Can I change my name to Joe Six Pack?

Could I legally change my name to something wild like Joe Six Pack or Joe Mama or are there limits to how much amusement the American public is allowed to have with their heritage?

Jeremy Ulrey

It’s not a Federal thing, name changes are usually state or local affairs. If you are in Texas (guessing from your username) check with your town hall or local courthouse. The rules are probably online but Google is acting funny right now.

Since I have a friend who legally changed his name to Megazone, I suspect you have a good shot.

Well, in Texas, you just file a lawsuit to change your name in State District Court. Often you can file a suit and have a hearing to change your name in the same day. The judge makes sure that you don’t have a felony and asks you why you want to change your name to make sure you’re not doing it for an improper purpose. You’ll probably be Joe Six Pack by the end of the day unless you have a curmudgeonly judge…but hey, you live in Austin.

As usual, this isn’t legal advice, just for general edification, I’m not your lawyer, etc. etc.

At common law, it’s legal to use whatever name you choose, so long as you’re not doing it for nefarious purposes. Every state also has an official procedure to register your name change, if you need documentation that proves who you are/were.

As said above, it depends on state law.

In Missouri, one can choose any name which is not deemed to be deceptive (you might not be able to get on the ballot as George W. Bush or None of the Above), offensive (no Niggerslapper or Killallthewhitepeople), or unduly bizarre (no zQ2j3408!gfj).

Joe Six Pack would, I’m guessing, not be considered unduly bizarre. Some years back an unsuccessful candidate for Lt. Governor successfully had his middle name changed to “Bullet Train” (complete with quotation marks) so that the voters would be reminded when reading the ballot as to which of the candidates with a hare-brained scheme he was.

Well, compared to Trout Fishing in America, Joe Six Pack isn’t too strange.