Many people take their spouse’s last name when they marry, and no
longer want that name after they divorce.
In California, if at the time of the divorce filing the spouse requests
to have his/her former name restored, when the divorce is final, the court
will grant that request. Meaning, from that point on, the former name
is restored, and no further action is needed to use the former name.
However, if no request is made at the time of the divorce filing, the former-spouse
can still return to his/her former name by filing a petition (a legal
request) with the court.
First, fill out the required forms (Change of Name
form NC-100, Attachment to Petition for Change of Name form NC-110, and
Order to Show Cause for Change of Name form NC-120, and Civil Case Cover
Sheet form CM-010).
Next, have your forms reviewed by a court family law facilitator or a court’s
family law center.
Third, make at
least two copies of your forms. The court system will keep the original form,
one copy will be used for publication in a newspaper (if necessary), and
you keep a copy for your own records.
Fourth, file the forms (both originals and copies) with the court clerk.
The court clerk will keep the original forms and return the copies to
you with the date filed on them as well as a court date for you to appear
in court to have your request to change your name heard by a judge. There
will also be a filing fee, but if you cannot afford it, you can request
a fee waiver.
Fifth, publish the
Order to Show Cause for Change of Name form in the newspaper for the next four weeks if necessary.
Sixth, go to your court hearing (on the date given to you by the court
clerk when you filed your forms), and show that you’ve published your
Order to Show Cause for Name Change form four times in the newspaper. Also, take a filled-out form
Decree Changing Name with you for the judge to sign.
Lastly, after the judge signs your
Decree Changing Name form (NC-130), have court-certified copies made from the court clerk. (There
is a charge for certification.) Use this certified copy to change all
your legal documentation, such as your social security card, your credit
For more complete information, access the California court website at http://www.courts.ca.gov/22489.htm.