How to Change Your Name in California

There are two different ways to change your name in California. Sometimes an individual merely starts using a name that is different than their legal name. Although this may be sufficient with unofficial, non-legal matters, most people will find it difficult or impossible to change their name on a driver’s license, passport or Social Security card without going through a formal name change proceeding. In order to obtain a legal name change, an individual must file for a name change with the California courts and obtain a court order changing their legal name.

File a Petition to Change Your Name

Petitioning the Court to Change the Name of a Minor

Petitioning the Court to Change the Name of an Adult

name change after divorceSome women desire to change a name after divorce. Changing your name after a divorce is a very personal decision. If the parties have children, often the woman does not desire to change her name because of the children. Furthermore, the process of changing records such as driver’s license, social security card, credit cards, etc. can be very time consuming, and some individuals may not feel the need or importance to revert to their former name after a divorce.

In California, as in most states, you can request that the judge handling your divorce make a formal order to restore a former name or restore a birth name. If your divorce decree contains such an order, you will only need to obtain a certified copy of the Judgment. Once you have this official documentation, you can use it to have your name changed on your identification and personal records.

If you did not request your name change through a divorce proceeding, you can make a special request after the divorce is final by applying to the court where your divorce case was heard.

After a divorce is finalized, a mother cannot change her children’s last names to her maiden name without special court petition for change of name. This is because historically courts have ruled that a father had an automatic right to have his child or children keep his last name if he continued to perform his parental role actively.

marriage-name-changeCalifornia law allows each person who obtains a marriage license to decide to change either their middle or last name or both names. When you apply for a marriage license, there is a place for you to provide your new middle and/or last name to be used after you get married. A person getting married cannot change their first name.

Social Security and the Department of Motor Vehicles will not allow a person to change their name using the marriage certificate unless the new name is shown in the new name fields. These agencies require you to get a court order to change your name after marriage.

Get help with your California name change documents today!

A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by preparing your name change documents instead of an expensive attorney!

Name Change Packages

We process all court documents prepared by our office, arrange for publication, and schedule hearing.
**Court and mandatory publication costs not included.

Name Change Services Price
Adult Name Change (individual) $399
Combo Adult Name Change with 1 child –
If more than one child, add $100.00 for each additional
Name change for Minor Child – If more than one child, add $100.00 for each additional $399
Name change after Divorce
(Certified copy of Order extra)