The following information is for adults attempting to change their name in the state of California.  Information specific to restoring you maiden name after a divorce is located near the bottom of the page.

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In order for an adult to get a legal name change in the state of California, you must file a Petition for Change of Name with the Superior Court of the county where you reside. Within the Petition for Change of Name, you must also file an Attachment Form, an Order to Show Cause for Change of Name, and a Decree Changing Name. Most courthouses will also require a Civil Case Cover Sheet used to identify your Petition. These forms are available at the links below:   
 

 

Fill in all applicable information on all five forms and make two copies of each form. The Order to Show Cause will ask for a requested court date. You should ask for a date at least six weeks in the future.  You should then carry two copies of all five forms to their county Clerk’s office. The Clerk’s office is typically in the county’s superior courthouse. The locations and contact information for the California County Courthouses are available at: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/find.htm. Once in the Clerk’s office, inform them of your intention to file a Petition for Change of Name and the documents that you have already filled out and carried with you. The Clerk’s office for individual counties may have additional forms for to fill out such as a Criminal Background Information Form. They will then file the Petition with the court and you will be required to pay a filing fee.  Filing fees vary between counties.  The Clerk will then set a court date for you to appear before a judge.

Once the Petition has been filed with the Clerk of Court, the Order to Show Cause will need to be published in an approved newspaper of general circulation one day per week for four consecutive weeks some time before the court date. Be sure to ask the Clerk of Court for a list of approved newspapers.  Once the Order to Show Cause has published four weeks in a row, you will need to get a proof of publication from the newspaper. For personal security reasons, you do not have to publish the Order in a newspaper if you are a participant in (1) the State Witness Program or (2) in the Address Confidentiality Program and the petition alleges that you are (a) petitioning to avoid domestic violence, or (b) petitioning to avoid stalking, or (c) you are filing as a victim of sexual assault. If you are enrolled in the Domestic Violence Confidentiality Program, the Petition for Name Change and the Decree should indicate that your name is confidential and on file with the Secretary of State instead of giving the proposed name.

 If no written objections are filed two weeks before the court date, the judge may grant the petition without a court appearance. You should contact the Clerk of Court two days in advance of your court date to find out if a court appearance is still scheduled. If the court date is still scheduled, you will need to appear before the judge with a copy of all of the forms listed above and the proof of publication obtained from the approved newspaper. If the judge approves the Petition for Change of Name, he or she will sign the original Decree Changing Name you previously filed. Once the Decree is signed, you should obtain a certified copy from the Clerk of Court. The certified copy of the Decree Changing Name can then be used to change all legal documents, including social security card, passports, and driver’s license.
 

Get Started Make your document Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get Started Make your document Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.