Legally changing your name in California. Everything you need to know.
Part 2. How to Change your Legal Name in Court
We continue our three part series on legally changing your name in California.
Once you have decided that indeed going through the court is the method that best fits your needs, there are some limitations that you should keep in mind:
– You can’t change your name to the same name as a famous person, if you are doing it for fraudulent purposes or to benefit financially – the burden of proof is unclear here;
– You cannot use fictitious names that are protected by copyright (for example the names of a Marvel’s super hero);
– You cannot use racial slurs or fighting words (a few years back then Lakers player Ron Artest famously changed his name to Metta World Peace – I guess that was the opposite of a fighting word!).
There are three different fees to keep in mind when legally changing your name in California: one is the fee to let The Document People assist you with your name change, the second one is the filing fee (at the time of writing $435 – keep in mind that unfortunately it cannot be waived if you qualify because it’s not considered an indispensable service like filing for divorce or bankruptcy), and the third is a publication in a local newspaper (we regularly shop around to keep our customers’ fee as low as possible, and we can take care of the publication for you).
You can also legally restore your maiden name with the court after a divorce, as part of the divorce paperwork, or if you forget or change your mind, even after the case has closed. It’s much easier (if you do it at the same time with your divorce papers, there are no extra charges) then doing it any other way. Obviously it only applies to ladies who have been married and decided to go through a divorce.
To change your name in court, you’ll have to follow three steps:
1. File the petition for legally changing your name in California Superior Court. The Document People can assist you with all the paperwork by simply filling out a questionnaire;
2. Publish the petition in a local newspaper to let the public know about your intentions. Historically this is designed to solicit anyone who has anything against you legally changing your name in California, stepping forward and explain the reason for opposition. The Document People can select a newspaper, forward the filed petition to the editor for timely publication, and make sure the proof of publication is filed with the court in time for the hearing;
3. Go to the hearing. Even if it’s true that some judges might grant the name change without your appearance, we recommend you go not to waste the filing fee, in case the judge has further questions about your case that only you can answer.
After that you’ll have an Order for Name Change filed with the court, and you can take a copy to DMV, Social Security, your bank, and every company and person who might want to verify that your legal name has changed.
The Document People is a network of document preparers in Los Angeles with a common purpose: helping customers with name changes for adults and name changes for minors. We are looking forward to offering assistance with your name change in We the People office Woodland Hills, We The people office Santa Monica and We the People office Glendale. Also in San Fernando, Torrance, Anaheim and Oceanside as The Document People.
The information contained in this blog – including information of a legal nature – is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.