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Changing Your Name

Please read the following important information about name changes BEFORE completing your marriage license application. Changes to your name CANNOT be made once your license is issued.

The Name Equality Act

The Name Equality Act of 2007 (AB 102, Chapter 567, Statutes of 2007) gives specific rights to parties, at the time they are applying for a California 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 name.

How Does it Work?

One or both parties to a marriage may elect to change the middle and/or last names by which that party wishes to be known after solemnization of the marriage. Each party applying for a marriage license may choose to include on their marriage license the new name in the spaces provided on the marriage license application without intent to defraud.

NOTE: Changing one's name through this process can only be done at the time the marriage license is issued by the County Clerk or authorized Notary Public, as applicable.

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.

What You Cannot Do

  • You may NOT change your first name using this process.
  • You may NOT amend the marriage license after it has been issued to add or change the name you wish to be known as after you are married. The name you indicate on the marriage license application will be your name on the marriage license/certificate and cannot be changed by the County Clerk.
    • If one or both parties do not wish to identify a new name on the marriage license (fields 30A through 31C, as applicable), the marriage license will be completed with two single dashes. You may not change the information on the marriage license after it has been issued by the County Clerk.

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. 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 regarding whether you should or should not list your new name on the marriage license application, and/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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