Legal Name Change! My Name Is Ryan

The judge just signed my legal name change forms at the Daley Center! Not my best photo (I'm both really tired and really happy), but it was a momentous occasion.

Today, I finally had my court date to legally change my name! Despite all of my fears, it went so smoothly — a really fantastic experience (similar to the how well the paperwork went).

Even though I’ve been to name change court dates for a number of other people, and I know how the process worked, I was definitely worried last night, partly because I just tend to worry. I was the most worried about what I was going to wear — my mom insisted that a suit would be most appropriate, but I’m really not certain about whether any of my ties go well with either of my suits (and much of the internet seems to think that men in suits with no ties isn’t a good look).

However, I also worried about the little things — what if both my alarm clock and my cell phone’s alarm fail, and I miss my court date? What if I chose the wrong clothes, and I look ridiculous? What if my judge feels like being a jerk and gives me a hard time about why I want to change my name? What if my friend misses my court date (not that he’d ever do so on purpose, but things come up — people get sick, trains break down — and we can’t always keep our promises), and I’m all alone? Basically, what if something goes wrong?

I got to the Daley Center, up to the seventeenth floor, at 9:30 — exactly half an hour before I was supposed to be there, just as TJLP suggests. In the following thirty minutes, I read a book (The Revolution Will Not Be Funded) and tried not to freak out too much.

Luckily, my friend showed up before I went into the courtroom, and everything seemed less stressful. There are just some people who make me feel like everything’s going to be okay, and he’s definitely one of them, so it was absolutely lovely that he was there. Also, it was fantastic to have someone there who was excited for me and appeared confident that it would go well. And he knows all about the name change process, so he made sure that my papers were in order. Excellent. He also set to rest all of my worries about my fashion choices — once he arrived, everything just got better and better.

Once we entered the courtroom, my friend whispered that my judge was nice, which was reassuring. I managed to actually relax a little bit, instead of having to focus intently on not letting my hands shake out of nerves. My name was called, and I went up to before the judge, papers and ID in hand. The judge asked the typical question (ensuring that I’m not changing my name in order to commit fraud or identity theft) and then tried to make small talk (I think trying to make it be less intimidating), asking about where I’ve been living (Chicago, Minneapolis, Bryn Mawr) and what I’m doing (interning with a law project). He continued asking questions (which law project, whether it pays much) and finally signed my papers and let me go. It was kind of funny, actually.

Huge sigh of relief. The stress is over! I didn’t even need my passport (which I had as proof of citizenship, just in case they made a fuss over the fact that I wasn’t born in the U.S.). We took a couple of photos (my mom was insistent, not that it bothered me because I’m a big fan of photos), and then I made an excessive number of certified copies (just to be on the safe side) with one of the really nice clerks on the twelfth floor.

It was a really great experience, so much better than I’d expected. And now my chosen name and my legal name are the same!

21 responses to “Legal Name Change! My Name Is Ryan

  1. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!

    ❤ ❤ ❤

  2. Hurrah!! And you look great in the suit Ryan, so dont worry, the internet isn’t the ultimate arbiter of fashion:)

    • Thanks, Lyra! You are such an amazing cousin and friend. And thanks for the suit reassurance — while I know that the internet has a lot of fashion advice that isn’t always worthwhile, I get nervous because I don’t have any of those basic rules about how to dress regarding menswear fashions, so I could be making ridiculous mistakes and never know it.

  3. Well you did it. Congratulations. It feels strange to call my daughter now my son? by a new name but this is what you need to make you happy and help you on your growth as a person. Just know you are always my child and I will always love you . ( No matter how many times you beat me at the card games we play)

    Love you always, Dad

    Ps, you looked great.

    • Dad! I love you so much. And I’m really surprised to see you post on my blog (I wasn’t aware you knew how to, although I suppose it makes sense because you know how to do internet-type things). I love you, too. And I’m glad that your love isn’t contingent upon you occasionally winning when we play card games. 🙂

  4. It’s a credit to how happy and smiley you are all the time that you think that’s not one of your best photos. Congratulations, Ryan (OK, that sounds awkwardly formal but considering it’s a post about your newly-legal name, that’s just too bad!)!

    • Thank you. Also, I totally get what you mean about congratulation sounding awkwardly formal, but I also have the urge to congratulate people on things like this, so I know what you mean. And thanks!

  5. Congratulations. It’s so nice to know you went through with this.

  6. I cannot add anything to what your dad said so I won’t except to say how much I love you and how incredibly proud I am of you and you looked GREAT! Mom

  7. Congrats on the legal name change! I’m glad everything went so smoothly 🙂

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