Justia Lawyer Rating
BBB Rating A+
Top Rated
Lead Counsel Rated
Yelp badge
Avvo Rating
Super Lawyers
30 Years badge
CNN Money
Reginal Chamber
Best Business of 2022 - ThreeBest Rated badge

Name Changes: Procedures for Minor Children and Adults after Divorce

Names are very important whether a paternity or divorce or legal separation or annulment. The procedures are different depending on which action is pending. As with many issues in family law, this can be complex and there are different procedures.

This article does not address name changes in civil court and only in family law court. Doppelt and Forney, APLC has experience in name changes in San Diego Family Court and can assist with this as well as other aspects of the case including alimony, child support, division of assets and debts as well as physical and legal custody.

Adult Name Change

In a paternity case, in San Diego Superior Court, there is no procedure for changing the name of the adult parents. Likewise, in a legal separation, there is no procedure for changing the name of the adult spouses. In an annulment, when granted, there is a procedure to have your former name restored. The same applies in a divorce.

Under Family Law Code Section 2080 (7), the name can be changed to restore the former name or birth name and cannot be changed to any name you would like. It does not matter whether the request to change the name was included in the petition or not. The name change can be incorporated and part of the judgment for divorce or nullity or a separate procedure including an ex parte declaration and request may be instituted after judgment is entered for this purpose.

The request for the change of name shall not be denied unless this is fraud and the fact that a parent has custody of a child who is a minor who has a different last name is not considered in the name change request.

Minor Name Change

This is much more complicated. If the parents agree, then the surname can be changed by court order and stipulation. If the parents do not agree, then the Judge’s will look to factors to consider.

One factor which is significant is the name on the birth certificate as being evidence of the best interests of the minor child. The Courts have considered that the consideration which is controlling is a determination of whether changing the surname of the child should be ordered [over the objection of one parent] is the child’s welfare.

This issue will require a court hearing and may require oral testimony and evidence. The legal procedure is to file a motion [Request for Order] for the name change and then serve the opposing party. If the Court orders that the surname of the child be changed, then a request can be made to amend the birth certificate in the County of issuance.

San Diego Divorce Attorneys

The attorneys at Doppelt and Forney, APLC have experience with issues in family law cases in San Diego including name changes. A confidential consultation may be a good way to start the process of the best way to do a name change for your individual case. Call the law office at 800-769-4748 to schedule for up to 30 minutes at no charge. The law firm accepts cases in all the court houses in San Diego County including El Cajon, Chula Vista, Vista and downtown San Diego.

Client Reviews
Dear Roy, I would like to thank you and all team members as well as office staff for helping me defend in this case. It has been a difficult time for me during the last couple of weeks, and now because of this success result, I am able to move forward with my new chapter of life, even a little late at this age!!! Again with much appreciation, I wish you all to continue to do the same with a big heart as it was with me, in helping those who are in need of your professional services. W.
Thank you for your time and energy on this case, you took so much of the worry away from me! I appreciate all of your help. I will use and recommend you to other in the future. T.S.
I want to take this time to thank you and your staff for an outstanding job with my case to terminate spousal, you are an excellent attorney Roy, and your staff is very professional and considerate to my questions and concerns of my case. Thank you very much again. T.Y.
I wanted to say how much I appreciate your help and advice in regards to my name change. Your assistance during this time has been invaluable. Thank you again. M.J.