How Long to Change Your Name in California?
Doing everything right helps
The 3 Parts – How Long to Change Your Name in California
To have your Name Change recognized by government agencies, schools, banks and other organizations, you need to present them with a California Superior Court Order. Here are the three steps to get your Certified Decree Changing Name (Court Order):
- Prepare a Name Change Petition
- File Your Petition in Court, Follow the Steps for Publishing and Hearing, and get your Court Order, upon approval
- Change Your ID and Official Records
How much time each step takes will depend on how much time you can spend on it. So, how long to change your name in California depends on you. This is particularly true for steps 1 and 3.
1. Prepare a Petition – How Long to Change Your Name in California
Your Name Change Petition is actually a bunch of Court Forms. There are between 5 and 15 forms. How many you need depends on where you live and what else you need. How simple or complicated your names are DOES NOT MATTER. You can get the blank forms from any Superior Court. It will take the average person at least several hours to figure them out and complete them. For some people, it will take much longer. If you’re doing this yourself, budget extra time for forms no one told you about. If you don’t complete the forms or do them wrong, it can result in your Petition being rejected, delayed or denied.
Most people can’t spend 3-6 hours of uninterrupted time to finish the Petition in one sitting. It can take you days or weeks, even months before you can put in enough time on it to get it finished. If you have us help you with FULL SERVICE, it will take you 7-15 minutes online to give us the information we need. Then, in a few days, you’ll receive a fully completed Petition, marked for your signatures. It also comes with personalized, easy to follow instructions to complete everything.
2. File, Hearing and Court Order – How Long to Change Your Name in California
This part of the process will take some of your time. You need to file your Petition in the proper court and then get a Hearing assignment. Then, you need to promptly run the public notice advertising required by the California Name Change Laws. (see California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 1277a) The judge probably won’t approve your Petition without seeing proof that your ads were correctly published. If we help you, you will have it done correctly.
The Court will schedule a hearing for your Name Change. That hearing will be about 6-10 weeks after you file the Petition. Almost always, you get your judge-signed Court Order on the hearing date. Some courts take longer than that because of cutbacks and scheduling problems. There’s not much you can do to speed the court up in this phase. But, if you do your Petition wrong or don’t do the advertising right, you can slow the court down more.
You must appear for the Hearing unless the court approves your Petition early or excuses you from appearing in writing. The Hearing will likely be VERY brief, a couple of minutes to confirm that you are really you. It can take longer if your case has criminal history problems or if your paperwork isn’t complete or correct. If we help, we’ll do your Paperwork the way your court wants it.
When you have your Name Change Court Order signed by the judge, you can get A Certified Copy of it that day from the same court. You need the Certified Copy to get your most important records changed.
It will take you from 6 weeks to 6 months (usually 8 weeks or so) to get your Court Order.1
3. Change Your Records – How Long to Change Your Name in California
No one changes their most important records for you automatically. There are some inexpensive services, but you’ll need to do most of the work. It won’t take long if you follow our CHECKLIST (comes with your Petition Package) You have to get your records changed, one-by-one. All the most important ones (social security, birth certificate, DMV, passport, etc.) will want to see your Certified Copy and some other identification before they will make the change you want. Some may want your fingerprints. MANY of our customers have their Social Security, DMV, School and bank records changed in one day.
Like Step 1, above, the time it takes to get all your records changed will depend on how much concentrated time you can spend doing it. Each of the places you need to change records will have their own specific forms and procedures to learn and follow. With the Certified Copy of Your Decree Changing Name, you can get your Social Security, DMV, School and bank records changed in one or two days after the Hearing. However, it may take you 2-6 months to get all your accounts changed over.
Summary – How Long to Change Your Name in California
- Prepare Your Petition – 3-6 hours or more (unless we help. If we help, 7-15 minutes).
- File, Hearing, Court Order – 3-6 hours to file (unless we help. Zero time with Full Service). Usually 2-3 months to wait for your Hearing date. You get your Decree Changing Name right after your Hearing, upon approval.
- Change Your Records – 2-3 days (most important ones) 2-6 months for them all.
How Long to Change Your Name in California? – Usually 2-3 months if we help you. That’s all. Changing all the little records will take will take a little longer. If you don’t start, it will take you forever.
Whenever you may decide to get a Name Change Started, we can have your Petition paperwork done properly in no time flat! EZ Name Change specializes in Preparing Petitions for every one of California’s County Superior Courts. If you want 5-Star Full Service Name Change, we’ve got it:) We’re passionate about helping people like you get the legal name change you want…exactly the way you want. You can do this!