners must attach to the Petition a FBI fingerprint card for each individual getting a name change. The Petition informs the Court of the Petitioner's name, the name the Petitioner wishes to adopt, information about the Petitioner required by statute such their education, marital status, and the reasons for the requested change of name.
The hearing on the name change may be held immediately after it is filed.
If the court finds that the requirements of the law have been satisfied and no reason exists for not granting the Petition, the Order will be issued by the court. Thereafter, the Petitioner is free to assume their new name.
Additonal Information and Instructions:
Title VI Civil Practice and Procedure
Chapter 68 Miscellaneous Proceedings
Change of name:
(1) Chancery courts have jurisdiction to change the name of any person residing in this state on petition of the person filed in the county in which he or she resides.
(2) The petition shall include a copy of the petitioner’s fingerprints taken by a law enforcement agency except where a former name is being restored and be verified and show:
(a) That petitioner is a bona fide resident of and domiciled in the county where the change of name is sought.
(b) If known, the date and place of birth of petitioner, petitioner's father's name, mother's maiden name, and where petitioner has resided since birth.
(c) If petitioner is married, the name of petitioner's spouse and if petitioner has children, the names and ages of each and where they reside.
(d) If petitioner's name has previously been changed and when and where and by what court.
(e) Petitioner's occupation and where petitioner is employed and has been employed for 5 years next preceding filing of the petition. If petitioner owns and operates a business, the name and place of it shall be stated and petitioner's connection therewith and how long petitioner has been identified with said business. If petitioner is in a profession, the profession shall be stated, where the petitioner has practiced the profession and if a graduate of a school or schools, the name or names thereof, time of graduation, and degrees received.
(f) Whether the petitioner has been generally known or called by any other names and if so, by what names and where.
(g) Whether petitioner has ever been adjudicated a bankrupt and if so, where and when.
(h) Whether petitioner has ever been arrested for or charged with, pled guilty or nolo contendere to, or been found to have committed a criminal offense, regardless of adjudication, and if so, when and where.
(i) Whether any money judgment has ever been entered against petitioner and if so, the name of the judgment creditor, the amount and date thereof, the court by which entered, and whether the judgment has been satisfied.
(j) That the petition is filed for no ulterior or illegal purpose and granting it will not in any manner invade the property rights of others, whether partnership, patent, good will, privacy, trademark, or otherwise.
(k) That the petitioner's civil rights have never been suspended, or if the petitioner's civil rights have been suspended, that full restoration of civil rights has occurred.
(3) The hearing on the petition may be immediately after it is filed.
(4) On filing the final judgment, the clerk shall, if the birth occurred in this state, send a report of the judgment to the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health on a form to be furnished by the department.
The form shall contain sufficient information to identify the original birth certificate of the person, the new name, and the file number of the judgment. This report shall be filed by the department with respect to a person born in this state and shall become a part of the vital statistics of this state. With respect to a person born in another state, the clerk shall provide the petitioner with a certified copy of the final judgment.
(5) The clerk must, upon the filing of the final judgment, send a report of the judgment to the Department of Law Enforcement on a form to be furnished by that department. The Department of Law Enforcement must send a copy of the report to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which may be delivered by electronic transmission. The report must contain sufficient information to identify the petitioner, including a copy of the petitioner's fingerprints taken by a law enforcement agency, the new name of the petitioner, and the file number of the judgment. Any information retained by the Department of Law Enforcement and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may be revised or supplemented by said departments to reflect changes made by the final judgment. With respect to a person convicted of a felony in another state or of a federal offense, the Department of Law Enforcement must send the report to the respective state's office of law enforcement records or to the office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Department of Law Enforcement may forward the report to any other law enforcement agency it believes may retain information related to the petitioner. Any costs associated with fingerprinting must be paid by the petitioner.
(6) A husband and wife and minor children may join in one petition for change of name and the petition shall show the facts required of a petitioner as to the husband and wife and the names of the minor children may be changed at the discretion of the court.
(7) When only one parent petitions for a change of name of a minor child, process shall be served on the other parent and proof of such service shall be filed in the cause; provided, however, that where the other parent is a nonresident, constructive notice of the petition may be given pursuant to chapter 49, and proof of publication shall be filed in the cause without the necessity of recordation.
(8) Nothing herein applies to any change of name in proceedings for dissolution of marriage or for adoption of children. Title VI Civil Practice and Procedure, Chap.68 Miscellaneous Proceedings, Sec.68.07.