Guide for guardians changing a child's name to match their gender identity

If you are the child’s guardian and want to change their name to match their gender identify, you start by filing a Petition for Change of Name (form NC-100) and other forms. If the child's parents do not agree, they have the right to oppose your request. If either or both parents is deceased or cannot be found, you will have to let any living grandparents know.


If the judge approves your request, you will get a court order called a "decree" changing the child's name. The court process can take up to 3 months, though in busier courts it may take longer.

  • Fill out court forms

    • Petition for Change of Name (form NC-100)
    • Name and Information about the Person Whose Name is to be Changed (form NC-110) (attach to the NC-100)
    • Supplemental Attachment to Petition for Change of Name (Declaration of Guardian) (form NC-110G) (attach to the NC-100)
    • Order to Show CauseChange of Name to Conform to Gender Identity (form NC-125
    • Civil Case Cover Sheet (form CM-010)
    • Decree Changing Name of Minor (By Guardian) (form NC-130G) (fill out the top part)
    If the child is in State WitnessProgram or the address confidentiality program, your request may be kept confidential. Learn more
    Information Sheet for Name Change Proceedings Under Address Confidentiality Program (Safe at Home) (form NC-400-INFO) has instructions on how to keep a request confidential. If you are not sure what to do, talk to a lawyer or your court's self-help center
  • Check for local forms

    Some courts also require you to fill out local forms to ask for a name change. Ask your local court clerk if there are local forms you have to fill out. You may be able to find local court forms on your superior court's website.

  • Have forms reviewed

    If your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center helps people with name change cases, ask them to review your paperwork. They can make sure you filled it out properly before you move ahead with your case.

  • Make copies of all your forms

    The court will keep the original. One copy will be for you. One copy will go to each of the child's parents, or grandparents. 

  • File copies with the court clerk

    File all your forms with the copies in the court in the county where the child lives. The clerk will stamp your forms with “Filed,” keep the original and return the copies to you. 

    You will have to pay a filing fee of $435-$450. If you cannot afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver.

  • Serve parents or grandparents of the child

    Serve any of the child’s parents who did not sign the petition with a copy of the paperwork within 30 days from the date the Order to Show Cause (form NC-125) was issued. If either or both parents of the child are deceased or cannot be located, you must serve notice of the hearing on all living grandparents within that deadline.

    You need someone 18 or older, not you, to give each parent or grandparent a copy of the filed Petition, along with attachments, and the Order to Show CauseChange of Name to Conform to Gender Identity (form NC-125).

    The server has to fill out a Proof of Service of Order to Show Cause (Change of Name) (form NC-121) for each parent or grandparent served and give them to you. You have to file these proofs of service with the court.

    • If the parents or grandparents live in California, you must have someone serve them in person.
    • If a parent or grandparent lives outside California, you can serve the out-of-state parent by certified mail, return receipt requested. But, remember, you cannot mail the papers yourself.
  • Get your decree

    If the judge approves your request for a change of name to match the child's gender identity, the judge will sign the Decree Changing Name (Change of Name of Minor by Guardian) (Form NC-130G). Once you get your signed decree, get a certified copy from the court clerk. You will need this to change the child’s birth certificate, social security card, and other papers like a passport.