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Self-Help Name Change
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The process for changing a name can be complicated, and it is somewhat different depending whether the name being changed is for an adult, or a child (minor), although many of the same forms are used. The tabs below outline the steps to take for changing a name, adding a name (such as a middle name), or for adults, recording a gender change.

After a name is changed, there are numerous places you need to notify (such as social security, DMV, passport office, etc.), and information is provided below to help with that.

name Change for Minors

This section tells you about:

  1. How do I change my child’s name?
  2. How do I change a child’s name if I am the guardian?
  3. What do I do with my completed forms?
  4. Serve the papers on absent parent
  5. Who can serve the court papers?
  6. What do I do after I file my forms?
  7. Where to go on the day and time of the hearing?
  8. How do I let people know about my child's new name?
  9. Change the name on your child’s Driver's License or California ID Card
  10. Change the name on your child’s Social Security card
  11. Change the name on your child’s birth certificate
  12. Change the name on your child’s school records
  13. Change the name for Insurance
  14. Change the name on your child’s passport
  15. Change the name on your child’s bank accounts
  16. Change the name on your child’s Public Assistance (Welfare)
  17. Change the name on your child’s tax records
  18. Credit cards, legal and other important documents

Information on how to change a child’s name:

  1. How do I change my child’s name?

    A child cannot petition the court to have their name changed. Only a parent or guardian can do this. To change your child’s name, you will need these forms:
     
    • NC-100  Petition for Change of Name
    • NC-110  Attachment to NC-100. Use a separate form for each child.
    • NC-120  Order to Show Cause for Change of Name
    • NC-130  Decree Changing Name. Use a separate form for each child.
    • CM-010  Civil Case Cover Sheet
    • NC-121  Proof of Service

  2. If you can’t afford to pay the court fees, fill out these forms, too:

    • FW-001  Request to Waive Court Fees (There are helpful video instructions for this form. See A/V instructions for FW-001 video icon.)
    • FW-003  Order on Court Fee Waiver


    You can download the forms from this site. Just click on one of the form numbers, above. Or, get them from the Judicial Council's State Self-Help Center  or our Self-Help Center in downtown San Jose. Or, buy blank forms at a bookstore or stationery store. (Check the Yellow Pages under Legal Documents.) You probably don’t need a lawyer to change your child’s name. Here are other resources to help you:  

    • Name Change Packet: Get free samples and instructions from the Probate Division by visiting the Downtown Superior Court. To call, look for the Probate Division on the court phone listing web page.
    • The court's Self-Help Center.
    • The book How to Change your Name in California by Sedano, Loeb and Brown (This book contains copies of the forms you will need to change your child’s name.)

    If you do want to find a lawyer, you can get a referral to a lawyer from the Local Bar Association  in Santa Clara County. Their phone number is 408-971-6822 . You may also want to refer to our Free & Low-Cost Legal Aid page.

  3. How do I change a child’s name if I am the guardian?

    Follow the same process described in How do I change my child’s name above. But, instead of forms NC-110 and NC-130, use:

  4. What do I do with my completed forms?

    Fill out your forms and take them to: Superior Court, Probate Division Downtown Superior Court. Click for DTS location, directions, business hours. Bring an original and two copies of each of these documents. Sign the original in blue ink.
     
    • NC-100 , original + two copies
    • NC-120 , original + two copies
    • NC-130 , original + two copies
    • CM-010  , original + two copies
    • If the child is 12 or older, bring the child’s written consent to the name change.

    Also bring an original and two copies of:
    If you are the guardian, also bring a copy of your letters of guardianship.

    The clerk will check your forms and file them. Unless a judge approved your fee waiver, you will have to pay a filing fee. (Check probate fees on the local fee schedule .)

    The clerk will give you a case number, a hearing date and “filed-endorsed” copies of your forms. The hearing will be in about seven-eight weeks and you can pick up the paperwork on the day of the hearing.

    * Someone over 18 and not involved in this case – not you – must fill out the Proof of Service form. Read Serve the Papers on Absent Parent, below, for more information.  

  5. Serve the Papers on Absent Parent

    Unless both parents file the petition to change their child’s name, the parent who files the petition must have the absent parent served notice at least 30 days before the hearing.

    If the absent parent lives in California, s/he must be served personally with a copy of the Petition and Order to Show Cause.

    If the absent parent lives outside of California, s/he can be served the Petition and Order to Show Cause by mail with return receipt requested.
     
  6. Who can serve the court papers?

    Anyone 18 or over who is not involved in this case can serve the absent parent(s). You can ask someone you know, or use a process server. A process server will charge a fee. Whoever serves the absent parent must fill out and sign the Proof of Service, then give it to you. You must take the completed Proof of Service and file it with the clerk.

  7. What do I do after I file my forms?

    Take your filed-endorsed copies of NC-120  to a newspaper of general circulation in Santa Clara County for publication. The law says a newspaper must publish NC-120  for four weeks in a row before your hearing.

    Do this right away because the publication process must be complete before your hearing. When publication is complete, the newspaper will file proof of publication with the court and will mail you a copy. Bring your copy of the proof of publication to room 107.
     
  8. Where to go on the day and time of the hearing?

    If everything is in order and no objection by the non-petitioning parent, you can pick up the signed Decree Changing Name (NC-130 ). If there is an objection, you and your child must go to court on the date of the hearing. You will be contacted by the clerk for the new hearing date.

    When you file the Decree Changing Name (NC-130 ), you can buy certified copies. (Check the local fee schedule  for copying fees.) We cannot say how many copies you need. But, keep in mind that it’s a good idea to have a certified copy until your child’s ID and Social Security card are changed to match the new name. You may also need certified copies to change your child’s name on his/her passport, school records or for immigration purposes.
     
  9. How do I let people know about my child's name?

    Ask your child to use only his/her new name and tell the people, schools and businesses you deal with that your child's name has changed. If anyone needs proof of your child’s new name, show them a certified copy of NC-130 , the Decree Changing Name. Have your child get a new driver's license and Social Security card with the new name.
     
  10. How to change the name on your child’s driver's license or California ID Card

    Go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Tell them your child has changed his/her name and would like a new ID card or license. Find the nearest DMV  with the online DMV office search tool. If your child already has a license or ID card, fill out Form DL-44 . If your child does not have a license or ID card, take a certified copy of his/her birth certificate to the DMV along with a certified copy of NC-130 . If your child wasn't born in the U.S., take your child's green card or naturalization papers.
     
  11. How to change the name on your child’s Social Security card?

    Contact your local Social Security office. The San Jose office is at::
    280 S. 1st Street
    San Jose, CA 95113
    Tel: 408-535-5257 

    To locate another Social Security office, call: 800-772-1213 . Or use this online search tool on the Social Security Online Services web page to find your closest social security office  by zip code.

    Fill out an Application for a Social Security Number Card (form SS-5 ). Click on the form number to download the application. If your child has never had a Social Security number, fill this form out completely and submit a certified copy of his/her birth certificate. Include a certified copy of NC-130  and one other form of identification (like, a driver's license, passport, school ID or report card, adoption record, health insurance card or medical record).

    If your child already has a Social Security number, use the same form form SS-5  but just ask for a new card – not a new Social Security number.

    NOTE: If you have any problems, remind the clerks that they must accept the new name as long as you give them the needed documentation. (They can read: Title 20 of the Code of Federal Regulations Sections 422.107(c)  and 422.110 .)

  12. How to change the name on your child’s birth certificate

    If your child was born in California, ask the Probate clerk (at Downtown Superior Court) for Form VS-23. The State Office of Vital Records  can mail this form to you if you ask for one at: OVRform@dhs.ca.gov Give them your name, mailing address, and say you want Form VS-23.

    The local County Clerk-Recorder  can mail you this form, too: ClerkRecorder@REC.SCCGOV.ORG Give them your name, mailing address, and say you want Form VS-23. Fill out Form VS-23 in black ink, with no cross outs, mistakes or erased items. Then mail it with a certified copy of filed NC-130  and a check (made out to "Office of Vital Records"), to: State of California Office of Vital Records P.O. Box 730241 304 "S" Street Sacramento, CA 94244-0241

    See the State's information sheet  on Amended birth certificates following a court-ordered name change to know how much your fee will be. The Office of Vital Records will send you a certified copy of the birth certificate in 2 parts – the original certificate and the amended certificate.

    If the birth certificate is for someone born outside California, notify the Office of Vital Records (or its equivalent) in the state or country where the child was born. Ask them how to get an amended birth certificate.

  13. How to change the name on your child’s school records

    Go to the school's Main Office or ask the school secretary to fill out the papers. If your child has already graduated, you can also petition the school to have your child's diploma reissued in his/her new name.

  14. Change the name for insurance

    Let your health, car and life insurance companies know of your child's name change. They may re-issue policies in the new name.
     
  15. How to change the name on your child’s passport

    If your child already has a U.S. passport, provide a certified copy of NC-130  and either: Amend the passport: This means both the old and new name will be on the passport. There is NO charge and you can send your application in by mail.

    – Or –

    Get a NEW passport: You can get a new passport with child's new name. You must pay a fee. If your child has had a passport within the last 12 years, you can apply by mail and pay a smaller fee. If your child has NOT had a passport within the last 12 years, you must apply in person and provide:

    • Proof of citizenship (certified copy of your birth certificate) and
    • A certified copy of NC-130  and
    • ID with your child's new name and signature (like a driver's license or school record)
    NOTE: You can get a passport application at the post office or County Clerk-Recorder's Office  .

  16. How to change the name on your child’s bank accounts

    Take a certified copy of NC-130  and some ID with your child's new name and signature (like a driver's license or school record) to the bank. Your child will need to sign a new signature card and other account documents. NOTE: If your child expects to receive checks made payable to his/her old name, tell the bank to list the child under both names. Also, remember to order checks with the new name.
     
  17. How to change the name on your child’s public assistance (Welfare)

    Take a certified copy of NC-130  to your local welfare office. They will change their records. When you fill out your monthly reporting statement, say your child's name has changed. You can write this in the section that asks if you have anything else to report.
     
  18. How to change the name on your child’s tax records?

    For State Income Tax Send a letter to: Taxpayer Services, Franchise Tax Board P.O. Box 942840 Sacramento, CA 94240-0000 Tell them your child has changed his/her name. Give the old name, new name and Social Security number.

    Your child should use his/her new name and old Social Security number from now on. For Federal Income Tax Make sure withholding and W-2 forms for your child’s paycheck are now in his/her new name.

  19. Credit cards, legal and other important documents

    Notify credit card companies and change any important documents, like powers of attorney, living wills, trusts and contracts to the new name.

name Change for Adults

  • How do I change my name?

    To change your name, you will need some or all of these forms:

    You can download all of the forms by clicking on the form number above or get them from the Self-Help Center in downtown San Jose. You can also get all forms from the forms section of the Judicial Council website or buy blank forms at a bookstore or stationery store. You probably don’t need a lawyer to change your name. But, here are other resources to help you:

    • Name Change Packet: Free samples and instructions from the Probate Division at the Downtown Superior Court. Visit the DTS page for the address and phone number for the Downtown Superior Court. When you call the main number, listen carefully and choose the extension for Probate.
    • The Court's Self-Help Center.
    • How to Change your Name, Loeb and Brown (book)
    • California Code of Procedures, § 1276 (Read: CCP1276 )


    To find a lawyer, call the Lawyer Referral Service: (408) 971-6822  or visit their Lawyer Referral website .

  • How do I change my name and gender?

    Follow the same process as described in "How do I change my name" above. But, instead of forms NC-100, NC-120 and NC-130, use:

    • NC-200  Petition for Change of Name and Gender
    • NC-220  Order to Show Cause for Change of Name and Gender
    • NC-230  Decree Changing Name and Gender
    • CM-010  Civil Case Cover Sheet
    • PB-4010  CLETS Background Information Form (Name Change)

    If you are changing your gender only, use:

    • NC-300  Petition for Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate
    • NC-320  Notice of Hearing on Petition for Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate
    • NC-330  Order for Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate
    • CM-010  Civil Case Cover Sheet

    You must also file for a doctor’s statement (NC-210  or NC-310 ). Attach it to your petition. Read the forms for more specific instructions. You can also read: Health & Safety Code Sections 103430, 103435 .

  • What do I do with my completed forms?

    Fill out your forms and take them to the Probate Division at Downtown Superior Court.
    Bring:  

    The clerk will check your forms and file them. You will have to pay a filing fee (check for probate fees on the local fee schedule  for the dollar amount). The clerk will give you a case number, a hearing date and “filed-endorsed” copies of your forms.

  • What do I do after I file my forms?

    Take your filed-endorsed copies of NC-120 to a newspaper of general circulation in Santa Clara County for publication. The law says a newspaper must publish NC-120 for 4 weeks in a row before your hearing. Do this right away because the publication process must be complete before your hearing.

    When publication is complete, the newspaper will file proof of publication with the court and will mail you a copy. Bring your copy of the proof of publication to your hearing.

  • Where to go on the day and time of the hearing?

    Go to room 107 on the date and time of the hearing to pick up the Decree Changing Name (Form NC-130 ), OR if you are changing both name and gender, the Decree Changing Name and Gender (Form NC-230 ), OR if you are changing your gender only, Petition for Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate (Form NC-330 ). When you file NC-130, you can buy certified copies. (See the local fee schedule  for certification fees.)

    We cannot say how many copies you will need. But, keep in mind that it’s a good idea to have a certified copy until your birth certificate and I.D. are changed to match your new name. You may also need certified copies to change your name on your credit cards, social security card, passport, or for immigration purposes.

  • How do I get an amended birth certificate?

    Follow the instructions in the "Name Change for Minors" tab on this page.

  • What if there is no middle name on my birth certificate and I want to add one?

    To add a middle name, follow these steps:
     
    Step 1

    Fill out form VS-24 (Application to Amend a Record). You must type your answers and sign in black ink. You can get this form from:


    The State can mail or email this form to you if you ask for one at: OVRform@dhs.ca.gov Give them your name, mailing address, and say you want Form VS-24.

    Step 2

    Mail your form to: State of California Office of Vital Records P.O. Box 730241 304 "S" Street Sacramento, CA 94244-0241

    Step 3

    You may have to pay a fee. If you changed and registered your name within the last year, the State will charge you a fee. They will also charge a fee if you want a certified copy mailed to you. See the information on amended birth certificates on the Office of Vital Records website . It takes about 6 months for the State to change your record.


  • How do I change my last name to my spouse's name after I get married?

    If you are interested in changing your last name to your new spouse's last name you do not need to file a Petition for Name Change. You should simply be able to show a certified copy of your marriage license to:
     
  • After a divorce, how do I get back my maiden name or other name I used before?

    You must handle this in the Family Court where you got your divorce. Follow these steps:

    Step 1

    Fill out form FL-395  (Restoration of Former Name) You can download this form by clicking on the link above, or from the forms page at the Judicial Council website, or buy a blank form at a bookstore or stationery store.

    Step 2

    File your form in the county where you got your divorce. Use the same case number you used for your divorce. You can do this in person or by mail. If you were divorced in Santa Clara County, send your request to: Family Court Family Law Division 191 No. First St. San Jose, CA 95113 For the filing fee, see the section "Ex parte application requiring a party to give notice of the ex parte appearance to other parties," on the local fee schedule .

    If you need a certified copy, please provide a self-addressed stamped envelope and the additional fee for this service (see Record Related Fees on the local fee schedule ).

© 2014 Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara