The process for a name change can be complicated, and it is somewhat different depending whether the name change is for an adult or a minor child.
After a name is changed, there are numerous places you need to notify (such as social security, DMV, passport office, etc.)
Name Change To Restore a Maiden Name During Divorce
If you are getting divorced in California and the divorce is not final yet, you can ask the court to restore your name to your former name. Your request for a name change will be included in the judgment package for divorce.
Name Change To Restore a Maiden Name After Divorce
If your divorce was granted in California, you can have your maiden name restored by filing an Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order.
Name Change to Another Name During Divorce
If you want to change your name to something other than your maiden name or to a prior married name you used in the past, then you must file a Petition for Change of Name.
Name Change for an Adult
- California law requires certain things before you can file for a name change for an adult. 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.
Name Change for a Minor
California law requires certain things before you can file for a minor’s name change. 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 must be obtained from all adults who retain legal rights over the minor to change the minor’s name.
Name Change Application
To change a minor’s last name, the requester must be a parent, a legal guardian, or adults seeking an adoption. A situation could be where the mother never married the father and now either wants to change the child’s last name to her maiden name or for the child to acquire the father’s last name. If the father’s name was not initially listed on the birth certificate, he has the right to request a DNA test before consenting to the use of his name.
Legal Steps for a Minor’s Name Change
If you want to change your name or the name of your child, you can ask the Court for an order changing the legal name. You can then use the court order to change the birth certificate, passport, social security card, driver’s license, and other documents. You must reside in the county where you are seeking the name change.
After you file your petition to change the name, you will get a court hearing. Before your hearing, you will have to put a notice in a Court-approved newspaper for four weeks in a row, one day per week.
If you are trying to change the name of your child, you will also have to let the other parent know so that they have a chance to come to Court should they not agree to the name change. If both parents agree, they both can sign the petition to change their child’s name and you’re finished. If not, you attend a hearing on the petition. When the biological father does not agree to the name change, the judge will schedule another hearing to listen to both sides of the case. The judge will want valid justification from the father in order to deny a name change request. The judge will render a decision after the hearings.
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