How to Change My Name in California after Marriage
Changing your name after marriage is a pretty simple process.
If you are married using a Los Angeles County marriage license, you will receive the “customer copy” of your marriage license and certificate to keep on your wedding day. The customer copy has original signatures and notary seal and is provided specifically so you will have immediate proof of your marriage for purposes of insurance, banking and any other non-government third parties. In other counties, you will not receive a customer copy but will have to photocopy the original copy of your marriage license and certificate before it is filed with the County after your wedding day.
Important: You can only change your name after marriage using the simple steps below if you include your name change on your marriage license and certificate. If you do not include your name change on your marriage license and certificate you can change your name only by filing a Petition for Change of Name with the Superior Court. A Name Change Petition can be unnecessarily costly and time consuming. Please go to this link to learn what your name change options are when you are married.
You will also need to purchase at least one “certified copy” of your license and certificate so you will have permanent proof of your marriage for government purpose. In Los Angeles County, each certified copy costs $15 (as of 2015) and you’ll receive them more quickly if I file your certified copy request attached to the original copy of your marriage license and certificate when it is filed with the County immediately after your wedding day. You’ll receive them within approximately 6-12 weeks that way. In other Counties, certified copies may cost slightly more or less but will typically cost between $14 and $17 apiece.
Here are the steps you’d need to take after your wedding day.
- Social Security Administration: You will first need to take a certified copy of your marriage license and certificate 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. Click on Name Change to find this form.You’ll save yourself some time if you have the Form SS-5 completed when you arrive at the Social Security Administration office.
- Department of Motor Vehicles: After you change your name with the SSA you’ll need to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). There is a link on the California DMV website with information about changing your name. Each state may have different rules so it is important to check the relevant DMV offices. Some states permit you to complete the name change process at the AAA offices with the state but not all states.
- Passport: You will need to show your revised Social Security card and/or your revised drivers license in order to acquire a passport with your new name.
- Military and Government Employees: If you or your new spouse are employed by the military or becoming a military dependent you will need to contact personnel in the payroll and benefits offices to confirm the necessary steps ensure that your marriage and name change will be respected for purposes of payroll, benefits, and even co-habitation. The military almost always requires a certified copy. Similarly, if you or your spouse is employed by the government a certified copy is usually required.
- Banks and Insurance Companies: Most financial institutions and insurance companies will permit you to change your name immediately after your marriage if you simply show them your customer copy or photocopy of your marriage license and certificate. Others will require that you show an original or a photocopy of your certified copy.
- Various Other Third Parties: Once you have a social security card and driver’s license in your married name, other changes should be fairly easy. Some entities may require only that you call and notify them of your change of name and marital status while other may require that produce copy of your marriage certificate or social security card. Third parties that may need to be contacted include:
- Doctors: Will need proof of marriage so your spouse can access your records and pick up your prescriptions.
- Pharmacy: You may also need to contact your pharmacy for the same purpose.
- Credit Card Companies- Find out which form of proof they will need for you to change your name on your credit cards and to join your new spouse on your account.
- Phone Companies, Utility Companies – These any other third party that may need to know that you are married and that you have changed your name should be contacted to determine what type of proof they will require.
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Chris Robinson, the Officiant Guy, is a Los Angeles celebrant. He has been helping couples marry and providing California confidential wedding licenses for over dozens of years. He is able to be your officiant for any kind of wedding from a gay wedding to a straight wedding with possible additions from wedding broom ceremonies to unity candle ceremonies. If you are getting married somewhere in Orange County give the best officiant in Southern CA a phone call at (310) 882-5039 or (562) 547-3255 or fill out the contact form.