San Diego Name Change Attorney
Thinking of Changing Your Name After a Divorce?
Once a divorce is final, you can breathe a sigh of relief - the worst part is over. However, there might be one more detail for you to complete: changing your name. If you wish to restore your name to a prior name, it can be done by contacting the court clerk in your county. The clerk requires specific divorce information and paperwork, such as an "ex parte application," to start the change. The process generally takes two to four weeks to complete, and that doesn’t include the requirement of publishing notice of your name change in an adjudicated newspaper.
Updates must also be made to your driver’s license. Once you have done that, your new license can be used to update all other documents, such as your social security card, bank cards, passports, etc. An experienced San Diego family law lawyer can help make the process less stressful by ensuring paperwork is filled out correctly and answering any additional questions. Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. can provide more information at (858) 458-9500. Our goal is to make the final step in starting your new life as easy as possible.
What If My Divorce Isn’t Final?
Divorces can be very long and drawn out - especially if a couple has lots of assets to divide. In most cases, the relationship is over emotionally well before it is legally. A spouse may no longer wish to carry their soon-to-be ex-husband’s name and wonder if this change is legally possible. The answer is yes: The state of California allows an individual to change their name without the divorce being final. Of course, your divorce lawyer can also ask the court to restore your former name when a proposed judgement for divorce is submitted.
If you are in a domestic violence situation and wish to change your name secretly, this can be done through California’s Safe at Home program.
Changing a Child’s Name
If you would like to change your child’s name, a family law attorney can provide you with all the necessary documents and guide you through the process. Legally changing a child’s name is more complicated than changing your own, since the other parent is included in the process.
A hearing is required for a minor’s name change. Once you are given a court date, the other parent must be formally notified at least 30 days before the hearing date. You cannot be the one to notify your co-parent; but anyone else over the age of 18 can serve them with the papers. You must prove that the other parent was given notice with a proof of service form filed with the court. If that parent does not agree with the name change, they do have the right to contest the request in court. If the judge sides in your favor, you will be given a decree to change the child’s name.
If you are not aware of the other parent’s whereabouts, you can ask the judge to move forward with the case without having their consent. There needs to be proof that you have given every effort to finding them, including but not limited to searching public records, before the judge will approve.
This process can take up to three months to be finalized. Once completed, a certified copy of the decree must be given to the child’s school notifying them of the change. The decree will also be used to update Social Security cards and passports. Be sure to tell the child to only go by their new name in the future to avoid any confusion.
Changing your name during or after a divorce may seem like a small detail, but it might make a big difference in moving on. Call Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. for more information at (858) 458-9500 to speak to our experienced legal team.
- California’s Safe at Home Program
- Name Change After or During a Divorce Case
- Name Change Check List - California DMV
- How Do I Change or Correct My Name on My Social Security Number Card?