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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

About Name Change

I'm finally taking the necessary steps to change my name. No, I am not changing my name and taking Hubby's last name. I'm simply changing it back to the way it should have been when I was born. Confused? I've mentioned this a few times on my blog, but basically there was a mix up of communication when I was born and the name on my legal documents say "Chi-Yin LastName." Embarrassing.. yes. I spent 16+ years believing that my name was Yin. Then I went to the DMV to get my first driver's license, saw my social security card and birth certificate for the first time, and cried my eyes out. I did convince the worker to use the name I grew up knowing (phew), and now the only documents barring my legal name are my birth certificate, social security card, and tax documents.

Why was there a mix up of communication to begin with? In Chinese we say names backwards, starting with the last name first. So if my parents wanted to introduce me to their friends, they would say, "LastName Chi Yin." Whomever filled out my birth certificate decided to hyphenate my middle and first name and tada... Chi-Yin LastName. I find it somewhat humorous that I didn't find out (and neither did my parents) until that not so happy day at the DMV.

I just want my legal name to match the name that my parents gave me. I don't like having to explain to people why my legal name differs from my given name. It's a pain. I originally thought about changing my name when I was still in college, but I never got around to it. The process is lengthy and involves publishing a notice of name change in the local paper once a week for three weeks. Then I would have to go to the court, explain my story, get stuff notarized, and pay another $78 for the name change. Then I would have to get all of my legal documents changed back to my "new" name. Not easy. Why now? I decided to finally get going with the process again now that I'm a year away from the wedding. I want Hubby to be married to Yin Chi LastName and not Chi-Yin LastName. It's a minor detail, but it really means a lot to me. I will be taking Hubby's last name next year, and I want my first name to be corrected before that happens.

Oddly enough it's easier and cheaper to get married in Delaware than to get a name changed. Here's the break down:

Getting Married
  • Marriage License - opened M-F from 9AM to 4PM, must apply together, $30.00
  • Ceremony Fee (for court wedding) - performed on Wednesdays with an appointment, 2 witnesses needed, $30.00
  • Certified Copy Marriage License - $24.00
  • Total - $84
Getting a Name Change
  • Notice of Name Change to the Public - published once a week for three weeks in a local newspaper, cost vary from $34.10 to $102
  • Attain Affidavit of Publication from the newspaper
  • Fill out Petition for Name Change
  • Get Petition for Name Change and Affidavit Notarized by a Notary Public
  • Pay Filing Fee of $78
  • Go to the NCC Courthouse for the Change of Name Petition Hearing
  • Make necessary contacts to change social security card and birth certificate
Price of a Name Change
  • The News Journal - $102
  • Newark Post - $58
  • Middletown Transcript $34.10
  • Filing Fee $78
  • Cheapest Option - $112.10
  • Most Expensive Option - $180
Now I have to decide where I would like to publish my notice of name change. It seems the smartest to just go with the Middletown Transcript. I don't know anyone in Middletown, and it's the cheapest. The News Journal is ruled out since it cost more to publish it in there than to pay the processing fee with the court. The Newark Post has a special place in my heart. I was born and raised in Newark, and I regularly read the Newark Post. The man who answered the phone was very helpful, and I would love to support my local paper. Do I pay a little more for the Newark Post or do I just go with the cheapest option?

Hmm...

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