It doesn't make a difference if you get married to another.
It REALLY depends on your state of residence so the link provided here will take you to the page that has general information by state for the steps, forms, and fees involved in changing your child's name. If your state isn't listed there, contact your county court for more information
The legal process
A legal name change provides authorization and recognition of your child's new name. It allows you to change the name that's printed on your child's Social Security card and, depending on how old she is, on her birth certificate.
The easiest way to get started is to contact a lawyer. The lawyer will know your state's specific rules and requirements, supply you with all the appropriate forms, and file the forms with the court.
If you don't want to pay a lawyer's fees, you may be able to navigate the process by yourself. Your first step would be to contact your local county court to learn the exact process you'll need to go through, as name change procedures vary by state.
In Minnesota, for example, your child must have been a Minnesota resident for a minimum of six months in order to qualify for a legal name change. In California, if you're filing for the name change as a single parent, you'll be required to provide the other parent with a copy of the paperwork at least 30 days before the court date.
If you and your spouse are applying together, both of you will be required to sign the forms. Many states, including California, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Utah, explain the whole process online and provide free, downloadable forms. Other states, such as Idaho, provide free, downloadable forms only for low-income families. If you can't obtain the forms online, call your county court to find out where you can purchase them.
Although the requirements vary slightly by state, here's a basic list of the forms you'll be dealing with:
• Petition for a name change
• Court order approving your desired name change
• Petition giving public notice of the name change
• Final decree from the court authorizing the name change
You'll need to sign these forms in front of a notary, also called a notary public. You can find notary services at Mailboxes Etc. UPS Store, and other retail shipping locations, or you can check your local yellow pages or search one of the many notary directories online. If you're working with a lawyer, he or she will have access to a notary.
Be sure to make several copies of the documents for your own personal records and to use when you apply for a name change on your child's Social Security card and birth certificate.
Along with the paperwork, you'll need to pay fees, which also vary by state (for example, $65 in New York and $150 in Alaska). If you can't afford these fees, most states have waivers you can apply for.
Once you've filled out all the paperwork and paid the fees, you'll wait approximately one to two months to receive the court order approving the name change.
Once the court legally recognizes your child's new name, her Social Security card (and birth certificate, depending on her age) will need to be changed. If you've already ordered your child's Social Security card, it's very important to report any name change so that her future wages will be accurately recorded and she'll be able to withdraw the correct amount of Social Security.
To report a legal name change to the Social Security Administration, you'll need to fill out an application for a Social Security card. You can obtain the application by visiting your local Social Security office, calling the SSA's toll-free number, (800) 772-1213, or downloading the form. If you live in the New York City metropolitan area, Las Vegas, or Phoenix, you may be required to turn in your completed form to your local Social Security office in person.
To change the name on your child's birth certificate, you'll need to contact your state's Office of Vital Records — typically part of the Department of Health. Most states allow parents six to 12 months to make changes to a child's birth certificate without requiring a court order. The fee for a birth certificate change will be approximately $40.