How to Legally Change Your Name in San Diego County

By Christine Funk, J.D.

How to Legally Change Your Name in San Diego County

By Christine Funk, J.D.

If you have considered changing your name in San Diego County, you can accomplish this by filling out the correct forms for your situation. After you've filled out the forms, you must file them with the county clerk, attend your hearing, and obtain the decree that legally changes your name.

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To make sure your name change is legal and official, follow the appropriate steps.

1. Fill out the required court forms.

On September 1, 2018, the county changed its name change forms and made the new ones available online. You can download the PDFs below to fill them out by hand:

2. Make two or more copies of your completed forms.

In this step, you make at least two copies of the forms, in addition to the original form you completed. The court keeps the original copy. You use one copy for publication in a newspaper (more on that in a few paragraphs), and the other copy is for your records.

3. File your forms with the San Diego County Court Clerk.

When you bring your forms in for filing, the clerk stamps each set of forms with the word "filed." The clerk retains the original file and returns the copies. At this time, you receive information on your court date and time, as well as the department number, so you can locate your hearing.

When you file the forms, you have to pay a filing fee. As of 2018, this fee is $435.

4. Publish the Order to Show Cause.

Next, you must publish the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (Form NC-120) in an approved newspaper four weeks in a row. You can ask the clerks in San Diego County about a list of approved newspapers suitable for publishing legal notices. Note: you must pay the rate for publication in a newspaper in addition to the county filing fee. While you're at the court filing your paperwork, they will ask you which newspaper you've chosen for publishing your notice. Different newspapers charge different fees for publication. Once the judge signs the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name, you cannot change the newspaper you previously selected. Consequently, you should review costs ahead of time.

If you change your name to conform to your gender identity, you are not required to publish the Order to Show Cause.

5. Attend your court date.

You must attend your hearing at the specified time. Bring with you proof that you published the Order to Show Cause as required by law. Additionally, bring with you your Decree Changing Name (Form NC-130). If you have met all the legal requirements, the judge will sign this document at the hearing.

6. Get your Decree Changing Name from the court clerk.

Once you have established that you meet the legal requirements, the judge will approve your request to change your name. The judge signs the Decree Changing Name. You will get a copy of your signed decree, but you should also request a certified copy from the court clerk. The certified copy allows you to change all legal documents, such as your birth certificate, your Social Security card, your passport, your driver's license, and any other government-issued document.

While it may seem overwhelming at first, by taking these six simple steps, you can legally change your name in San Diego County.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.