- About Us
- Frequently Asked Questions
Start my Name Change Now
- Notices & Terms
- Contact Us
To change your name in California, the whole process takes about 6 weeks. It can be longer if there are court scheduling problems or problems obtaining proof of advertising or service, or if there are objections to your Petition.
First, you complete all your Name Change Petition forms. Sign them and make two copies for filing. Then, before filing, contact and choose the publication you’re going to use to run your public notice advertising. Write the name of that publication into the forms, in the space provided, before you file the Petition.
Locate the proper local Superior Court for where you live, go there and file your Petition with the Court Clerk. If you’re a legal guardian filing for your ward, you may need to file your petition in the family court where your custody was established (see California Civil Code §1277 (e)). If you’re a parent with custody of your child, you should look at your custody order, Calif. CCP §1277 (d), and the Uniform Parentage Act for guidance on where to file your Petition. The Clerk will take your payment for filing, file your Petition and set a hearing date for your Petition to be decided by your judge. You will be going back to that court, to that judge’s courtroom, on the hearing date. So, make sure the date for the hearing is one you can attend.
Immediately after filing the Petition, go to the newspaper you’ve chosen, pay them the agreed upon fee and place the required ad giving the general public notice you intend to change your name in California. By law, your ad must run for 4 consecutive weeks and you have to provide proof of publication to your judge that the ad has run. The paper knows to send notice to your court immediately after the ads have run, but you should call them at that time to make sure it has happened on time. Your court has to have proof the ads were run to decide on your Petition.
If there are no objections, your Judge might sign your Decree, approving it, a before the actual scheduled hearing date. Call the Clerk to find out, but if you don’t know it’s already been approved, go to the proper court at the time and date scheduled for your hearing. Whether anyone is at the hearing to object or not (almost always not), your judge may or may not ask you questions about your Petition. If the judge is satisfied that your Petition should be approved, he/she can sign your Decree right there. There’s a decent chance you can get a copy of the judge signed court order by the time you leave the courtroom. That Order is your proof of Legal Name Change. It’s a good idea to spend a couple more dollars and get the Clerk to give you a couple of Certified Copies of that Court Order. You may need to send a copy to Social Security, or other agencies, later.
If you use EZNameChange.com to prepare your Petition for you, you’ll get ALL the Petition forms properly completed, detailed instructions on the sequence of activities to complete your Legal Name Change, a contact list for the Newspapers of General Circulation in your area, and a checklist for people/companies/agencies/government offices to contact for integrating your New Name into important places.
Legal Name Change always brings a big smile to the ones that do it. It’s quite a personal accomplishment. When you’re ready, EZNameChange.com is here to help.