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You will have to file papers explaining everything you tried to find your child’s other parent, when you did it, and what the result was.The judge will take this very seriously (to make sure you tried everything possible) before changing your child’s name without the other parent’s knowledge.

A: In California, you have the common law right to change your name by the "usage method." This means that you simply pick a new name and start using it consistently in all parts of your life.

There are exceptions to changing your name by the "usage method" -- it cannot be used by people who are in state prison, on probation, on parole, or been a convicted sex offender. BUT, government regulations created to fight against identity theft, fraud and terrorism are making it almost impossible to have a new name without official documentation.

If your child was conceived through artificial insemination with an anonymous donor, then let the court know that.

You still have to serve the other parent if your child has another legal parent other than you.

The judge will make a decision based on the best interest of your child.

A: You will have to ask the court for special permission to get the name change without letting the other parent know.Click for instructions to get a court order changing your name.A: If you want to legally change your name AND your gender, there is a separate court process and forms for doing that.To do this, the judge will ask you to look for the other parent, and you have to look as hard as possible, asking friends and family and looking up public records.Ask your court clerk or self-help center what the judge in your local court will want you to do to try to find the other parent.For this reason, it is much more common to file for a court order changing your name.

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