Can a person legally use2 different identities?

UPDATED: Aug 3, 2011

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Can a person legally use2 different identities?

If a child is adopted as an infant, then the adoptive parents give the child back to the birth mother and her and her current husband re-adopt the child, changing his name, is it legal as that child, once he becomes an adult, to continue using both identities? This is in order to obtain work and hide a criminal record. They have different birth certificates and SSN’s.

Asked on August 3, 2011 Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No--someone may not have two different Social Security Numbers and may only have one legal name at a time. Each person must have one and only one unique set of identifies; furthermore, the social security number can never be changed, though a person could legally change his or her name as often as he or she likes, so long as all the legal requirements, paperwork, etc. are done properly.

Certainly, a person may informally go by as many names as he or she likes. A person could be named "Ashley Blaine Childers" and go by "Ashley," "Ash," "Blaine," "AB," "ABC," "Child,"or even something unconnected to their name, like "John" or "Tigger" or "The Context." But that's just  informal usage. Legally, only one legal name at time, and only one social security number, ever.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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