Legal name changes in Nevada can be accomplished in three different ways:
- by getting married in Nevada and taking your spouse’s surname;
- by getting divorced in Nevada and reverting to your maiden surname; or
- by petitioning a Nevada court to change names to anything you want.
If you get married or divorced, you can simply have your name change written into your marriage certificate or divorce decree, respectively. In contrast, if you petition the court for a new name, you have to file various forms and possibly publish the news in a local paper.
In this article, our Las Vegas family law attorneys discuss how to get a legal name change in Nevada:
- 1. How do I change my name through marriage?
- 2. How do I change my name through divorce?
- 3. How do I change my name by court order?
- 4. How do I change my child’s name?
- 5. What if the reason for my name change is my gender identity?
- 6. What do I do once my name is changed?
- 7. Can I change my birth certificate?
- 8. What about my Nevada Real ID?
Nevada marriage license applications have a box where you can request to change your middle name and/or last name, but there are limitations.
You can change your middle name to either:
- the current last name of your soon-to-be-spouse;
- the last name of either you or your soon-to-be-spouse given at birth;
- a hyphenated combination of the current middle name and the current last name of either you or your soon-to-be-spouse; or
- a hyphenated combination of the current middle name and the last name given at birth of either you or your soon-to-be-spouse.
You can change your last name to either:
- the current last name of your soon-to-be-spouse;
- the last name of either you or your soon-to-be-spouse given at birth; or
- a hyphenated combination of the potential last names described above.
Then once you marry, your Nevada state marriage certificate will serve as legal proof of your name change.1 Certified marriage certificates are available from the local county recorder. For example:
- If you get married in Las Vegas, you can order a marriage certificate online from the Clark County Clerk.
- If you get married in Reno, you can obtain a marriage certificate in person or through the mail from the Washoe County Clerk.
Note that it is your responsibility to inform other government agencies (such as the DMV) about your name change. Scroll down to section 6 for information on how to do this.
The majority of marriage-based name changes involve a bride taking the groom’s last name or hyphenating her name with his. There is also a trend where both spouses hyphenate their surnames. Though more and more, brides are choosing to keep their maiden names after marriage.
Read our related article on 5 steps for getting married in Las Vegas.
If you changed your name through marriage, you can change your name back by getting divorced. Upon request, the judge in the case will include the name change in the divorce decree (also called a divorce judgment). This decree serves as legal proof of your name change.2
You can get certified copies of your divorce decrees from the court which granted the divorce. For instance, if you divorce in Las Vegas, you would contact the Clark County Family Court Clerk at (702) 455-2590.
Note that it is your responsibility to inform other government agencies (such as the Social Security Administration) about getting your name changed back. Scroll down to section 6 for information on how to do this.
It is common for brides who took their spouse’s last names to change back to their maiden names following divorce. Though many choose to keep their names, especially if they
- have children or
- have cultivated a professional career using their married name.
Follow the steps below if you are an adult (age 18 and up) and wish to change your name in Nevada.3
3.1. Meet prequalifications
In order to petition for a name change in Nevada, you must have lived in Nevada for at least six (6) weeks before filing the petition. Furthermore, you must intend to remain in Nevada for the foreseeable future.
In addition, you may not change names in an effort to avoid legal obligations or liabilities. For example, a judge will not grant a name change petition if your reason is to try to
- escape debts,
- defraud creditors, or
- avoid an arrest.
3.2. Complete the paperwork
You need to complete a “Petition for Change of Name” and file it with the local district court. The petition requires the following information:
- date of birth
- current name
- desired name
- reasons for the name change
- any past felony convictions
- fingerprints (only if you have past felony convictions)
If you neglect to include past felony convictions – and the judge learns about it – the judge will automatically deny the petition.
In addition to the petition, other required paperwork typically includes:
- a Notice of Petition for Change of Name (which is not necessary to fill out if you are also changing gender identity); and
- Request for Summary Disposition & Declaration in Support (which asks the judge to grant your name change without holding a hearing)
If you are in Clark County, you can use the following forms:
- Family Court cover sheet
- Petition for Change of Name
- Notice for Petition for Change of Name
- Request for Summary Disposition & Declaration in Support
- Order for Change of Name
3.3. File the paperwork
The change of name paperwork needs to be filed with a local district court.
In Clark County for instance, you would file the paperwork with the Family Court, located at:
601 North Pecos Road
Las Vegas, NV 89101
The Clark County Family Court clerk’s office is open from 8am to 4pm Monday through Friday, but be sure to get there no later than 3:40pm to file your paperwork.
Alternatively, you can file the name change forms by mail to the above address. Make your package to the attention of the District Court Clerk’s Office – Family Courts and Services Center.
Or you can file your paperwork online with Nevada’s eFile system. This option costs $3.50.
There is a filing fee ($270 in Clark County), though it may be possible to get it waived due to financial difficulties. Courts typically accept payment in
- credit card, or
- money order.
Learn more at the Southern Nevada Legal Aid Center Change of Name website.
3.4. Publish the “Notice of Petition for Change of Name”
You are required to publish the “Notice of Petition for Change of Name” in a local newspaper. In Clark County, examples would be:
Following publication, the paper will usually file an “Affidavit of Publication” with the court. Otherwise, you need to get the affidavit from the newspaper and file it with the court yourself.
Note that the court may waive this publication requirement if doing so could put you in danger. For example, see the Clark County Form for Waiver of Publication.
Also note that transgender people petitioning for a gender change never have to complete this publication requirement.
3.5. Submit the “Order for Change of Name” to the Judge
Once ten (10) days pass from the date of publication, you should submit the “Order for Change of Name” to the judge. You can do this
- in person or
- by mailing it to the court.
Assuming there were no written objections to your name change filed with the clerk, the judge will sign the Order. (If someone does file a written objection, the judge will hold a hearing to determine whether to grant your name change anyway.)
Then the judge’s office may mail the Order back or call you with instructions on how to pick it up. Finally, you need to file the Order with the court clerk unless the judge already did so.
This Order serves as legal proof of your name change.
3.6. Obtain certified copies of the Court Order
You then need to purchase certified copies of the “Order for Change of Name” from the court clerk. The number of copies depends on how many different places you need to send copies to in order to prove your name change. These copies are usually not expensive.
3.7. Tell everyone who needs to know
It is your responsibility to inform various government agencies and companies (such as your bank) about the name change. Many of them may require certified copies of the Court Order or at least photographs of it. Scroll down to section 6 for more information about this.
Note that if you have a prior felony conviction, the court will send a copy of your “Order of Change of Name” to the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History.
If both you and the other parent agree on the name change – or if the other parent died or had their parental rights terminated – then the process is fairly similar to changing an adult’s name (discussed in the previous section). However, there is no publication requirement.
If the other parent does not want to change your child’s name, things become a little more complicated.
You would then need to have the “Notice of Change of Name” served on the other parent. Otherwise, the judge might order you to publish the “Notice of Change of Name” in a newspaper once a week for three weeks. The judge may also hold a hearing to decide whether to grant the name change.
In practice, judges are hesitant to grant your child’s name change against the other parent’s wishes if the other parent
- shares custody,
- is substantially compliant with support/custody/visitation orders, and
- plays an active role in your child’s life.
Note that if your child is 15 or older, they need to give their consent for a name change.4
Learn more at the Clark County Family Help Center website.
Nevada’s process of getting your name changed due to your gender identity is the same as for any other reason. The only difference is that you do not have to publish a “Notice of Petition for Change of Name” in a local newspaper.5
Scroll up to section 3 for instructions on the Nevada name change process.
Once you have legal proof of your name change – either in the form of a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order – you need to tell the necessary government agencies and companies. These typically include:
- Social Security Administration in order to get a new social security card
- Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to get a new driver’s license (including a Real ID)
- Vital Records to get a new birth certificate (if necessary)
- Banks and credit card companies to get new checks and credit cards
- The U.S. Department of State to get a new passport
- Mortgage company and/or landlords
- Utility companies
- Insurance companies
- Professional organizations which have licensed you
The process of informing these entities may take a while and require in-person trips (such as to a local Social Security Office). Some of these organizations will want to see legal proof of the name change order.
Once the court approved your name change, you can ask for a new birth certificate by contacting the Vital Records Office in the state you were born. If you were born in Nevada, go to the Nevada Office of Vital Statistics for instructions on getting a new birth certificate.
Starting on May 7, 2025, you will need a Real ID in order to use your driver’s license to board commercial aircraft on domestic flights. You already need a Real ID to enter secure facilities (such as military bases).
If your current Nevada driver’s license has a gold star on the type right, you already have a real ID. To get a new real ID to reflect your name change, you must go to a full-service DMV office in person with
- your current license,
- your new social security card,
- your name change document (either your court order, marriage certificate, divorce decree, or adoption record), and
- a completed license application.
If you do not already have a real ID, you need to bring the following to a full-service DMV office:
- proof of identity (such as a current driver’s license or passport);
- proof of your name change (either your court order, marriage certificate, divorce decree, or adoption record);
- proof of your Social Security number (either your Social Security Card, W-2, IRS Form 1099, or printed pay stub);
- two proofs of your Nevada residential address (such as bank statements, leases, voter registration cards, and utility bills); and
- a completed license application.6
Call a Nevada family law attorney…
It is strongly recommended that you retain an attorney to help you with your name change petition in the state of Nevada. Nevada law is extremely technical and confusing, and you do not want an innocent mistake to hurt your chances.
Attorneys are especially helpful if children are involved and the parents are not in agreement. An attorney can help increase the odds of success while making sure every legal requirement is met.
Call us today for legal advice.
- NRS 122.040. SB 211 (2023)(Starting on January 1, 2024, you can no longer change your name by getting a marriage certificate.)
- NRS 125.130.
- NRS 41.270; NRS 41.280; NRS 41.290.
- NRS 41.291; NRS 41.293; NRS 41.294; NRS 41.295; NRS 41.296; NRS 41.297; NRS 41.298; Magiera v. Luera (1990) 106 Nev. 775, 802 P.2d 6 (“The father has no greater right than the mother to have a child bear his surname…Instead, the only factor relevant to the determination of what surname a child should bear is the best interest of the child…Finally, the burden is on the party seeking the name change to prove, by clear and compelling evidence, that the substantial welfare of the child necessitates a name change.”); Petit v. Adrianzen (2017) 392 P.3d 630, 133 Nev. Adv. Rep. 15 (“Several jurisdictions have established a nonexhaustive list of factors for courts to consider when determining a child’s best interest in an initial naming dispute case: (1) the length of time that the child has used his or her current name; (2) the name by which the child has customarily been called; (3) whether a name change will cause insecurity or identity confusion; (4) the potential impact of the requested name change on the child’s relationship with each parent; (5) the motivations of the parties in seeking a name change; (6) the identification of the child with a particular family unit, giving proper weight to stepparents, stepsiblings, and half-siblings who comprise that unit; and (7) any embarrassment, discomfort, or inconvenience that may result if the child’s surname differs from that of the custodial parent.”).
- NRS 41.280.
- Name Changes – Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles; 2005 federal Real ID Act.