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If you’re wondering How to Change a Child’s Last Name legally, you probably also want to know how the Legal Name Change process works, what it is, and what options do you have. This article will give you information about how to get a Legal Last Name Change for your child, what it is and how it works.
A judge-signed Name Change court order from a California Superior Court is commonly called a Legal Name Change. And, the answer to the question “How to Change Your Child’s Last Name?” is “Get a Superior Court Name Change Order.
If you are, and want to know how to change your child’s last name, you want to know about filing a Petition for Change of Name in the County Superior Court where you and your child live now. California’s Name Change laws (CCP 1275-1279.5) set out those rules and you can read them with this link. Almost every Petition to Change a Child’s Name is approved.
Either parent or both parents can Petition to Change their Child’s Last Name. Parents wonder “how to change your child’s last name” for lots of different reasons. After getting married or remarried, mother’s often want to have their child’s last name changed to her married name. The same is sometimes true for fathers too. And single parents sometimes want to change their child’s last name to a last name that’s different than the one on your child’s birth certificate for a variety of good reasons.
The Legal Name Change process has 3 parts:
1) Court Filing, 2) Legal Notice, and 3) Court Order
Every Petition for Change of Name is 5-9 court forms (depending where you live) and are called a Petition. You can get them free from your County Superior Court and fill them all out yourself, or have a Registered Legal Document company like ours fill them out for a fee. Lawyers can prepare your Petition for you too, but usually for a much larger fee.
California State Law (CCP §1277a) requires that you give legal notice to the public about the proposed Name Change of your child. This is accomplished by advertising the Order To Show Cause For Change of Name in a “newspaper of general circulation”. Lists of the papers are available through Name Change services, attorneys, courts or county recorder’s offices. The public legal notice must appear for 4 successive weeks and proof that it has been done is one of the requirements the court has to approve Petitions.
If one of the child’s parents is living and not signing the Petition before it’s filed, you need to also provide legal notice to the other parent (CCP §1277a), you’ll need to follow the rules for personal service depending on whether the other parent lives in California or elsewhere (CCP § 413.10, 414.10, 415.10, or 415.40). If you’re using a Name Change Service or attorney, they will provide guidance about accomplishing this. If both parents are signing the Petition, you only need to do the public notice service described above.
When the hearing date comes, you go to the courtroom assigned by the filing clerk at the appointed time and a judge will decide to grant or deny your Petition. Technically, on that day, the judge reviews all the information gathered from and about your Petition, including objections (if any), and makes the decision. As a practical matter, many judges will have already decided and may have already notified you that your Petition has been granted. Overall, very few Name Change Petitions are denied provided they are prepared and pursued correctly.
Total costs, Name Change choices, Reasons why a Name Change Petition might be denied, Information you need to Petition for Name Change for your child, are all discussed in other articles in this website. When you are Petitioning to Change Your Child’s Last Name, you can also change any part of your child’s first or middle names in the same Petition. Superior Court can waive your filing and Certified Copy fees if you qualify. We will send you the Fee Waiver Request Form if you email us and ask for it.
EZNameChange.com is a California Name Change specialist. We will answer your questions on how to change your child last name and can prepare all your completed Name Change Petition documents, with step-by-step EZ instructions and other helpful information for an industry low $115.00. For more than one child, add $10/ea. Click Here to Start Now