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Name Change California Cost, Fees & Steps

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

Changing your name is a VERY personal and important decision. However, it isn’t easy, simple or free to do. Finding out about all the costs involved isn’t easy either. This article will give you the Name Change Cost California information you’re looking for. Details, itemization and totals.

Itemized California Name Change Fees

To legally change your name so that you can get your official records changed, you’ll need a Certified Copy of a Court Order. You’ll get that at your Name Change Hearing, after approval by a Superior Court judge. The Certified Copy is what Social Security, School Administrators, DMV and the other important government and financial offices all want to see. Each step you need to take to get that Certified Copy has a cost associated with it.

The Steps are:

  1. Prepare a Petition
  2. File the Petition in Court
  3. Give Legal Notice
  4. Get Court Order and Change Your Records

Name Change California Cost & Steps

1. Name Change Petition Cost in California

We can prepare your Petition for you. We charge an industry low $190 for your completed Petition and Full Service Filing, including everything else you need to make it all the way through the process. Your Petition is prepared by Registered and Bonded Legal Document Assistants, for your particular Name Change in your particular court. The California Superior Court website will give you forms and some information to file a Petition in your county. There are between 5 and 15 different forms to fill out, depending on the county where you live and the type of Name Change you’re doing. Your local court also has some way to get you free legal help if you need it. You will need to spend some hours, maybe a lot of hours, going through it all and filling it all out correctly.

It will take you about 5 minutes to give us the information and pay the initial charge ($115 to begin and the other $75 + court and advertising costs) after we get your signed Petition back. After we look over your information, we’ll Confirm with you by email, with notes about any of your information that we may need to clarify to promptly prepare all your documents correctly. You can do this yourself, for free. If you do, plan on time to learn, and maybe being frustrated trying to get through the legal forms and process if you’re not used to it.  EZ Full Service is pretty stress free and strictly a 5-Star experience.  With our Full Service, we do the filing,  advertising, and set up the Hearing arrangements for you. You just send back the signed forms and follow the simple and clear instructions in our email updates, to get your .

You can get all the Petition Forms you need for free from the court, and fill them all out yourself if you want. It’s a little bit complicated so be prepared to spend some hours and get it wrong a few times. You can do this yourself, but it may not be worth the time and effort. If someone says they’ll do it for you for free, better find out what their customer reviews say about them and remember “nothing’s really free“.

2. Name Change Petition Filing Fee in California

The biggest single category of Name Change Cost California is the court fee for the Petition filing. Every California Court charges between $435 and $465, but most are $435. Whether you do everything yourself, have EZ Name Change help you, or have someone else help you, this Court Filing cost needs to be paid. If you can’t afford to pay the court filing costs, send us an email request and we will send you a Request to Waive Court Fees Form.

When you file your name change petition forms, you’ll have to pay the California state Filing fee. The cost to file name change forms in California is $435. However, a few courts charge more ($450 or $465) but no California Name Change Courts charge less than $435 to file a Petition for Change of Name.

The Courts change their filing rates when they need to, so you’ll need to check or get current charges from us or from the Superior Court just before you go to file to know the exact charge for your Petition. You can have Court Fee Waiver Request Forms if you can’t afford the court fees. If the court approves, all the court charges can be waived entirely. Click here to ask for a Court Fee Waiver Application.

EZ FULL SERVICE Name Change includes Filing and Advertising service (see below). If you get FULL SERVICE, you’ll also still need to pay for the Court Filing, Required Advertising and Certified Copy fees. But, then we’ll take care of the Court Filing, Advertising and Proof of Publication for you.

3. Giving Legal Notice – Name Change Publication In Newspaper Cost

After you file your Petition, you must serve public notice of your intention to Change Legal Names (see California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 1277a). This means you have to run a Name Change Ad in a qualified legal newspaper. It’s not a choice. Proof of Publication must be provided to your judge. Newspaper ads cost up to $500.00 (or a little more), so comparing prices is important. The prices vary A LOT. $90 is a good average price for the most cost-effective required Ad in any particular county. However, in some counties, the lowest price could be a lot higher. If we help you, we’ll provide the newspaper rates and contact information. With our Full Service, we’ll just use the most cost-effective one. Petitions to Change Names in order to conform to Gender Identity and for Safe At Home participants can be exempt from the requirements to Advertise.

If you do this yourself, you’ll need to find a newspaper that’s qualified for name change legal notices and shop for price. If you get Full Service, we’ll use the most cost-effective, qualified one. Before you File your Petition, you need to choose the newspaper you’ll be using. After you file and get back your approved Order to Show Cause for Change of Name Form, you must promptly run and pay for the Advertising ($90-$125 typical price). The ads must meet the requirements in the Name Change Laws (see CCP §1277(a 1, 2 and 3)) by publishing in a qualified newspaper once a week for 4 consecutive weeks. THIS IS NOT ELECTIVE. You must use a court-qualified newspaper to do this. Cheaper may not be reliable, so check carefully. Prices range from $65-$500, so you’ll need to shop around. 

Your judge won’t approve your Name Change without Proof of Publication, from the newspaper, that the Advertising was correctly done according to the law.

4. Certified Copy of Name Change in California Cost

A Certified Copy isn’t a regular copy. You must have 1 Certified Decree Changing Name to change your essential ID and Official Records. A Certified Copy is required with Social Security, DMV, Passport, Birth Certificate, School, Banks, and some other places. Court clerks make and sell them. You usually get them on the same day as your judge signs your Decree, but you can get another one even years later but only from the same courthouse. With an approved Fee Waiver, they may be free. They cost $40.50ea and most people get 2 of them, so figure $81.

Summary – Average Name Change California Cost

Full Service Total: $ 715 – Includes everything. EZ Full Service ($190), we pay the court Filing ($435) and the Newspaper ($90). These are the current actual Full Service Total Costs for Los Angeles County. We will let you know your county’s actual costs if you call or email first.  And, we email confirmation of your actual costs after we get your completed Questionnaire, and before we prepare your documents. There’s a reason EZ Name Change is the only 5-Star Name Change Service, a lot actually.

DIY Cost to Change Name in California

Between $525 and $650 (can be as much as $1000 in some Northern California Counties)

With EZ Name Change Full Service

Usually $715 (example includes paying the most common court and advertising costs, and the $190 for EZ Full Service)

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