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RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Attorney
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Getting married next week in California. I am the groom. I

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Getting married next week in California. I am the groom. I am filling out the marriage license and was wondering if I could change my last name as follows. Currently, my full name is “A B C”, where “A” is my first name, and “B C” is my last name (My last
name is ***** ***** no dash, and I do not have a legal middle name). Is it possible to change my name to “A B C”, where “A” is my first name, “B” is my middle name, and “C” is my last name? Or is this not allowed because I am not changing my last name to my
spouse's last name? My fiance would also like to change her last name to match “C” in the above example - is this possible, or is she obligated to change it to “B C”?
Thank you for your question.
Congratulations first on your upcoming marriage. Unfortunately, you can't simply change your name on a marriage license, and then have it be legal (even just a last name). For the change to be legal, you would have to file a Petition for Name Change with the courts and have a judge order the change. While the process is straightforward, it can take several months to complete, so it is not something you could accomplish before your wedding.
Therefore, your spouse to be would have to take your last name as it is now.
The instructions on how to petition for a name change in California can be found here:
http://www.courts.ca.gov/1051.htm#howto
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Robert,Thank you for your response. I also appreciate the link you provided.Is it ok if my fiance and I change our names on the license, and then follow up with the legal process (SSN, Driver License) later on? The following link seems to imply that splitting my last name into a middle name and last name (one segment for each) is OK: http://www.acgov.org/auditor/clerk/change_ml.htmSpecifically, the following language (point 3):"If the parties to be married choose to have their new name(s) shown on the marriage license, then the new name must be entered on the marriage license application. The parties may choose any of the following middle or last names as the name(s) they wish to use after marriage [Family Code, Section 306.5(b)(2)]: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: 1) all or a segment of the current last name of either spouse; or 2) all or a segment of the last name given at birth to either spouse;A hyphenated combination of last names.
Note: You may not change your first name using this process."If we're following the "A B C" example above, couldn't "B" and "C" be considered "segments" of my current last name, and may be used by either me or my spouse? Or am I off base with this assumption?Thanks! I will rate you well, I just want to make sure I have everything in order.
I do apologize for my delay. As soon as I sat down to reply, I got very busy and the phone started ringing.
In answer to your question - well, I'll be darned -yes, you can do this. Section 306.5 pecifies that a person may adopt any of the following last names:
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.
Thus, since your last name is ***** ***** or both of you could change your name to say, A (First name) B (Last Name) or A (First Name) C (Last Name).
California Family Code section 306.5(b)(4) provides that such election by a person to change his or her name serves as a record of the name change. A certified copy of a marriage certificate containing the new name, or retaining the former name, shall constitute proof that the use of the new name or retention of the former name is lawful.
So, you would still have to go to the DMV and social security to update them with the change of name of course, but your proof of lawful name change, if requested, is a certified copy of the marriage certificate.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you!
You're very welcome! Please remember to give me a positive rating if you have not done so already, as that is the only way I am credited for assisting you.
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