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 NC-130 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 cards, etc.
For more complete information, access the California court website at http://www.courts.ca.gov/22489.htm.