Name Change Los Angeles and Orange County
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.
You may be able to change the name on your Social Security Card to your legal name without going through the Civil Name Change process. Follow this link to the Social Security FAQ for more information.
When does it make sense to use an attorney for a civil name change?
If your time is an issue, then you should know that, 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 your name – but it will cost you approximately $435 filing fee (your immediate family (spouse, children) 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 $550 to do the Name Change forms, publication and appear for an adult living in Los Angeles County. The down courthouse is currently setting hearings seven months or more in advance. but the branch courthouses still seem to be able to do a name change within ten weeks. If you prefer, I will appear for you in your local Los Angeles branch courthouse – but you will probably have to appear also and I will charge more (depending on the courthouse).
I also will appear for you in Orange County, but the court currently requires that you appear to 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.
I also charge more for name changes where what is normally public record is requested to be sealed. This is usually due to domestic violence and civil harassment issues.
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. Beginning in September 2018 a Physician’s Declaration will no long be required, and my fee will change accordingly. Also if one simply wishes to change gender (male, female, non-binary), a court order will not be required to change the birth certificate. A court order still will be required to change the name and also for an actual judgement changing gender.
If cost is an issue; the California Courts provide information and forms for doing your own free name change.