Disclaimer: This guide is intended as general information only. Your case may have factors requiring different procedures or forms. The information and instructions are provided for use in the Sacramento County Superior Court. Please keep in mind that each court may have different requirements. If you need further assistance, consult a lawyer.
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This packet contains:
Name Change Step-by-Step Instructions
- Civil Case Cover Sheet (CM-010)
- Petition for Change of Name (NC-100)
- Attachment to Petition for Change of Name (NC-110)
- Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (NC-120)
- Decree Changing Name (NC-130)
- Proof of Service of Order to Show Cause (NC-121)
- Declaration of Diligent Search and Request to Dispense with Notice Declaration of Minor (MC-030)
Fee Waiver Step-by-step Instructions
- Request to Waive Court Fees (FW-001)
- Order on Court Fee Waiver (FW-003)
List of Newspapers of General Circulation
Although Californians have the right to simply use any name they wish, obtaining a driver's license, Social Security card, or other government-issued document with a new name now requires a court-ordered name change. California law (California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §§ 1275 et seq.) provides a fairly simple procedure for adults to obtain a court-ordered name change for themselves or their children. To file a Petition for Change of Name in the Sacramento County Superior court, you must reside in Sacramento County, and provide documentation proving your residency.
Victims or survivors of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault may be eligible to obtain a confidential name change through California's Safe at Home Program. If you require a confidential name change, please visit California's Safe at Home program at http://www.sos.ca.gov/safeathome before filing any documents with the court. You may also contact the program by calling (877) 322-5227 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. gov.
If you require assistance with the process to change your name and gender and the issuance of a new birth certificate, or you are a legal guardian (not a parent) attempting to change the name of a minor, the Sacramento County Public Law Library Civil Self-Help Center (CSHC) can help you via appointment. To obtain an appointment, you must be at the Law Library by 8:30 a.m. to participate in our appointment-setting lottery. For more information on the CSHC and our appointment setting process, see http://www.saclaw.org/ pages/civil-self-help-center.aspx.
If you are restoring your name after a dissolution of marriage, you may complete an "Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name after Entry of Judgment and Order" (FL-395), and file it at the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse at 3341 Power Inn Road.
This Guide is intended to provide simple instructions on how to prepare, copy, assemble, and serve the forms involved in a civil name change. If you need further assistance completing the papers, the CSHC holds a Name Change Workshop every Monday from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. A video of that workshop is available on our website at http://www. saclaw.org/pages/selfhelp_video.aspx. Both the live workshop and the video workshop are free of charge.
STEP 1. COMPLETE YOUR FORMS
The California Judicial Council has created simple fill-in-the-blanks forms for most aspects of a legal name change. These forms may be used to change an adult's name, a child's name, or the names of multiple family members. The required forms are accessible from the California Courts website at http://courts.ca.gov/forms.htm.
Instructions for completing the necessary forms are included in this packet. The forms needed for a name change are:
In certain situations, you may need additional forms to complete a name change:
Proof of Service of Order to Show Cause (NC-121)
If only one parent petitions the court to change a minor's name, the other parent must be served with the Order to Show Cause, and the server must complete this Proof of Service form. See Step 6 for more information.
Declaration re: Service on Other Parent If the other parent cannot be served because their location is unknown, the petitioning parent must submit a declaration to the court detailing all attempts made to locate the other parent. For tips on locating the absent parent, see the "Finding People & Businesses" guide, available on our website at http://www.saclaw.org /pages/finding-people.aspx.
Declaration of Minor (use Declaration (MC-030)) If changing the name of a minor over the age of 12, the minor must write a declaration agreeing to the name change.
Fee Waiver Forms If you wish to ask the court to waive all or part of your court filing fees ($435 as of 11/1/2013), or allow you to make payments over time, you will need to complete the Request for Fee Waiver (FW-001) and Order on Fee Waiver (FW-003). Detailed instructions for completing these forms are available on the "Fee Waiver" guide available at the end of this guide, and on our website at http://www.saclaw.org/ pages/fee-waiver.aspx. If you need another blank FW-001 or FW-003, you can download it from the California Courts website at http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm.
STEP 2: PROOFREAD
There are several common errors that pop up in name change paperwork. The most common mistakes are:
- Legibility. Be sure that all names, both the current name(s), and the proposed name(s), are spelled out completely in each place they are supposed to appear (no initials or omitted names) and that they are typed or printed legibly.
- Current Name and Proposed Name confusion. In all places on the form, the current name (the one you are changing from) is used, except where it specifies “Proposed Name” which is the name that you (or the person whose name is being changed) want to end up with.
The Petitioner’s name is the current full legal name of the person(s) filing this petition. If an adult’s name is being changed, they are the petitioner. If a minor’s name is being changed, the parent(s) will be the petitioner(s). If both parents are petitioning, list both names.
Be sure to check the appropriate boxes in, and sign, the Declaration that appears in the box on the Attachment to Petition for Change of Name (NC-110), unless the Attachment is for a minor. Failure to check appropriate boxes or sign this Declaration will cause the request to be denied.
- Be sure that you have specified the newspaper that will be used for publication on the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (NC-120).
STEP 3: MAKE COPIES AND ASSEMBLE FOR FILING
Make two copies of all of the forms, except the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (NC-120). Make three copies of Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (NC-120).
Assemble your packet as follows:
- Request to Waive Court Fees (FW-001) plus two copies beneath it, if requesting fees to be waived.
Order on Court Fee Waiver (FW-003) plus two copies beneath it, if requesting fees to be waived.
Civil Case Cover Sheet (CM-010) plus two copies beneath it. It is acceptable to omit the 2nd page, which consists of instructions only, on both the original and copies.
Petition for Change of Name (NC-100) with an Attachment to Petition for Change of Name (NC-110) for each person whose name is to be changed plus any other declarations, plus two copies of the packet (the Petition, Attachment, & Declaration(s)) beneath it.
Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (NC-120), original plus three copies beneath it.
- Decree Changing Name (NC-130), original plus two copies beneath it.
Documentation of Sacramento County residency. Pursuant to Sacramento County Superior Court Local Rule 2.19, a copy of at least two of the following must be submitted as verification of residence:
- Utility bill reflecting services to the place of residence for a period of 90 days immediately preceding filing of the petition (electric, gas, cable, water, sewer or garbage);
- Current residential lease/rental agreement, or property deed;
- Valid California Driver License or California State-issued ID;
- Department of Motor Vehicle registration
In the Sacramento Superior Court, because documents are scanned into a computer, any multiple-page original documents are left unstapled, while each copy is stapled.
STEP 4: FILING/FEES
You should take your completed packets to the civil filing window in Room 102 on the first floor of the Courthouse at 720 Ninth Street. Name change filings are accepted only on Wednesdays. The clerk will assign a hearing date, and provide you with stamped (endorsed) copies of your forms.
No filing fees will be collected at the time of filing if you are filing Fee Waiver request. You should receive your signed Order on Court Fee Waiver (FW-030) in about five court days.
If you are not requesting your fees to be waived (or if your fee waiver is denied), your filing fee is the current fee for filing an unlimited civil case ($435 as of 11/1/2013). Check the current fee schedule at http://saccourt.ca.gov/indexes/fees-forms.aspx .
STEP 5: PUBLISH IN A NEWSPAPER
After filing, take an endorsed (court-stamped) Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (NC-130) showing the date, time and department of your hearing to the newspaper that you specified in your Petition. Each newspaper sets its own rate for publication, and its own policy as to whether the paper files the Proof of Publication, or whether they give it to you and require you to file it with the court yourself. If your selected newspaper requires you to file the Proof of Publication yourself, remember to do so before your hearing date. It is recommended that you file the Proof of Publication as soon as your Order to Show Cause is published four times, to minimize the chance of any delay in the proceedings. The Proof of Publication must be filed prior to the hearing date. These Name Change documents are only accepted for filing on Wednesdays.
Most newspapers are familiar with publishing an Order to Show Cause for Change of Name (NC-120), and will quote a flat rate for all four required weekly publications. When it is published, the text of the Order to Show Cause will typically be printed in a narrow column in the legal notices section of the classified ads. Please be aware that each newspaper is a private company, and the fee to publish the Order to Show Cause is not waived by a court fee waiver. A list of newspapers with estimated prices is at the end of this Guide.
STEP 6: SERVE THE OTHER PARENT
If the person whose name is being changed is a minor, and both parents do not sign the Petition, it is necessary to have the non-signing parent served with a copy of the Order to Show Cause no later than 30 days prior to the listed hearing date, and to have the Proof of Service of Order to Show Cause (NC-121) filed at the court before the hearing date. These Name Change documents are only accepted for filing on Wednesdays.
If the other parent lives in California, that parent must be personally served with the Order to Show Cause. Someone over the age of 18 who is not a petitioner in the case must personally hand a copy of the Order to Show Cause to the other parent. The person who serves the other parent must then complete a Proof of Service of Order to Show Cause (NC-121). The Law Library has a short, informative video about personal service at http://www.saclaw.org/uploads/media/personal-service.htm.
If the other parent lives outside of California, that parent may be served by first class mail, postage prepaid, with a return receipt requested. The mailing must be done by someone over the age of 18 who is not a petitioner in the case. The person who does the mailing to the other parent must complete a Proof of Service of Order to Show Cause (NC-121), a copy of which is mailed along with the Order to Show Cause to the other parent. Once the return receipt is received, it is attached to the original Proof of Service that is copied and filed with the court.
The original and two copies of the Proof of Service of Order to Show Cause (NC-121) must be filed with the Court prior to the hearing. It is recommended that you file the Proof of Service of Order to Show Cause (NC-121) as soon as service is complete to minimize the chance of any delay in the proceedings.
If the other parent cannot be served because their location is unknown, the petitioning parent must submit a declaration to the court, detailing all attempts made to locate the other parent. A sample declaration is included in this packet. For tips on locating the absent parent, see our "Finding People & Businesses" guide, available on our website at http://www.saclaw.org/pages/finding-people.aspx.
STEP 7: CHECK THE TENTATIVE RULINGS
In Sacramento County, the court departments handling name changes use a tentative ruling system. In these departments, the judge renders a decision the court day before the scheduled hearing date. The tentative ruling is available by 2 p.m. the day prior to the scheduled hearing. The tentative ruling will become the final ruling on the matter, unless either party asks for the hearing to be held. If you would like the judge to hear oral arguments on the matter, you must notify the other party, the other party's attorney, and the department clerk of your intent to appear at the hearing no later than 4 p.m. the day before the scheduled hearing. If you do not give this notice, your hearing will be taken off the schedule. The tentative ruling will become the final ruling of the court. California Rule of Court 3.1308.
Your tentative ruling will be located within a list of the tentative rulings for all matters that Department is deciding for the day. You can locate your case by number or by the original name of the person whose name is to be changed. The case will be listed as "In Re: [THE CURRENT NAME OF THE PERSON WHOSE NAME IS TO BE CHANGED]." For further instructions about accessing tentative rulings, see the "Tentative Ruling System" guide on our website at http://www.saclaw.org/pages/tentative-rulings.aspx. If you are unable to access the Internet, you may call the court to have a deputy clerk read the tentative ruling to you. The phone number is 916-874-5242.
If the tentative ruling indicates:
- Your change of name is granted, the Courtroom Clerk will mail you a certified copy (with the court seal) of the Decree Changing Name (NC-130). You do not need to appear.
- Your change of name is granted upon proper proof of publication, you will need to bring a copy of the proof of publication to the court by 9 a.m. on the scheduled hearing date. You will not need to appear at the hearing. The court will mail you a certified copy (with the court seal) of the Decree Changing Name (NC-130).
- Your appearance is required, you must appear in court at the date and time indicated on your Order to Show Cause.
STEP 8: AFTER THE NAME CHANGE IS GRANTED
To amend a California birth certificate, you will need to contact the California Office of Vital Records. You will be required to include a certified copy of the Decree Changing Name (NC-130) in order to complete the process with this agency.
Visit http://www.cdph.ca.gov or call (916) 445-2684 for more information regarding the California Office of Vital Records and any services they provide. To amend birth records from other states, contact the jurisdiction (county/state) that issued the birth certificate to get information about their filing procedures.
The Sacramento County Public Law Library Civil Self-Help Center's Name Change Workshop provides assistance to Sacramento County residents in completing all of these forms. The workshop is held every Monday at 1:30 p.m., and lasts approximately two hours. Please arrive early, and plan your parking and child care accordingly. Children under the age of twelve (12) are not permitted in the workshop.
If you can't make it to the workshop, or would prefer to complete the forms on your own, you can find instructions at the end of this guide, and from:
On the Web
Name Change Workshop Video http://www.saclaw.org/video2/name-change.html
This video from the Civil Self-Help Center walks viewers through all the paperwork necessary to petition the court for a name change.
California Courts Self-Help Website – Name Change
This website explains the name change process, and provides links to all the required forms.
Sacramento County Superior Court – Procedure: Petition For Change of Name/Gender
This guide provides detailed instructions for filing a petition for change of name in the Sacramento County Superior Court.
At the Law Library
How to Change Your Name in California KFC109 .L6 (Self-Help)
Electronic Access: From any computer (library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at http://www.saclaw.org/pages/nolo-ebooks.aspx.
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS GUIDE, OR IF YOU NEED HELP FINDING OR USING THE MATERIALS LISTED, DON'T HESITATE TO ASK A REFERENCE LIBRARIAN.
Created 11/12 mpj; Reviewed EN 11/13