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Ms. Magnolia

Letters have been edited for length and clarity.

Dear Ms. Magnolia, At 31 years old, I have just gotten very close to my biological father. I was adopted when I was a baby and given the last name of my adoptive parents, who have both passed away. Now I would like to take the name of my biological father. What do I need to consider?


Dear B, In Georgia, there are quite a few steps needed to legally change your name. It will take months, at least, and there are usually fees to pay. Quadruple-check that the new name is spelled correctly on every form that you submit.

First, the best thing is to contact

a lawyer who can help you file a Pe tition to Change Name of Adult with the Superior Court Family Court Division in the county where you live. They can tell you what your next steps should be, since details change from time to time.

You will probably need to publish your intent to change your name in your local newspaper. Then, if no one files an objection to your name

change, the clerk of court will schedule a hearing.

If your request is approved, you will need to change your name on your driver’s license, your Social Security card, your passport, your birth certificate, on all accounts and

other documents. You’ll also need to inform your friends and family,

your employer, the post office, the voter registration office, doctors' of fices, utility companies, landlord or

mortgage companies, any school or alumni associations, insurance companies, and any airlines with which you’ve accrued reward points or miles. Good luck!

If you have a question for Ms. Magnolia, please mail it to P.O. Box 669, Vidalia, GA 30475, or e-mail to [email protected]

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