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How To Get a Legal Name Change After Divorce in California

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Is it Easy to Change Your Name After a Divorce?

The court understands that many people want to change their name after going through the divorce process. Fortunately, the state of California makes it easy to legally change your name either during your divorce or after. If you are looking to have your name legally changed after a divorce in California, we are here to help. Our experienced family law team can provide effective guidance and advice on all the legal aspects of getting a name change.

In California, you may choose an entirely new name or return to a former surname (or even your maiden name). Regardless of what choice you make, you must follow specific guidelines for changing your name after divorce in order for it to be official. Divorce is a highly personal matter, and so is changing your name. We recommend that you seek legal counsel when making these kinds of important decisions. Although divorce can be strenuous and emotionally taxing, finalizing a divorce and getting a name change can help usher a brand new start to your life. For more information, call our firm today at (858) 434-1020.

What is the Process for Changing Your Name in California?

In most cases, the process is relatively straightforward. However, your situation may vary slightly depending on your circumstances.

Here’s a quick overview of the process:

Filling Out Forms

The process of changing your name begins with filling out the necessary forms. In California, you will need to fill out a Petition for Name Change form and provide a copy of your marriage certificate. If your divorce is finalized, include the case number, name, and county where it was filed. Include a self-addressed envelope so the judge can review, sign, and send the form back to you. Be sure to fill out the form completely, including your current legal name and your requested new name.

If there are minor children involved in the divorce, their consent must also be indicated on one of the forms. The court has to approve any proposed name changes for minors as well.

Filing Forms

Turn in or mail the form to the court where your divorce case was filed. You may have to pay a small fee if your court requires it. You may also be asked to submit other documents, such as proof of residency or a valid driver’s license, at this time.

Attending a Court Hearing if Required

In most cases, you will not be required to go to court to change your name after a divorce. However, special circumstances may require you to attend a hearing. During this time, you may need to provide additional evidence or documents as needed. If you are required to go to court, it is recommended that you get a lawyer to represent you before a judge. Plus, an experienced family lawyer will ensure that you have all the necessary documents filed and filled out before court.

Getting a Certified Copy of Signed Forms

If the judge reviews and signs your forms at any point, request a certified copy from the court. The Social Security Administration and the Department of Motor Vehicles will both ask for certified copies of these documents to change your name in their records. You may have to pay a small fee to request certified copies.

The entire process of changing your name after divorce can be complicated and overwhelming for anyone. To ensure that you are protected throughout the process, it is best to seek guidance from an experienced family law attorney who can help you navigate all the legal aspects of getting a name change in California.

Can You Change Your Name During the Divorce Process?

If you are just starting the divorce process in California, you can make a name change request when you file the divorce petition. Either spouse can have their former name restored to their previous name before marriage. You can also take an entirely new name if you’d like.

If you’ve already filed the divorce petition but your divorce is not finalized yet, you can still request a name change. Simply fill out and submit the required forms before the entry of judgment to include them in the divorce documents. Then, a judge will review and sign them along with the rest of your divorce petition. Sometimes this request can simply be included in the Marital Settlement Agreement.

Are My Records Automatically Updated With a New Name?

Your records will still show your previous legal name even after your name change is approved. You must submit a name change request to any legal entities, like the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Social Security Administration, to reflect your new name. These entities will likely ask for certified copies of your name change documents and your ID to update your name on file.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Change My Name?

While hiring a lawyer isn’t strictly necessary for the name change process, it is highly recommended to seek legal counsel. Changing your name can be a complicated process, especially if you are seeking a brand-new name and not a return to a previous one. Hiring a lawyer will expedite the name-change process and make it much easier for you to complete it.

We can provide comprehensive legal support every step of the way. Our knowledgeable attorneys are here to answer any questions you may have about changing your name after divorce in California. Contact Khosroabadi & Hill today for help navigating this process by calling (858) 434-1020. We understand how difficult it can be to go through a divorce and all that comes with it. Let us help you reclaim your identity and start anew with your new name.

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