If you are looking to legally change your name you may be wondering: Where do I file a petition? Do I have to go to Tallahassee? Do I file in the circuit court of the county where I was born? Can I request that a circuit court in the county where I live change my name?
Section 68.07, Florida Statutes, and relevant case law, provides an answer…
A person may file a petition for change of name in the circuit court located in county where that person is domiciled and has a bona fide residence. “Residence” is generally defined as the place where a person physically lives, while “domicile” generally refers to the place where a person intends to make their permanent home.
So, for example, the proper place for a person who lives in Tampa and intends to stay in Tampa is the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court, Hillsborough County. However, if a person is currently in Sarasota County but plans on moving in several months to Pinellas County with the intent to stay in Pinellas, that person should wait until he or she moves to Pinellas and then file in that county’s Sixth Judicial Circuit.
Keep in mind that a temporary stay outside of the county where you intend to return will not prevent you from applying for a name change. So, if a person lives permanently in Manatee County, but spends summer vacations in Orange County, that person may file a petition for change of name in Manatee County’s Twelfth Judicial Circuit.