How to Change Your Adult Name in California

There are many reasons as to why you may want to legally change your name in California. From divorce, to identifying with a new gender, name change requests are common throughout the state. Read on to learn more about what forms are required to change your name in California.

How to File for Change of Name in California

The following forms must be completed to begin the process:

The Petition for Change of Name serves as your request to the court to change your legal name. In the Petition, you will tell the court what your current legal name (name on birth certificate) is and the new name you seek to legally go by. The Name and Information About the Person Whose Name is to be Changed must be attached to your Petition. This form provides the court with the reason as to why you want to change your name. Common reasons people seek to change their name include the following:

  • Take the last name of their biological father
  • Change to maiden name following divorce
  • Change a difficult to spell/pronounce name
  • Create a new professional identity

Courts often deny Petitions for name changes that include the following:

  • Escape debt liability
  • Hide from criminal liability
  • Mislead other people
  • Offend other people (ex – racial slur or sexual insult)

The Order to Show Cause for Change of Name will set the court hearing date. At the hearing, members of the public can speak out against your name change. This rarely occurs in most cases but is possible. The judge will use the Decree Changing Name to either grant or deny your request. Take this completed form to court with you along with the Order to Show Cause newspaper proof. The signed court decree will allow you to legally change your birth certificate, social security card, passport, and school records.

Legal Publication

Prior to your court hearing, you will have to post Order to Show Cause for Change of Name  in a local newspaper. The publication must run once a week for four consecutive weeks prior to the date of the hearing. Make sure you give yourself enough time to run the notice in the newspaper before the hearing date. We recommend requesting a hearing 6 weeks from the initial filing of the Petition. For a list of approved San Diego County newspaper providers, click here. If you are filing a request outside of SD County, contact us and we will provide you with a list of approved providers (for course enrolled students only). Publication is not required when a person is changing his/her name to conform to his/her new gender identity.

If you are an adult seeking to change your name in California, sign-up for our DIY California Name Change Course.

The course provides educational step-by-step instructions on how to complete and file the forms needed for a legal name change in California. We will review the forms prior to you filling them with the court. We can also help you manage your name change case and make sure all of your legal notices are completed in addition to educating you on what to expect at the hearing. We provide this service to all California residents seeking to change their name.

You can also forgo the online DIY course and hire use to complete the forms for you at a reasonable fee. Contact us for more information. Please note, our course does not provide legal advice on California name changes and is focused on adults only. We have a separate course on how to change a minor’s name and on how to file a change of gender. Contact San Diego Esquire to speak with an attorney today about our name change services and courses.


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