So, you’re ready to take the plunge and legally change your name? Getting a legal name change without an attorney’s help is totally doable. The forms you need and the procedures to follow are all available online. Below is a basic run-down of how to change your name in California. Different counties have slightly different procedures to process legal name changes, so you might have to do something a little different than the process below.
– $435 Filing Fee
– Newspaper publication’s cost
– Certified Copies’ cost
* You can request a fee waiver using the form Request to Waive Court Fees (FW-001) (most people are not poor enough to qualify)
– Petition for Change of Name (NC-100)
– Attachment to Petition for Change of Name (NC-110)
– Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (NC-120)
– Civil Case Cover Sheet
– Decree Changing Name (NC-130)
Where to Find the Forms: https://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-namechange.htm
Fill Out the Forms. Court forms are deceptively difficult. You need to pay extremely close attention to detail to fill them out. Also, SPELL YOUR NAME CORRECTLY. This goes without say, but it misspelling your name is an expensive mistake to pay for. The California Courts Self Help Center website provides more detailed instructions for each form. Your court’s self-help center may help people file legal name changes, asking them to review it would be a huge help.
Make at least 2 copies of all your forms. You need a copy and the newspaper publication needs a copy.
File the forms with the court clerk and get copies stamped as conformed
Get the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name published. You a required to publish the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name one a week for 4 consecutive weeks in a general circulation newspaper.
Go to your court hearing, if it is held (court has the option of granting the change without a hearing if there is no objections filed). The Order to Show Cause shows your hearing date, time, and location. Check if the court granted your name change a few days prior to the hearing. If it has been granted, you do not need to show up to the hearing.
Get certified copies of the Decree changing Name. You need it to change your legal documents, and we recommend that people get more than one copy just in case any agency needs to keep it.