How to Change Your Surname Through Marriage in California
Change to Your Spouse's Surname
- 1). Use your spouse's surname through common usage and you may not have to go to court to change your last name. Adopt the name and make it part of your general practice of self-reference in all your paperwork. Ask your local department of motor vehicles and U.S. Social Security Administration office if they will accept your marriage certificate as proof of identification to change the name on your driver's license and Social Security card. They may not accept that, though, so be prepared to go to court to change your name.
- 2). Collect the documents you will need to change your surname, including your marriage license or certificate, proof of identification such as a state ID card and proof of age such as a birth certificate. Make sure your new surname is on your marriage certificate or license. Request a copy of your marriage license from the city, county or locality where you got married if you do not have one.
- 3). Notify the Social Security Administration. Fill out form SS-5 and either present it along with your supporting documents to your local Social Security office or mail the form and certified copies of your documents to the local office. In the first case, the staff will check your documents and show you a certificate approving the name change. If you mail it, you will get the documents back with your new Social Security card in the mail.
- 4). Go in person to the nearest California Department of Motor Vehicles to change your surname on your driver's license. Take the certificate provided for you by the Social Security office as proof of your new name. You should receive your new license within six weeks.
- 5). Change your surname on any other documents that need to be updated, such as passports. Use the newly acquired official documents to change your surname on any additional documents or accounts you may have, such as credit cards and bank accounts.
Create a New Surname After Marriage
- 1). Get a court order to change your name to an entirely new surname after marriage. If the name is not your spouse's or if the Social Security office or DMV requires a court order, call your local California courthouse to see what the procedure is for changing to a new surname in your county.
- 2). Fill out the necessary forms. In California, fill out the Petition for a Change of Name, the Attachment to Petition and the Order to Show Cause for Change of Name. Make two copies of each form. Check with your local courthouse to see if they require you to fill out any additional forms. Fill out the Civil Case Cover Sheet and file all documents with your county courthouse. The court clerk will assign you a hearing date.
- 3). Publish the Order to Show Cause in local newspapers once a week for four consecutive weeks. Find out which newspapers the court will accept as organs for publication.
- 4). Go to court on your hearing date, bringing with you the publications in which your Order was printed. Furnish a Decree Changing Name form for the judge to sign. Obtain a certified copy of this from the court to use for any subsequent updates to your legal documents.
- 5). Take the court order to the various agencies that issue identifications and update your records with them. Use the court order as proof of your new name.