You must be over age 18 and an active participant in the Address Confidentiality Program to be eligible for a confidential name change.
Things To Think About Before You Change Your Name
Changing your name is a big decision. It may not be an easy or lasting way to stay safe or hide from your abuser. As a participant in the Address Confidentiality Program, chances are you already have made hard choices in order to protect your safety. Before taking the additional step of changing your name, you should think carefully about the risks and benefits. This will help you decide if a confidential name change is right for you.
An attorney and/or an advocate at a domestic violence program can help you think about the good or bad effects of changing your name. The “Other Resources” on this page can help you find an attorney or program to help you make a safety plan and decide if a name change is a good idea for you.
Changing Your Name May Not Protect You
Your name is not the only way your abuser could find you. In addition to, or instead of, changing your name, you may want to do two other things to stay safe:
Even if you change your social security number, the Social Security Administration will link your old name with your new name. They may also share this information with federal and state agencies, including law enforcement. Your credit report may also link your old and new names. If you get help from Oregon’s Department of Human Services (DHS), such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or the Oregon Health Plan, it is very important to talk to your worker about protecting your new name.
You may not be able to change or hide all of the details about your life. Your abuser may be able to get information about you on the Internet or from family members, friends, or former co-workers. Your abuser might use electronic surveillance (GPS) or other technology to track you and learn your new name.
If you have minor children, your abuser may be able to find you through information about your child. In most cases, Oregon law does not allow you to change your child’s name without telling the other parent. Also, Oregon law usually lets parents see their child’s school, medical, or government records. These records may have information about your name or where you live. Your abuser could also find out your new name during a divorce or custody case.
After Changing Your Name, It May Be Hard To Do Certain Things Without Revealing That You Have Changed Your Identity
- Finding a job
- Buying or renting property
- Getting a loan or credit
- Applying for school or getting financial aid
- Getting identification, like a driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, or Social Security card
- Getting benefits like Social Security