- Frequently Asked Questions
- Notices & Terms
Start My Name Change Now
- EZ Forum
In California, name change through the civil marriage license is the least expensive and quickest way to get your middle and/or last Name Changed in certain traditional ways. However, if you don’t change your name when you fill out the marriage license before turning it in, you can still get a legal Last Name Change After Marriage in California through the Superior Court Order process. And, if you want to change your first name or change your middle or last names in non-traditional ways, you can only Legally Change Names in those ways through a Petition for Change of Name in Superior Court.
Everybody is familiar with the most common form of Name Change through the traditional marriage process; The wife changes her last name to her husband’s last name. That’s available everywhere.
In 21st century California, a husband can now change his last name to his wife’s, or (of course) vice-versa. Only about 8 states currently allow a man to Change his Name through the Marriage license process. BUT for a woman to take her husband’s last name, or any other of these marriage license Name Change possibilities, it has to be accomplished when you fill out the marriage license before you get married. And, only certain variations of Name Change are allowed through the Civil marriage process (see below). There’s a space right on the Marriage License forms to put in the New Names. The choice, appropriately, is completely up to the soon-to-be newlyweds.
The California Marriage License Name Change possibilities are (thanks to the 2007 Name Equality Act, effective as of 2009):
1. First Names cannot be changed.
2. Middle or Last Names can be changed, but only in the following ways:
A. Either spouse/partner may take any of the following last names:
B. Either spouse/partner may take any of the following middle names:
If the marriage license rules fit the Name Change After Marriage California choices you’ve decided upon, and you write in your Name Change choices before sending it to the State, that’s the way to go for you. You just fill out the spaces provided in the Marriage License form, and you have the formal change accomplished upon the actual marriage/partnership. Of course, you still have to get all your identification, accounts, contracts, communications, etc. squared away with your New Name. HINT: Try and be as organized as possible in this “changing” all your records to reflect your New Name phase. Keep a list and cross them off when done. And, be determined yet patient. You’ll thank yourself for that later.
IF, however, you’re too late to fill out the marriage license before you got married, or if either or both of you wants a First Name Change, or a Middle or Last Name Change other than allowed through the marriage license rules, then you’ll want to get Your Legal Name Change through the California Superior Court Petition for Change of Name process. EZNameChange.com can prepare your Petition for you and provide you with all the step-by-step instructions and other information you’ll want and need to get this done. You can start that now, if you want, at: http://eznamechange.com/questionnaire/ . We charge $115 and you’ll need to spend about 7-10 minutes to provide us the information needed.
There are plenty of couples who decide to Change Names, but prefer an option not allowed through the marriage license. Consider this, as reported by NBC News.com last year: When Abigale Kirk married Andy Weeks, they both changed their last names to Cullen. While this Last Name Change wouldn’t be available to them through the California Marriage License process, the couple required it of themselves by virtue of Abigale’s devotion to the “Twilight” saga, whose central character is a telepathic vampire named…Edward Cullen. Now, don’t get all judgmental.
Either or both spouses can still Change their Names if they don’t do it when filling out the Marriage License and decide to later. Or, if you want to Change Names when getting married, but to something other than what’s allowed by The Name Equality Act of 2007, you can do that too…just not through the operation of the Marriage License. For those reasons, or any other, just use the regular Legal Name Change process through a Superior Court Name Change Petition.
For more information about the Superior Court Legal Name Change After Marriage California process, see the EZNamechange.com article at: http://eznamechange.com/how-to-name-change-in-california/ . Just complete the EZ 3-step Questionnaire when you’re ready to start your Name Change Petition.