changing your name legally

You might spend your youth with the name you were given when you were born, but you may not have that name forever. There are several reasons why you might want to change your name at some point. You may get married or divorced, you could change it for protection, or you might change it for professional reasons. Whatever your reason is, there is a legal process to follow to change your first or last name, or both. There are different procedures depending on your situation. You may end up using a service such as EZ Name Change to get it done, but it’s always a good idea to understand how it works.

Change of First Name

You can change your first name if you wish in California. There are any number of reasons why you might want to do so. People change their first name if they are hiding from an abusive situation, transitioning to another gender, or just because they simply don’t like it. It is not difficult to qualify for a first name change.

The process starts by submitting a petition to the court to request to change your name. This involves filling out several forms. NC-100 is the petition form. NC-110 is an attachment to the petition. NC-120 is a form where you display cause for changing your name. Finally, form NC-130 is the decree that you are changing your name. Failure to submit all of these forms could result in your legal name change being denied or delayed.

After petitioning the court, you may be required to publish the fact that your name is changing. There is an exception to this for those who are changing their names due to concerns for their safety. After that, you will appear before a judge for a hearing. At this hearing you will explain to the judge the reason for the name change. At this point you are also required to show the court that you have published the name change.

Name Change Due to Marriage

Marriage is one of the most common reasons for someone to change their name. They may take their spouse’s name in place of their old name, or hyphenate their last name. The tradition of changing names is based on combining two families into one, and continuing on in life together. There are three primary things that you need to do to change your name.

Firstly, you will need to present a copy of the marriage certificate. This shows that you are legally married, and that you would like to change your name for this reason. When the name change is due to marriage, there is no court hearing necessary.

Next, you must apply for a name change with Social Security. Fill out for SS-5, which is the application to get a new social security card with your new name on it. Lastly, make sure to go to the DMV and change your name with them. You do not want to be pulled over with the wrong name on your license.

Name Change Due to Divorce

Unfortunately, many marriages end prematurely, which means that one spouse is left with a last name that is not their own. Some people just continue on with their most recent last name, but it is not a bad idea to change it back.

To do so, you must contact the court clerk to notify them that you intend to change your last name. They will require information about your marriage as well as the circumstances of the divorce. You will be required to present them with a copy of your Notice of Entry of Judgment. You are then required to fill out form FL-395. This form is an application to restore your last name to what it was prior to your marriage. The court will not allow you to change your name back without this form.

Once you have been approved to change your name back, you will once again have to get all of your documentation updated. The most important of which are your social security card and driver’s license. Make sure to update your passport as well, or else you may be prevented from crossing into other countries.

Notify Interested Parties

Most people don’t realize what wide-ranging effects changing your name can have. There are many people and organizations that will need to be advised of your updated name. Of course this step is easier for someone who changed their name for a reason such as marriage than it is for someone who changed their name for their protection. Make sure you are careful about who you notify if you do not want your new name to be compromised. You will need to update your banks, your employer, any government agencies you are involved with, your school, utility providers, and lenders. Create a list, and make sure that you update as many as you can think of so that you do not run into any issues down the road.

For some, changing a name can be a complicated process. There are services out there that can help with every step of the way. Make sure to fill out all of the required paperwork and notify everyone that you should, and your name change experience will go smoothly.


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