Depending on the state you reside in, the petition for a name change may be filed in a circuit, district, superior, or supreme court. 

In California, the process for changing your child’s name is pretty straightforward, but your filing options can vary depending on the following, if:

  • Both parents agree to file together
  • Only one parent is filing for a name change
  • You are the child’s guardian

Petitioning to change a child’s name can be a stand alone case, or also be a part of a final judgment if you are already involved with a family law case, such as child support, child custody, adoption, or parentage.

Are the Requirements for Adult Name Changes the Same for Children?

The requirements are similar, but due to the child’s best interest standard, there is an additional parental factor to consider. Parental rights means that each parent of a child has certain legal rights; one is notification when the other parent wants to change the child’s name.

Is Notice Required for Child Name Changes?

Yes, typically notice is required when you want to change a child’s name. The Order to Show Cause for Change of Name form needs to be published, typically in a newspaper, to let people know that you are changing your child’s name. The purpose of giving notice is to allow others a chance to object to the name change.

Providing notice to the other parent about the name change is crucial. If you don’t know the whereabouts of the other parent, then you must prove to the court that you made every effort to locate him/her. This can include:

  • Asking friends or family members
  • Looking up public records

Are There Any Situations Where Notice Is Not Required?

Yes, notice is not necessarily required when the goal is to protect a child or avoid a specific harm. Notice is not required in situations involving:

Do I Need an Attorney for My Child's Name Change?

Consulting a family lawyer about a name change is always a wise thing to do.  An experienced attorney near you can explain the impact a name change will have on your child, as well as help you through the legal process of changing your child’s name.