Information and Petition Process
Name Change California is the gold standard of Name Change Court Orders. If you need your ID or Official Records fixed, this is what you need. Real ID? Passport situation? Social Security, School, Job, Banking, Professional Licensing? A Certified Decree Changing Name will get you through the process. The trick is to do everything right.
This is a Superior Court process and results in a Court Order called a Decree Changing Name. The whole process is semi-complicated. Attorneys aren’t required. You can have low-cost professional help from a credentialed Name Change Service. Or, you can do it all yourself by trial and error. We can tell you how to do that.
Here’s what you need to get done:
- File a Petition for Change of Name
- Publish the required Public Notices and Private Notices (for some child name changes only).
- Get your Certified Decree Changing Name, upon approval.
- Fix your ID and/or Official Records!
There are A LOT of different kinds of Legal Name Changes. Different kinds have different forms and different processes, but they will all lead you to the Court Order you need IF you do everything correctly.
Important Considerations and Steps to take
If you decide to do all this yourself, we recommend you start by looking up the website of the nearest Superior Court. Find out which Superior Court branch is the correct one for your particular kind of Name Change. Yours might be for an Adult, a Child, or a Family. It can be to restore a Maiden Name or to change Name and Gender. You may need Legal Confidentiality or be a Legal Guardian. Be prepared to spend some time. Getting this part right matters.
Go to the correct and nearest Superior Court. Ask if they can give you an example of everything filled out correctly. Ask if there’s a phone number you can call if you have questions filling it all out. If your kind of Name Change requires Advertising. ask if they can give you a list of all the qualified newspapers that can run that kind of Advertising. Ask how much their Filing Fee is. If you can’t afford the Filing Fee, ask for the Fee Waiver Request and Order Forms. Then go home and fill out all the forms. Complete and file all the forms required to complete your Legal Name Change.
Almost every Name Change needs 5 basic Forms.
- CM-010 – Civil Case Cover Sheet
- NC-100 – Petition for Change of Name
- NC-110 – Attachment to Petition for Change of Name
- NC-120 – Order to Show Cause For Change of Name
- NC-130 – Decree Changing Name
NOTE: Many Name Changes require additional Forms or different Forms. Maiden Name Change after a California divorce requires a different Form and none of the above forms.
If your Name Change requires Advertising (almost all do), you must choose a qualified newspaper to do the Advertising. Write in the name of that Newspaper in Section 3.a. of the NC-120 Order to Show Cause for Change of Name form. Make a copy of all your completed Forms, and 1 extra copy of your NC-120 Form. Go to the correct courthouse and file your documents. Almost all filings will be done at the Civil Unlimited Filing Window.
Give the clerk your full Original Petition and your full copy set. The Clerk will check it for technical correctness and have you make corrections if necessary. You may have to come back more than once with corrections, so have patience and determination to get through this.
When accepted for filing, give the Clerk your Filing Payment or Fee Waiver Request and tell the clerk if there are any dates you cannot attend your Hearing. Get back a Court-Stamped “Conformed” Copy of your Filed Petition with a Conformed extra copy of the NC-120 Order to Show Cause. That document will have your Hearing Assignment on it now. Ask when the Proof of Publication must be filed.
Go PROMPTLY to your chosen Newspaper, if you’re required to Advertise. Give them the extra Conformed Copy of the NC-120 and pay them your agreed upon Advertising fee. Make arrangements with the Newspaper to be sure your Proof of Publication will be filed by the time the court filing Clerk said it must be filed.
Remember that Your judge will not Grant your Name Change without Proof of Publication if required. If you’re a single parent changing a child’s name, your judge will also require Proof of Service or an adequate Declaration.
Bring a copy of the Proof of Publication (and Proof of Service or Declaration, if required) with you to the Hearing, just in case.
Attend Your Hearing and, upon Approval, get your Certified Decree Changing Name. Expect to be nervous when you go, and smiling when you come out. If you are required to attend the Hearing, and if you go, your Name Change can be granted. If something still isn’t right, the judge may ask you to go fix it and come back on another date to complete it.
There are reasons your Name Change may be denied, but almost all are approved. Once your judge approves your Name Change, your Decree will be signed and entered into the Court’s permanent, official records.
Ask the judge or courtroom clerk how to get your Certified Copy of the Decree. A Certified Copy is what you need to get your government ID and Official Records changed. A Clerk of that Court will prepare it, from the Original, and then affix the Clerk’s signature and the Court’s Official Seal to that copy. That’s what makes it a Certified Copy and the only kind of copy accepted by Social Security, DMV, and other governmental and financial agencies.
We recommend you get 2 Certified Copies. 1 to use changing records, and 1 to keep in a safe place with your other most important documents. You can get more anytime from exactly the same courthouse.
It’s great to have exactly the name you want for every legal purpose. Getting that Decree is a universally Smiling Experience. You’ll need some determination, time, patience and some money to be successful, but You Can Do This!
At EZ Name Change we can do almost everything for you. EZ is the only Name Change California Specialist and is Rated exclusively 5-Star with YELP, BBB and Facebook. So, if you prefer to pay a small fee to have it all done correctly for you, check out the Full Service at EZ Name Change.