Changing Your Name as An Adult in Illinois

The Law Offices of Van A. Schwab March 31, 2022

According to 735 ILCS 5/21 101-104, individuals eighteen years of age or older who have lived in Illinois for at least six months can ask the court for a name change. There are some limitations. An individual cannot change their name if they have been convicted of a felony without a pardon or if the individual has not finished their sentence less than 10 years before asking for a name change. Additionally, if a person has been convicted of identity theft, aggravated identity theft, or a felony or misdemeanor requiring the individual to register as a sex offender, they cannot file for a name change unless they have been pardoned. 735 ILCS 5/21 101.

If Married or Divorced

If your name is changed by a court order, you do not need to file a request for a name change through the court. As long as the divorce judgment provides permission for you to return to using your former or maiden name, there is no need to make a request through the court and you do not need to publish the name change.

Filing for A Name Change

To file for a name change, you must complete a Request for Name Change and a Publication Notice in the circuit court in your county of residence. 735 ILCS 5/21 101.

The Request for Name Change is the petition to the court asking for the change. The Request must include the name you currently hold, the name you wish to use, your residence, the length of time you have resided in the state of Illinois, and the state or county where you were born. 735 ILCS 5/21 102.

You will need to submit a Publication Notice with a newspaper in your county to inform the public of your name change. The notice must be published for three consecutive weeks after filing and it must appear in the newspaper for the first time at least six weeks before your scheduled court date. 735 ILCS 5/21 103.

There are limited exceptions to publication. Where publication puts you at risk of physical harm or discrimination, you can file a Motion to Waive Notice & Publication instead of the Publication Notice. The judge will either grant or deny the Motion to Waive. Where the judge grants the motion, you do not need to publish the name change in the newspaper.

Once the Publication Notice has appeared in the newspaper for three consecutive weeks, you need to get a Certificate of Publication from the newspaper and file it with the circuit clerk prior to your court date. 735 ILCS 5/21 103.

Fees for Filing for A Name Change

You will need to pay certain fees to file for a name change. These fees include a fee to file the forms with the Circuit Clerk, a publication fee to file the notice with the newspaper, and a certified copy fee to file certified copies of the court order after the name change is granted.