Marriage License Name Equality Act Of 2007

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The Name Equality Act of 2007 (Assembly Bill 102, Chapter 567, Statutes of 2007) allows one or both applicants to a California marriage to elect to change the middle or last names by which each party wishes to be known after they are married by entering the new name in fields 29A thru 30C, as applicable, on the marriage license application.  This must be done at the time the applicants are applying for the marriage license

Each party to the marriage may adopt any of the following last names (Family Code Section 306.5(b)(2)):

  • Current last name of the other spouse
  • 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 combination of last names

Each party to the marriage may adopt any of the following middle names (Family Code Section 306.5(b)(3)):

  • Current last name of either spouse
  • Last name of either spouse given at birth
  • A combination of the current middle name and the current last name of the person or spouse
  • A combination of the current middle name and the last name given at birth of the person or spouse

NOTE:  Parties to the marriage may not change their first name on the marriage license. 

Parties to the marriage are not required to change their name, nor, are they required to have the same name.

If one or both parties do not wish to identify a new name on the marriage license, the fields on the marriage license will be completed using two single dashes.  You may not change the information on the marriage license after it has been issued by the County Clerk, unless there is a clerical error.

The marriage certificate is used by multiple local, state, federal and private agencies, each of which have different requirements regarding what documents are acceptable to change your name on their records following marriage.  It is recommended that you contact these agencies to verify their requirements prior to applying for your marriage license.

County Clerk staff cannot provide you information on how to complete the marriage license application as it relates to the entry of a new name or retention of your former name on the marriage license application.  For your protection, if you have any questions regarding whether you should or should not list your new name on the marriage license application, and/or how the Name Equality Act of 2007 may affect you, please consult with a private attorney prior to applying for your marriage license.

If a license has been issued incorrectly due to a clerical error, an amendment may be prepared in order to correct the error.  The amendment must be signed by one of the parties to the marriage and the County Clerk or his or her deputy, and the reason for the amendment must be listed as “correcting a clerical error”.

NOTE:  A “clerical error” is when the information shown on the marriage license differs from that shown on the application for a marriage license.

After a marriage certificate is registered by the local registrar, the certificate may not be amended to add the new name or change the name adopted.

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