Legally Changing My Name

I'm a senior in high school set to graduate this year, and as a personal coming of age story, I plan to change my first and last name. Now, I go by my middle name, Tait, so its not that big of deal to me to lose those names except that I'm named after my (divorced from my mother) father.

What I plan to change my name to is Lawrence Tait Wynn. Both names hold personal significance, I'm just wondering how well they work together. Also, an understanding of how changing your name legally works would be awesome. Thanks!


By Fly
August 31, 2015 10:08 AM

I couldn't attest to the name-change process, but are you planning to go by Tait or Lawrence once you've changed it?

I think Lawrence Wynn, Lawrence T. Wynn, L.T. Wynn and L.T.W. are fine, no problems with flow, association, combination, or acronyms that I can see.

If anyone ever called you Lawrie as a nickname though that would get you Lawrie Wynn, which is a bit of a tongue twister for me and sounds a bit like "lohreh-win" (L. Irwin), or "lawr-ee-ynn" (Lauren).  This is only an issue if you plan to use Lawrie as a nickname.

L. Tait Wynn might be a little difficult to pull off as well, but its not on the level of a deal-breaker.

August 31, 2015 1:06 PM

If you give us an idea of where you live, you might get more specific information about name change technicalities (nothing identifiable, just country and maybe state/province if you're comfortable with that).

I think the names work well together. I think Tait Lawrence Wynn would also be very handsome if you wanted to make your current "call" name your legal first name. That might make the transition easier, if folks are used to calling you Tait, but of course only if you are OK with continuing to use it.

In terms of legalities, I think most places it's mainly a matter of filling out paperwork (swearing that you're not trying to defraud anyone, etc.) and paying a fee. It may be more involved in some jurisdictions, requiring an actual court appearance or similar.

Practically speaking, others who have been through this can advise you better, but I think having your nearest and dearest on board first will generally make the transition smoother--having a friend around who consistently calls you by your new name will help cement that in other folks' minds. And of course when you leave high school, you'll be free to introduce yourself to new folks however you want, legal name change or no.

By T8
August 31, 2015 8:00 PM

Thanks for comments! I live the US. If changing a name legal is pretty much just paperwork, that sounds simple 'nuff.


What I'm considering is to use Tait as more of a personal, family name, and use Lawrence for everything else once I get out of highschool. That way I don't have the hassle of getting everyone I know right now to call me Lawrence, and when everyone goes their separate ways the transition will be fairly clean. Would that work, or is better to start the transition with my family and close friends?

August 31, 2015 11:49 PM

Hi, T8! I have changed my (middle) name as an adult, and it was not nearly as big a hassle as I was expecting! The exact procedure varies from state to state in that in some states you need to add some other steps like publish an announcement (in a newspaper) of your pending name change. But in my state it was a pretty simple matter of filling out a form, dropping off the paperwork at the courthouse along with a fee (I don't remember what it was, but I think in the ballpark of $80 or so) and receiving an appointment for appearing in court. For the court hearing I remember being sworn in before a judge and then promising that I was not changing my name for any fraudulent purposes, and that was pretty much it! Then you are handed a court order decreeing the name change, and then you take that around to change every single account that has your name on it -- your social security card, driver's license, passport, etc. etc. That last part is the totally the hardest part, especially if you have a lot of accounts in your name, where it might be really awesome that you are a young person still yet to embark on the most intense period of account-setting-up.

I might take advantage of being a senior in high school and do the name change BEFORE you graduate -- assuming that you turn 18 before you graduate, it shouldn't be difficult to time it that way. (I believe you can still change your name before you turn 18, but I suspect that there might be more parental involvement needed.) Anyway, the reason for that is so your high school diploma can be in your new name, too, as a disparity might be an inconvenience if you ever have employers or the like checking up that you actually did graduate from Lovely Village High school. (Not an insurmountable inconvenience, but it might be the sort of thing you'd want to put on your resume if your degree is under a different name.)

As for the choice of name, it's lovely and I see no issues on any front! It's nicely plausible as a name that might have been bestowed in the time period of your birth, too.

I think the fact that you're keeping your middle name which is also your current call name is going to be very helpful. Your high school friends and family can still keep right on calling you Tait, because it is and remains your middle name, and as you go on to your post-high-school life you can just start introducing yourself as Lawrence. It's a perfect time to do a name change, since you'll be making many entirely new circles of acquaintance. I would go ahead and change your name now, and you can encourage your friends and family to try it out, too, without overly stressing about it -- I like your idea that your old callname can continue to be an intimate family/childhood nickname.

FWIW, I've definitely witnessed a fair share of after-high-school name changes and those names eventually did trickle over to the high-school friends, too. In the case of adjusting to name change (when there wasn't a gender transition involved, so the old name was not actively traumatic), there was kind of a Oldname-Newname double name for a while where people would say the old name first and then tack on the new name.

Good luck!!


By T8
September 1, 2015 6:45 PM

I'll be turning 18 before graduation, so graduating under the new name is something I already look forward to greatly. :)

Thanks for such lengthy answers and support!

By T8
September 10, 2017 3:41 PM

Hello! Just happy to report that I am successful with the name change, and it really was a simple process, it just happened to take a summer for legal purposes. Thanks for all the help here!

September 10, 2017 4:05 PM

Thanks for the update, and congrats on the new name!

September 17, 2017 1:58 AM

Oh, I love it when people come back years later to update! Congratulations on a smooth transition to a great new name!

September 22, 2017 11:48 AM

Well that is pretty great name, as for me)


September 22, 2017 11:58 AM

I think, that is perfect)