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What Is the Process of Changing My Name in California?

A name change can be due to a myriad of reasons. The process can seem overwhelming whether you are getting married, divorced, adopted, or something else. There are multiple steps involved in the entire process, so knowing what they are will help make the task seem less daunting. In this blog, our attorneys outline the details of changing your name in California to help you understand the entire process.

Petition For Name Change


To prepare, you must fill out all required Name Change Petition forms and file them with the correct Court. Take note that various counties in California need additional forms, such as an extra form that will check your criminal history.


File your petition in the County Superior Court. You will pay a fee of $435-$450. In some situations, you can request the court waive the fee by filing a Fee Waiver Request if you can't afford the payment. The court will assign you a hearing date with a case number. Doing so can prolong the process by 6-12 weeks, depending on how busy the court's schedule is.

Give Notice of Name Change in California

According to the California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 1277a, you must advertise the details of your name change. This means your name change request will appear in the newspaper's legal notice section. You will find and pay a qualified newspaper to run an ad once a week for four weeks. The judge will need to see proof of publication to approve your petition.

Acquire Certified Copy

After the judge decides whether or not to sign your name change decree, you will receive a certified copy immediately. Once you have received your certified copy, you can change important documents and records that same day.

Change ID and Records

All records such as social security, DMV, schools, banks, passports, and birth certificates honor the certified document you received from Court. Additionally, all US government agencies honor the document as well. You can change your ID, social security, and passports on the same day as your court hearing, or you can wait. That part is up to you.

Can Someone Help Me With The Process?

Many agencies can help you with the name change process. One of the best sources of help and information is an experienced attorney. Although they charge a fee, they will be able to help you every step of the way and take the guesswork out of the entire process. They will also ensure everything is carried out correctly and efficiently.

For assistance with a name change, our attorneys at Family Law San Diego are here to help! Give us a call (619) 577-4900 today so we can help you get started on the process and stay by your side every step of the way.