Correct California Legal Name Change Process

Filing a Petition for a California Name Change

Many people change their names at some point in their lifetime. The process of changing your name in California varies depending on why you want to make the change. California law has a process in which anyone can navigate to change their name, whether married, going through a divorce, adopting a child, being adopted, or just want to have a new name.

Many people change their name after getting married. California law makes the process relatively simple. The only legal document needed is a valid marriage certificate. With the marriage certificate in hand, you can change your name with state and federal agencies. You also do not have to go to the court to complete the process.

As for a divorce, the process is different. California law requires a person to get a court order to restore a former name, birth name, or maiden name following a divorce. However, this can be done during the standard divorce process, and a court has to restore a former name upon request.

In any other circumstances, changing your name generally involves petitioning a court. First, you must file a petition for a name change with a court in the country where you reside. California law requires a petition to include your birth certificate, residence, current name, proposed name, and a reason for changing your name.

When it comes to minor children, a parent or legal guardian has to consent and be involved in the process as well. First, the parent has to file the Petition for Change of Name with the court and get a court date. Next, if a judge grants the request, the parent will get a court order called a decree changing the child’s name.

It is a lengthy process to change your gender and name in California. You will need to fill out a petition and possibly undergo a criminal background check, have a doctor sign your forms, and appear in court.

California law prohibits certain name changes, including racial slurs, confusing names that include numerals or punctuation, or anything that is intimidating, offensive, or can be considered obscene.

After the completion of the legal process, you will need to update your new name on all your official documents and identification. For instance, you will need to change your driver’s license through the California Department of Motor Vehicles. 

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