Getting Married in Los Angeles County, California
Name Change in California, Name Change Before or After Marriage
Pursuant to recently enacted California law, the marriage license now provides an opportunity for the bride or groom to change their name after marriage. Changing one's name through this process can only be done at the time the license is issued and the name change information can not be amended at a later date. If your name change is not addressed on the marriage license itself then you can only change your name at a later date through a petition with the Superior Court or through simple non-fraudulent common law usage. Each spouse may adopt any of the following middle or last names after their marriage:
- The current last name of the other spouse
- The last name of either spouse given at birth
- A name combining into a single last name all or a segment of the current last name or the last name of either spouse given at birth
- A hyphenated combination of last names
You cannot change your first name on your Los Angeles marriage license.
Importantly, your name does not change simply by including your name change information on your marriage license. Your name change will only take place if you take certain affirmative steps after your marriage. Thus, even if you are not certain if you will be changing your name after your marriage it is a very good idea to include your contemplated name change on your marriage license.
To change your name legally, you'll need to wait until you receive a certified copy of your marriage license and certificate, which will typically take about 7 weeks. You'll first need to take a certified copy to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to change your name. This webpage will give you an overview of the SSA requirements and will permit you to complete and download the necessary Form SS-5. You'll save yourself some time if you have the Form SS-5 completed when you arrive at the Social Security Administration office.
After you change your name with the SSA you'll need to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to make an appointment. When you are there you will have to fill out a DL44 or DL44C form, give a thumbprint, have your photo taken, pay a driver's license fee for a new card. You must bring proof of your Birthdate and Legal Presence -with you. A name change on your driver's license will not change your car registration information.