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How Much Does It Cost To Change Your Child’s Name In California?

Child Name Change Costs in California

Changing a Child’s Last Name is a big deal. And, sometimes you want to change your child’s first or middle names too. Name Change California doesn’t take long. It’s not free or simple, but It’s really important to get Your Child’s Name exactly the way it should be, right. This article will give you information about all the Child Name Change Costs in California.

Legal Name Change is commonly understood to mean the process of getting a Superior Court Order saying your child changed an existing legal name to a new legal name. The Child Name Change Costs in California are not based on whether you’re changing just your child’s last name or whether you also change any part of the first or middle names too. Any part, even if it’s just one letter,… if you want your child’s name changed legally on ID, school registration and other Official Records, the process for that is called a “name change”.

It’s not that hard or expensive, even if you have someone help you with the process.

Summary of Costs to Change a Child’s Name

Some of the costs will depend on how many parents are signing the Petition, what county your child lives in now, and how many Certified Copies you want. Here’s an approximate summary of what you need to spend if you have us do your Petition, with FULL SERVICE, and both parents are signing the Petition:

  • Full Service Petition $190
  • Petition Filing $435
  • Legal Announcement in Newspaper $90

Total Cost to Change Child’s Name is $715 (approx., add costs for serving the other Parent if appropriate). You don’t pay this all to begin. You pay $115 of it when you start and then the balance after you return the signed Petition in our Return Envelope.

Certified Copy $40.50 (paid to the court, upon approval).

The Superior Court can waive their fees for Filing and Certified Copies if you qualify. With FULL SERVICE, we can help you with the forms to Request to Waive Court Costs, at no extra charge.

Categories of Costs to Change Your Child’s Name

There are 4 categories of Child Name Change Costs in California:

  1. The Petition Paperwork
  2. Filing the Petition
  3. Providing Legal Notifications
  4. Certified Copy of Decree (Court Order)

The Petition Paperwork

The “Petition” is actually a set of 5-9 or more name change forms. First, fill them all out and file them in a proper Superior Court. You can get blank forms, at no cost, from any California Superior Court. Then, you can fill out all the forms yourself or you can have us prepare it all for you. We charge an industry low $115 for a child’s California Name Change Petition. Or, you can have a lawyer do this for you but be prepared to spend another $400-$1000 or more for that. You won’t have to spend any money to do them all yourself. But, be prepared to spend a chunk of time – hours (and maybe more).

If your Petition isn’t complete, or if it is incorrectly prepared or pursued, it can mean delays or denial (see California Civil Code §1275-1279.5).

Filing Your Petition

The California Courts charge a standard Filing Fee, which is subject to change at any time by the State. As of 2022, the costs in California to file is $435 in most California Counties. A few Superior Courts charge $450 or $465.

Multiple children’s names can be changed in one Petition Filing if they’re in the same family, live together, and the Petition is prepared correctly. Also, filing costs don’t change whether one or both parents are signing the Petition.

Legal Notification in Newspaper

California Law (see California CCP 1277) requires that you advertise some of the Petition information in a legal notice newspaper. Doing this is generally referred to as giving public notice of your proposed Name Change and has to be done the way the California law directs and in one of the newspapers that the county courts recognize as an adjudicated Newspaper of General Circulation in the county of the filing and where your child lives. It’s easier to do than it might sound.

Therefore, Child Name Change in California includes costs for you to advertise in one of the court-qualified newspapers. Newspapers set their own rates for advertising. On the low side, We’ve seen rates as low as $30 and as high as over $500. $90-120 is a pretty good rate for Name Change Advertising in a reliable, qualified newspaper. You’re going to have to check around for the best price when the time comes. If you use EZ Name Change Full Service to help with all this, we’ll use the most cost-effective, reliable newspaper and take care of all those arrangements for you. You will only need one ad, run correctly (once/wk for 4 weeks), even if you are changing more than 1 child’s names.

Certified Copies

Most of all, get a Court Clerk to stamp and Certify your Court Order after your judge signs it. Social Security, Birth Certificate, School, Passport, etc., will ask you to show them a Certified Copy to prove that you changed Your Child’s Name, legally. Each Certified Copy costs $40.50 each, and you get them from the Clerk of that same court. You can order as many as you want. We recommend you get 2, or 3 if you’re going to get a birth certificate amended.

Serving a Parent

This will cost $0 to $100, depending on your situation.

If both parents will be signing the Petition, then there are no costs to Serve a Parent.

If only one parent is signing the Petition, then the non-signing parent must either be Served or a Declaration must be filed to explain why that Service isn’t reasonably possible to do. Your judge will decide if more is needed or not.

To Serve a non-consenting Parent will usually cost between $0 and $100, depending on where the other parent lives/works now and what type of process you use to Serve, or if you can’t Serve and have to file a Declaration.

Serving Legal Notice, which must also be done a certain way (see CCP § 413.10, 414.10, 415.10, or 415.40), on the Child’s other parent can cost you as little as $0 (if you have an adult friend or relative do it as a favor), or the cost of  postage (Certified, Return Receipt about $14-if the other parent is out of state or out of country), or as much as $35-100 for a private process server or a Marshall/Sheriff to personally Serve.

If the other parent can’t be found, is deceased, or never existed, then you can submit a Declaration to explain the details about why the other parent can’t be Served. There is $0 cost for you to prepare and file a Declaration yourself.  If EZ Name Change helped you with the Petition process, we can prepare and file your Declaration for $75.


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