California state law allows you to change your name for a good reason. Your request (petition) is reviewed by the Court. If everything is in order, the Court usually grants your request without having to appear. But if there are any questions, you may have to appear in front of the judge to answer them. Changing your name to avoid creditors is not a good reason to change your name. Changing your name to be more easily pronounced and spelled for business reasons is good. Adopting a nickname you have been using for a long time as your legal name also is acceptable. Taking the name of a step parent who raised you also works. If you are trying to avoid an abusive ex-spouse, there are provisions for a confidential name change that is not a matter of public record. The process can take a couple of months. One of the reasons is that you have to publish a notice in a newspaper for 4 weeks. We can advise you if you have what appears to be a good reason for changing your name, and prepare and file all the required documents.