How To Change Your Name In California After Marriage
What are the possibilities?
Name Change after Marriage California is available in 3 basic ways. Each way has it’s own process and costs. Your situation probably fits one of these choices: Marriage License, Decree Changing Name, Divorce Case.
Name Change After Marriage is important. Period. You need to get this done, and done right. Do you need 1 piece of Identification changed? Several? Everything? If you want this done right, with the least amount of time and wasted energy, study up and plan a little first. 3 pieces of your ID are really key, and you can do them all in a few days if you want. Everything else may take a couple of months, but not very much of your actual time. There is no “button” to push. But, it’s completely manageable. This will help.
Process To Change Last Name After Marriage
Name Change After Marriage California Using the Marriage License
If you haven’t turned in your marriage license yet, the marriage license Name Change may be for you! The license/certificate process will offer you ways to change your name free. To Name Change After Marriage, just write in your new married name on the license. Your Marriage Certificate will come back with your new name (see limitations). A Certified Copy of Your Marriage Certificate, showing your new married name, will work.
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Name Change After Marriage California Using the Decree Changing Name (Court Order)
If you did, or didn’t change your name on your marriage license, you can change your mind. People decide to keep their maiden name, then later decide they want their spouses name. Other people take their spouses name and then want their maiden name back, with or without divorce.
The marriage license name change is a legal name change. A court order will change it again. This is how to change it back, or to something brand new. Regardless of your marital status, you can still do this anytime you want. Even if you have no intention on divorcing, or are in a divorce now, you can get a New Legal Name. The Petition for Change of Name process is available for any adult or child. The court order you get at the end of this process is called a Decree Changing Name. The California Decree Changing Name is honored everywhere.
Documents Needed to Change Name After Marriage in California
Make a little list. Put down each person whose name needs to be changed whether it is same-sex or not. If that’s just you, fine. If it’s a child, spouse, or a whole family…put it down on paper, even if it’s just you. For each person, you’re going to make a little inventory of what documentation you have and what you are missing. You may think you have what you need, but you may not. If you do, great! It’s 2 minutes. If not, this will save you a boatload of time later.
Now, for each person, you’re going to see if you already have a legal name change, or if you need one. And, for each person, what ID and Official Records need to be changed. Once you have the proper Legal Name Change Document, changing ID and Official Records isn’t as hard or time consuming to do as you may think before you dig in. So, chin up.
There are only a few kinds of acceptable Name Change Documents. If you don’t have one of these to support your request to change ID and Official Records, you’re likely to be told to start over when you do have one. So, make sure you have this before you go to change ID. Here’s the 2 kinds of Documents, and their several acceptable types:
If properly done, certain certificates are proper Name Change Documents. A Marriage Certificate is a proper Name Change Document. But only IF it shows both your legal name before AND after your Marriage right on it. It has to be issued by a legally authorized government agency. And your New Legal Name After Marriage must be in compliance with the Name Equality Act of 2007. You’re going to need an Original or Certified Copy of that.
A Citizenship (or naturalization) Certificate is also a proper Name Change Document, if properly done. This too must show your full legal name before Citizenship and After. It must be signed by a legally authorized government authority who reviewed your background. That person must also have had authority to grant the name change. An original or Certified Copy of your Citizenship Certificate Name Change will be needed to comply.
If you don’t have the right Marriage or Citizenship Certificate, you need a Superior Court Order.
Your Court Order can be a Decree Changing Name from a proper Civil Court. First Name Change, (change of mind) Last Name Change, Child’s Name Change and Retaking Your Maiden Name (while still married or as widower) can all be done by Petition for Change of Name in Civil Court. You get this after filing a Name Change Case in the correct Superior Court of the county where the person changing Names lives now. Use this process to legally change the names for adults, children and families. A Certified Copy of this court order will have the Seal of the State, the signature of a duly authorized clerk or other officer of the court, and the judicial officer who granted the name change(s). It will also show the former legal name(s), side-by-side with the New Legal Name of each person changing names.
A Family Law Court can also issue Certified Copies of Name Change Court Orders. For instance, when a California Divorce is Final, the Superior Court will Order any Former Legal Name to be Restored of either (or both) spouses upon request. You have to formally ask for that AND be sure it’s part of your divorce judgement. Otherwise, you don’t have it. A Family Law Court can also Order a child’s name to be changed by Court Order in a Child Custody or Adoption Case. If that Court Order does not Order the Child’s Name to be changed From………… To……………., right there in the Order signed by the judge, it may not be an effective Name Change Document.
As long as you have one of these Name Change Documents for each person to be getting Name Change After Marriage, you are fully half way home! If not, get them before trying to change ID if you want to save time and aggravation. If you have what you need, let’s go on!
Costs Of Changing Last Name After Marriage California
(How much $$??) If you didn’t change your name when you got married and now you want to take your spouse’s last name or a variation of it, the cost to legally Name Change after marriage or divorce is the same as it would be to change your name for any other reason. You will just file a Petition in Superior Court in California and, upon approval by a judge, get a court order legally changing your name. For a short article about the Name Change Costs, including an itemization and totals, click here. Using this method, you can change any part of your name, or every part of your name…it’s not limited to just Last Name Changes.
If you want to change your name after divorce and just want to take Your Maiden Name Back, the cost is much less IF you have a copy of your final judgment or Decree. You can do this yourself by filing an Application in your divorce case or, we can help you if your divorce case was in California.
Marriage Name Change California Options
There are a number of options available.
- Wife last name change after marriage
- Husband surname change after marriage
- Same-sex couple name change after marriage
- Hyphenating last names after marriage
- Changing child last name after marriage
Wife Last Name Change After Marriage
Name Change after marriage or divorce is the same as it would be to change your name for any other reason. We can help you file a Petition in Superior Court in California and, upon approval by a judge, get a court order legally changing your name. Using this method, you can change any part of your name, or every part of your name…it’s not limited to just Last Name Changes.
Husband Surname Change After Marriage
If you’re a man and want to adopt your wife’s last name, or a hyphenated version of both names, now it’s legal in California. Marriage Name Change equality is now legal for men at the time of marriage, just as it has been for women. Likewise, Name Change After Marriage for Men is the same as it is for women.
Same-Sex Couple Name Change After Marriage or Domestic Partnership
Although called the Name Equality Act of 2007, it wasn’t effective until January 1, 2009. The new law also allowed same-sex couples to change their names, via domestic partnership (not marriage), at the time they were entering into that commitment and without additional costs for court. The upshot of this all was to allow men and same-sex couples to change their names the same way that only opposite-sex wives were allowed to do before the Act.
Hyphenating Last Names After Marriage
Hyphenating your last name after marriage is the same as it would be to change your name for any other reason. You file a Petition in Superior Court in California and, upon approval by a judge, get a court order legally changing your name.
Changing Child Last Name After Marriage
Changing your kid(s) last name after marriage, can only be accomplished through a court order process. Name Change, Adoption and Immigration all result in a legal Name Change Court Order. A Petition for Name Change is the least expensive and shortest of these processes. If you or your spouse changed your name through the marriage license, this is how to let your kid(s) share your new family name. Learn More.
Marriage Certificate Name Change
In California, government issued Marriage Licenses will allow either husband or wife to change their middle or last names in certain ways only. (see Name Equality Act of 2007) Generally, you can legally take your spouse’s last name or a combination of your last name and your partner’s. And, you and your husband/wife can move your own family name to your middle name. There are other variations of these types of middle and last name changes allowed in California civil marriages, if done correctly. However, a first name change isn’t allowed through the Marriage Certificate process. For a legal first name change, you can do that through the Superior Court Order process. Some people who want a legal first name change when getting married, use the Superior Court Petition process to do all the married name changes at the same time to simplify the legal and Official Records changing activities.
Non-Traditional Options (Both Change To New Name)
Due to Fan devotion to the Twilight saga, Abigale Kirk and Andy Weeks got married and took the last name “Cullen“. This Last Name wouldn’t be available to them through the Marriage License process in California. But, they could do that by getting a Decree Changing Name. This couple actually did it, because of Abigale’s devotion to the “Twilight” saga. A central character in that is a telepathic vampire named…Edward Cullen. Now, don’t get all judgmental. The point is, you can have exactly the name change after marriage you want. You’re not stuck with only some variation of your current legal names in California.
New Official Records and ID After Marriage
There is a Top 4, and Social Security is #1. To get all this done efficiently (using the least amount of your time), gather up your existing ID and Official Records. You’re going to need them in different situations while getting your name changed after marriage. Plus, you can take a fresh look at them to see if there are any variations of your name that may have to be explained or documented. As long as you’re doing this, get everything fixed while you’re at it.
New Social Security Number After Marriage
Social Security Card – Do this first. This will take an hour or less. Go to a convenient SSA Office. You must have your Name Change Document and a completed application. No fee for this.
New Drivers License After Marriage
Driver’s License or State ID Card – It’s best to do this second.This may take 3 hours or so. You must go to a DMV Office to get name change after marriage for your Driver’s License or State ID Card. To get your new DMV ID to be REAL ID COMPLIANT, take a look at their Checklist before going in. DMV has a small fee for this (usually $31 or $28 per person), depending on the type of ID you’re applying for.
New Passport After Marriage
Passport – Do this third if you can. You can do this by mail, go into one of their offices or a private service can assist you for an extra fee. It will take about an hour to initiate the process and then you will get your Passport by mail, usually in a few weeks.You’ll need a completed application, your current passport,1 color photo, and the applicable Fees. It’s free if you renewed within a year, $30 for a passport card and/or $110 for a Passport book.
Birth Certificate Name Change After Marriage
Your original birth certificate, together with your original or Certified Name Change Document, will be all you need to prove your legal name in every situation. That’s why most people never bother with getting a new or amended birth certificate. The exception is for infants. New parents have emotional reasons for getting an updated birth certificate after name change. If you want to get one, go for it:)
Changing Everything Else – Bank, School, Job and More
About 2 months to do this.
For EVERYTHING else, be practical. Proceed at your own comfort level. Set up 2 groups: 1) Active Accounts (e.g., Professional Licensing, bank accounts, 401K, credit cards, School, etc.); 2) Inactive or Payment Accounts (e.g., property title, loans, auto club membership). Go to the main 3 or 4 of these and let all the others come to you. They all have periodic mail or email to you. So you can reply or follow their links to advise them of your legal name change. There are just a handful of these that are important in your daily life. Take care of those first. Keep advising and responding so they know the change you want in each communication. Pretty soon, they will all have adopted your new legal name as the one they carry for you.
Each place will have its own process for accommodating your name change after marriage. They’re used to it. Your main bank and any school is likely to want to see the Original or Certified Name Change Document. So bring one with you when you do the bank. Until you have all the rest changed over (or almost all), keep a copy of your Original or Certified handy. Some places may ask to see it, others will just do as you ask. Check them off your list as each one gets done and you have confirmation. Before you know it, they will all be switched over.
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