The process of legally changing your name is fairly straightforward and generally does not require an attorney.

The process can often be initiated by visiting your local county courthouse and asking for information on the name-change process. Many have information packets, complete with the necessary forms, or you can download the forms from the state courts' website. Typically, there are two forms to complete: an "application" for a name change, and an "order" for the name change. The "application" tends to be a fairly simple form which the applicant fills out, and signs in front of a notary (many court staff are notaries). The "order" looks similar but this is the form that the judge will sign when approving your application.

The requirements for applying for a legal name change in Minnesota are easily met by most people: you must have lived in Minnesota for at least six months, and be a resident of the county in which you apply. You must have two adult witnesses at your name change hearing, and they can be relatives. If you are married, one of your relatives should be your spouse. You will also be assessed a filing fee. If you have very limited income or are on public assistance, you can apply to have the filing fee waived.

Most name-change hearings take only a few minutes. In most cases, the judge must grant your request unless the court believes that your motive is to mislead or defraud others. (Please see Minnesota Statute 259.11).

Under Minnesota law, a person who changes their name by court order is entitled to an amended Minnesota birth record, showing their new name, upon request accompanied by a certified copy of the order.  For minors whose names have been changed, this request may be made by a parent or guardian.

A name change order, by itself, will not authorize amendment of sex-designations on identity documents, such as a driver's license or birth certificate, unless the judge specifically orders that this happen.