Start the name change process

The first step in the name change process is filling out court forms.

Use different instructions if you're changing your name as part of a divorce or to match your gender identity

There are different steps to change your name to a former name as part of a divorce, or to change your name to match your gender identity.

Before you start

You need the name of a newspaper to publish your request in

The court requires you to publish your request in the notices section of a newspaper. If you live in California, you need the name of the newspaper where you plan to publish to complete these forms. You must publish in a newspaper of general circulation that publishes legal notices in the county where you file your case (the county where you live). Ask the court where you will file your case if they have a list of newspapers you can choose from.

Contact the newspapers to find out the cost. The cost to publish can vary a lot. Call several papers to find out the cost and what works best for you. If you change your mind later and want to change newspapers, you will have to re-do your forms and may need to postpone your court date.

If you live out of state, you have it published where you live.  You will need to find out what newspapers qualify as a newspaper of general circulation that publishes legal notices where you live. But, you do not need to list the name of the paper on the form.

How to fill out forms to change your name

  • Fill out forms

    You will need to fill out these forms:

    • Petition for Change of Name (form NC-100)
    • Name and Information about the Person Whose Name is to be Changed (form NC-110) (and attach it to the NC-100)
    • Order to Show CauseChange of Name (form NC-120)
    • Civil Case Cover Sheet (form CM-010) (some courts do not require this form)
    • Decree Changing Name Form (form NC-130) (fill out the boxes at the top and Item 3)

    If you are changing your name and you're in the:

    • State Witness Program, or
    • Safe at Home address confidentiality program and are changing your name to avoid domestic violence, stalking, or human trafficking, or are a victim of sexual assault,

    then, you can ask the court to keep your name change confidential. Talk to your Self-Help Center to find out options. 

    If you're worried about safety, there are people that can help you come up with a safety plan to keep you safe at home, work, school, other places that you go, and online. To learn more about creating a plan, go to the National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-SAFE.

    You will need to pay a fee when you file the forms ($435 - $450).  

    If you can't afford the fee, fill out another form to ask for a fee waiver.

    You can download the forms or you can use an online program to fill them out.

    Fill out forms online

  • Find out if you have any local forms to fill out

    Some courts also have local forms you have to use.

    Contact your court clerk’s office, check your court’s website, or talk to your Self-Help Center to ask if they have any local forms you need to use. Your Self-Help Center may also be able to review your forms before you file them.

  • Make Copies

    Make at least 2 copies of all of your forms. When you file them, the court will keep the original and return the copies to you, stamped.

    Keep one of the copies for yourself. The other copy is to publish the request in the newspaper.

Name change for an adult

What's next?

Once you’ve completed the forms, you’ll file them with the court clerk.

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