Changing your legal name can be important to you for a variety of personal reasons. Maybe you’ve gone through a separation, adopted a child, or are simply looking for a fresh start. Completing a name change can be daunting and often leaves people not knowing where to start. However, this article will run you through step-by-step instructions to help simplify the process. There are two different categories when it comes to a name change: Those who seek a name change stemming from a divorce/paternity matter and those who seek a name/gender change for general reasons. Name changes stemming from divorce go through the Family Court, while non-divorce-related name/gender changes occur in the Probate Court. It is important to know the difference between the two
General Name or Gender Change
Each state has its own laws, procedures, and regulations regarding adult name or gender changes, but in California, there are a variety of forms that allow a person to obtain a name change, gender change, or both. Each desired outcome has its own set of forms, which can be found at: https://www.scscourt.org/self_help/probate/namechange/namechange.shtml. To initiate a name or gender
change for a minor the forms can be found at: https://www.scscourt.org/self_help/probate/namechange/namechange.shtml and you will follow the same
process that is detailed below. If any problems arise while filling out these forms, it is best to contact a local attorney who is well-versed in this area of the law.
A. What to do once the forms are completed.
The forms need to be filed with the Probate Division at the Downtown Superior Court. Bring all the original forms, plus one additional copy. The clerk will file them if they are completed correctly. The clerk will then collect a filing fee (fee schedule can be found at local fee schedule ). Once filed, you will
receive a case number. After the forms are filed, take your filed-endorsed copies of the NC-120 to a “newspaper of general circulation” in Santa Clara County for publication. The law requires the paper to publish the NC-120 for four (4) weeks in a row before the party’s hearing. This should be done immediately because the publication process must be complete prior to the hearing.
B. Attend Hearing
When you attend the hearing, the judge will issue a decision. After that decision is made, the judge will sign a decree. If the name change is granted, the judge will sign the decree. If the judge rejects the change, the request will be denied. Ensure that the decree that has been prepared (NC-130) is filled out correctly
before being signed.
C. Obtain a Certified Copy of the Decree
Topic: How to Complete a Name Change
Law Clerk: Aiden Armstrong
Once the decree has been signed, a certified copy will be available for pick up at the clerk’s office. A certified copy will be required to obtain government documents with the new name. The client will then be able to take the decree to any government office to obtain new documents.