When a party files a petition for change of name, that party must swear under oath that his or her civil rights have never been suspended or, if civil rights have been suspended, they have subsequently been restored. This requirement is found in Section 68.07, Florida Statutes.
When are civil rights suspended? In general terms, civil rights are suspended when a person is convicted of a felony. Those lost rights include the right to vote, hold public office, or serve on a jury.
Florida, like most states, provides for a process of restoration of those rights. The person must apply to the Office of Executive Clemency. In determining whether to grant a restoration, the Executive Clemency Board will consider, among other things, the following:
- The nature of the offense;
- Whether the applicant has any history of mental instability, drug or alcohol abuse;
- Whether the applicant has a prior or subsequent criminal record, including traffic offenses;
- The applicant’s employment;
- Whether the applicant is current or delinquent on child support requirements; and
- Letters submitted in support of, or opposition to, the grant of executive clemency.
As a petition for change of name will not be granted if the party’s civil rights have been suspended without being restored, an application for restoration should be done well in advance of any petition.