Yeah, I know, yet another non-bookish post, but I live to entertain and help other people.
If you were here yesterday, you saw a post about how to legally change your name in Florida. Outlining the process through its requirements is one thing; explaining the human experience of it is another.
Now how did my personal experience with the name-change procedure go? WHOO BOY, DO I HAVE A STORY.
Early June 2015: Fresh from BEA, where I’d mentioned my plans to friends and bought a keychain with “Paige” on it, I started doing my research, filled out and printed Forms 12.982(a) and 12.982(b), and arranged to get fingerprinted.
Mid-June 2015, part 1: I head to the sheriff’s office to get fingerprinted and find out that parking in the area is absolutely terrible. Also, the courthouse is right next door, so I won’t lose either building easily.
Mid-June 2015, part 2: I need a public notary to sign my forms and a family friend who works with my dad as a secretary happens to be one, so I meet my dad for lunch and the family friend signs the papers for me. I discover she’s a homophobe who would refuse to perform a wedding for a same-sex couple.
After lunch and the form-signing I’m so confident in I don’t check over it, I head back to the county courthouse and attempt to turn in my paperwork. I get lost in the place for about 20 minutes and have to ask for help. The office directs me to Family Court Services for a final check of my paperwork and the latter tells me that I’m missing Forms 12,900(h) and DH-427 as well as the envelopes. OH, AND THE NOTARY DIDN’T SIGN THE PAPERWORK EVERYWHERE SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO.
I return home as a grumpasaurus rex.
Late June 2015, part 2: Repeatedly visiting my dad for lunch will make both of us sick of Waffle House very quickly, so I ask him to take the paperwork back up there and get the secretary to sign them again but make sure to sign all the blanks it says she needs to this time.
GUESS WHAT HAPPENS.
lol, she screws up again. I become certain she and my dad are trying to sabotage my efforts.
July 2015: I try yet again with the paperwork and she does sign everywhere she’s supposed to this time. Hurrah! She made copies of all the forms and I take my full set of paperwork to the local clerk of court office (which is much closer than the county courthouse) to file them. NOPE, CAN’T DO IT. The paperwork has to be the original copies, not photocopies, and she threw out the original copy.
Once again, I’m certain of a conspiracy. That or the family friend needs her public notary license revoked.
Late July 2015, part 1: This time, I make sure I have the original copy on me and take everything to the clerk of court office again. RE-DENIED. This time, it’s because I filled in the Final Judgment form by hand when it was supposed to be typed.
To top it all off, I locked myself out of my car. Good thing I didn’t lock my purse in there too (one pocket hid the spare key I used in emergencies) or I REALLY would have been up the creek without a paddle. Or a boat.
Late July 2015, part 2: OKAY, FOR REAL THIS TIME. A few days after my previous attempt, I take my fully corrected paperwork back to the clerk of court office again to file them. The attendant initially doesn’t believe they’re the originals because she can’t feel the indents of the pen in the paper, but I assured her they were the originals. I just don’t press hard on my pens.
BUT SHE FINALLY TAKES MY PAPERWORK!
Later that day, I get a call to schedule my name-change hearing at the county courthouse.
Early August 2015: My name-change hearing! I make it to the courthouse a second time and the security guys still remember me from two months ago. Once again, I manage to get lost but eventually get directions to where I need to be. The hearing was little more than sitting in a woman’s office, answering her questions to confirm I’m not changing it to avoid criminal charges and such, and letting a tape recorder make an audio copy of our presentation. Then I go home and gleefully order a personalized necklace that says Paige as a celebratory gift to myself.
Mid-August 2015: I get my Final Judgment of Name Change forms in the mail and they’re signed/stamped! I’m officially Paige, not Ashleigh!
Oh, Paige of almost a year ago, you don’t even know yet.
Late August 2015: My dad forwards me an email from Florida Health saying that because I wasn’t born in Florida (I was born in Georgia and my family moved when I was 4), the Report of Legal Change of Name means nothing to them and they won’t forward it to Georgia for me. It’s my job to do that myself.
September 2015-now: STILL TRYING TO GET A REVISED BIRTH CERTIFICATE FROM THE STATE OF GEORGIA BECAUSE I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT TO DO.
tl;dr don’t change your first name in Florida unless you really fucking want to because it’s expensive and stupid and it only gets harder if you weren’t born in Florida. The process for changing your surname for marriage is way fucking easier.
So did you learn anything from my walk through the Floridian legal process? You know it has to be special considering the never-ending adventures of Florida Man.