Changing Your Legal Name

This guide is a step-by-step for how to change your name as a Dunn County resident (including the City of Menomonie). If you live elsewhere in the State of Wisconsin, much of this still applies- we just won't have a link to your specific county's information.

Changing your legal name involves a fair number of steps, but is not as daunting as it may seem. Additionally, it can make everyday interactions involving your legal name a lot easier once you have completed the process.

This guide is meant to serve as a detailed outline of the process. If you have questions about anything, feel free to stop by or contact the Qube.

Note that if you are living in University Housing, you can claim Dunn County residency for legal purposes in the same way that students living in University Housing can claim Dunn County residency for voting.

Don't live in Dunn County?

This guide still applies to you if you are changing your name in the State of Wisconsin! We may not have links and addresses for your specific area, but the general process is the same anywhere in the state.

The National Center for Transgender Equality has multiple resources on name change laws in Wisconsin (and other states), drivers license policy & procedures, and birth certificate amendment laws.

  1. 1

    Fill out the necessary forms

    You will need three copies of the three necessary forms. If you request them from the Dunn County Judicial Center, there may be a small charge. The good news is you can download them and print them off on your own to avoid that. Make sure to fill them out in black ink, and be mindful that you may need to fill them out again if you make an error. Don't worry if that's the case- this isn't easy stuff if you aren't super familiar with legal processes like this.

    When asked to explain the reason for changing your name, you can put something like "the desired name is more fitting for my identity".

    Required Forms:

    1. Petition for Name Change
    2. Notice and Order of Hearing
    3. Order for Name Change
  2. 2

    Get your forms notarized

    After you fill out your forms and before you sign them, you need to have them notarized by a notary public. They will take a quick look at them, sign them, and stamp them. Most credit unions or banks have at least one notary public, and often offer notary services for free (especially to members, though not only members depending on where you go). To get your forms notarized, simply go to a credit union or bank and ask for a notary.

  3. 3

    File your forms

    After your forms are notarized, you are ready to file them with the Dunn County Clerk of Circuit Courts. A name change goes through the civil court process. The Dunn County Clerk of Circuit Courts' office is at the Dunn County Judicial Center at 615 Stokke Parkway Suite 1500, Menomonie, WI 54751.

    As of September 2020, the filing fee set by the Wisconsin Circuit Court System to file a name change is $164.50.

    For questions regarding civil cases, you may contact the Dunn County Clerk of Circuit Courts' office at 715-231-6620.

    When you file your forms or within a few days, depending on staffing & judge availability, you will be given a court date. Be prepared to make changes to your schedule if needed; you are typically not asked your availability for scheduling this hearing.

  1. 4

    Publish your Notice of Hearing

    After getting your paperwork from the Clerk of Courts' office, you need to publish a legal notice in a newspaper. Very few people will actually read these; it is mostly just a formality. We recommend that you reach out to The Dunn County News as soon as you get your court date & paperwork to make sure you get it in on time. It will need to run three times and you can expect it to cost you somewhere between $60-$120.

    You will receive in the mail a clipping and affidavit documenting that your notice has been published. Keep this safe, as you will need to bring it with you to your hearing. Publish your notice →

  2. 5

    Attend your hearing

    It's the day of your hearing! Make sure to arrive at the Dunn County Judicial Center (615 Stokke Parkway, Menomonie, WI 54751) early (at least 15-20 minutes) so you can find where you need to go. Your form returned to you by the Clerk of Courts' office that you submitted to the Dunn County News to publish should indicate which Branch or courtroom your hearing will be in. You will also want to bring all your forms with you, including the clipping from the Dunn County News where your notice was published.

    Name change hearings are fairly short; you can expect it will likely take no longer than 15 minutes. These hearings are very direct and to the point, and you likely will not be asked any questions beyond restating what is on your documents filed for your case.

    Don't have a ride to the Judicial Center? Dunn County Transit's Community Route makes a stop at the Judicial Center.

  3. 6

    File your Order of Name Change

    Congratulations! Your new legal name has been approved by the court! You now need to file your Order of Name Change with the Dunn County Register of Deeds. That office is located in the Dunn County Community Services Building at 3001 US Highway 12, Menomonie, WI 54751. It is the same building where Dunn County Public Health is based and is next to the Dunn County Judicial Center. There is a moderate fee for this filing (typically about $30).

Next Steps

Change Name for Academic Records

You'll need to change your legal name with UW-Stout's Registration and Records Office. This will update your name for all academic and student life purposes, such as in Canvas, for billing, transcripts, and your diploma. You will likely need access to a scanned copy of your Order of Name Change as signed by the judge from your case. Contact Registration and Records.

Note that a change with Registration and Records does not automatically result in employee records being updated if you also work for the UW-Stout or another unit of the UW System. You will need to contact your supervisor or HR to ensure your name for employment is also updated.

Get a New Campus Card

After you notify Registration and Records of your legal name change, they will notify Campus Card and update your name in their system. You can stop by Campus Card in Price Commons and exchange your Bluecard with your old legal name on it for an updated card at no charge.

Change Social Security Card

A brief how-to on this topic is coming soon!

Change Birth Certificate

A brief how-to on this topic is coming soon!

Change Driver's License or State-Issued Identification Card

You will want to bring your Order of Name Change with you to the DMV to update your name on your license or state-issued identification card. If you are a Wisconsin resident or planning to update a Wisconsin ID, you can do this in Menomonie part of the week. You can also do so in Durand or Eau Claire, both of which are near Menomonie. Check DMV opening hours here.

Update Voter Registration

After you change your legal name, you will need to re-register to vote. In the State of Wisconsin, you can do this on election day at your polling place. If your photo ID and/or proof of residence does not reflect your current legal name, you can still vote. You can bring a copy of your Order of Name Change in to verify your ID and proof of residency. If your polling site's election officials do not know to accept this, you may cast a provisional ballot and contact your municipal clerk by 4pm on Friday, the week of the election in which you cast your provisional ballot.

Misc.

It is impossible for this or any guide to cover the process for changing your name everywhere because of the shear volume of places where legal names are used. It is helpful to keep a copy of your Order of Name Change handy, as many places may ask to see it, make a copy, or have you fax/scan it for verification. Places you may need to update your name with include employers, financial institutions, and utilities.

Congratulations!

You have completed your name change- congratulations! While not a short or entirely easy process, it is one that is rewarding to finish.