There can be many situations in which a parent may wish to change the name of their child. A child from another marriage may want to share the same surname as their mother and step-relatives. The child may no longer have a relationship with one of their parents. It may even be that the child’s name may be the source of embarrassment or harassment.
Whatever the reason, California state law allows a parent or guardian to change the name of a child or ward.
If Both Parents Want to Change the Name of the Child
If both parents agree to change the name of their child, they can file their request – called a Petition for Change of Name – with the court together. However, before the court can grant your petition, you’ll have to publish an Order to Show Cause for Change of Name in a local newspaper of general circulation once a week for 4 weeks in a row. You’ll be assigned a court date. If the court approves your request, the judge will sign the Decree Changing Name legally changing your child’s name. You’ll receive a certified copy of the signed decree which can be used to change the child’s birth certificate, passport, social security card, etc.
If Only One Parent Wants to Change the Name of the Child
If you are the only parent filing a Petition for Change of Name, you’ll have to let the other parent know about your petition as well as the court date for the petition. You’re required to serve your child’s other parent with a copy of the paperwork at least 30 days before the court date. If the other parent lives in California, you must have someone serve them in person. If they live outside the state, you can only serve them by certified mail, return receipt requested.
If your child’s other parent does not agree to change the child’s name, they have the right to oppose your request.
If You are a Guardian Who Wants to Change the Name of Your Ward
If you are a child’s legal guardian and want to change their name, you’ll start by filing a Petition for Change of Name. In this situation, you’ll have to serve the child’s parents with a copy of the paperwork at least 30 days before the court date. If the child’s parents are deceased or cannot be located, you’ll have to serve notice to the child’s grandparents. Both the parents and grandparents have a right to oppose your request.
Changing a Child’s Name to Conform to Gender Identity
In California, an adult – the parents, a guardian, or in situations where there are no parents or guardians, by a near friend or relative – can petition the court to change a child’s legal name to conform to the child’s gender identity. Note: This is not the same as recognition of gender change.
Avoid Unnecessary Court Delays With Help From Ontario CA Family Law Lawyer Torrence L. Howell
Ontario, CA family law lawyer Torrence L. Howell can be of great assistance if you wish to change the name of a child. There are a lot of forms and procedures that must be followed when you wish to change the name of your child. The entire process can take three months or longer, depending on the court’s caseload. Torrence’s guidance will enable you to avoid any unnecessary mistakes that can cause more delays. He is also here to provide sound legal advice and representation in situations where the other parent does not consent to the name change.
Torrence L. Howell has been helping families in the Ontario, California area with legal issues relating to child custody, child support, visitation, and legally changing a child’s name for over twenty years. If you wish to change the name of a child or ward, contact the law office of Ontario, CA family law lawyer Torrence L. Howell through our website or call us at (909) 920-0908 to schedule a free, initial consultation.