Publish Form NC-120 in the newspaper

After you file your forms, you need to have the Order to Show Cause (form NC-120) published in a newspaper once a week for 4 weeks.  

Before you start

You must publish the Order to Show Cause at least 4 weeks before your court date

Contact the newspaper you chose right away so you have enough time to publish. You must publish the Order to Show Cause once a week for 4 weeks in a row before your court date. If you don't, your case can be delayed.

You do not have to publish your request if you filed forms to keep your request confidential because your child is in either of these programs:

  • Address confidentiality program (Safe at Home) and you’re changing their name to avoid domestic violence, stalking, or human trafficking or are a victim of sexual assault
  •  State Witness Protection Program 

Find our more in Form NC-400-INFO.

How to publish your Order to Show Cause

  • Contact the newspaper

    Get in touch with the newspaper listed on your Order to Show Cause (form NC-120). (If you live out of state, you would not have listed a newspaper on the NC-120).

    Ask them:

    • How to get the Order to Show Cause (form NC-120) to them. That is the form that gets published.
    • How to pay them for the publication.
    • If there is enough time to publish your form before your court date, once a week for 4 weeks in a row.
    • How you will get the proof of publication back from them proving that your form was published the required number of weeks.
    If you live in California and had to write the name of the newspaper on your Order to Show Cause (form NC-120), you have to publish in the newspaper you wrote on your NC-120. If you want to change newspapers: 
    1. Fill out a new Order to Show Cause (form NC-120). Keep everything the same as you had it except for the newspaper. Write in the newspaper you want to use now.
    2. Write "Amended" right before the title of the form "Order to Show Cause—Change of name"
      Amended Order
    3. Make 2 copies of your form.
    4. File the original plus 2 copies with the court clerk.
    5. If there’s enough time to publish, you’ll likely get the same court date. If there isn’t, the clerk will give you a new court date.

    If you file an Amended Order to Show Cause, both the original one and the amended one will have to be served on the other parent.

  • Give newspaper copy of order and pay fee

    Give the Order to Show Cause to the newspaper. Tell them it must be published once per week, 4 weeks in a row.

    Pay the newspaper for the publication. Your court fee waiver will not waive the newspaper fee.

  • Check the proof of publication gets filed

    If the newspaper was going to mail the proof of publication to you, file it with the court clerk before your court date.

    If the newspaper told you they would file the proof of publication, check with your court to make sure it was filed. You may be able to check on your court's website to see if it was filed.

Name change for child when only one parent files

What's next?

Once you’ve given the newspaper the order to publish, your next step is serve your child's other parent if you haven't already. Then, learn what to expect at the hearing.

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