Change your name when you get married

If you are getting married, you may be able to change your middle or last name by listing it on your marriage license. Then, once you're married you can use your marriage certificate to change your name on identity documents. You don't need to go to court.

Before you start

You can only use this  process if you're changing your middle or last name to your spouse's name or some combination of both your names. 

You can't use this process to change:

  • Your first name
  • Your name after you are married

In those cases, you'll likely need a court order to change your name. 

Courts don't process marriage license applications. 

The information below is informational only. The California Department of Public Health has more information about marriage licenses or you can ask the County Recorder where you will apply for the license.

How to change your name when getting married

  • Check if you can list the name you want to change to on a marriage license

    You can only add a new middle or last name to your marriage license if the name is related to your or your spouse's current or former name. For example, you want to change your last name to your spouse's last name. Or, you want to combine your last names. 

    You can change your last name to

    • Your spouse's last name
    • One of your last names at birth
    •  A name combining all or a part of the current last name (or the last name of either spouse at birth) into a single last name
    • A combination of your last names

    You can change your middle name to 

    • Your spouse's last name
    • Your or your spouse's last name at birth
    • A combination of the current middle name and the current last name of the person or spouse

    If you want to change your name to something else, you'll need to do you will need to go through a legal name change process.

    Get more information about what names you can add from the California Department of Public Health.

  • Get marriage license issued

    List the new middle or last name you want on your marriage license application. Turn in your application at the County's Registrar's Office. The clerk will issue the license. It is good for 90 days.

    Find out more about how to get a marriage license.

    You can't add the name to your marriage license after you're married. 

    If you don't include a new name when you apply for a marriage license, you will not be able to add it to your marriage license or certificate after your marriage ceremony is performed. 
  • Get marriage certificate with new name

    After you get married, you will get a marriage certificate with your new name.  You can use your marriage certificate to update your California or federal identity documents, like your California Driver's License or US Passport.

    Check with the local agency to find out their rules. Some may have a different rule on how to change a name after a marriage.


    You can get a new copy of your marriage certificate from the Department of Public Health or the County Clerk. 


    Your records are not updated automatically with your new name. 

    You must take an authorized copy of your marriage certificate to each government agency where you need to update your ID or record.


    Learn how to contact each agency where you might need to update your records

    Get more information 

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