CHANGING YOUR NAME ON YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE
The Name Equality Act of 2007 gives specific options to the parties to be married, at the time they apply for a California marriage license, to choose and list on the license the new name(s) each party will use after marriage. (The new law applies only to marriage licenses issued on or after January 1, 2009. It does not apply to any marriage license issued before that date.)
Parties are NOT required to have the same name; nor are they required to change their names at all.
If the parties to be married choose to have their new name(s) shown on the marriage license, then the new name must be entered on the marriage license application. The parties may choose any of the following middle or last names as the name(s) they wish to use after marriage [Family Code, Section 306.5(b)(2)]:
Note: You may not change your first name using this process.
- The current last name of the other spouse;
- The last name of either spouse given at birth;
- A name combining into a single last name: 1) all or a segment of the current last name of either spouse; or 2) all or a segment of the last name given at birth to either spouse;
- A hyphenated combination of last names.
IMPORTANT! You may not amend the marriage license AFTER it has been issued in order to add or to change the name you wish to use after marriage. The name you indicate on the application will be the name that is put on the marriage license and certificate; it cannot be changed by the County Clerk.
A certified copy of the marriage certificate constitutes proof that the use of the new name, or retention of the former name, is lawful [Family Code Section 306.5(b)(3)(a)].
For purposes of establishing relationship and/or name, the marriage certificate is used by multiple local, state, federal and private agencies including, but not limited to, insurance companies, departments of motor vehicles, the Social Security Administration, the Passport Office, etc. These agencies have conflicting rules and regulations regarding what documents they will accept as proof of a name change due to marriage. You are strongly encouraged to contact these agencies directly to verify their requirements before applying for a marriage license.
It is unlawful for our employees to answer questions of a legal nature; County Clerk staff cannot advise you how to complete the marriage license application as it relates to your entry of a new name, or retention of your former name on the marriage license application. For your protection, if you have any questions as to whether you should or should not list your new name on the marriage license; or questions as to how the Name Equality Act of 2007 may affect you, please consult an attorney before applying for a marriage license.
"I/We have read Changing Your Name on Your Marriage License. I/We understand that the name(s) I/we indicate on the Marriage License that I/we plan to use after marriage cannot be changed or amended after the license has been issued."
Alameda County Clerk-Recorder
1106 Madison Street, Oakland, CA 94607