This section tells you about:
- How Do I Change My Child’s Name?
- How Do I Change a Child’s Name If I Am the Guardian?
- What Do I Do with My Completed Forms?
- Serve the Papers on Absent Parent
- Who Can Serve the Court Papers?
- What Do I Do after I File My Forms?
- Where to Go on the Day and Time of the Hearing?
- How Do I Let People Know about My Child's New Name?
- Change the Name on Your Child’s Driver's License or California Id Card
- Change the Name on Your Child’s Social Security Card
- Change the Name on Your Child’s Birth Certificate
- Change the Name on Your Child’s School Records
- Change the Name for Insurance
- Change the Name on Your Child’s Passport
- Change the Name on Your Child’s Bank Accounts
- Change the Name on Your Child’s Public Assistance (Welfare)
- Change the Name on Your Child’s Tax Records
- Credit Cards, Legal and Other Important Documents
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. A name change petition can include both a parent and minor children. However, each parent will require a separate petition. To change your child’s name, you will need these forms:
- Form NC-100 Petition for Change of Name
- Form NC-110 Attachment to NC-100. Use a separate form for each child.
- Form NC-120 Order to Show Cause for Change of Name
- Form NC-130 Decree Changing Name. Use a separate form for each child.
- Form CM-010 Civil Case Cover Sheet
- Form NC-121 Proof of Service
If you can’t afford to pay the court fees, fill out these forms, too:
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 forms list or our Self-Help Centers. 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:
- 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 list of lawyer referral services located on the Self-Help resource webpage.
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:
WHAT DO I DO WITH MY COMPLETED FORMS?
- Form NC-100 original + two copies
- Form NC-120 original + two copies
- Form NC-130 original + two copies
- Form 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:
- NC-121 Proof of Service*
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.
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 civil 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.
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.
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.
WHAT DO I DO AFTER I FILE MY FORMS?
Take your filed-endorsed copies of NC-120 to a newspaper of general circulation in Orange County for publication (see Adjudicated Newspapers list). 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.
WHERE TO GO ON THE DAY AND TIME OF THE HEARING?
You and your minor child must go to court on the date of the hearing at the Central Justice Center, Civil Clerk’s Office, Room D100. If everything is in order and there are no objections, you can pick up the signed Decree Changing Name (NC-130).
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.
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.
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.
HOW TO CHANGE THE NAME ON YOUR CHILD’S SOCIAL SECURITY CARD?
Contact your local Social Security office. The Santa Ana office is at:
1851 EAST FIRST STREET
SANTA ANA, CA 92705
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).
HOW TO CHANGE THE NAME ON YOUR CHILD’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE
If your child was born in California, ask the Probate clerk at The Central Justice Center. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.