There are many reasons parents decide to change a child’s name. For example, if a child is adopted, parents may want to change a child’s name to reflect the new family name. This is typically done through the adoption process. In contrast, however, sometimes a parent will want to change a child’s name outside of adoption. For example, a parent may want to change a child’s last name if there has been a divorce, a party has remarried or when there is a parent who is not involved.  Sometimes a child simply hates the name their parent gave them at birth. With this in mind, below is an overview on how to change a child’s name. If you want to change a child’s name in California, contact A People’s Choice. We offer help completing all the required forms you will need to change a child’s name.

Who Can Request to Change a Child’s Name?

First, a minor child cannot petition the court to change their name.  You must be 18 or over to file a Petition for Change of Name. In order to change a child’s name, only the child’s parent or legal guardian can file the petition. With this in mind, if one parent files the petition, the moving party must notify the other parent of the name change.

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What our Clients Say...

“A People’s Choice helped me change my daughter’s last name. The A People’s Choice team offers great services, are quick, efficient and definitely very helpful! They were always courteous and explained all the details for those of us who don’t do this everyday. Thank you for your help!”

Tiffany B.

“It was so nice to have their help with the name change paperwork. I could have never done it myself and they made it so easy. The people at A People’s Choice always responded quickly to my inquiries as well as every e-mail. Thank you to the entire staff for all of your help and patience!!!”

Sarah G.

Forms to Change a Child’s Name

In order to change a child’s name in California, there are several steps, preparing the documents, publishing notice and attending a court hearing. First, you must complete several documents. These documents include a Petition for Change of Name (NC-100), the required Attachment (NC-100), Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (NC-120), Decree Changing Name (NC-130), Civil Case Cover Sheet (CM-010), Proof of Service (NC-121) and any applicable local forms of the county court.

Next, file the completed documents with the court. The court will need to receive an original and two copies of each document. Keep in mind, if the child is 12-years-old or older, the child will also need to sign a document agreeing to the name change which is filed with the paperwork.  If the documents are correct, the court clerk assign a case number and set a hearing date. In the event that only one parent is asking for the child’s name to be changed, the other parent must be given notice about the name change. Someone other than the petitioning parent must serve the other parent with the court documents.

Publication and Notice of Name Change Request

In addition to serving the other parent, notice of the name change must be published in a local newspaper of general circulation. A list of approved newspapers can usually be obtained at the court clerk’s office. The newspaper must publish NC-120 for four consecutive weeks in a newspaper. Publication must be completed and proof of publication filed with the court before the hearing is held. In order to make sure there is enough time to complete the required publication, it is a good idea to ask that the hearing date be set at least six weeks away. Otherwise, there may not be enough time to complete the publication and file proof of completion with the court before the hearing.

Hearing on Name Change

At the hearing, a parent who does not agree with the name change can oppose the name change request. At the hearing, a parent can give the court reasons why the child’s name should not be changed. If the judge approves the name change request, they will sign the Order (NC-130) once the hearing is completed. Afterwards, a parent will need to ask for certified copies of the Order to give to the child’s school, healthcare provider, Social Security Office or other governmental agencies.

Can a Father Object to Changing a Child’s Name?

Yes! Either parent can object to a request by the other parent to change a child’s name. With this in mind, the petitioner should let the other parent know ahead of time of their intent to change their child’s name. Remember, it is always better to try and resolve disputes outside of court. Doing so will save both parents time and money.

What Are the Costs to Change a Child’s Name?

Currently,  the court filing fee to file a petition to change a child’s name is $435.00. Some courts also charge an additional $30 court reporter fee. If a party has low-income, they may qualify for a fee waiver of these court fees. In addition to the court filing, you will have the newspaper publication fee. This fee can vary dramatically between newspapers so it may be advisable to price shop before choosing which newspaper you will be using.

A People’s Choice has helped thousands of parents successfully file to change a child’s name in California. Although the process is not very complicated, it is time sensitive and any misstep could result in either than name change being denied or the process delayed. Contact our experienced staff at 800-747-2780 to get more information about the process and costs to change a child’s name.

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