How to Change Your Name in California

By Lee Grayson

Golden State residents looking to legally change a given name or surname have a simple procedure for a new moniker. This process means the name seeker must receive an official decree issued by a branch of the California Superior Court where the person resides. An attorney can help you in completing and filing the necessary documents, but the process is not difficult if you have the time to locate the documents and also the availability to go to the court for the hearing.

Name Change Petitioning

Step 1

Obtain and complete the required legal forms, including CM-010, "Civil Case Cover Sheet;" NC-100, "Petition for Change of Name" and NC-120, "Order to Show Cause for Change of Name." You can download these from the California Superior Court website or pick up paper forms from a county branch of the court.

Step 2

Review your paperwork for accuracy and make duplicates of the completed forms for use during the filing process and court hearing.

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

Step 3

Request a list of any additional forms required by the California Superior Court in the county of your residence, including any criminal background checks. The superior court branch in your county typically distributes lists from the court clerk's office, although some county branches provide a link to the required list on the court's website. All of the required paperwork must be completed prior to the official filing and request for a hearing date at the court in the county of your residence.

Step 4

File the forms with the California Superior Court and pay the required filing fees. Locate the appropriate branch by using the California Court listing linked to the main state court website. Click "Find My Court" to select a branch in your county of residence. Request a calendar date for the court hearing when filing the official forms.

Step 5

Copy the official notification of name change, also known as the "Order to Show Cause for Change of Name," and publish the announcement in an approved print newspaper in your geographic area. The instructions on the official filing form note the requirements for selecting an appropriate public publication. The printed notification requirements include your present and proposed name changes and detailed information about the hearing, including the address of the court, the department and room, and the date and time of the official hearing.

Step 6

Attend the hearing date at the county branch of the California Superior Court. Answer any questions from the judge and obtain the official decree after the court rules on your name-change request.

Step 7

Use the copies of the official legal decree to apply for name changes on other official documents, including bank accounts, driver's license, birth certificate and credit cards.

During or After Divorce Judgments

Step 1

Include a request for a legal name change as part of your California divorce judgment. Name changes related to divorce proceedings typically include separation or divorce judgments filed using Form FL-180, "Judgment (Family Law)."

Step 2

Complete and file Form FL-395, "Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order," with the court in the county of your residence if you wish to return to your maiden or former name and failed to complete Form FL-180, "Judgment (Family Law)" as part of a California divorce judgment.

Step 3

Make a copy of the divorce decree, if you received an out-of-state divorce, and submit this copy with a new California petition for a name change to support the request for returning to a maiden or former name.

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



Related articles

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.

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 specific procedures to obtain a court order authorizing the name change. Once approved, you must report your name change to the Social Security Administration and the DMV as well as your banks, creditors and other interested parties. Some secondary schools and colleges may require a copy of the court decree to update your transcripts and other school records. You can obtain the required forms and file them on your own, use the services of an online legal document provider or seek the assistance of a local attorney.

How to Change Your Name to Your Maiden Name Post Divorce in New Mexico

The state of New Mexico allows you to legally change your name back to your maiden name, even if you didn't request the name change in your divorce. Changing your name post divorce requires a little extra paperwork and a court filing fee. Start to finish, the process of legally returning to your maiden name can take as little as six weeks, depending on how quickly the court can hear your case.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Legal Name Changes in Texas After a Divorce

If you changed your name when you married, you get to choose whether or not you want to change your name back when you ...

Returning to Your Maiden Name After a Divorce in Pennsylvania

If you're divorcing in Pennsylvania, you may go back to your maiden name without going through a formal court process ...

How to Change a Baby's Last Name Legally

Changing your baby's name is typically a simple process if both parents agree to the new name. Exact state requirements ...

How to Get a Legal Change of Name in Hawaii

If you want to change your name in Hawaii, the way to go about it depends on why you are making the change. If the name ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED