File your name change petition

Once you complete your forms, you need to file them with the court and pay a filing fee. If you can’t afford the fee, you can ask the court to waive it.

How to file forms with the court

  • Take your forms to the court clerk

    If you live in California, go to the Superior Court in the county where you live

    If there are different locations, check your court’s website, talk to your Self-Help Center, or find the closest court to you where Civil cases are filed.

    If you live out of state, you file in the county that issued the birth certificate you are changing or where the marriage was entered, if you're changing a marriage certificate. Get more information about where to file if you live out of state.

    Give the court clerk your forms

    At the courthouse, give the court clerk the original and the copies of your forms. The clerk will stamp the forms, keep the original and return the copies to you.

    The clerk will give you a court date

    When the clerk files the Order to Show CauseChange of Name (form NC-120), they will write a court date on it. This is when the judge will make a decision on your name change request.

    You will need the Order to Show Cause (form NC-120) to publish in the newspaper before the court date.

    Yes, you can file by mail. Mail the original and 2 copies to the clerk. You need to include the filing fee and a self-addressed stamped envelope so the clerk can mail your copies back to you. Make sure to include enough postage. If you do not include a self-addressed stamped envelope, you will have to go to the courthouse to pick up your copies.

    Some courts allow online filing (called efling). You can find out if your court has online filing on your court's website.

  • Pay a filing fee

    You’ll need to pay a fee of $435-$450 to the clerk when you file your forms, or file your forms to ask for a fee waiver.

    If you can’t afford the fee, you can ask the clerk for a fee waiver. You may qualify for a fee waiver if:

    • You receive public benefits
    • Your income is less than a set amount
    • You can’t afford the fee and meet your basic needs

    The fee waiver will cover court fees, not the fee to publish in the newspaper.

  • Ask the clerk about your court’s steps

    The next steps can vary by court. 

    In some courts, you must go to your court date listed on the paperwork to get the judge's decision. In others, you only go to the court date if someone objects. In these courts, if no one objects and you followed all steps, you can pick up a signed name change order from the court clerk. 

    When you file, ask the clerk how your court handles this final step. 

    If you are in jail or prison, or on parole, you will have to give a copy of your Petition, form NC-100 and the NC-110 attachment to:
    • If you are in state prison, have the warden notified. Ask the warden's office how.
    • If you are in county jail, have the county sheriff’s department notified. Ask the sheriff’s office how.
    • If you are on parole, notify the regional parole administrator of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Ask the administrator’s office how.

    Get step-by-step instructions on how to notify the jail, prison, or CDCR.

Name change for an adult

What's next?

Once you’ve filed your forms, your next step is to publish your request.

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