How to Change Your Name in California
You may want to change your name for many reasons. You might have recently been married or divorced, undergone gender reassignment or just want to legally have a different name. Whatever the reason, you can follow these steps to help you change your name successfully if you are a California resident.
Changing Your Name After Marriage or Divorce
Get a marriage license.Once you fill out a marriage license, you need to submit it to get certified by the state. Once you send it in, it should take about two weeks to receive the certified license in the mail. This will be the legal document you show to all the relevant agencies in order to change your name.
Go to the Social Security Office.Once you have the certified version of your marriage license, you need to go to the Social Security Office (SSO). You will need to take your marriage license and a valid form of ID such as a driver's license or passport. You will also have to fill out the Social Security SS-5 Form. Once they approve your documentation, you will receive a form that states your name is officially changed.
- To save time, you can fill out the SS-5 Form ahead of time. You can find it on the SSO website at:
- You can also send in copies of the SS-5 Form and your documentation to the SSO. They will process it and send you your new social security card by mail.
Visit the DMV.Once you have the form from the SSO, you can go to the DMV and get the name of your driver's license changed. You should take your marriage license, the form from the SSO or your new card if you have already received it, and your old license. When you get there, fill out a Driver License or Identification Card Application (DL 44). The DMV will take your picture and thumbprint you. You will also have to pay an application fee.
- The DMV will take care of the paperwork and give you a temporary driver's license. You will be able to use this one until your permanent copy arrives.
Change your name after a divorce.If you want to change your name because of divorce, you need to contact the County Clerk's Office where you filed your divorce. Give them your case number, your case name, and the date of the judgement, order, or filing. Also include a copy of the Notice of Entry of Judgment, Form FL-190. You also must complete the Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order, which is Form FL-395. The process should take 2-4 weeks to process.
- These forms are available on the California Court's website. You can enter the form numbers at:
- Your case name is the name of the parties involved.
Changing Your Name for Other Reasons
Fill out the Petition for Change of Name form.The form that you must fill out to legally change your name in California is the Petition for Change of Name form, or the NC-100. On the form, you have to include your name, your attorney's name if you have one, your address and your phone number. You should also include the mailing address of the court where you will file your petition and the court's branch name. You must answer all questions and check all boxes on form NC-100. Provide your present name and your new name. Make two copies of this form.
- The questions on the form are basic person information questions, such as name, address, residence, phone number, e-mail, and what your new name will be.
- The form has additional lines if you are changing the names of others, such as a child or a near relative.
- You may get the form NC-100 at the superior clerk of court's office or from the California Courts' website at:
- You can get the court's branch name by asking at the clerk's office or by checking online to locate a court in your county. You can also find the superior court near you, travel directions and phone numbers online at:
Fill out the Attachment to Petition form.This form, also known as the form NC-110, gives the court information about the person whose name is being changed. You will be asked to provide your current name, where you were born, your current address, and the reason for the name change. You can get form NC-110 at the clerk’s office or on the California Courts' website at:
- You should make two copies of this form as well.
Fill out the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name form.This form, also known as the form NC-120, also is required for a name change in California. The form does not require you to give any new information, but simply asks that you list your current name and proposed new name. This form is available at the clerk's office or can be accessed online from the California Courts' website at:
- You should make two copies of this form.
Fill out the Civil Case Cover Sheet form.This form, also known as the form CSM-010, acts as a cover page for your name change petition. You can get this form at the clerk's office or online at the California Courts' website at:
Check for any other required forms.You should request a list of any other forms required by the court in the county of your residence. This can include criminal background checks. The court that is located in your county typically distributes lists from the court clerk's office. All of the required paperwork must be completed before the official filing and request for a hearing date at the court in the county of your residence.
- Some county branches provide a link to the required list on the court's website.
File the forms.You need to file the forms with the California Superior Court. You also need to pay the required filing fees. You can locate the appropriate branch where you should file your paperwork by using the California Court listing on the main website at: [Image:Change Your Name in California Step 5 Version 4.jpg|center]]
- Remember to request a date for your name change hearing when you file the forms.
Purchase a legal advertisement.When you change your name, you usually have to buy a legal advertisement in a newspaper in your county. You have to publish the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name once per week for four weeks. This is all the information that was requested in form NC-120. Your advertisement must include your current name and the name you are changing it to. It also has to include detailed information about the hearing, including the address of the court, the department and room, and the date and time of the official hearing. There are exceptions, though. You do not have to publish your name in the paper if you are changing it to reflect your gender identity, or if you are changing it to avoid stalking. Check with your court's law library to see if you have to publish your name.
- Ask the clerk of courts for a list of newspapers where you may publish a valid legal ad. The cost of the ad will vary from paper to paper.
Attend your hearing.Most name-change hearings are fairly straightforward. If the judge asks you any questions about your reasons for changing your name, answer clearly and honestly. Bring all of your documentation to your hearing. This includes proof that you published the advertisement for the required amount of time. If the judge approves your request, you'll be given a name change court order, probably by your local civil court clerk.
- If the judge denies your request, get a copy of the denial and try again.
- Either way, you need to make a copy for your records.
Understand how to change your gender along with your name.If you are changing your name because you have recently changed your gender, you no longer have to file any separate official paperwork with the State of California. You can simply change your gender with the State Registrar. You do this by petitioning for a new birth certificate from the Registrar. You must have a signed statement from your physician indicating that you underwent appropriate treatment for gender transition.
- Once you file the petition, the Registrar will hold a hearing and judge the validity of the physician's letter. Once it is approved, your new birth certificate will be available within 30 days.
- Once you get your new birth certificate, you can continue with the proceeding to change your name.
- This is only true if you were born in the State of California. If you were born in another state, you have additional forms you have to fill out.
Changing Your Documents and Information
Get a new Social Security card.Once you legally changed your name, you need to get a new Social Security card. You can take your court order to the Social Security Administration (SSA) office. You will also need your birth certificate, a photo ID (such as a driver's license, passport or state ID), and a completed application for a new Social Security card. You can find this application online at: . You should get your new card in the mail within 10 days after you visit the office.
- If you can't go to the office, you can mail in a certified copy of the application and all required information to the SSA.
Obtain a new driver's license.Once you have a new Social Security card, you will also need a new driver's license to reflect your name change. You have to visit your local DMV to obtain a new driver's license. You should take your new Social Security card, your court order and your old driver's license or state ID. Once you arrive, you have to fill out a Driver License or Identification Card Application (DL 44). You will have your picture taken, get your thumbprint taken and pay an application fee. The DMV will then process the paperwork and give you a temporary driver's license to use until your new one arrives.
Change your name on all your other documentation.After you change your federal and state issued IDs, you need to change your name on your other important accounts and documents, including your bank accounts, credit cards, leases or mortgages, car titles, voter registration and your U.S. passport. You also need to change your name at places of business that you frequent, including your files at any medical or dental offices and on post office boxes.
- Now that all your documentation is in order, you can start using your new name. Introduce yourself with your new name and use it to sign checks and other documents.
QuestionHow much does it cost to change your name in California?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe filing fee for the Petition for Decree of Name Change is USD5 (as of March 2019). The cost of running legal advertisements in a newspaper will vary.Thanks!
QuestionDo I do the same process for changing my middle name only?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. The same process applies for changing any part of your name.Thanks!
QuestionWhere do I file name change forms? Where I was born or where I live?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou file the forms with the Superior Court of the county where you reside most of the time (where your main home is, generally).Thanks!
QuestionDo I have to change my last name after marriage in California?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe law does not require anyone to change their name when they get married, nor are they required to have the same last names. It's just a tradition, and it's up to you whether or not you want to follow it.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I change my name on my birth certificate, once the court approves my name change?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerVisit the website of Vital Records in the state where you were born. It will tell you the procedure. Usually, you will fill out a few forms, pay a small fee, and the change will be made.Thanks!
QuestionI read that if a person is 16, he doesn't have to have his parent's permission. Is this true?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThat is not true. You need to be at least 18 years old to change your name without your parent's permission.Thanks!
QuestionHow many times can I change my name?Eric SeltenCommunity AnswerThere is no limit to how many times you can change your name, providing you do each of them correctly and your judge grants each petition. However, at some high number, a judge may wish to inquire further if any harm or public confusion was being cause by further changes. Even that inquiry may not be limiting, though.Thanks!
QuestionDo I have to establish new credit or does my credit score carry over from old name?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYour credit score carries over. You'll have to call your credit cards to change your name on them as well. Most do it without problem, some will request that you submit evidence (court's approval of name change) and then they will change the name on your card.Thanks!
QuestionHow does being a minor affect this process?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou will need your parents or guardians permission and signature on any legal documents.Thanks!
QuestionIs there a lawyer that can help me with the entire process?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere are a few lawyers who do legal name changes. However, there is no need for a lawyer. It's a pretty straightforward process and most people just do it themselves. You can have a non-lawyer service help you do it all for a fairly small fee.Thanks!
Do I have to go through the same process if I already have a birth certificate with the name I want on it?
How do I add my maiden name. I do not want to omit my divorce name i just want to add my maiden name to it. What process do I take to do so?
How can I change my name to get a passport in my current name?
When a person changes his name, is it public record?
What do I need to do to change my name if I was born in Canada but now live in the US as a legal citizen?
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