California Requirements to Legally Change a Person's Name

By Brenna Davis

People change their names for a variety of reasons, including marriage, divorce, or adoption. Changing your name in the state of California generally requires a petition for name change, and a court order if you are changing the name of a minor. Name changes are filed in the Superior Court of the county in which you reside.

Child Name Changes

Although a child generally doesn't need to consent to a name change, the change can still affect her life. Therefore, California typically requires a court order to change a child's name. This may occur as part of child custody proceedings, for example, or when the father of a child is legally established and requests a name change. In some cases, such as the adoption of a child, a court order may not be necessary as the name change is part of the adoption proceeding itself. If you don't want to change your child's name, but only want to correct errors on her birth certificate, file a request to amend the child's birth certificate instead.

Name Change Petition

If you aren't getting married or divorced and want to change your name, you'll need to file a name change petition in the Superior Court of the county where you reside. You must then advertise the name change in a general circulation newspaper for four weeks, once per week. This advertisement must state the reason for the name change and both the old and new names. In some situations, you might not be required to advertise the name change, so consult an attorney for clarification.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Marriage Name Change

If you want to change your last name to your spouse's name, visit your local DMV or Social Security office. In most cases, they can change the name for you when you show them your marriage license. The California Judicial Branch website states that the DMV or Social Security office may not be able to change names in all cases. In some situations, you may need to file a petition for name change instead. Men are especially likely to experience difficulties with name changes; a California man sued in 2007 when he was prevented from changing his name to his wife's.

Divorce Name Change

If you want to change your name back to the name you had prior to being married, you can request this in your divorce settlement and, in most cases, will not have to file a notice of name change. If, however, you changed your name and now want to change it back--without getting divorced--you need to file a petition for a change of name. California law requires that a return to a previous name without a divorce must be advertised in a newspaper of wide circulation.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Name Change Requirements in the State of Illinois



Related articles

How to Obtain a Divorce Decree From California

A divorce decree, the final order from the court that officially ended the marriage, is needed for various reasons, such as to verify the divorce terms and to prove the divorce is final. Losing the original divorce decree makes proving the divorce terms or end of the marriage more difficult. Either former spouse has the right to get a certified — or official — copy of the divorce decree from the California county superior court that issued the decree.

How to Legally Change Your Name in Arizona?

In Arizona it is a fairly simple process to change your name. If you do not like the name you were born with, or you want to use your maiden name after getting a divorce, you can apply to your local clerk of the court of the Arizona Superior Court for a name change.

Do You Need a DBA for Sole Proprietorship?

A sole proprietor can work under her own name or operate under a catchy business nickname. A DBA, which stands for "doing business as," can help you create a marketable trade name and identity. State laws regarding DBAs vary. A reputable, online legal document provider can complete DBA registration requirements that may apply to you.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Change a Name on a Texas Driver's License

You’re not stuck with the name your parents gave you. You might change your surname because you got married or change ...

How to Legally Change Your Name in San Diego County

If you are an adult residing in San Diego, California, you can legally change your name, but you’ll need to follow ...

How to Change Your Name if a Marriage Certificate Does Not Have Your Married Name

Most people who change their name when they marry change their name on their marriage license, which makes the ...

How to Change My Granddaughter's Last Name

Life expectancy in the U.S. has increased over the past century. As a result, more grandparents live to influence the ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED