How to legally change your name in California (and why I know)

Hello My Name is YOUR NAME

Earlier this week, I filed my paperwork to legally change my name to “Rusty Blazenhoff,” a chosen name I have been using for nearly 20 years.

A lot of people have been asking me what the process is for legally changing your name in California, so I decided to write it up. I am in Alameda County and I have no special requirements, so YMMV.

It’s simple-ish.

First, go here and read up:

Then, fill out these forms (you can also fill the paperwork out at the courthouse, they have copies):

Petition for Change of Name:
Attachment to Petition for Change of Name:
Order to Show Cause for Change of Name:
Civil Case Cover Sheet: (check Other petition)

You should have an idea what newspaper you will be publishing your “Order to Show Cause for Change of Name” classified ad prior to filing. Though, you can ask for a recommendation from the court when you file. I used a small local newspaper. They charged $99 for the required 4 weeks.

Go to your court clerk with a check for $435 (or, if you can’t afford that, ask for a fee waiver) and file your paperwork.

You will be given a hearing date. Mine is January 23, 2015.

Place your Legals classified ad by emailing or calling the newspaper. You will get them a copy of the FILED “Order to Show Cause for Change of Name.”

They will email you back with the ad’s proof, which you should look over carefully. When it runs in the paper, they will send the required copy to the court for you.

Next: show up for your hearing date and have the judge make it all official and stuff.

Then, with your approved Decree, change all your legal documents: Driver’s license, credit cards, bank accounts, etc.

Lastly: YAY! It cost a lot and it took a lot of time but now you are free of your other name! FREEDOM.

I am going to be sharing the story behind my name (and why doing so is a big turning point for me) soon in my new newsletter. If you’d like to hear it, or if you’d just like to be part of my newsletter experiment, go HERE. Thanks!