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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 the same 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 of those, if you want your child’s name changed legally on ID, school registration and other Official Records, are 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 Courts charge a standard Filing Fee which is subject to change at any time by the State of California. As of 2013, the Child Name Change Costs in California to file is $435 in most California Counties. A few Superior Courts charge $35 to $45 more than that to file the Petition. Filing costs are the same whether you’re Petitioning to change 1 child’s name or many. 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 $500. $80-100 is a pretty good rate for Name Change Advertising and you’re going to have to check around for the best price when the time comes. If you use us for your Petition, we’ll give you rates and contact information for the various qualified newspapers in your county. Furthermore, you will only need one ad, even if more than 1 person is changing names in your Petition.

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 usually costs about $25.50 and you get them from the Clerk of that same court. You can order as many as you want.

Serving a Parent

Besides the Advertising, you won’t have to pay for any additional notification costs if both parents are signing the Petition. If one parent is filing and signing, and the other parent is no longer living or you can’t find the other parent’s address, you also will likely not need to incur additional costs for giving individual legal notice to a parent. However, if only one of the child’s parents signs the Petition, then you may have another legal notice cost, in addition, to serve the other parent.

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 nothing or the cost of first class postage (if the other parent is out of state), or as much as $35-75 for a private process server or a Marshall/Sheriff to do the service in-state.

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