In order to change your child’s name, the judge must find that changing your child's name is in the best interest of your child.
If you are involved in a family law case like parentage, child support, or child custody, and there hasn't been a final judgment yet, you can ask that the name be changed as part of the family law case and you may not need to file a civil name change case. If you are not sure what type of case you should file, you should obtain legal advice from an attorney.
Forms Needed To Change Your Child's Name
If both parents agree to change the child’s name and are filing the case together then both parents will need to complete and sign the following forms:
Internet: For free, you can log onto www.courts.ca.gov and click on “Forms & Rules” and then “Browse All Forms.” You can locate the forms needed by clicking on the Name Changes group of forms and then by form number.
Court Clerk’s Office: For $5, you may obtain a packet of blank forms from:
San Luis Obispo Courthouse Annex: 1035 Palm St., Room 385
Paso Robles Courthouse: 901 Park St. Room 105
Court Filing Fee: The Court will charge a fee to file this case. If you want to apply for a fee waiver, each parent may complete their own Request to Waive Court Fees and an Order on Court Fee Waiver.
Newspaper Fee: In addition to the Court filing fee, you will need to pay the newspaper a fee to publish your Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (NC-120). Publishing the name change request in a local newspaper is required and the Court cannot waive the newspaper fee.
Overview of the Process
Complete Forms: Complete the forms listed above. Both parents should be listed on the forms as the Petitioner and both parents must sign the Attachment to Petition for Change of Name and the Civil Case Cover Sheet.
Make Copies: Make 2 copies of all the original documents listed above. You should have 1 original and 2 copies.
File the Originals, Copies and 2 Self-Addressed Envelopes with the Court: You must file the original and copies with the Court. In addition, give the Court Clerk two self-addressed stamped envelopes. The Clerk will use these envelopes to mail you your hearing date and copies of your court order. You may file at any one of our three courthouses in San Luis Obispo, Grover Beach or Paso Robles.
Publish in the Newspaper: The Court Clerk will mail you a filed copy of your Order to Show Cause for Change of Name. When you receive this document in the mail you must take it to the newspaper listed on your Order to Show Cause for Change of Name. You must instruct the newspaper to publish the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name in the newspaper once a week for 4 weeks in a row. The newspaper will charge a fee to publish in the newspaper and the Court cannot waive this newspaper fee. The following are some of the newspapers that may publish.
New Times (805) 546-8208
The Tribune (805) 781-7800
Go to your Hearing: Both parents must go to court on the day of your scheduled hearing. You should bring to court the proof of publication from the newspaper if you did not previously file it with the Court.
Get your Court Order to Change Name: At the hearing, the judge may either grant or deny your request to change your child’s name. If the judge grants the request to change name then the court clerk may give you a copy of the order on the day of the hearing or you will receive a copy of the order in the mail within a few days.
Get a Certified Copy of the Order: After one week from the date of your hearing, you may come to the Court Clerk’s Office where your case was heard and request a certified copy of the Decree Changing Name (NC-130). You will need to purchase a certified copy of your court order to change your child’s birth certificate, social security card, passport, and other legal documents.