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Same-Sex Marriage Name Change in California

Name Change After Same-Sex Marriage – Then and Now

Two people get married in Los Angeles in 1913. Does one take the other’s last name? Yes.

The Woman takes the man’s last name and no one even considers that to be a real question. In early 20th century Los Angeles, there were committed same-sex couples, but “marriage” wasn’t really an option, even intellectually speaking. So, if two people were getting married, it could only have been a man and a woman.

Two people get married in Los Angeles in 2013.

Does one take the other’s last name? Depends.

California courts have made it legal for same-sex couples to wed and that decision has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court as of the summer of 2013. And so, a marriage in Los Angeles in 2013 and thereafter might not even involve a woman, or a man.

Same-Sex Marriage Name Change In California

Same-sex couples have an added layer of complexity to the question of whether or not to change names at marriage. There may well be an issue connected with public disclosure, even now. Are either of the partners closeted with family, work, etc.? For work considerations, whether for current or future possibilities, are there any negative consequences to revealing the marriage? Then there’s the other side of that dilemma.

Does one or the other partner, or both, wish to loudly announce to the world that they are now joined in marriage? Might there be professional, financial, social, familial or other advantages to be gained by such proclamations. And, might there be the sense of personal achievement that one gets by “doing things that are not common”, to have names changed through the marriage in the way opposite-sex couples have done for millennia?

In time, same-sex couples will do Name Changes in about the same ratio as opposite sex couples. Sexual orientation isn’t a factor in that very personal space where two people in love are wondering about the way they want to think of themselves and the way they want the world to think of them.

Changing One Spouse’s Last Name After Same-Sex Marriage

After deciding which Last Name to have when filling out their Marriage Licenses, same-sex couples will change their minds about as often as same-sex couples do in the weeks, months, and years go by and having your name be exactly the way you want it gets clearer with life experience.

After Changing Your Last Name, through the marriage license and certificate, you may want to revert to your prior legal name for professional or personal reasons. Many same-sex spouses do that after marriage and same-sex couples will have that same consideration. Although you may stay married and enjoy your married name change, it may be more important to you (and to your marriage) that you reconnect with your prior name for business. Your prior name was the one you were known by in your economic personal life, and those people may still want to deal with you by the name more familiar to them.

Unfortunately, same-sex couples will also separate and divorce sometimes. When that happens, one or both partners may want to revert to a maiden or former legal name. In separation, that can be done by a Name Change Petition case. In divorce, it can be done through the divorce.

Changing Both Last Names After Same-Sex Marriage

Both spouses can take a brand new last name after same-sex marriage. If the chosen new married name is allowed under the Name Equality Act of 2007, then both can take the new last name right on the California Marriage license, which will carry over and by printed on their Marriage Certificate. To dream up and take a brand new name for their own married family name, they just need to file a civil unlimited Petition for Change of Name.

This is a real thing you can do. And, it’s wonderful.

Hyphenating Last Names and Creating Mashups

More and more newlyweds will be taking a hyphenated combination last name, as their married name. With all this added normality, same-sex newlyweds will choose to commemorate their own union, and both of their heritages with their married name…instead of honoring just one of their families.

Robert Smith and Daniel Jones may become Robert and Daniel Smith-Jones. Or Endo Kachira and Martil Indubir may become Endo and Martil Kachindu. The Equality Act possibilities are many, but the creative minds of the partners can conjure many times more than that still.

Changing First Names

Same-sex couples cannot change either partner’s first name in the marriage license process. To do that, you’ll need to go the route of filing for Change of Name. You can do that before, or after your marriage license is completed. But, do some planning so your marriage license and your Name Change Decree are in sync.

Changing Middle Names

You can use your California Marriage License to change your middle name in certain ways. For instance, if you are taking your spouse’s last name, then you can take your maiden last name for your new middle name. If you already had a middle name, your new middle name can be your current middle name hyphenated with your former or birth last name. If you wanted to add or change to a middle name that wasn’t connected to your former or birth names, you can do that through the civil name change petition type process.

Legal Name Change After Same-Sex Marriage – ID and Official Records

Once you have your married name and your marriage in place, you’ll want to update your ID and Official Records to match. Find a time when the stress of marriage and/or honeymoon is over so you can have some time and brain cells available to get your documents in order. It won’t take that long if you organize and focus.

You want to get your Social Security Card and Driver’s License changed over first and in that order. Next, maybe do your Passport, Main Bank or Professional Licensing, depending on what you have and your priorities. Take care of current schooling if you have that. For everything else, tell them as you deal with them in daily life. Pretty soon, they’ll all be done. Visit Name Change Documents” for more info.

Same-Sex Name Change – Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

If you have changed your legal name through same-sex marriage, you may want to update or create your Will. After all, now there is your spouse to consider. You will have a Certified Copy of your Marriage Certificate and/or your Decree Changing Name as documentation to prove your New Legal Name. And, that new name needs to be reflected or used in your Will.

As is the case with many Official Records that aren’t ID, you can just keep a copy of your name change document with your Will to save the time and money of redoing it all just for the name change. But, if you will need to revamp it due to considerations of including your spouse now, or for other substantive changes, then make your name changes then also.

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