If you have a residence anywhere in Riverside County and want to change your name legally, then Riverside County Name Change is for you. Riverside County has many name change courts. The name change process can be a little complicated, but the court order you get, on approval, is honored worldwide. And, you can get help to make it almost fun to do.
Getting a legal name change means getting a court order, upon approval. A Certified Copy of your Court Order, properly done, will let you change your California and US ID and Official Records to match. If you legally change your name in Riverside County, the Decree you get will be honored everywhere in the US and all over the world. Whether you were born in Riverside County, some other state or in a different country, you get your legal name changed in Riverside County if you live there now. Legal Name Change is done where you live now, everywhere, regardless of where you were born.
In Riverside County, the process is a little complex and there are extra forms that must be done correctly. However, the process in Riverside County is solid. If you do everything correctly, or have someone help you that knows how, you’ll get a Decree Changing Name honored everywhere. And, you’ll get it in a time frame and at a cost that you’re expecting if you’ve done your homework. It’s reliable and a trusted process, and that’s a good thing.
Changing your name, legally, is both a legal process and then a project to get your ID and Official Records right. You can do all those things in Riverside County. You just need to know the different parts and what to do first. You can do it all yourself, but be sure to have enough time, money and patience to see it through. Learn the legal process, get your court order, and then start fixing your ID and Records. Each of those parts have a beginning, middle and good ending place if you want it to turn out well.
Everywhere in California, including in Riverside County, to get a legal name change you have to complete all the required court forms, file everything in the correct courthouse, and publish in a qualified and cost-effective publication. If everything is done right, and if there are no objections, a Superior Court judge can sign a Decree Changing Name for you, upon approval. A certified copy of that court order is the name change document you need as proof to change ID and Official Records.
Since 2023, all the name change courts in Riverside County are conducting Hearings in person or remotely, with in-person appearances preferred unless told otherwise by the court. There are 5 different name change courts in Riverside County now, with each one having some of their own procedures in addition to the process used by them all.
Every Riverside County Superior Court charges the same for Name Change filing: $435. The Filing Fee is due and payable in full when you file. If you can’t afford the Filing Fee and still pay for your regular monthly living expenses, you can complete a set of Fee Waiver Request (FW-001) and Order (FW-003) forms. Either the Filing Fee must be paid, or the Completed Fee Waiver Request forms must be filed, at the same time as you file the Petition. If you use a Fee Waiver Request, the court will decide to approve that or not and, if denied, you have to satisfy the court’s payment requirements or they won’t complete your Petition.
You may get a court date (Hearing Date), time and place when you file. Or, the court may provide the Hearing Date within the following 1 to 3 weeks or so. Each Courthouse has their own process, based on staff and judge decisions.
Part of the California Name Change laws specify you must publish certain information to comply with the process. In Riverside County, there are 10 or more such publications. You need to select one to write into section 3a of the NC-120 Order To Show Cause Form before you file it with the rest of your Petition. A judicial officer has to approve your publication and have the Hearing information written in before your ads can run.
Name Change Publishing costs in Riverside County run between $90 and $500. Some publishers are more reliable than others. They are all private company newspapers, and are free to charge whatever they decide to charge. The costs for publishing aren’t waivable, even if you have an approved Fee Waiver Request from the Court.
The court usually sets a date for the judge to review your Petition and issue a decision. The court can Grant your Petition or deny it. If the judge grants your Petition, your Decree Changing Name will be signed by the judge and that Order will be filed in that courthouse as permanent proof of your Name Change.
Each of the Riverside County Courts have their own Hearing procedures and may change them from time to time. You’ve got to know how your court will be completing your Petition or else you may have your case thrown out. Your court may have a Tentative Ruling system, or require ID. You may have to Appear once to get a decision and another time to get your Certified Copy(s), upon approval. Or, you may get all that done at the same time.
Riverside County judges all receive a Confidential Criminal History Assessment report from the Probation Department in Name Change cases. A judge may deny a Petition based on information in that report, or for any other reason the judge deems valid. Though denials are rare, they’re usually because the judge finds some harm could be done or responsibility might be avoided if the name change was allowed.
The whole purpose for legally changing a name, is to get a Certified Copy of the Court Order, upon approval. Without the Certified Copy, you’re not going to be able to change ID and Official Records. A Certified Copy of your Decree Changing Name is the magic ticket for changing your name on ID and Official Records.
You can take the Certified Copy you get in Riverside County Superior Court to a Social Security Office in Riverside County and get a new card with your New Name – same number. Or, you can take that same Riverside County created Certified Copy to a Social Security Office in New York and do the same thing. For State Id in California, Real ID for instance, your Certified Copy will allow you to get your driver’s license in your New Legal Name. In New York, or Iowa, Montano or Alabama, the Riverside County Superior Court Certified Copy will let you get Real ID in those states. You have to meet their other requirements, of course. It really is good everywhere.
There is a Passport Office in Riverside County, where you can get your Name Change Passport processed very efficiently. The Riverside County Passport Agency is part of the US Department of State which issues the US Passports. Many other places can process your Passport Application, including private services and many US Post Offices. They will require that you provide a Certified Copy of your Name Change Document (Court Order) along with their Application and the other documentation they require. Their website will also give you options to apply online and by mail.
After the Passport Agent has reviewed your Certified Copy, you will get it back to use again elsewhere or keep in a safe place. They won’t keep your Certified Copy. It’s yours.
The California Department of Health (CDPH) Issues and manages the birth certificates for everyone born in California. The CDPH will issue an Amended or Corrected Birth Certificate if you complete their application forms AND provide them with a Certified Copy of a Decree from any California Superior Court, including any of the ones in Riverside County. If you were born in another State or Country, check with the government office there to see what’s required if you want to amend or make changes to your birth certificate. They may require other things, but your Riverside County Superior Court issued Certified Copy of the Decree Changing Name will be honored.
Unlike any other places, the Certified Copy you have to give to the CDPH will be kept by them. So, if you’re going to get an Amended or New Birth Certificate after a legal name change, get one extra copy for them to keep. Most adults never bother with the birth certificate step after name change because your Name Change Court Order IS the birth certificate for your NEW Legal Name. It’s not actually a birth certificate, but operates like one for your name from then on.
You’ll need to complete Social Security Form SS-5, and supply a Certified Copy of Your Decree Changing Name, to get your Social Security Card to match your Granted Name Change Court Order. They have other document requirements, so check their website before starting the process with SSA for Name Change.You can go into one of their Riverside County offices, with or without an appointment, to update your name on your SSA Account. They also allow processing by mail and will let you know how to do that, by phone or on the website.
Social Security is an anchor ID, because it’s used by other government agencies (such as DMV) to check or confirm your identity information. Of all the various places where your ID and Official Records are created and kept, do your best to make sure your Social Security Card has your correct legal name.
Changing your tax filing ID with the IRS and the State of California isn’t nearly as important as the ID and other Official Records places. Since your withholding and other tax issues are generally tracked by your Social Security Number, the tax agencies will keep your issues straight even if your name is legally changed. Your Social Security number is more likely to remain the same throughout your life than your name, so they rely on your number primarily.
The best and easiest way to let the IRS know that you’ve legally changed your name is to write in your New Legal Name on your next tax filing. You can send them a letter and a regular copy of your Decree Changing Name, either with your next Return Filing or separately. In one or two cycles, they will likely update your name on their records for you. Any Riverside County tax preparation office, or State/Federal Tax Office will accept your Name Change information and documentation. The tax agencies want you to file on time and pay your taxes. They don’t care quite so much about your name.
You can change your name on Riverside County property title deeds and records if you want, after legal name change. The same goes for property anywhere in the world. But, it’s not necessary and costs some money. Instead, you can show a Certified Copy of your Decree Changing Name when you refinance or sell if someone asks about the name variation. Every Riverside County Superior court issued Decree is honored worldwide.
It’s almost always enough to keep a copy of your Name Change Court Order with your Property Deed or other formal title documents, just in case. But, if the property question is significant for you, consider checking with a real estate attorney for a legal opinion.
If you specify a New Name on your Riverside County Application that’s not permitted in the Name Equality Act of 2007, even if the clerk accepts it your New Name may not fly with other government agencies such as Social Security, DMV, etc. You may not change the information on the marriage license after it has been issued by the County Clerk.
Either, or both spouses can legally change names through a Riverside County name change case before or after a marriage. The court process for Name Change is unlimited for first name, middle name and last name changes. No first name changes are allowed through the Marriage License process, and only certain types of middle or last name changes. If a couple wants to change names in ways not allowed through the marriage license, the court process will work.
Sometimes a married couple will separate, but not get divorced. If one of them changed their name when they were married, that person may well want to reclaim their maiden name or take a new name altogether.
People retake their prior legal name (usually birth name) all the time after changing names in marriage. It’s quite common now for a woman to take back her maiden name for work or other professional reasons. Since the Name Equality Act of 2007, men do that too sometimes now. In these situations, the couple isn’t separated or divorcing. They just want to make use of the name they were already known by instead of a relatively new name reflecting a marriage.That makes sense in Riverside County, moneywise, in many situations and many other places too.
In a Riverside County Superior Court divorce judgment, each party can ask to have a former legal name restored. If that’s done correctly, a Certified Copy of that divorce Order will allow you to change your ID and Official Records to the restored name. You can also do that after the divorce is over, if you didn’t do it before the divorce was final, but it’s a little more complicated later.
After a divorce, though, you’re not limited to just taking back your former legal name. You can use any of the Riverside County Courts to change your name to any name you want so long as you’re living in Riverside County when you want to do that name change. That’s also true if your divorce wasn’t in Riverside County or even if it was from another state. So long as you live in Riverside County now, you can use the Riverside County Superior Court to have your name legally changed through a name change case.
One or both parents can change a child’s legal name anywhere in California, so long as the child lives there now. When changing a child’s name, you’ll want to read up on the requirements (CCP 1276 and CCP 1277 in particular). Expect the courts and judges to be carefully watching out for what’s best for the child and to be sure that all the laws, rules and procedures are applied so interests are protected.
Each Riverside County Court has their own rules for filing and completing a name change case for a child (or children). If you don’t have help doing the documents, expect to spend extra time going back and forth, making corrections and changes before getting it right. It’s not impossible to do, but it’s not simple. If only one parent is petitioning, it can be very complicated. Done right, though, you can get a legal name change for a newborn or a near adult, and for a child of every age in between.