It is a very big deal to Change a Child’s Last Name. There are also times when you may want to make a change to your child’s middle or first name also. It does cost money and it is very important that Your Child’s Name is correct. In this article, we will be providing you with information on the Costs of Child Name Changes in California.
Legal Name Change refers to the process of obtaining a Superior Court Order stating that the existing legal name of your child has been changed to a new legal name. The costs for Child Name Changes in California are the same whether you are only changing the last name of your child or changing any part of their middle or first names as well.
In California, here are 4 Category Costs for Child Name Changes:
Certified Copy of the Decree (or the Court Order)
Providing Legal Notification
Filing the Petition
What the “Petition” actually is is a series of name change forms. There can be 5 to 9 of these forms or even more in some cases. You need to get them all filled out and then filed with the right Superior Court. Blank forms can be obtained for free from any of the California Superior Courts. You can either fill out all of the forms on your own or have us prepare them for you. Our charge is an industry-low $115 (with an extra Petition charge for each additional child, but no additional charges per child beyond that – see below). You can also have an attorney fill out the forms for you. However, that is likely to cost you an additional $400 to $1,000.
If your Petition is improperly pursued or prepared or incomplete, that could result in denial or delays (review California Civil Code §1275-1279.5 for more information).
Filing Your Petition
A standard Filing is charged by the Courts. The State of California can change the cost at any time. As of 2013 in California, the cost for Child Name Changes is $435 to file in most Counties of California. There are a couple of Superior Courts that charge $35-$45 or more for filing the Petition. Whether you are Petitioning for changing one child’s name or several, the filing costs will be the same. Filing costs also do not change whether the Petition is being signed by both or just one parent.
Under California Law (CCP 1277) you are required to advertise some Petition Information by publishing it in a legal notice newspaper. This is usually referred to as providing public notice of the Proposed Name Change. It must be done the way that is directed by California law and also in one newspaper recognized by the county courts that is an adjudicated General Circulation Newspaper in the country where the child lives and where you are filing. This is easier to do than it may sound.
Therefore, in California, the Costs for Child Name Changes include the costs of advertising in a court-qualified newspaper. All newspapers set their own advertising rates. On the low end, we have rates ranging from $30 up to $500. A fairly good rate on Name Change Advertising is $80-100. You will need to shop around to get the best price when it is time for you to advertise. If you hire us to do your Petition for you, we will give you the contact information and rates for the different qualified newspapers located in your county. You also will need only one ad, even if there is more than one individual in your Petition changing their names.
Serving A Parent
In addition to Advertising, you will not need to pay any extra notification expenses if the Petition is being signed by both parents. If just one parent that is signing and filing, and the other parent is either deceased or their address cannot be found, most likely you will end up incurring additional costs for providing a parent with an individual legal notice. However, if the Petition is signed by just one of a child’s parents, then you might have another legal notice expense, along with serving the other parent.
You also must Serve Legal Notice in a specific way (see CPP §415.40, 415.10, 414.10, or 413.10) on the other parent of the child. It can cost as low as just the cost of first-class postage (when the other parent lives out of state) or up to $35 to $75 for the service to be done in-state by a Marshall/Sheriff or private process server.
In California, What are the Child Name Change Costs?
After your judge has signed your Court Order you need to have the Court Clerk Certify and stamp it. Passport, School, Birth Certificate, Social Security, etc. ask to be shown a Certified Copy to provide proof that you have legally changed Your Child’s Name. Usually, each Certified Copy will cost around $25.50. You can get copies from the Clerk of the same court and can order as many copies as you like.
Summary of Costs
There are some costs that will depend on the number of parents who sign the Petition, which county your child is living in currently and the number of Certified Copies that you need.
The following is an estimated summary of what you will need to pay if we do your Petition for you and the Petitio is being signed by both parents:
Certified Copy: $40.50
Total: $655 (approximately, added cost, if appropriate, to serve the other Parent)
If you qualify, the Superior Court may waive the fees for Certified Copies and Filing. If you email us and ask, we can send you copies of the Request to Waive Court Costs. With our Full Service, we will File and Advertise on your behalf for an extra $75 (is completely up to you).
For more detailed information you can reach out to a California Name Change Service that is affordable and will take care of everything for you. Why do the hard work yourself when there are affordable professionals out there that can take care of it for you? Get informed.