File a Petition to Change Your Name

The court process of getting a court order after filing a Petition for Change of Name can take up to 3 months. First, you file your petition. Then, you will get a court date between 6 and 12 weeks away. If you follow all the required steps and the court approves your request, you will get a court order called a "decree" changing your name. Some courts are busier than others and it may take longer.

To ask the court to change your name, follow these steps:

1. Fill out your court forms

Fill out these forms:

Some courts also require you to fill out local forms to ask for a name change, like a criminal background information form. Ask your local court clerk if there are local forms you have to fill out. You may be able to find your court's local form on your superior court's website. Make sure to keep copies of any local forms you fill out.

2. Have your 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.

3. Make at least 2 copies of all your forms

The court will keep the original. One copy is for you; the other is for the publication in a newspaper.

4. File your forms with the court clerk

The clerk will stamp your forms with “Filed,” keep the original and return the copies to you. The Order to Show Cause will have information on your court date, time, and department number. 

You will have to pay a filing fee. Find out how much the filing fee is for a first petition (sometimes called a “first appearance” or “first papers”). If you cannot afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver.

5. Publish the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name

In most cases you must publish the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (Form NC-120) in a newspaper of general circulation once a week for 4 weeks in a row. Your court most likely has a list of newspapers that are approved for publishing legal notices.

The cost for publication can vary greatly between newspapers and your court fee waiver will not waive your publication fees. So it is very important that you check the price of publishing BEFORE you put the name of the newspaper in the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name . This is because once the judge signs the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name you must publish in the newspaper listed on the form. You cannot change the form after it is signed by the judge.

6. Go to your court hearing

Go to court on your hearing date and take your proof that the Order to Show Cause was published in the newspaper along with the Decree Changing Name (Form NC-130) for the judge to sign.

7. Get your Decree Changing Name from the court

If the judge approves your request for a change of name, the judge will sign the Decree Changing Name (Form NC-130). Once you get your signed decree, get a certified copy from the court clerk. You will need this to change all your legal documents, including your birth certificate, social security card, and other government-issued identification like your passport or driver’s license.

Related Information:

Domestic Violence
If you're a victim of domestic violence, click to learn more about keeping your change of name confidential.

Name Change Denied
In some limited cases, the judge may not agree to change your name. Click to learn about the main reasons why your petition may be denied.
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