December 1, 2023


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How To Do A Legal Name Change In The State Of California Properly 

4 min read

It is a semi-complicated process. However, you will be able to get it done if you simply follow our instructions. 

The first thing you need to do is go to the Superior Court for the area you live in and file a Name Change Petition. The process will end with you receiving a Court Order. A Court Order or Decree Changing Name is what all private organizations, financial institutions, schools, and government agencies all want to see before agreeing to change any important records or your ID.  

How To Do A Name Change in the State of California – Child or Adult?

  1. Prepare and File Your Petition 
  2. Advertise – Notices 
  3. Upon Approval, Obtain Your Court Order 
  4. Change Your Official Records and ID 

Step 1 – Your Petition 

First of all, you will need to prepare the petition. It needs to be filled out and file all of the Name Change Petition forms that are required with the correct court. Along with the standard California state Judicial Council forms, there are some counties in California that require additional forms. The standardized forms, which will depend on your specific Name Change situation, are the following:

NC-130 Decree Changing Name

NC-121 Proof of Service of Order to Show Cause [Used only in certain Child Name Changes]

NC-120 Order to Show Cause

NC-110 Name and Information About the Person Whose Name is to be Changed

NC-100 Petition for Change of Name

CM-010 Civil Case Cover Sheet

FW-003 Order on Court Fee Waiver [ONLY USED when you are unable to afford to pay for court fees]

FW-001 Request to Waive Court Fees [ONLY USED when you can’t afford to pay for court fees]

In 9 counties, one other form will be required to check on criminal history. Other counties require additional forms for consent or self-representation. A Civil Cover Sheet Addendum will also need to be filed in some countries. All of the courts change their Forms occasionally. You will need to ensure you are using the most current forms and all the required ones for your county.

Next, you will need to file your petition in the proper Superior Court. A filing fee is charged by each court. A Fee Waiver Request can be filed if you are unable to afford to pay the Court Fees. A case number will be assigned by the Court to your Petition and be given a Hearing date. Then you will appear in court on your Hearing date and, upon approval, receive your Court Order. Usually, the hearing is 6-12 weeks out, depending on how crowded a schedule the court has. 

The only California State Name Change Specialist is EZ Name Change that with its Full-Service, will prepare and file a Petition for you, make arrangements for your Hearing, and handle all of the required Advertising. 

Step 2- Give Notice(s)

You are required to advertise the specifics of Your Name Change Hearing (referred to Section 1277a of the California Code of Civil Procedure). You select a qualified newspaper and then pay to have the required ad run. These ads run once per week for a total of 4 weeks in a row. Before your Petition is approved, the judge will want to have Proof of Publication. 

If you are a parent who is Petitioning for a Child of yours without the other parent’s consent, then you might need to serve legal notice of the Hearing to the non-consenting parent.  The serving can be done by any adult (other than the Filing parent) as can a Sheriff’s deputy, the U.S. Mail, or Private Process Servers, depending on where the other parent is. The specific rules that apply can be found in Section 1277 (a)(4) of the California Code of Civil Procedure.

Step 3 – Obtain a Certified Copy of the Court Order

The judge will make the decision whether or not to sign the Decree Changing Name. Most of the Petitions end up being Granted, unless the paperwork, advertising, notices or court is wrong. Upon approval, you can receive a certified copy quickly. Once you have the Certified Decree Changing Name, then you can start to change your important records and ID on that same day. You will get your Certified copies in the same courthouse that you file your petition. 

Step 4 – Change Your Records

Once you have the Certified Copy of the Decree Changing Name you will be able to have all of your ID and records changed. This specific document is honored by Birth Certificates, Passports, Banks, Schools, DMV, and Social Security. All US government agencies, including both Federal and the States, as well as countries all over the world honor this document. There are many people who change their School, Bank, Driver’s License or Social Security on the same day they receive their Certified Decree Changing Name. There are other individuals who wait to change their records until after travel or other obligations make it more convenient. It is completely up to you. And that is how you do a legal name change in California. For more information see the experts linked in this article. 

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