Legal name change allows you to change the name on your government documents. You might change your legal name because you’ve never used it, because it no longer suits you, or because you want a name that matches your gender identity. There are many reasons people file for a legal name change.
Sacramento County residents must file at the Sacramento Superior Court. If you live in California but do not live in Sacramento County, you must file for a name change in the county where you live. For more information, please visit the California Courts’ Name Change page - external link. If you are not a California resident but would like to change a certificate issued by this county, you may file in Sacramento.
If you want to change your name back to your old name during or after a divorce, you can usually do this as part of that case. If you want to add or remove the name of a parent on your child’s birth certificate, you need to start a paternity case in family court. Contact the Family Law Facilitator’s Office for more information.
**If you were born outside of California and want to amend your Birth Certificate, check with Vital Records in the state where you were born to see if they require certain information on the Decree before you file. If you need help, please contact our office.
It costs $435 to file a Name Change Petition. If you cannot afford the filing fee, file a Fee Waiver at the same time you file your Name Change forms.
The Court’s Fee Waiver does not cover the cost of publication. Look at the list of approved publishers to choose a newspaper that fits your needs and budget.
To fill out the forms, you may need a copy of your Birth Certificate, Social Security Card, Naturalization Certificate, etc. When you fill out the name to be changed, it must match your government documents exactly.
If you are asking the Court to order the issuance of a new Birth Certificate for your child(ren) or a Marriage License issued in California, you may need a copy of the original certificate to help you complete certain forms.
If you have additional questions about how to complete the forms for any type of name change, please contact our office.
You can use the Law Help Interactive interview program below if you are filing:
- Adult Name Change
- Adult Name Change to Conform to Gender Identity (no change of gender marker)
- Adult Recognition of Change of Gender and Sex Identifier + Change of Name &/or Issuance of New Certificates
- Minor Name Change to Conform to Gender Identity (no change of gender marker)
- Minor Name Change
The interview program cannot be used to ask the Court to recognize a change to a minor’s gender and sex identifier. Please see below for additional instructions on this petition.
During the Law Help Interactive interview, you may be asked to choose a newspaper to publish a notice of the name change. Everyone must publish the name change in a newspaper (list available here), EXCEPT name changes under the Safe at Home Program - external link or any name change to affirm gender identity.
Click the button below to use Law Help Interactive to help you fill out your forms.
Printable instructions and forms can be found here.
We do not have a form-filler for a Petition for Recognition of Change of Gender and for Issuance of New Birth Certificate and Change of Name.
Fill out these forms and print them out: Petition for Recognition of Change of Gender and For Issuance of New Birth Certificate AND Change of Name.
If you are a participant in the Safe at Home Confidential Address Program, offered through the California Secretary of State’s Office, you can apply for a confidential name change. Contact an enrolling agency to see if you qualify for this program. For more information, click here - external link.
Before you file the petition, you need to submit a Notice of Intent of Name Change to the Safe at Home Program. They will provide you a letter that you will turn in with your petition. Bring your card when you file.
Complete these forms and print them out: Petition for Change of Name Under the Address Confidentiality Program (Safe at Home) Packet (CV/E-142-S).
Once you are done with the interview, print your forms, and follow the signature and copy instructions on the first page. If you did not use the interview or lost the instructions, you can find them here.
If you are not filing a Request to Waive Fees (FW-001), the filing fee is $435. You can pay in person by cash, money order, a check made out to “Sacramento Superior Court,” or by credit card. If mailing your forms you must include a check made out to “Sacramento Superior Court.
To Submit Your Completed forms + copies with the $435 filing fee (or fee waiver):
Sacramento Superior Court
720 9th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
By Drop Box or In Person:
Hall of Justice Building
813 6th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
|8:30 AM - 12:30 PM||8:30 AM - 12:30 PM||8:30 AM - 12:30 PM||8:30 AM - 12:30 PM||8:30 AM - 12:30 PM|
|1:30 PM - 4:00 PM||1:30 PM - 4:00 PM||1:30 PM - 4:00 PM||CLOSED||1:30 PM - 4:00 PM|
If you are not changing your name to something that affirms your gender identity, the next step is to send a copy of the Order to Show Cause (NC-120) to the newspaper you chose. They will take your form, and write up a classified style ad that will run once a week for 4 weeks in a row.
The newspaper will either send Proof of Publication directly to the Court, or they will send it to you, and you will send it to the Court. The Court needs a copy of the Proof of Publication before the judge can grant an order to change your name.
Between 2:00 PM 4:00 PM on the business day before your hearing is scheduled, go online to see if the judge granted your request. Check your tentative ruling here.
Here are some examples of what your tentative ruling might say, and what you might do in each situation.
|The petition for name change is GRANTED.||You do not need to come to Court. The judge will sign the Decree and Certified copies will be mailed to the address provided on your forms.|
|The petition for change of name is granted on the condition that proof of publication is filed at or prior to the hearing. If proof of publication is not filed at or prior to the hearing, the petition will be dropped.||If you have a copy of the Proof of Publication from the newspaper, bring it to the filing clerk
at 813 6th Street before the hearing. Call the Oral Argument Request Line (916-874-2615) to request an appearance,
and tell them you dropped off a copy of the Proof of Publication.
If you did not start the publication process, or started it late, you may need to file an Amended Order to Show Cause to re-set the date of the hearing.
|APPEARANCE REQUIRED.||Attend the hearing. You may appear by phone via ZoomGov unless otherwise noted.|
|Denied.||The Court will provide a reason why the petition is denied. Call the department to request oral argument if you disagree with the reason, and can provide information that would fix the issue at the hearing.|
|Continued to allow petitioner time to .......||Usually to give the petitioner more time to serve a non-signing, living parent for a child’s name change. Contact Self-Help with questions at (916) 874-1421 or email@example.com|
Contact Civil Self-Help Services if you do not understand your Tentative Ruling.
If you need another hearing date you will need to fill out a new Order to Show Cause (NC-120), and write “Amended” before “Order to Show Cause.” See example below. You may need to republish the Amended Order to Show Cause. If you have questions, contact Self-Help Services.
The Court will not notify anyone that your name has changed. You need to take or send certified copies of the Decree Changing Name (NC-130) to government agencies and/or places you do business with to update your legal name. The Court will send you 2 certified copies included in the cost of the filing fee. Some government agencies keep the certified copy, so make sure you keep a regular copy for your records in case you need to request more certified copies from the Court.
Additional certified copies are $.50 a page plus $40 for certification (waived with fee waiver). You can request certified copies from Civil Records.
These links may be helpful in changing the name on your legal documents after you receive the final order from the Court:
- California Department of Public Health (info on changing name on birth certificate) - external link
- California DMV - external link
- Social Security - external link
- U.S. State Department (Passports) - external link
- Transgender Law Center – ID Please- A Guide to Changing California & Federal Identity Documents to Match You Gender - external link