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California Family Code 306.5

Validity of Marriage

(a) Parties to a marriage shall not be required to have the same name. Neither party shall be required to change their name. A person’s name shall not change upon marriage unless that person elects to change their name pursuant to subdivision (b). (b) (1) One party or both parties to a marriage may elect to change the middle or last names, or both, by which that party wishes to be known after solemnization of the marriage by entering the new name in the spaces provided on the marriage license application without intent to defraud. (2) A person may adopt any of the following last names pursuant to paragraph (1): (A) The current last name of the other spouse. (B) The last name of either spouse given at birth. (C) 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. (D) A combination of last names. (3) A person may adopt any of the following middle names pursuant to paragraph (1): (A) The current last name of either spouse. (B) The last name of either spouse given at birth. (C) A combination of the current middle name and the current last name of the person or spouse. (D) A combination of the current middle name and the last name given at birth of the person or spouse. (4) (A) An election by a person to change their name pursuant to paragraph (1) shall serve 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. (B) A certified copy of a marriage certificate shall be accepted as identification establishing a true, full name for purposes of Section 12800.7 of the Vehicle Code. (C) This section does not prohibit the Department of Motor Vehicles from accepting as identification other documents establishing a true, full name for purposes of Section 12800.7 of the Vehicle Code. Those documents may include, without limitation, a certified copy of a marriage certificate recording a marriage outside of this state. (D) This section shall be applied in a manner consistent with the requirements of Sections 1653.5 and 12801 of the Vehicle Code. (5) The adoption of a new name, or the choice not to adopt a new name, by means of a marriage license application pursuant to paragraph (1) shall only be made at the time the marriage license is issued. After a marriage certificate is registered by the local registrar, the certificate shall not be amended to add a new name or change the name adopted pursuant to paragraph (1). An amendment may be issued to correct a clerical error in the new name fields on the marriage license. In this instance, the amendment shall be signed by one of the parties to the marriage and the county clerk or a deputy clerk, and the reason for the amendment shall be stated as correcting a clerical error. A clerical error as used in this part is an error made by the county clerk, a deputy clerk, or a notary authorized to issue confidential marriage licenses, whereby the information shown in the new name field does not match the information shown on the marriage license application. This requirement does not abrogate the right of either party to adopt a different name through usage at a future date, or to petition the superior court for a change of name pursuant to Title 8 (commencing with Section 1275) of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure. (c) This section does not abrogate the common law right of a person to change their name, or the right of a person to petition the superior court for a change of name pursuant to Title 8 (commencing with Section 1275) of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 115, Sec. 7. (AB 1817) Effective January 1, 2020.)


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