How Long does a Florida Legal Name Change Take?

One of the first questions I am always asked by potential clients who are seeking to change their legal name in Tampa Bay or elsewhere in Florida is how long it will take.

First, it depends on whether you retain an attorney who is experienced in name change proceedings.  I have helped countless Florida residents obtain a change of their legal name throughout the state, and I have addressed situations that could have caused the name change to be delayed by months.

For example, after a client completed the required fingerprinting and FBI/Florida Department of Law Enforcement background check, the results did not make their way to the Brevard County Clerk of the Court.  The fingerprint vendor claimed that the clerk should have received the results, and the clerk claimed that the results were never sent. Further, the judge would not set a final hearing on the name change until the Brevard clerk received the background check results.  Accordingly, my office got on the phone, did some investigating, reached out to our contacts at the vendor and the clerk’s office, and were able to locate the background check results.  Immediately thereafter, we got the results in the clerk’s file and set the final name change hearing.

In a case in Hillsborough County, I represented a woman who declined to restore her maiden name during her divorce, but a couple of years later had a change of mind.  So, she hired me to represent her in the name change.  As she was restoring her maiden name, rather than changing to a new legal name, she was not required to have the fingerprints and FBI background check.  However, when we go to the final hearing, we had a judge who recently joined the family law bench and was not yet familiar with the name change laws.  The judge asked where the background check results were and was prepared to delay the hearing until fingerprints were submitted and received by the clerk.  Fortunately, I was there to point out that Florida Statutes section 68.07(2)(a) does not require a person restoring a former name to go through the background check, and the judge then granted the final judgment.

So, once you hire an experienced name change attorney, then the question of how long it takes usually depends on two people: you and the judge.  Specifically, it depends on (i) how quickly you can fill out and return the easy-to-read name change worksheet that I provide and go to get your fingerprints scanned and (ii) how busy is the judge’s schedule.  Fortunately, as an attorney, I am usually able to access openings in a judge’s calendar of which the general public is unaware.

Though some cases may take more or less time, on average, I am usually able to help a client obtain the name change within 4 to 8 weeks of receiving the completed worksheet.

If you have questions regarding changing your legal name in Florida, schedule a consultation with Adam B. Cordover of Family Diplomacy at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.


About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
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