Start the name change process for your child

You start the process of changing your child's name by filling out court forms.

These instructions are if only one parent will sign the request. 


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 your child lives). Ask the court where you will file the 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 not where you're filing. 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 a child’s name

  • Download the forms or fill them out online

    Download and fill out these forms:

    • Petition for Change of Name (form NC-100)
    • Attachment to Petition for Change of Name (form NC-110). You need 1 of these attachments for each person whose name you want to change. Sign each attachment. Then, attach to the NC-100.
    • Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (form NC-120)
    • Decree Changing Name (form NC-130) (Fill out the boxes at the top and Item 3.)
    • Civil Case Cover Sheet (form CM-010) (some courts do not require this form)


    If you are changing your child's name and your child is in the:

    • State Witness Program, or
    • Safe at Home address confidentiality program and are changing your child's 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 child's name change confidential. You will still need to serve the other parent. 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 have more 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. You court's Self-Help Center staff may be able to review the forms before you file them.

  • Make copies

    Make at least 3 copies of all of your forms. When you file them, the court will keep the original and return the copies to you, stamped.

    One copy is for you. The second copy is to serve your child’s other parent. The third copy is to publish the request in the newspaper.


What's next?

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

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