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Family Law
Case Introduction
Case No. FN-010
Name Change (CA only)
Brief Introduction

For various reasons, like getting married or divorced, for convenience or expressing their personality, many people need to change their names officially to make their legal name consistent with the name used in daily life.
 
Every adult over 18 years old can change his/her own name. Name change may look like a simple court procedure, however, in order to have your name changed in all official records, you have to take follow-up steps and change the name on your driver’s license, social security card, voting registration, welfare, passport, bank accounts, credit cards, deeds, mortgages, wills, car registration, insurance, etc.
 
Parents or legal guardians may file petition for name change for their child under 18. However, if only one parent files petition, there are special requirements to be satisfied. 
 
For the above listed reasons, it would be worthwhile for people who are not familiar with the court procedure or requirements to seek assistance from professional attorneys on your name change case.
 

Things to Know
Notice

Can anyone have his/her name changed officially through Californian Superior Court? Are there any special requirements on status (USC, LPR, and non-immigrant) and/or residency?
There is no special requirement on status or residency for someone requiring name change through Californian Superior Court.
 
Are there any limitations or restrictions to the proposed name?
1. You may not choose a new name for “fraudulent purpose (to do something illegal)”
2. You may not choose a new name to “interfere with the rights of others” (Generally refers capitalizing on the name of some famous person, e.g. Richard Milhous Nixon)
3. Keep your names “CONSISTENCY”. You must use the same name with everyone, all the time. People who use new name in only one part of their life have not legally “changed” their name, For example, actors who start using new stage name or authors who start using new pen name are not changing their name.
4. The prefix “Mr.”, “Miss”, “Mrs.” and “Ms.” may not be considered as part of legal name, although people are allowed to use whatever prefix they choose, regardless of their marital status, as long as they are not trying to defraud somebody.
5. Arabic numbers (one-number name, e.g. 2012) may not be considered as part of legal name. 
 
How long will the whole court procedure take?
It takes 2~3 months.
 
I just got remarried, do I have to file name change petition before I can start to use my husband’s surname?
No. However, do remember the key requirement of name change, that is, “CONSISTENCY”. You must use the same name with everyone, all the time.
 
Will all official records accept my new name automatically after I officially changed my name?
No. You have to report your name change to relevant agencies. For example, you have to go to the local Department of Motor Vehicles to have your name changed on your driver’s license, go to the Social Security office to have your name changed on your Social Security Number Card, etc.
 
Can I go abroad with my original passport while my name change petition is pending in the court?
Yes.
 
How do I amend my U.S./P.R.C./Taiwan passport?
1. Amend U.S. Passport
You may go to the court, post office, or passport agency in person or mail your petition to court, post office or passport agency to require name change in U.S. Passport. For more details, please see the instructions of "Change Your Name in Your U.S. Passport” on State Department’s website:
http://travel.state.gov/passport/correcting/ChangeName/ChangeName_851.html 
2. Amend P.R.C. Passport
You have to go to the Embassy/ Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in the United States in person according to your residency to require name change in P.R.C. Passport. For more details, please see the instructions of “Passport” on Embassy/ Consulate General’s websites. There are 6 Embassy/ Consulate General in all, located in New York, Houston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.
http://www.china-embassy.org/chn/hzqz/t84176.htm 
3. Amend Taiwan Passport
You have to go to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States in person according to your residency to require name change in Taiwan Passport. For more details, please see the instructions of "Passport” on Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO)’s websites. There are 13 TECROs in all, located in Washington D.C., Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Guam, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. 
 
Will name change affect my credit record?
Generally speaking, name change won’t affect one’s credit record. However, to avoid the misunderstanding of disguise, people who have their name changed should report their name change to relevant agencies.
 
Q: Will Internal Revenue Service (IRS) require audit due to my name change? IRS cannot trace my offshore accounts after my name change, is it true?
Generally speaking, IRS will not require audit due to your name change. Name change has nothing to do with IRS tracing the offshore accounts. When you have your name changed on your Social Security Number Card, the information on SS-5 form is automatically forwarded to the IRS. You are not required to contact IRS yourself. Name is the secondary index to identity information and Social Security Number (SSN) is the primary index identity information in taxation. 
 
What are the special requirements for petition for name change for child under 18?
1. If one parent is files the petition for name change for a child under 18 years old, and the other parent, if living, does not join in consenting to the name change, the petitioning parent must have a copy of the Order to Show Cause or notice of the time and place of the hearing served on the non-consenting parent. Service must be at least 30 days prior to the hearing.
2. If the non-consenting parent resides in California, the order or notice must be personally served on the non-consenting parent. Only a third party can serve the document and the petitioning parent cannot personally serve this document.
3. If the non-consenting parent resides outside California, service can be done by sending a copy of the order to show cause or notice by first-class mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested.
4. If a petition to change the name of a child has been filed by a guardian, the guardian must
(1). provide notice of the hearing to any living parent of the child by personal service at least 30 days before the hearing, or
(2). if either or both parents are deceased or cannot be located, serve notice of the hearing on the child's grandparents, if living, not less than 30 days before the hearing.
 
What can lead to the rejection of the petition for name change? What should I do if my petition for name change is being rejected?
If someone file his/her objection to court, or there is evidence showing that the applicant has record of sexual offence or the purpose of name change is to prevent law-enforcement agencies to find the applicant’s original records. If the petition is being rejected, the applicant may file appeal with the court, and outcome varies from case to case. 

Ask for Attorney Service
Attorney’s Service
1. Provide Name Change questionnaire for the client
2. Review all the information and documents of name change provided by the client
3. Prepare petition packet and file the petition with Superior Court
4. Advice on how to publish notice of hearing in the local newspaper of general circulation
5. Advice on get new name accepted, such as driver’s license, social security, passport, bank accounts, etc
6. Answer client’s questions and give proper advice
7. Keep client’s information confidential
Client’s Assistance
1. Fill the questionnaire that attorney provides
2. Provide necessary documents (Proof of identification, such as driver’s license, passport, etc)
3. Answer attorney’s questions
4. Pay service fee
Service Fee

$ 1,700 (Including $200 Publish notice of hearing in the local mainstream newspaper)
NOTE
This service fee is the basic reference price, which may be adjusted case by case.

Payment Methods
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Free Consultation will provide the clients with answers to general questions. Free Consultation should NEITHER be regarded as legal advice nor analysis on certain cases NOR confirmation of attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice or analysis on your case, please choose the Attorney Consultation service.

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$300/hour (Deposit $1000,charging by hours includes time consumed by reviewing relevant documents, starting charge from an hour)