Choose the option that best fits your situation:
File a name change petition
Filing a Petition for a Change of Name is the most common process and results in a court order. This section will walk you through the steps. next step arrow
Divorced or getting divorced
If you want to change your name back to your maiden name or a prior married name, select this process. next step arrow
Gender and name change
If you want to legally change your gender (with or without a name change too), proceed with this option. next step arrow
If you recently got married and want to change your last name to your spouse’s last name, you may not have to go to court. Contact both your local DMV office and your social security office, and ask them whether you can change the name on your driver’s license and social security card simply by showing your marriage license or certificate. Note that it is possible they will tell you to get a court order, so be prepared for that.
Note: In California, you generally have the legal right to change your name simply by using a new name in all aspects of your life, also known as the “usage method.” BUT, with few exceptions, government agencies require a court order as official proof of a name change so getting a court order is the best way to make sure you legally change your name.