A family came into our Oakland office recently wanting to know if we could help them legally change their names. With an estimated 50% of marriages ending in divorce, blended families are not unusual, but in this case there were five people with four last names and it was the kids who decided it was time that everyone share a common last name.
5 people, 4 names, but 1 happy family
The husband and wife had gotten married in 2013, the second marriage for the husband and the third for the wife, who had kept her name rather than adopting that of her new husband. It was primarily a matter of convenience—with two kids and a demanding job, changing her name at work, on all of her credit cards and correspondence in the midst of planning a wedding just seemed like more trouble than it was worth. Her daughter’s name was that of her deceased first husband, but her son’s name was the same as hers. Finally, the husband had adopted his nephew when his sister was unable to care for him, and this child had kept his given name.
As the kids got older, they were finding it awkward that there were so many last names, and they began to lobby their parents for a family-wide name change. They wanted everyone in their family to share the same last name.
Legal process for a name change
California Document Preparers helps many of our clients with name changes, for which there is a very specific legal process. It’s necessary to fill out specific court forms, file the forms with the court, run an ad in a newspaper indicating intent to change the name and appear at a court hearing.
At California Document Preparers, we:
- Help you fill out the appropriate court forms using our attorney-approved workbooks
- File the forms with the appropriate court for you
- Apply for the circulation of a newspaper ad indicating your intent to change your name
These steps are the same for changing the name of an adult or a minor, with one exception. In changing the name of a minor child, the biological parents must either be provided with notice or must both sign the court documents. In addition to changing an individual’s name, California Documents Preparers can change an entire family’s name using one of our attorney-approved workbooks.
If you’ve been putting off getting your name changed, stop in at one of our three Bay Area California Document Preparers offices to get started. We help you through every step of this process.