If you want to legally change anything other than your last name after marriage in California, you will have to file a Petition with the Court and go through the regular legal name change process. The process generally takes around three months, although, as some courts are busier, it could take even longer.
The court is usually willing to accept a name change for almost any good reason. However, the issuance of a name change application is decided by the Court. For a name change order/decree/judgment to be issued, the Court must see compliance with the notice requirements and requirements for the allegations in the petition. The court must also find a good and sufficient reason for the change, find the change in the public interest, and if the name change is for a minor, the change is due to minors’ best interests.
You cannot change your name for fraudulent purposes, such as to avoid debt, you cannot change the name which could affect the rights of others, such as a celebrity, you cannot use a cursing word, racial defamation, obscenity and/or an offensive word as part of your name and you cannot change it to a name that may be intentionally misleading (e.g., a name with punctuation and/or a number in it).
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are a divorced woman in California and want to reinstate your maiden name, you do not need to go through the Court Petition method as outlined here. You will instead need to complete an Application to Restore Old Name After the End of Judgment, which can be obtained from the Court.
Specific Requirements to File for a Change of Name for an Adult in California
California law requires several things before an adult can apply for a name change. These requirements include:
- You must currently reside in California.
- You must currently live in the County where the name change action will be filed.
- You must be an adult, 18 years of age or older.
- You must not be under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Corrections (in state prison or on parole).
- You must not be required to register as a sex offender under Penal Code section 290.
- You must not be requesting the name change to avoid creditors.
Specific Requirements to File for a Change of Name for a Minor in California
California law requires several things before you can file a name change for a minor. These requirements include:
- The minor currently resides in California.
- The minor currently lives in the County where the name change action will be filed.
- The child must be a minor, 17 years of age or younger.
- The minor must not be under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Corrections (in state prison or on parole).
- The minor must not be required to register as a sex offender under Penal Code section 290.
- The minor must not be requesting the name change to avoid creditors.
- Written consent to the name change must be provided by all adults who retain legal rights over the minor.
- The name change must be in the minor’s best interests.
People change their names for many reasons. Lynx Legal Service can correct errors made years ago on birth certificates, driver’s licenses, passports, education records, etc. It is more important than ever to make sure your ID and personal records are consistent with your legal name. For example, just try to get a passport if your driver’s license name is Joe Smith and your birth certificate says Joseph Smith or even your middle name is spelled “wrong”.
But whatever your reason is, Lynx will help you through the process. And we assure you of complete privacy, regardless of the reasons, you wish to change your name. We will complete all the documentation you need to file and walk you through every step of the way. And, as with all Lynx Legal services, there is no need to struggle with understanding confusing forms and rules, or worse, pay an attorney large attorney fees. With Lynx it is simple. Just tell us what you need, and we will make it happen.