California Name Change Requirements

General Summary of Name Change Laws

The Courts are often willing to accept name changes for almost any legitimate reason. However, the granting of an application for change of name is discretionary with the Court. For an order/decree/judgment of name change to be granted, the Court must find compliance with the requirements of notice and the requirements for the allegations in the application. The Court must also find good and sufficient reason for the change, find the change consistent with the public interest and if the change of name is for a minor child, find that the change is in the best interests of the minor child.

You cannot change your name for a fraudulent purpose, such as to avoid debts, you cannot change to a name that could affect the rights of another person, such as a celebrity, you cannot use a curse word, racial slur, obscene and/or an offensive word as part of your name and you cannot change to a name that would cause deliberate confusion (for example, a name with punctuation and/or a number in it).

IMPORTANT NOTE: For name change actions which involve a minor, courts typically seek written consent from every adult who retains legal rights over the minor. As such, the applicant must directly notify each of these parties (Service of Process).

Again, please remember, our name change materials are designed to cover simple, uncontested name changes ONLY. Our products/services should not be used if you have been convicted of a felony, have claimed bankruptcy and/or have judgments/liens against you. Instead, you should consider contacting an attorney in your area. These circumstances could cause complications, which may result in your action being denied and/or contested.

Overview of Process in California for an Adult

The process to change your name in California is relatively simple:

  • Fill out the simple, Adobe .pdf fillable forms included within our product;
  • Print the forms and file them with your local Superior Court;
  • Pay the filing fee;
  • Make arrangements to publish in your local newspaper a notice of your proposed name change;
  • Appear in person before the court if necessary (this step is normally not necessary; however, some cases may involve a hearing).

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are woman who was divorced in California and wish to restore your maiden name, you do not need to go through the Court Petition method as outlined here. Please contact the court to obtain the Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and further instructions.

Transgendered Name Changes – Separate documents exist for such situations in California. We do not currently offer materials pertaining to such. Please check with your local courthouse to learn what resources are available to you.

Requirements to File for a Change of Name for an Adult in California

California law requires certain things before you can file for a name change (for an adult) and/or during the name change process in California. These requirements include:

  • You must currently reside in California.
  • You must currently live in the County where the name change action will be filed.
  • You must be an adult, 18 years of age or older.
  • You must not be under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Corrections (in state prison or on parole).
  • You must not be required to register as a sex offender under Penal Code section 290.
  • You must not be requesting the name change to avoid creditors.

Overview of Process in California for a Minor

Here are the basic steps involved in changing a child's name:

  • Fill out the simple, Adobe .pdf fillable forms included within our product;
  • Print the forms and file them with your local Superior Court;
  • Pay the filing fee;
  • Make arrangements to publish in your local newspaper a notice of the proposed name change;
  • Notify interested parties (service of process);
  • Appear in person before the court if necessary (this step is normally not necessary; however, some cases may involve a hearing).

Requirements to File for a Change of Name for a Minor in California

California law requires certain things before you can file for a name change (for a minor) and/or during the name change process in California. These requirements include:

  • The minor currently resides in California.
  • The minor currently lives in the County where the name change action will be filed.
  • The child must be a minor, 17 years of age or younger.
  • The minor must not be under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Corrections (in state prison or on parole).
  • The minor must not be required to register as a sex offender under Penal Code section 290.
  • The minor must not be requesting the name change to avoid creditors.
  • Written consent to the name change must be provided by all adults who retain legal rights over the minor.

California Name Change Forms

Self-Prepared

Adult Name Change $29.95
Minor Name Change $29.95

Paralegal-Prepared

Adult Name Change $69.95
Minor Name Change $119.95

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