Changing Your Name

The Name Equality Act

The Name Equality Act of 2007 (AB 102, Chapter 567, Statutes of 2007) allows the couple, at the time they are applying for their marriage license, to choose and list on the marriage license the name that each party will go by after marriage.

Parties are not required to have the same name, nor are they required to change their names.

How It Works

Either party may elect to change his/her middle or last names, or both, to create a “new name” by which that party wishes to be known after solemnization of the marriage.  The new name (if any) will be entered in the space provided on the marriage license.

Note:  Changing a name after the license is issued (and before the couple marries) will require the purchase of a new license.  Changing a name after the marriage is solemnized requires a court order and can be a lengthy, expensive process.

Each party to the marriage may adopt any of the following last names:

  • 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 all or a segment of the current last name or the last name of either spouse given at birth.

  • A hyphenated combination of last names.

Each party to the marriage may adopt any of the following middle names:

  • The current last name of either spouse.

  • The last name of either spouse given at birth.

  • A hyphenated combination of the current middle name and the current last name of the person or spouse.

  • A hyphenated combination of the current middle name and the birth last name of the person or spouse.

Use of Your Marriage License

The marriage certificate is used by multiple local, state, federal and private agencies, each of which have different rules and/or regulations regarding what documents are acceptable to change your name on their records following marriage.  It is recommended that you contact these agencies to verify their requirements.

It is unlawful for County employees to answer questions of a legal nature. Our 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.  If you have any questions regarding whether you should or should not list your new name on the marriage license application, or how the Name Equality Act of 2007 may affect you, please consult an attorney prior to applying for your marriage license.

 
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