How to Change your Name Los Angeles | Long Beach | Orange County
Changing your name in California is one of a number of legal procedures that can be done by yourself. You don’t need to pay an online legal service because the instructions and forms are free! (see link below). If you were divorced in California and didn’t request the court to change your name back to your prior unmarried name, you may still do so for a minimal cost. You may also be interested in a “common law” name change. This is where a person simply starts using a new name. It’s not illegal as long as it is not done for an illegal purpose such as identity theft, fraud, etc. It has fallen out of popularity because a “common law” name change is not recognized by government agencies such as: the DMV, Social Security, Homeland Security, schools, colleges, and many private sector financial institutions.
When does it make sense to use an attorney for a civil name change?
If your time is an issue, then you should know, whether you pay an online provider or use the free court forms, that just filling out forms is not enough. You must file the name change petition and other required documents with the court, publish your name change in a court approved publication , and then appear in court. If children are involved and there is a dispute as to changing the name or one of the parents can not be found having an attorney is almost essential. You have a right to change you name – but it will cost you a approximate $435 filing fee( your family is included, but you will have to pay again if they are not included in the original petition) and $95 for newspaper publication. If you want to change your name but your time is an issue, I charge an additional $ 500.00 to do the Name Change forms, publication, and appear for an adult living in Los Angeles County. I also will appear for you in Orange County, but the court requires that you appear with me. I charge more for children’s name changes – especially if both parents do not agree on the change or the other parent cannot be located. If the name change is disputed the court will decide whether or not to change your child’s name based on the “best interest of the child“.
Legal recognition of change in gender
Recognition of a change of gender is also covered by the same California Code section that provides for a change of name. My fee is slightly more to cover the cost of the cognizant Physician’s Declaration which must be made under penalty of perjury.
If cost is an issue; the California Courts provide information and forms for doing your own free name change.
Law Office of B. Stuart Walker
115 Pine Ave Suite 420
Long Beach, CA 90802
(Within walking distance of the Long Beach Courthouse)
(877) 372-6738 (toll free) or