By Eric Selten

Getting a Legal Name Change is a big deal. And, the people we help say it’s well worth it! When they’re actually holding their Name Change Court Order in their hand, they say it was an important accomplishment and feels good to finally have it done.

Any adult for themselves, or any parent for their child, can file a Petition for Legal Name Change in their county superior court. In this way, a person can change a single letter of their middle name, or completely change their first, middle and last names. Almost anyone who can file a properly completed Petition, follow the required procedures and pay the required charges can get the Legal Name they want, exactly how they want it to be. But you actually have to do it, and not just think about it.

Thousands and thousands of people go to court for a Decree Changing Name every year in California, in all 58 counties. Famous people; hoping-to-be-famous people; successful people; hoping-to-be-successful people; parents who want their child to have a shared last name after marriage, divorce or change of mind after filling out the birth or marriage certificate; people who want to reclaim their heritage; people who want to honor someone; people who want a more American name; people who want to turn a page on their past; people who want to fully be the one they see themselves becoming; people who want to simplify their name; people who want to have a more unique name that suits them better; people who hate their birth name; people who have always called themselves by a name other than the one on their birth certificate… there are a million good reasons why people change their names. All of our oldest ancestors changed their names somewhere along the line. For example, in times of mass exoduses during war times, large portions of families have changed their names … sometimes more than once.

About the only people who are not allowed to Petition to legally change their names are people with specific criminal history problems. California Legal Name Change Code of Civil Procedure §1279.5 lays out the specifics of how the Name Change laws are to be applied to certain convicted criminals. While a small number of people are ineligible to file a Name Change Petition due to their criminal history, every other Californian is eligible. To see all the legal criteria in California law, see Calif. CCP §1275-1279.5.  But eligibility doesn’t guarantee success. A New Jersey man was turned down when he tried to get a Legal Name Change to (read about it at  On the other hand, a future U.S. President was approved for his Legal Name Change (check that story out at

Almost all Petitions for Change of Name are granted! A Legal Name Change can last a whole lifetime and it usually takes 2 or 3 months to get the Court Order in your hand. A Certified Copy of that Court Order is honored in all 50 states and by the Federal Government, too. It takes some time, some money, some patience and perseverance, and the people who actually do it say it’s worth every letter of it.

To sum it up, almost everyone is eligible and almost all petitions are granted. So, if you’ve been thinking about it, maybe for too long…step up and start the process. charges an industry low $115 for a Ready-To-File Petition, complete with EZ step-by-step instructions and other helpful information. At the website you can read FAQs and short articles about Costs To…, How To…, and anything else you’re wondering about.  You can have the Legal Name you want, you just have to Start Now!

Eric Selten is the owner of, California Legal Name Change Specialists, Los Angeles County LDA #564 exp 2/14.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *