If your parents gave you an atrocity of giving you an embarrassing birth name like Pantyhose, Sue (if you are a boy), or even Talula Does The Hula In Hawaii, you felt the need of changing your name to avoid further anxiety and discomfort. In California, name changes are not that complicated. Some people would simply pick a new name then ask agencies like Social Security or the DMV to change your records. Your new name would eventually become your official name after a few years.
However, with fears of identity theft and terrorism, most agencies would require a court order before they accept your name change. This means you have to ask the court that your name be changed.
You can also adapt a new name after marriage by simply taking your spouse’s family name. People, women (and in rarer instances-men), with embarrassing-sounding last names like Hustler or Poor usually take on the new family name. To do so, they apply the name change in court then show the court order to agencies.
When changing your first name, however, there are some exceptions that the court may not accept your new name. For instance, you cannot change your name to that of a famous person as it may be used for fraudulent purposes or would cast a negative light on that famous person. You also cannot use fictitious names that are protected by copyright like Harry Potter, as well as racial slurs or fighting words.