169 Comments

If you are in California and considering a legal name change after marriage, divorce, changing a minor's name through a court order and/or any other unique name change need, there are a number of options available. Always remember to have all the required documents with you. It's also important to take advantage of easier and faster name changes, such as ensuring you have indicated such a desire to your divorce attorney for faster processing.

Marriage Name Change Options

First off, in California you can do almost what you want with your last name. To save time, you can use an online service providing California name change forms, which supports numerous marriage name change options. Here are options you could explore.

Choosing your spouse's last name

This is the most traditional and common name change that takes place after marriage. The wife takes the last name of her partner; you need to have a certified marriage certificate copy to effect it.

Hyphenating

One of the most common ways of compromising in marriage, and in name change, is using a hyphen and keeping each of your last names. This happy compromise comes about when a spouse's name is very important in her business, social and personal life and changing it might bring legal, family or strictly business complexity. For instance, if you have created a very successful company with your name, which has become your identity, and your spouse insists you take his last name after marriage, hyphenation will save the day. Call it meeting right in the middle.

Remember, hyphenation combinations can take the middle name and the current last name of either spouses' or a combined hyphenation of the spouses' birth last name or middle name.

Blending names

California is the home of celebrities and blending names is one of the new ways of approaching name change. Also a very happy compromise after marriage, it can be done by anyone. This includes coming up with a hybrid name with the elements of both the wife and husband's last name. For instance, if he is Devon Hotas and she is Stormy Rapaton they can blend the last names into 'Hotaton.' Always remember, no matter what you decide upon there are legal requirements and costs to meet. This option is mostly available for couples in California only and the blended last names must be written on the marriage license.

Spouse name legally and maiden name professionally

You can legally go with the spouse's name while keeping your maiden name for professional matters. It means professional brands are maintained while traditions are also respected in personal life.

Maiden as middle and last name of your spouse

You can take your maiden name and make it the middle name while taking the last name of your spouse. However, in California you must list the maiden name as the middle name on the marriage license for it to be done.

Male spouse taking wife's name

In case the wife has very strong reasons not to drop or change her last name in California, the husband can take the wife's maiden name and make it his last name. The State recognizes the right of the man to change his name as a result of marriage.

It's important to note that if you are recently married and want to have your last name changed to your spouse's last name, going to court is not required. You only need to contact the Social Security Office and the local DMV office and request them to change the name, especially on the social security card and driver's license, just by availing a certified copy of your marriage certificate or, in some cases, a certified copy of your marriage license/record. Sometimes these bodies might request a court order and you should be ready to get it.

Either party (husband or wife) changing the middle and/or last name

The California Name Equality Act of 2007 (external pdf link) provides an option for one or both parties to the marriage to change the middle name and/or last name. So, you can opt to just change your middle name, while leaving your last name untouched. Or change both your middle and surname in one fell swoop. While the choice is yours (and quite flexible to boot), the decision must be made at the time you apply for your marriage license application. Specify the new name(s) you intend to take after marriage on the provided form.

The "Usage Method"

Please note: California gives anyone the legal right of changing their name just by using it in all areas of life in what is called the "usage method." However, there are a few exceptions where government agencies might request a court order to officially accept that a name change took place. Thus, it's wise to have a court order even if you are following the "usage method."

With a court order you can effect name change on a legal name on all areas of your life, particularly government-related identification documents like social security card, passport, and driver's license. Make sure you have the name change decree's copy with you.

Divorce Name Change

In case you are seeking a divorce as well as a name change, perhaps to return to the maiden name, it's easier to complete this in the divorce case in one of the most straightforward processes in California. You only need to notify the divorce attorney attending the matter before finalizing the divorce so that the name change is dealt with as a part of the settlement or judgement.

Note: Divorcées can still use our name change kit (even though its apparent focus is marriage-based name changes), by swapping out references to "marriage certificate" with "divorce decree." Just make sure your document contains an order restoring your prior name.

Divorce finalized, but you forgot to restore your maiden name

In case the divorce decree has not ordered the name change or a reversion to an earlier name, simply file a normal petition for name change in the California superior court in your locality. This also applies for those seeking to change their names to another beyond the maiden name, including a prior one in another marriage that was in use in the past.

Divorce not finalized—restore your maiden name

However, if you are about to get divorced and have not finalized it yet, simply request the court to have the former name restored while submitting the proposed divorce judgement.

General Adult Name Change

To change your name as an adult in California, file a name change petition to get a court order from the court; takes about 90 days to complete. Once you have filed the petition a court date is given within the next 6-12 weeks. After the court has approved the request, a decree (court order) is provided to help you change your name with various government and non-governmental organizations. How fast you get a decree depends on how busy your local court is. The important thing is following the laid instructions carefully.

Prepare your name change forms

To ask for a name change in a California court, have all the necessary court forms filled out, which include the Petition for Change of Name and the Attachment to Petition for Change of Name (Forms NC-100 and NC-110 respectively), Order to Show Cause for Change of Name and Civil Case Cover Sheet forms. You can contact a family law facilitator to review the forms/paperwork so that everything is done properly.

After review, make two copies of every form; the originals remain with the court, one copy goes to the newspaper, and the other will be yours. File all the forms with the clerk of the court for stamping. Take stamped copies, as the clerk maintains with the original.

Publishing a notice of your name change in the newspaper

On the "Order to Show Cause" form you will find the time and court date, including the department number. You will also have to pay the filing fee at the court clerk's office; check the fee for the initial petition, as it may vary over time. There is also a fee waiver for those unable to afford it.

Once you're done with the court clerk, have the "Order to Show Cause for Change of Name" form published in a newspaper that is publicly circulated every week for a whole month, consecutively. Ask the court if there are approved newspapers for this. Check the publishing cost since the waiver doesn't include the newspaper publishing fee.

After this is done, appear at the court hearing on the material date carrying the proof that you published the Order to Show Cause in a local newspaper, including the Decree Changing Name to be signed by the judge. After the signing of the Decree Changing Name has been signed by the judge, ask the court clerk for a certified copy; use it to change each legal document from the birth certificate and government identifications, such as driver's license, passport and social security card.

Child Name Changes

To change the name of a child there are three scenarios; both parents can ask for a child name change, one parent can request the name change and a guardian can seek a child name change.

If both parents agree to change the child's name

If both parents want to change the child's name, the request can be filed together in a California court. Start by filing the "Petition for Change of Name" for the child and get a court date within 6-12 weeks after filing. After court approval you will get a decree changing the name of the child. Ensure all the required court forms have been filed and that you have the copies needed, including the proof of publishing to a newspaper the "Show Cause for Change of Name," if necessary.

If only one parent agrees, while the other opposes

In case only one parent is filing for a name change for a child, whether there is agreement or not among the parents, the court will give a date. You must however ensure the other parent understands you have filed the petition, including the petition's court date. In case the other parent disagrees with the name change, he/she can oppose the request. Once the judge has approved the request the decree court order will be given to change the child's name. Don't forget to go to the court hearing to receive the signed Decree Changing Name.

Guardians vs Parents

For a guardian who wants to change the name of a child, the process starts with filing of the Petition for Change of Name for a court date. You then have to notify the parents of the child about the petition and its date. If they disagree they can oppose the request. After the request has been accepted by the court you will get a decree or court order to change the name of the child by having all files required filed with the court clerk, publishing the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name, in case it's needed, and attending the court hearing to receive the Decree Changing Name, duly signed by the court judge.

Change of Name on Birth Certificate

To change the name on a birth certificate, follow the general adult name change route by filing a Petition for Change of Name for adults. Complete the entire process until you have a Decree Changing Name duly signed by the judge and receive from the court clerk a certified copy. Use the certified copy to change the name on your birth certificate.

If you have a court order provided by another court in a different State or territory of the United States, use it to amend the name on your birth certificate in California. Nonetheless, the court order should have the entire birth name before the change can be effected.

Changing Name on Social Security, DMV, Passport, IRS

To change the name on your Passport, DMV, Social Security card and IRS, among other government based documents, you need to have proof of legal name change; generally a certified copy of Decree Changing Name signed by a judge, certified copy of your marriage certificate, or certified copy of your divorce decree. For the DMV you need to visit a local office where you will also surrender the old driver's license and pay a $27 fee for the duplicate license. Before changing your name with the DMV, you need to report the change first to the SSA (Social Security Administration) by mail or in person. Notify IRS also about the name change, as well as any change of address that has occurred.

Other Non-Governmental Institutions

While the usage method of using a new name without a court order is alright in California, non-government institutions might request a proof of name change. With a certified copy of the Decree Changing Name duly signed by the judge in California, you should be able to request any body, from insurance companies, employers, academic institutions and financial institutions, to change your name.

Often, such organizations will accept a photocopy of your decree or marriage certificate, but you should still be prepared to furnish a certified copy, upon request.

Recognized Identity Documents for Your Name Change

There are documents you need to effect a name change. These include a certified copy or original copy of the legal name change document, certified copy of marriage certificate for marriage name change, certified copy of divorce decree for divorce name change, and court order (Decree Changing Name duly signed by the judge) for a general adult name change.

Remember, when asking for your name to be changed by the DMV and Social Security Administration, among other institutions, you might be asked to provide a United State's driver's license, United States Passport, and proof of U.S. citizenship such as a Certificate of Citizenship or United State's birth certificate.

All documents need to be certified copies or originals.

169 Comments

  1. Melanie

    I'm in California and got married two weeks ago. When I went to go to do my name change they said I couldn't do it. they wouldn't accept it. I don't know what to do.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Melanie. What do you mean they wouldn't accept it? They didn't accept the name change you were trying to put through, or they wouldn't accept your paperwork?

      Reply
      1. Melanie

        They said I couldn't use my maiden name for my middle name. I want to drop my middle name and use my maiden instead and they said I had to go to court to do it.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Melanie. Using your maiden name as your middle name is allowed in California. That does not require you to get a court order. That suggests to me that there's a problem with your marriage certificate. Specifically, you must not have specified your intention to take your maiden name as your middle name when you applied for your marriage license. Is that the case?

          Reply
          1. Melanie

            Thanks for getting back. I didn't say I wanted to do my maiden on middle when I got the license. I didn't think about doing it then. I changed my mind later. Now I'm having trouble. They said they cant change it because I didn't put what I wanted to change to on my license when I got it. So how can I change my license to show my maiden name. Or do I have to go to court?

          2. Valera

            Since you hadn't specified the "change to" name when you applied for your license, at this point you'll have to petition the court.

  2. Wendy

    Is there a time limit for a name change after marriage? We were married in Washington in 1997 and changed our name by submitting a form to King County, which is all that is required in Washington to change your name. We don't have anything recorded with the county to prove the name change since Washington does not do it that way. When we moved to California in 2013 the DMV refused to accept our hyphenated last name since our birth certificates and our marriage certificate have our birth surnames on them. The DMV would not accept our former state driver's licenses, our passports, our social security cards, or any other document showing our actual name as it has been for now 18 years (this was in 2014 when we first tried to get this done). If I submit a copy of my marriage certificate through your system can you get me a document that will change my name with the DMV – driver license side only (vehicle registration had no problem using our hyphenated last names). I swear they throw up obstacles just as a way of making money around here.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Wendy. California DMV can be strict about what they will and won't accept. If you're unable to make headway with another clerk or office, you may have to go through a court petitioned name change.

      Reply
  3. Angie

    I live in California and will be getting married at the end of 2016. I would like to keep my name and add the new last name. However, his legal last name on his birth certificate is both his mothers maiden and fathers surname and it is not hyphenated. I want to make sure I write my name correctly the first time so I don't have to petition the court for a name change. It would look like: first name, (middle name) original middle + maiden name, (new last name) his mothers maiden + fathers surname (not hyphenated on birth certificate). For example, Mary (first) Cuevas Gonzalez (middle) Juarez Hernandez. Does my new middle have to have the two names hyphenated or can I leave them as is?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Does my new middle have to have the two names hyphenated or can I leave them as is?

      You can leave them as-is.

      Reply
  4. Roxanna

    I will be getting married in California. I want to keep my last name and add his last name as a second last name. Two last names without a hyphen. Is it possible to do this on the marriage license or will I have to file a name change petition with the court? If this is the case, do I keep my maiden name on the marriage license and then file the name change petition after the wedding?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Roxanna. Based upon the reading of the Name Equality Act, that does not appear to be possible without a court order. Through marriage, you can implement a combination last name separated by a hyphen, or a combination into a "single last name."

      Reply
  5. Deanna

    I recently got married in Nevada. The Nevada license does not have a "change name to" option like the California license does. I want to keep my middle name and add my maiden name as a second middle name, and take my husband's last name as my last name. Do I need to get a court order to do this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Deanna. You'll have to go to court to do a "keep middle (space) maiden name" combination. That would still have been the case had you married in California instead of Nevada.

      Reply
  6. Sara

    My husband and I are preparing to petition the court for our name changes (because our marriage certificate does not designate our new surname). Can we submit one petition (and one $435 fee) for the two of us, or do we each need to petition separately?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do we each need to petition separately?

      You would have to petition separately and pay separately.

      Reply
  7. Carie

    I am getting married soon in California and am considering using my maiden name hyphen his last name. We are keeping our pre-marriage assets separate and there for these assets are currently title in my maiden name, as well as a Trust. After marriage, can I continue to use my maiden name only for these assets or would I have to re-title everything including my Trust?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Carie. It's a good idea to change your name on titles and trusts so that the bank/title companies don't question your identity. It's a potential problem worth avoiding.

      Reply
  8. Samuel Ademu - John

    My daughter got married in Africa and laminated her marriage certificate to preserve it. The Cal DMV refused to accept a laminated marriage certificate. they insisted that she get another one from Africa. In Sierra Leone, West Africa, the certificate is the one you sign in church. There is no other copy to be made except a photocopy.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      The Cal DMV refused to accept a laminated marriage certificate.

      Three options, if you can't get any DMV agent to accept your document as-is:

      1) Try to remove the lamination yourself. A regular search for "remove lamination" should pull up some results.
      2) Hire a professional delamination service to do this for you.
      3) Get a court ordered name change.

      With #1, you'll need to be careful. Depending on how the lamination was done, the bonding could be so strong that attempts to separate your certificate could ruin it.

      With #2, you'll want to make sure whomever you hire has experience separating such lamination and won't destroy your document. That's why you want someone who specialized in "certificate" delamination.

      Reply
  9. Sue

    I got married in 2014 and kept my name as is. I now want to change it to my husband's last name. Since I didn't plan on changing my last name I didn't get my marriage certificate. I wanted to proceed with changing my last name and I see I need a copy of my marriage certificate. I am almost 100% sure that I didn't specify that I was changing my last name. Do I need to go get another marriage certificate that states I am taking my husband's last name? Please help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sue. You could file an affidavit to amend a marriage record with the county recorders office, although it's meant for name corrections, not changes. If you can't get that processed, you may be looking at having to get a court order.

      Reply
  10. Jalpa Parikh

    Hi! I recently got married in CO and am living in CA. The CO marriage certificate does not have a place for new names-

    1) If I just change my last name to my husband's last name, do I need a court order?

    2) Traditionally we change our middle name to our husbands first name, and the last name to his last name, does this need a court order?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      1) If I just change my last name to my husband's last name, do I need a court order?

      No.

      2) Traditionally we change our middle name to our husbands first name, and the last name to his last name, does this need a court order?

      Yes.

      Reply
  11. Dixee

    Hi, I got married in Nevada 3 yrs ago and there was no place to submit for a name change on the marriage license and they were specific on each of us writing our names as listed on our driver's license. Therefore, my marriage certificate does not list my married name. How do I change my last name in California if my marriage certificate only list my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Dixee. Not all states ask you to specify your new name when applying for a marriage license. California is one that does, Nevada is one that does not. When you get married in another state, the California requirement that your new name be reflected on your marriage certificate does not apply. Your Nevada marriage certificate is good as-is to change your name in California.

      Reply
  12. Kris

    My daughter got married in August in CA and noted that she was changing her last name to her husbands. She hasn't changed any of her documents and is not sure if she wants to. Can she file a joint married tax return with her maiden name or her married name- which is only on her marriage license and nothing else. If she does decide to change everything, should she wait until after her taxes are filed since she would be in the process of changing. She is also going on an international trip in January and needs her passport, so if she did start the process, it probably wouldn't be back in time. If she just has her marriage license in her married name, which is her legal last name-maiden or married?? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can she file a joint married tax return with her maiden name or her married name- which is only on her marriage license and nothing else.

      Taxes should be filed in her current legal name, which is here maiden name.

      If she does decide to change everything, should she wait until after her taxes are filed since she would be in the process of changing.

      There are protocols in place to deal with this. When the SSA is notified of a name change, they'll notify the IRS.

      If she just has her marriage license in her married name, which is her legal last name-maiden or married??

      Maiden.

      Reply
  13. Csilla Bede

    Hi, I see here a lots of people got help.I hope I will get one too. I got married in 2002. In that time the marriage certificate doesn't specified if I want to change my name or not. The main thing I changed my name after my husband but we don't remember how exactly we do it. The problem is now I need to legalize my marriage made in USA in my birth country for my retirement money because there I was with another name and that was changed after 2002. The main thing the lawyer from my country who help me in legalization of marriage and the new name acceptance, told me if I didn't have specified in the marriage certificate the name change, after what kind of law I did the name change and how was the process of name change. Because after that process/law etc. they can except my nem name from my DL or passport.I live an I got married in California,I need some family code or law from California for this situation.Thank you anticipated

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Csilla. You were married in 2002, but the California Name Equality Act wasn't passed until 2007. The question is did the California marriage license in 2002 have a space where you could have specified a married name? If it did not, then your marriage certificate could not have had a chosen married name reflected. You can try to acquire a copy of your marriage license (not certificate) to see if this was a case. Contact the office in the county where your license was issued for further information.

      Reply
  14. Alison

    Does is cost more in California to change your middle name to your maiden name and your last name to your spouse's name, than it would to just change your last name to your spouse's name?

    Reply
  15. Dena Westphalen

    I am marrying my partner in California and we want to blend our last names. The issue is that we want to blend my name (Westphalen) with hers (Chiang) to be Westing and drop the "a" from hers for pronounciatiom purposes. Is this possible without a court order? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      The issue is that we want to blend my name (Westphalen) with hers (Chiang) to be Westing and drop the "a" from hers for pronounciatiom purposes. Is this possible without a court order?

      Maybe. If you weren't dropping the "a", the answer would a clear yes. For that, you could create such a blend without petitioning the court. I say maybe because while California allows segment name changes, it's not clear how lenient they'll be in allowing a letter be omitted.

      You can phone a CA county clerk/recorder and ask them, but even if they say no it may very well vary from clerk to clerk. One clerk may interpret it one way, while another does so differently. You won't ultimately know until you submit your marriage license application.

      Reply
  16. Samantha

    Hello. My husband and I recently got married in Louisiana but we live in California. My last name is Mason and his is McQuarley. We both want to legally change our last name to Mack. To do so, I'm assuming we need a court order since it's not exactly a blend, but wanted to verify? Also, if we need a court order can we fill out one petition out would we need to file separately? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I'm assuming we need a court order since it's not exactly a blend, but wanted to verify?

      Yes, you're correct. You'll need a court order.

      Also, if we need a court order can we fill out one petition out would we need to file separately?

      You'll have to file separately.

      Reply
  17. Joycelyn

    Hi,

    I got married in California last August and decided to not change my name on the marriage license at the time. I thought we could just change it at a later date. Now I want to change my last name to my husbands. Will I have to get a court petition to change my name? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I have to get a court petition to change my name?

      Yes, you will.

      Reply
  18. Enrica

    Hi, i'm going to get married in few months and my future husband and I donut want to change our last names? Is that a possibility or one of us have to change it?

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      my future husband and I donut want to change our last names? Is that a possibility or one of us have to change it?

      Neither of you are required to change your name.

      Reply
  19. Danny

    Hello! I found your wonderful article through a google search, however, I did not find an answer to my question. I live in California and I took my wife's last name as my new last name.

    Legally, is there a certain amount of time I must report the name change?

    We got married last November 2016, however, I've going through a job change with the city and it will cause a huge headache if I need to reapply all my paperwork. If possible, I would like to report the name change later this year or next year after i'm well situated in my new employment. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Danny. There's no time frame. You can complete it at the time that's most optimal for you.

      Reply
  20. Johana Hi

    Hello,

    I got married 8 months ago in California and I took my husbands last name when we filled out the marriage license. We just went back and got the marriage certificate and I just noticed that I would like to have my maiden last name there too. I haven't change any of my personal information yet since like said before I just got my marriage certificate. Can I go back and add my maiden name to my marriage certificate? For instance it will be name, middle name, his-mine last names or name, middle name, mine-his last name???? Is that possible to do before updating my Social security and DL? Do I have to open a court order?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is that possible to do before updating my Social security and DL? Do I have to open a court order?

      It's not possible. You would have to petition the court.

      Reply
  21. Kirsten

    Hello! I got married in Nevada 2 years ago (Feb 2015) and had my maiden name on the marriage certificate. I wasn't planning on the name change until recently – I want to take my husband's last name and make my maiden name as my middle name (I do not have a middle name).

    1) Do I need to get a court petition to make the change 2 years after the marriage ?

    2) I'm currently on a conditional green card (2 year) with my maiden name on and it's expiring in Oct this year, and I'll be changing to a permanent green card (10 year). I plan to make the name change on the permanent green card when I'm applying in July. Will the updated green card be sufficient for me to make the name change at SSA, DMV? If not, do I need a court petition?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kirsten. Your Nevada marriage certificate will suffice. No need for court. Your current green card will be fine to change your name now too.

      Reply
  22. Belinda Jensen

    I got married over 30 years ago ago… Took his last name….. Divorced about 20 years ago… Didn't change last name….. Ex passedd away approx 5 years ago…I just found out

    How do I go about adding my maiden name back on to my name and keep his…. As my current 401k IBS under current name….I have a middle name….

    Any advice would be helpful……
    Am using a smart phone and have no access to a computer

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Belinda. To append your name to your existing last name, you'll have to petition the court for a general adult name change.

      Reply
  23. Maci

    I will be getting married in Arizona but we both live in California. I am currently still using my ex husbands name as I never changed back to my maiden name after we were divorced. I would like to change my name back to my maiden name after the wedding but use my current husbands name as my middle name, and dropping my middle name. So, my first/ his last/ my maiden name. Will I need more than the Arizona marriage license to this in California?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  24. Rei

    Hi, I got married in Nevada on Jan 2017. Had my maiden name in the marriage license and certificate. My husband and I want to start filing applications to adjust my status here in CA and I want to take/use my husband lastname and my maiden name as my new middle name in everything. What should i do for me to do that? Should i need to file a petition to court for a middle name change to my maiden name? Thank You!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rei. No need to petition the court. You'll just need to get a certified copy of your Nevada marriage certificate.

      Reply
  25. Elizabeth Arreola

    Hello,

    I am planning on getting married in July and we are applying in May for our marriage license. I want to keep my name the way it is and i want to take my husbands last name but add (de) in front of it. It is a traditional cultural thing to do in Latin America and i want to do that. His last name is Mateos, so i want to be ( de Mateos) I also do not want to drop my middle name Patricia because it is my mothers name. Is this a possibility for me to do. I am worried that I will not be able to have the name I want.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Elizabeth. You wouldn't be able to add "de" without getting a court order. You can keep your middle name unchanged.

      Reply
  26. Elizabeth

    I was married in California in 2015, and I chose to take my wife's last name on the marriage certificate. Since then, I haven't updated my social/drivers license/passport. Is there a time limit before it's to late to change my last name in the social?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a time limit before it's to late to change my last name in the social?

      No, there's no time limit to be concerned about.

      Reply
  27. Sandra Brushwood

    I live in California and I've been divorced for 23 years, but kept my married name for the sake of my daughter. I now wish to return to my maiden name. What forms do I need to fill out to do this, where do I find them and what are the fees? Please advise.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sandra. If your divorce decree included an order restoring your maiden name, then use that document to change your name. If you don't have it, or it's not a certified copy, then order one from CA vital records. If your decree didn't have such an order, you can petition the court.

      Reply
  28. Christine

    Hello,
    I am getting married this year in CA and know I want to take his last name as my new last name. However I have 1 son and don't want to lose my/his last name. But I would really prefer to keep my maiden name and add his no hyphen. My hope is that I could use the last names interchangeable, as in use either one that I choose (because they are both listed), with the exception of signing legal documents.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      But I would really prefer to keep my maiden name and add his no hyphen.

      If you're referring to your name, then you can do this, but only for the last name.

      My hope is that I could use the last names interchangeable, as in use either one that I choose

      Yes, informal usage is fine.

      Reply
  29. Elizabeth

    My future husband and I would like to change our last name to something completely unrelated to either of our last names. How would we go about doing that? He's currently in the army so appearing for court dates might be incredibly difficult but do-able if we have to.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Elizabeth. You could blend names. That is, take a part of each name to form a new name. That's something you could specify when you apply for your marriage license. That wouldn't require you going to court. Beyond that, you will have to petition the court.

      Reply
  30. Shelly

    I am getting married in May 2017 and will be going on our honeymoon in October 2017. I will be taking my husband-to-be's last name and will fill that out on the marriage license. Is there a time limit on when I officially change my name post-wedding without incurring additional fees? We already bought our tickets for the honeymoon and the airline doesn't allow name changes so wanted to wait until we come back from the honeymoon to change my last name to his.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Shelly. There's no time limit. You can wait until you come back, which does make sense.

      Reply
  31. wendy

    I am getting ready to apply for a marriage license in California, Im taking my husbands last name and want to change my middle name to a made up name that doesn't relate to our last names at all. Would it cause problems later and possibly nullify our license? It is very important to me to use this made up name as my new middle name! I've gone by it as a "last name" (unofficially) for 20 years.
    if I can't do that, can I change my middle to be blank?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Wendy. You can't change your middle name to something completely brand new; your middle name must be derived from you or your prospective spouse's current/birth last names. Blanks aren't possible either. You'll have to petition the court.

      Reply
  32. Caroline M

    Hi!

    I was married in 2006 and never changed my name. I'd like to avoid paying the court fee for an official name change. Can I sign up for another marriage license, get married again and then change my name?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Carolina. You must be referencing the requirements in the name equality act. That act wasn't passed until 2007. Your marriage predates it.

      Reply
  33. Michael

    Mike
    April 24,2017

    Hi
    I got married and my wife is from the Philippines. Is there a waiting time for her to change her last name to mine

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a waiting time for her to change her last name to mine

      It can be changed as soon as the marriage certificate is in hand.

      Reply
  34. Erika

    My fiancé and I went to fill out our marriage license recently (we have not gotten married yet) and on the form I asked to change my name to match his, but now I want to keep my maiden name. Can we fill a new license as we haven't filed the current license yet?We are in California.

    Reply
    1. Erika

      One more question, is it a requirement in California to change our ss card, passport, drivers licence etc. to match our marriage license? Would there be any issues down the line if I didn't change my ss, passport, drivers license etc.?

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Erika. Yes, you can fill out a new application to override the old.

      Reply
  35. zela

    I changed my last name sometime last year for professional reasons and realized it's causing me lots of problems. how can I revert back to my old name? would I have to go through the whole name change process again??.. hope not :-/

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Zela. If you've formally changed your name with the SSA, DMV, etc, you'll need to petition the court to change it again.

      Reply
  36. Karina

    Hii!! Me and my husband got married in 2012 in Orlando and we currenlty live in San Diego! I wasn't planning on changing my last name to mu husbands, but now with our baby on the way (4 weeks out..yay), I decided to change it. I just don't know where to start. Can I do it here in California or do I have to do it through Florida? Also, do I need a court order or just our original marriage certificate will do? And last question, where do I go to do this? I'm a permanent resident, so I don't really understand if I can do this online or if I have to go to the courthouse. I hope you can help me! Thank you!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Me and my husband got married in 2012 in Orlando and we currenlty live in San Diego!

      …snip…

      I just don't know where to start. Can I do it here in California or do I have to do it through Florida?

      You'll do it in California, not Florida.

      Also, do I need a court order or just our original marriage certificate will do?

      Just a certified copy of the marriage certificate.

      And last question, where do I go to do this?

      When you have your certificate, go to the SSA, then DMV, then passport office, etc.

      Reply
  37. Jane

    Hi – this is a really helpful site! A quick question – I am getting married in California and would like my husband-to-be to add my middle name (which is a historic family name on my side) as one of his middle names. So he would not be 'changing' his middle name, as such, but would be adding an additional new middle name. Is that possible using the marriage license, or would he need a court order? Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      So he would not be 'changing' his middle name, as such, but would be adding an additional new middle name.

      He could join the names with a hyphen, but not a space.

      Reply
  38. Marihia

    Hello, I just got married on May 16th and a lot was going on and I didn't change my last name to my husbands then. Now I do want to change my last name to my husbands, do I have to do a court order or is there something else I can do?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Marihia. If you didn't specify your new name on your marriage license, then you'll need to go to court.

      Reply
  39. Leesah Jay

    Hello,

    Just recently changed my name with the DMV for a new license and was wondering if they give you a new license number or if they simply change the name on your old license.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Leesah. The driver's license number will remain the same.

      Reply
  40. Perla

    Hi, I'm married and lived in California for about Arden years and I never change my last name, (I keep my two birth last names). Now I'm ready to my citizenship appointment, where I fill a document to USCIS to change my last name, to my husband's last name. But now I change my mind and I don't want to change my last name. Can it be possible to say or ask for that in my interview?

    Reply
  41. Lillian Richards

    Divorced in 1981, I did not ask to resume my maiden name. Now that my daughter is married I have no further connection to my married name and wish to resume my maiden name. Placer County (where the divorce was granted and they have the record, which does NOT state "resume maiden name) says it has been too long to take back my birth name and I would have to go the Civil route, filing and paying for a name change. They haven't been able to cite the statute or any code, saying they will have to look it up but are very busy.

    Is there a statute of limitations on resuming maiden name? Is that a State or county ruling?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a statute of limitations on resuming maiden name?

      If your divorce decree doesn't include an order restoring your maiden name, then government institutions have no rationale for restoring your maiden name. You'll have to get a court order.

      Is that a State or county ruling?

      State law governs this.

      Reply
  42. Eli

    Hi,
    I'm getting married next month and I want to change my full name (first, middle, and last name). Is it possible to do this on the wedding certificate or would I have to get my name legally changed beforehand? Thanks for your advice!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Eli. You can change your middle and last name using your marriage certificate. First name change requires petitioning the court, which can done before or after marriage.

      Reply
  43. Ellie

    I got married and I changed my last name. I have my husband's last name right now but i have been thinking about my work and all the people that know me for my last name. I feel that a new last name would cause miscommunication. I would want to change it back to my last name because of work. I feel it would be easy to keep my last name. What can I do about it? Do I have to pay a fee? or Can I just keep my maiden last name in all documents and just say I am married?

    Thank you in advance

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ellie. If you want to keep your new last name, you'll have to manage this with whoever handles HR and taxes at your workplace. You'll want to make sure they privately and internally use your new legal name for tax and government purposes, while using your prior name for other public uses.

      Reply
  44. Jennifer

    Hello,

    I am getting married in March 2018 in California. If I currently have a middle name, but want to change my existing middle name, will that be an issue? I want to completely get rid of my existing middle name and instead have it become: my first name + new middle name (maiden name) + husband's last name.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jennifer. Yes, you can drop your middle name and replace it with your maiden.

      Reply
  45. Cynthia Ibarra

    I just got married and i dropped my middle name kept my last name an hyphened his last name,but now i want to drop my last name and just keep his is it possible to make that change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cynthia. Since the likelihood of you're being able to amend your marriage certificate is low, you'd have to get a court order.

      Reply
  46. Sarbina

    Hi! I would like to legally change my first name (very slightly) and make my maiden name my middle, dropping my current middle. I'd take my fiance's last name. Which order do I need to do this? 1) Obtain court order to change my first name and then 2) change middle and last name with marriage license? Or other way around?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sarbina. You could have the court-ordered name change take care of all three at once. Alternatively, you could wait until after you're married to change your middle and last name with your marriage certificate, then go to court to change your first name with a court order.

      Reply
      1. Sarbina

        Hello Valera, if I change my middle/last on the marriage certificate, do I need to go to Social Security & DMV to change JUST the middle/last and take those items to court to change my first name? Or can I go 1) change middle/last on marriage certificate and 2) straight to court order to change my first?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Sarbina. If you're going to court anyway, you can change all three names at one fell swoop.

          Reply
  47. Valerie Murphree

    My daughter is getting married in CA. but lives in Kansas. She is not sure if she wants to change her name. If she keeps her maiden on the marriage license, could it be a problem if she wants to change her name at a later date to her husbands last name. While living in Kansas.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Valerie. Since the residency is Kansas, it shouldn't prevent her from changing her name in the future. However, if there's a possibility she might want to go for a hyphenated variant in the future, it would make sense to specify that on the license just in case, as it'll be reflected on the issued marriage certificate and you never know what federal/state/non-governmental clerk she'll be dealing with who will voice concern over a name mismatch.

      Reply
  48. Jasmine

    If my future spouse has a hyphenated last name and I am only taking ONE of his last names, do I need a court order?

    Reply
  49. Margaret

    I am getting married October 2017 and my fiance (Phillip Deardorff) and I (Margaret Fridley) would like to change our last name to Fischer which is his step dads last name. Could we change our names at the time we apply for our marriage licence? or does he have to do a name change through the courts before we get married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      …would like to change our last name to Fischer which is his step dads last name. Could we change our names at the time we apply for our marriage licence?

      No, that will not work with a marriage-based name change. You can only change your last name to the current surname or birth surname. You'll have to go to court.

      Reply
  50. Linda

    I am in the middle of a divorce. The divorce papers were just returned, signed by the judge. The six month date is Jan 14, 2018. In the papers I requested that my maiden name be restored. At what point can I make the changes – passport, drivers license, etc? At the point the judgement was granted/signed? Or after the six month period – Jan 14, 2018?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      In the papers I requested that my maiden name be restored. At what point can I make the changes – passport, drivers license, etc? At the point the judgement was granted/signed? Or after the six month period – Jan 14, 2018?

      You'll have to wait to make your changes until your final judgment of divorce has been processed. This could be well before six months.

      Reply
  51. Bernard Mariano

    If my wife got her name hyphenated with my last name. Does she still need to get a new social security card? I've been hearing mixed stories about the social security office not honoring this type of name change.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If my wife got her name hyphenated with my last name. Does she still need to get a new social security card?

      If she'd prefer not to change her name, she doesn't have to.

      I've been hearing mixed stories about the social security office not honoring this type of name change.

      As long as the new name choice is specified on the marriage certificate, it would be honored.

      Reply
  52. George

    I will be getting married soon I use my step fathers last name as an "Aka" name but on my birth certificate it has my biological fathers name. I will be changing my name to his last name through a petition change after we get married. Can I use my step fathers last name on the marriage license application so my fiancé can take that last name? Does she have to do a name petition change as well?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I use my step fathers last name on the marriage license application so my fiancé can take that last name?

      No, as you wouldn't be able to provide any ID confirming it's your last name.

      Does she have to do a name petition change as well?

      Yes, if she'd like to have it match your stepfather's surname as well.

      Reply
  53. Luey

    Hi Valera. We got married in California 2013. I wasn't planning on changing my last name to my husbands, but now I decided to change it (since we plan to have a baby soon). I want to hyphenate my last name with my husbands last name. I did not write anything on the "change to" name of our marriage license though. Do I need to petition to the court for the last name change?

    Reply
  54. Jamee

    According to my research, the social security office will need to hold my license for two weeks to change my name. If it's illegal to drive without a license, how will I be able to drive or show ID for the time being? I won't even leave my house without ID.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jamee. You can submit your application in office instead of mailing it with identification.

      Reply
  55. Judy

    Hi,
    My son wants his middle name to be my maiden name. I have full custody but have not problem letting dad know. (he will keep dad's last name)
    2 questions – What is the process to add the maiden name as a second middle name?

    – What is the process of replacing the middle name all together with the maiden name?

    Reply
  56. Crystal Yang

    Hello,

    I live in California and I am getting married in a few months. I am taking my fiance's last name. However, I was wondering if I can change my first name too when I get married. My first name is a cultural name but I grew up using my middle name Crystal. I use my middle name for everything. I want to change my middle name as to my first name. Then use my original first name as my middle name.

    In the case I can't change it when I get married, I'm just worried how complex to change my first name after just getting married.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      However, I was wondering if I can change my first name too when I get married.

      No, you must go to court to change your first name.

      In the case I can't change it when I get married, I'm just worried how complex to change my first name after just getting married.

      Changing your name through the California court system isn't as easy as doing a marriage name change, but it's not really complex either. You'll just have to file the petition, pay the fee, and go through the motions.

      Reply
  57. Joy

    I hyphenated my name when I married as my children had a different last name. However, my husband just adopted my children and I merely wish to drop the hyphen and keep the married name as all my children have this name now. Can't I just drop the hyphen name? The fees are much more than I anticipated and there seems to be a lot of court paperwork. Is there a simple way to accomplish this or do I have to go through all the motions?
    Thank you.

    Reply
  58. Jesse Allande

    I am about to go thru a divorce in which I took my husband's last name in marriage. If i opt to mark the box to have my previous name restored do I have to change my name back right away or can I do that whenever I choose?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If i opt to mark the box to have my previous name restored do I have to change my name back right away or can I do that whenever I choose?

      You can change it back whenever is most convenient for you.

      Reply
  59. CAT

    Hi Valera, I am trouble finding my answer for this. Hopefully you can help me. I got married in Texas this last summer and in Texas, they said I need to put my maiden name on the license and then change it after. I lived in California my entire life. So when I take my marriage license with me to to SS office and it has my maiden name on it, is this going to be a problem?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      So when I take my marriage license with me to to SS office and it has my maiden name on it, is this going to be a problem?

      No, it won't be a problem.

      Reply
  60. Cerrie

    I use my spouse last name and I have 2 first names.is it possible for me to drop one of my first names and my spouse name, and go back to my dad's name as my last name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi. You can't effect such a name change through marriage, but you can through petitioning the court.

      Reply
  61. E.G.

    I'm getting married in Pennsylvania, but we live in California and will be doing all of the name changes there. We are combining our names into a new last name. If we write the new last names on the Pennsylvania license and bring the certified license to CA, will everything go smoothly, or are we going to have to go to court because it's from out of state?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi E.G. I don't believe Pennsylvania's marriage license application provides spots to specify a new name. You should be fine using your marriage certificate to change your name how you prefer.

      Reply
  62. Barbra

    Hello Valera,

    I'd like to get married soon (CA). Is it possible to drop one letter in my first name (Barbara to Barbra) and get rid of my middle name completely and take my fiancé last name? Or do I need court order/petition for it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible to drop one letter in my first name (Barbara to Barbra)

      No.

      and get rid of my middle name completely

      No.

      and take my fiancé last name? Or do I need court order/petition for it?

      Yes, you can take your fiance's last name. Be sure to specify this choice on your marriage license when you apply.

      Reply
  63. Tanya

    We are planning on getting married in California. My fiance a foreigner has two last names a father/mother (Campos/Coto) common in latin america. We both want to change our last names. We want to drop his father last name(Campos) and only keep his mother side(Coto). Is that possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      We both want to change our last names. We want to drop his father last name(Campos) and only keep his mother side(Coto). Is that possible?

      Yes, it is possible. Specify your choice on the marriage license when you apply.

      Reply
  64. phil

    Hello Valera,

    Legally changed last name through the court (Calif -San Bernardino Cty.) changed my last name to my fathers' last name in 2006.
    Question is my marriage certificate from 2002 legitimate ? Do I need to add amendment for name change ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Question is my marriage certificate from 2002 legitimate ? Do I need to add amendment for name change ?

      Your marriage certificate is legit. You needn't modify it.

      Reply
  65. Ana

    Hello. I got married on October 11th of this year. I wanted to add my husbands name but keep my maidens names as well. I'm still not sure if I did it correctly. The way the office made me do it was First name, Middle name, New Last Name, Maiden Name. Is this correct? I really want to be known with my husbands last name. I always believed that the last name on your name is the one you go by, but the office told me that was wrong and that I couldn't do that. If the way I signed my marriage license is incorrect can I still change my name to the correct order?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      The way the office made me do it was First name, Middle name, New Last Name, Maiden Name. Is this correct? I really want to be known with my husbands last name.

      If using your marriage certificate to effect a name change, you'll have to change it specifically how it's printed on the certificate. You could have flipped the order of new last name and maiden name when applying. Having your maiden name last isn't required.

      If the way I signed my marriage license is incorrect can I still change my name to the correct order?

      Amendments are reserved for errors. Perhaps you could argue this was a clerical error due to the clerk giving you faulty or ambiguous instructions.

      Reply
  66. Pat

    Hi, I am the executor of my late husband's estate, he died in 2013, I finally received a wrongful death check made out to my late husband's estate. I ran into a snag with all of the banks that I tried to open an estate account with as I remarried Sept 2016 and they all told me the same thing….that I had to go get my name changed back to the name I used on the court papers as executor of the estate or would have to go to court and DMV and SS to change my name back in order to open the account and then they told me I had to use my legal new married name but it had to match the name on the estate estate! I handed over Death and Marriage certificates to late husband and my new marriage license and my new and old DMV and SS, old license had a hile in it via DMV and so they refused to accept it, My attorney was with me and said she never went through this one before ….so what now ??

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Pat. Consider getting their declaration in writing citing the rules/statutes the denial stems from and consult with the probate court and/or estate attorney.

      Reply
  67. Maria

    I am getting married and my daughter has asked to add my new last name to hers. I would like to hyphenate it. Is this possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      my daughter has asked to add my new last name to hers. I would like to hyphenate it. Is this possible?

      Are you saying your daughter wants you to add her last name to yours? Please clarify.

      Reply
  68. LindaLu

    California: I hyphenated on my Marriage license. I never changed SS, DMV, Passport.
    1) is there a law that I MUST change my SS to match my marriage license? ie, which "form" is the "legal" acknowledged name?
    2) when I go to do Bank paperwork/signings or 401K signingsor Living Trust, Do I use my hyphenated name? (cuz I haven't changed my SS). Should my living trust have my hyphenated name that's shown on my marriage license or my SS name which is still my maiden name?
    or can I continue to use my maiden name? ie, are the names interchangeable? Can I use solely my husband's last name for applications? or just my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I hyphenated on my Marriage license. I never changed SS, DMV, Passport. 1) is there a law that I MUST change my SS to match my marriage license?

      No, there's no law that says you must follow through and change your name.

      2) when I go to do Bank paperwork/signings or 401K signingsor Living Trust, Do I use my hyphenated name?

      You'd use the name that's on your SS card, which is your maiden name.

      Reply
  69. Dennis

    Hello!

    Thank you so much for all of this helpful information. I have a complicated question for you.

    First, let me tell you what I'd like to do as it concerns my name. I'd like to basically swap my middle name to my last name and have my current last name be my middle name. Make sense? So for instance my current name is Dennis Middle Last and I'd like to change it to Dennis Last Middle.

    Second, I got married last year and have delayed getting the official paperwork done because I wanted to change my last name. My wife is planning on taking my new last name once I get it situated.

    Question for you. What is the best process to get this done? Should I first go through the process of filing a petition to change my name first, then applying for a marriage license so that my wife can easily change her last name to match. Or can do all of this via the Marriage License Application? I've been reading that we can only change our last names through the Marriage License Application if we're either taking one of our existing last names, hyphenating, or blending. My situation seems unique, so I wasn't sure if it would be allowed.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I'd like to basically swap my middle name to my last name and have my current last name be my middle name.

      Not possible.

      Should I first go through the process of filing a petition to change my name first, then applying for a marriage license so that my wife can easily change her last name to match. Or can do all of this via the Marriage License Application?

      Petition first.

      I've been reading that we can only change our last names through the Marriage License Application if we're either taking one of our existing last names, hyphenating, or blending.

      Middle and last names can be changed, within certain parameters.

      Reply
  70. Husband’s Name as Middle

    I recently married and took my husband’s last name as my middle name since I didn’t originally have a middle name. My previous name read “first name, maiden name.” My new name reads “first name, husband’s LN, maiden name.”

    1. Do I need to change my SSN, banks, IRS, passport, etc to reflect the added middle name?

    2. Can I open bank accounts and have the credit cards issued using just my first name and (new/added) middle name?

    3. I will be going by “first name, maiden name” professionally but “first name, middle name” personally. Is there anything I need to do for these changes?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      1. Do I need to change my SSN, banks, IRS, passport, etc to reflect the added middle name?

      Only if you want you want to legally change your name.

      2. Can I open bank accounts and have the credit cards issued using just my first name and (new/added) middle name?

      If you're referring to using your new middle name as a last name, then that wouldn't be valid.

      3. I will be going by “first name, maiden name” professionally but “first name, middle name” personally. Is there anything I need to do for these changes?

      You don't have to do anything if you're using it informally.

      Reply
  71. Caroline

    Hi! I'll be getting married next year. I want to change my first name to a completely different name and take my husband's last name as my last name and keep my first name as my middle name. Would I be able to do this on the marriage certificate or would I need a court order?

    Reply
  72. Zoe

    One year ago I got married but chose not to take my husband's last name; our marriage license has my maiden name listed. Now, I'd like to legally change my name. What is the first step I need to take?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Zoe. Since you didn't specify a new name choice on your marriage license, you'll have to petition the court for a name change.

      Reply
  73. Rachel

    I recently got married and realized I made a mistake on my marriage license. On my marriage license, I put my mom's maiden name as my middle name and put my dad's last name and my husbands last name as my last name. So basically I have two last names and they are not hyphenated. So my name is "first name, middle name, and two last names".

    I want to drop my mom's maiden name and put my dad's last name as my middle name and keep my husbands last name as my last name by itself. Is it possible to do this? Would I have to go to the court to change it? I live in California.

    Reply
    1. Rachel

      Adding to my comment, we just did a small civil marriage November 1, 2017 and we have not yet received our marriage certificate. Will i have to put both our last names as last names when I change my drivers license and SS card? Is it possible to change it since the office clerk I had did not really specify that I could use my last name as my middle name?

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Rachel. You could try to get the certificate amended, but it's unlikely to be accepted. If you can't get an amendment you'll have to petition the court for a name change.

      Reply
  74. Jessa

    Hi
    I got married in October 2017 in Nevada and I wanted to hyphen my last name with mine and his, they didn't give me the option on the marriage license and my marriage certificate reflex my maiden one. But I live in CA how would I go about changing it here? I wasn't sure if I could just bring a copy of the certificate to the DMV and other places to get it changed or would I have to go through the court. any advice would be helpful! thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jessa. Nevada marriage licenses and certificates do not provide spaces to specify a new name. That won't stop you from changing your name through marriage in California though. Just bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate as-is. You do not have to go through the court system.

      Reply
  75. Judith

    Hello, I got married in may 2015 and changed my last name on the marriage certificate but I haven't done anything else. Do my husband and I need to apply for a new license? Where do I start so that I can begin the last name change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Judith. You'll just need to obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate and use it as-is to change your name with the necessary government institutions.

      Reply
  76. Laura

    Hello,

    My boyfriend currently has two last names, not hyphenated. When we get married, he wants to drop one of his last names and i want to take just that one last name. For example, he would go from Bob Michael Smith Johnson to Bob Michael Johnson, dropping the first of his two last names, Smith. I would change my last name to Johnson. Is this allowed in California without petitioning the court?

    Thank you for your help!

    Reply
  77. Nat

    Hi Valera, I got married in April 2017 in PA. I originally doesn't have last name, so in my marriage certificate only written my first name. Currently I live in CA and would like to have my husband last name as my last name. Would it be possible to add last name in marriage certificate? Or do I need to petition the court for a name change? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nat. You don't need to modify your certificate nor petition the court. Use your existing certificate as-is to change your name.

      Reply
  78. Aaron

    Hi
    I want to marry and keep all three names, first, middle and last but add a hyphen for the new last name. I can do that?

    Reply
  79. Nat

    Hi Valera. I got married in April 2017 in Pennsylvania. Originally I don't have a last name, so my name on marriage certificate only shows my given name (single word). Now I live in California and would like to add my husband name as my last name. Would it be possible to add it on marriage certificate or is it necessary to petition to court for a name change? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nat. Such marriage certificate amendments are not possible and unnecessary. Just use your marriage certificate as-is to complete a name change.

      Reply

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