Name Change Information

Frequently Asked Questions - Answers

Name Change Information isn’t always easy to come by. Court’s handle so many kinds of cases and don’t have customer service. Almost every private service or lawyer mainly handles divorces, wills, or other legal processes. There’s only one actual Name Change Specialist in California. And, you’re here!

The name change information you’re looking for is also here. Look through the Frequently Asked Name Change Questions. If you don’t see your topic, or want more details, take a look at the other pages, articles and posts in this website. If you still need something more, or if you just want to be sure you’re dealing with real Name Change Information people,

you can call or email us anytime.

How does a Court Order Name Change work?

Name Change Information:

  1. Prepare your Name Change Petition for Court filing. There’s between 5 and 15 pages, collectively called your Petition, depending on your County, your court’s Local Rules, and the particular type of Name Change you’re doing. It’s possible to get them all online or from your Superior Court, but it’s not necessarily as easy or simple to do as it sounds. The EZ NAME CHANGE 3-Step Questionnaire takes 5-10 minutes to complete.
  2. File your Petition paperwork and get your hearing date(s). This is done, when you have all the needed documents completely and correctly filled out and signed, at the Name Change Superior Court handling the address where the person who is changing names lives now. With EZ Full Service, we do that for you.
  3. Give Notice. You’ll give notice to the general public and private individuals required, if any. California requires (CCP 1277(a)) all name change hearings to be advertised in a qualified newspaper in a particular way, with Proof of Publication provided to the court, with a few exceptions.  With Full Service, we take care of all that for you.
  4. Get your NAME CHANGE Court Order.  At (or sometimes a few days after) your hearing, you’ll receive your judge-signed Decree Changing Name, upon approval. That court order is effective as soon as you have a Certified Copy of it in your hands. You can go straight to the Government Agencies and start changing your ID and Official Records right then.
  5. Get your New Name established. It’s official! Use it and let others know. Give notice to Social Security, DMV, School, Passport, Bank, Job….etc. Use our Checklist, with tips and contact information, to make the process fast and EZ.

See Name Change Process, for more of the details

How much does it cost?

Name Change Information:

Total (avg) with Full Service: $705; If you do everything yourself: $515

    1. If you do this all yourself, you can get the forms free from the courts (online or at the court), and then it will only cost you the time to complete everything correctly. It’s not simple and you need to have a lot of time and patience.  We charge $115 to correctly prepare all Petition Forms required by your court for your particular Name Change.
    2. $435.00-$480.00** to file in Superior Court (California). Most courts charge $435 but a few charge more. You pay that whether we help you or not. **Ask us about a court fee waiver request if you can’t afford the court costs
    3. $40 to $500 (California Average-$80) for Advertising, depending on your County and which newspaper you choose to use. This is a requirement (see CCP 1277(a)(2)). whether you have EZ Name Change help you or not. With EZ Full Service, we take care of all this for you. Using  the most cost-effective, qualified newspaper in your county.
    4. $75 more if you choose Full Service at checkout, billed after you return your signed Petition. Whether you choose Full Service or Ready-To-File Service at checkout, you will be asked to pay just the $115 Petition charge when you begin.
    5. $40.50 per Certified Copy of your Decree Changing Name, upon approval. Some courts give them free with your approved Name Change and they can also be free if you have an approved Order on Fee Waiver Request. You NEED at least one to get your most important government and financial records changed to your New Name.

Can I get turned down?

Name Change Information:

Yes, but….. California Name Change Laws set forth the reasons why judges can or must deny a Petition for Change of Name. However, almost all Name Change Petitions are approved. Examples of the kind of reasons why a Petition might be denied are:

  1. Your paperwork is inaccurate, incomplete, or reveals you to be ineligible.
  2. Someone lodges an objection to your Name Change that your judge decides is a valid reason to deny your Petition.
  3. The judge believes your Name Change would achieve an improper result (i.e., defraud someone, hide from creditors, avoid a duty or obligation, likely to incite violence, trade on the name of a famous person, improperly hide a criminal past, etc.). For more Name Change information regarding the chances of getting turned down, see: Can My Name Change Be Denied?

Why can’t I do this myself?

Name Change Information:

You can! Actually, even if have us help you with Full Service, you are doing this yourself.

There’s nothing we can do for you that you can’t do for yourself if you want to spend the time to learn how and follow it all through. You can collect all the Name Change information, Forms and documentation you need to do this yourself. You can even learn some tips and shortcuts by reading through the many articles and following the links you’ll find all over this website. It will take you about 10-20 hours and cost you about $500 or maybe a lot more, even if you don’t go down the wrong path too many times.

With EZ Full Service, you’ll just give us the information and payments, then go get your Decree Changing Name upon approval. This is all we do everyday. You’ll appreciate having a specialist with extensive experience, license registration and bonding take you though something this personal and important. With our 5-Star YELP, Google+ and BBB reputations, you’ll understand the difference between the stress of figuring it all out and doing it correctly…and the comfort and confidence that comes from paying $190 extra to have it all done properly for you…the first time.

Our Full Service costs $190 more than you’d pay if you did it all yourself. Our Ready-To-File Service is $115 more than if you did everything alone. If you can’t afford that, then you can’t. But if you can afford us…you will feel you got your money’s worth..and then some.

Do I have to file in Court to legally Change My Name?

Name Change Information:

No.  However, it is the only way to REQUIRE government agencies who issue driver’s licenses, passports, etc., to honor your Name Change.

Many institutions will honor the “Usage method” of Name Change, but others may insist on a Court Order.  In other words, by using a new name in all your communications, dealings and transactions, over time (usually at least 5 years in a row) you can affect a Name Change through “common law” and without using a Court. But, getting every governmental, financial and business institution to honor it that way may not be possible.

A common law name (i.e. one assumed for a non-fraudulent purpose) is a legal name. It’s been done ever since humans took names for themselves or gave names to their children. Before modern days, people just took the new name they wanted and that was that. Now, the “T”s have to be crossed and the “I”s dotted, particularly since 9/11. Long before 9/11, though, civilizations adopted laws to make Name Change’s legal and official. And now, some of the most important institutions require that you provide clear proof of your legal name before you can receive certain benefits. It’s for those reasons that you would want to secure your Name Change via court order, or Decree Changing Name. That’s the gold-standard of Proof throughout the United States and the world.

Do I have more to do after I have the Court Order?

Name Change Information:

No and Yes.  Once the judge signs your Decree Changing Name, you are done with the court procedure and you have successfully legally changed your name.

However, you will want to do some common sense things to “work” your New Name into your life.  For instance, if you haven’t already, you should be using your new name exclusively in all your communications and transactions.  Then, you should give special notice to all your important institutional relationships (Social Security, DMV, Schools, Passport Office, etc., etc.).  We will give you a checklist of who you should consider notifying and applying for new ID/Registration with them for your New Legal Name.  Then, for a while thereafter, you should expect to get communications using your old name and, using your common sense, respond with appropriate correction of your name for their records.Our Checklist will make this more manageable than you might think.

What if something goes wrong?

Name Change Information:

We stand behind our work for you.  So, if there’s something wrong with the way we’ve done your paperwork, we’ll fix it in a flash for you and without charge.  If there’s something you’ve overlooked or done mistakenly, we’ll help you without additional charge if we reasonably can. The courts sometimes make mistakes that we can, and definitely will, help you get fixed up.

If something should go wrong, which is rare (but happens), that’s the kind of situation where you’ll see how great it is to have us to help.  We will sort through the situation with you. There have been times where we’ve been called during a Hearing, and emailed or faxed in a document that couldn’t be found..and the Decree was granted!  Those kinds of situations almost never happen, but if it does…we’re rock-solid that way.

How long does it take?

Name Change Information:

About 2 1/2 Months, generally, to have your court order. About 2-3 months to get all your records changed over (just a couple of days for the main ones).

7-10 minutes to complete our questionnaire online, by phone or in our office. If you try this yourself, you should plan on spending 10 hours or maybe a lot more.

1-10 days (depending on how rushed you may be), to review, sign and ready your Petition for Filing.

6-12 weeks to attend your Hearing, from the date of Filing. (see CCP 1277(a)(1)). It can’t be quicker, but it can take longer depending on how much time you take to get everything properly prepared and filed, and if parts need to be redone, completed or corrected. The required advertising takes that long to arrange, run and obtain proof of Publication. Courts all over the state and all over the country have different rules and scheduling work loads, so you’ll need to find out the answer for your unique circumstances.

0 to 7 days to get your Certified Copy of the Decree Changing Name, upon approval. Most courts will provide them on your Hearing date. But, some courts have a process of mailing them to you or requiring some internal processing before you can have your Certified Copy. Each court has their own rules and can change them anytime.

1 day to 2 months to have all the ID and Official Records changed over to your New Legal Name. It’s not as hard as you may think once you have the Certified Decree Changing Name in your hands. Our CHECKLIST will help you move through it quickly.

Do I have to go to Court to get my Name Changed?

Name Change Information:

It depends.

If you do it all yourself, plan on going to the court 3 or 4 times during the process.

With EZ Full Service, you will probably (but not necessarily) have to go to court 1 time, for a brief Hearing (usually 5 minutes or less). Most judges require you to show up for that decision. This is for formal approval of your Petition and to get your Certified Copy(s). However, some California Courts don’t even require you to appear for this Hearing, we’ll let you know about the process for your court. Also, you can elect to have a licensed attorney (friend or not) appear for you, unless your judge insists on seeing you in the courtroom (rare in that situation), if that’s an option for you. We can facilitate logistics for your lawyer to go for you, if that’s what you want.

With our Ready-To-File Service, or if you do all this yourself, you will have to go to court more than once. You will need to file your completed Name Change Petition at the correct Superior Court. And, then you will need to go back to file your Proof of Publication and then again for your Hearing if required. The procedures vary widely state-to-state and county-to-county. Single Parent Petitioners with Ready-To-File or doing it yourself may need to go another time to provide Proof of Service or a proper Declaration.

Why should I use EZ Name Change to help me?

Name Change Information:

Name Change is all we do. We specialize, exclusively, in Legal Name Change for people who live in California now..

We’re the only California Name Change Specialists. We’re also the only 5-Star Yelp rated Name Change Service and the only Name Change company to offer Full Service. And, We’re the lowest cost, real Name Change Service.

It’s hard to tell who to trust, particularly when someone like us is making all these claims. So check around. Ask questions. Get information. See who seems to know what they’re talking about when it comes to Name Change for California residents.

Name Change is really important and personal to everyone who decides to do this. We get that. We like helping people with Legal Name Change and we’re really good at it. So, if how much it costs, in time or money, matters to you…you should consider having us take you through this. Less stress…more smiles.

We do charge for our work, but less than the other name change companies or lawyers. And, if you do check around, you’ll see that we answer all your questions with real information, including all the costs involved. You’ll also see that our charges are less than all the other reputable companies or lawyers. And there’s one thing we do that we don’t charge for…but you’ll find to be very valuable…We say what we do, and we do what we say. This is important. We get it.

NLN has 30+ years of successfully navigating the complexity of legal forms, courts and legal processes. We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, a 5-Star Rating with Yelp, Google+ and BBB,  and we’re a licensed and bonded Legal Documents Assistant, specializing in Name Change.

What does EZ Name Change do?

Name Change Information:

EZ Name Change does ALL the documents, Court Filing, Hearing scheduling and Advertising. And, we provide all required documentation to your court … with copies of everything to you.

We prepare finished legal documents correctly, and, with Full Service, can file your Petition, arrange all your required Advertising and Proof of Advertising, set up all your Hearing arrangements and get you copies of everything well before your Hearing. We also provide unequaled Customer Service through the whole process with email updates and Post-Decree CHECKLIST help for changing your ID and Official Records.

EZ Name Change is not a law firm. We do not practice law in any way, and cannot provide you with any legal opinions or advice. EZ Name Change is Registered and Bonded as Legal Document Assistants, Specializing in Legal Name Change for California residents. That makes us VERY User Friendly, highly rated and yet less expensive. We provide self-help at your specific direction by using your information to properly prepare your legal documents for your particular Name Change in your specific courthouse. Our customers know what’s going on and feel confident and comfortable throughout the whole process.

At the end of our help…it’s all smiles for and congratulations to you:)

Is my Name Change “Reason” good enough?

Name Change Information:

Any legitimate reason that doesn’t cause deceit, harm or fraud is likely to be an acceptable Name Change reason. To give you some relative perspective:

In 2004, a Missouri man succeeded in changing his name to “They”. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that a name change to “1069” could be denied, but that “Ten Sixty-Nine” was acceptable (Application of Dengler, 1979); the North Dakota Supreme Court had denied the same request several years before (Petition of Dengler, 1976).

In nearly all states, a person cannot choose a name that is intended to mislead (such as adopting a celebrity’s name), that is intentionally confusing, or that incites violence; nor can one adopt, as a name, a racial slur, a threat, or an obscenity.

Check around this website and you’ll see lots of Name Change information including this article about Who Can Get a Legal Name Change, and Who Can’t.

What if I have questions after I have the Court Order?

Name Change Information:

Call or email us! We don’t quit helping just because you were successful:)

More Name Change Information is always available to you.  If you have a question about anything we’ve prepared for you, or the process, you can call, or email us anytime. You’ll get a quick and complete response every time. If you’re close enough and want to, you can even come in to the office.  Of course, if you need legal advice, you should consult with a licensed attorney. Almost no name change situations require that though.

Our Customer Service is never shut-off for our Customers. If you need any additional services of ours, we don’t get much happier than when we can help you again…and your family…friends…and so on:)

Other Frequently Asked Questions