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:
- Prepare a Petition
- File the Petition in Court
- Give Legal Notice
- 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 $115.00 for your completed Ready-To-File Petition, 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.
We charge $115 to prepare your fully Ready-To-File Petition for you. Other companies may charge more or less, but get enough information from whoever you choose to be sure they really know how to do this. You can do this yourself, for free, but it will take time to learn, and may be a frustrating experience dealing with legal forms and process if you’re not used to it. If we help you with the Petition, It will come to you, completed correctly, and ready for you to review, sign and have it filed. We mark it where you need to sign it before filing. All the required forms will be fully and correctly completed, marked for your signatures. Step-By-Step instructions, customized for Your Name Change in Your Court, and everything you need to advertise and give notice are also included. You’ll get the most cost-effective qualified newspaper selections so you won’t pay too much. We also give you a Checklist to help change your ID and records.With our Full Service, we’ll do the filing and advertising for you too. You just mail back the signed forms in our Return Envelope.
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 $480, 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 (up to $480) 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.
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Full Service, Fast, Easy & Affordable
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. And Proof of Publication must be provided to your judge. Newspaper ads cost up to $500.00, so comparing prices is important. The prices vary A LOT. $80 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 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. Prices range from $65-$500, so you’ll need to shop. 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 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.
Information for Parents – Giving Notice
This is only for when one parent is Petitioning to change a child’s name without the other parent agreeing to sign the Petition with you. In this case, you’ll need to either Service Notice to the non-consenting parent or a Declaration explaining why that can’t reasonably be done. (see CCP 1277(a)(4)). Before your Hearing, you’ll need to file either Proof of Service or your Declaration at the court so the judge knows what’s up with the other parent situation. If we’re helping you with Full Service, we can help you draft a Declaration if you’re not reasonably able to Serve the other parent. We usually charge $75 for that help and need about 15 minutes of your time on the phone.
To accomplish the Service upon the non-consenting parent, you’ll spend less than $15 for Certified Mail if the other parent IS NOT in California (see CCP 415.40). If INSIDE California, you need personal service by a Sheriff, Private Process Server, or any adult (not you). Sheriff’s usually charge $40, A Private Process Server is between $50 and $125, and friends or relatives usually do it as a favor. Ask us for the costs that may apply to your situation.If the father is not in California, you can serve him by mail. With our Full Service, we’ll provide all the needed Forms and instructions to help you make this happen on time.
Summary – Average Name Change California Cost
Full Service Total: $ 715 – Includes everything. EZ Full Service ($75), we pay the court Filing ($435) and the Newspaper ($80). These are the current actual Full Service Total Costs for Los Angeles County. We will let you know your county’s actual costs upon your request and give you written confirmation upon your completion of our Questionnaire and initial payment ($115). 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 $610 (can be as much as $1000 in some Northern California Counties)
With EZ Full Service
Usually $715 (example includes paying the most common court and advertising costs, and the $190 for Full Service)
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