Married Last Names: An Overview of the Options in California

family law attorneysFor a long time, marriage traditions in the U. S. dictated that a bride should take her husband’s last name after getting married. While this continues to be a popular arrangement with couples across the country, there are situations where alternate options need to be explored. For example, in a same-sex marriage, who should take on whose last name? Furthermore, there are many women who would rather retain their full name even after the wedding.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options for couples to choose from in California. For this post, we’re providing a quick overview of married last name alternatives that you and your soon-to-be spouse can consider before the knot is tied for good. As always, remember that you can contact our seasoned family law attorneys directly if you want more information about this topic, or about any matter relating to marriages, divorces, and family law in CA.

Possible Married Last Name Arrangements

Here’s a run down of the possible last name arrangements that are available to you in CA:

  • Regardless of gender, either spouse can choose to take the other partner’s last name.
  • Couples can choose to hyphenate their last names, combining each partner’s last name into a longer name.
  • Without using a hyphen, either spouse can choose to add their partner’s last name to their full name.
  • Couples can choose to get creative and “combine” their last names into a new last name.
  • One or both spouses can choose to keep their original pre-marriage name.

As you can see, there are plenty of options for couples to pick from. This helps ensure that you get the married last name arrangement that best fits the needs of your relationship, whether you are a same-sex or opposite-sex couple, or want to opt for an arrangement that differs from the traditional “she takes his last name” format.

Married Last Name Arrangements and Children

When it comes to children, the options are just as flexible. Children don’t have to necessarily have the father’s or mother’s last name, and they can also use hyphenated, combined, or “fused” versions of their parents’ last names. Whatever parents write on the birth certificate is generally considered the legal name of the child.

Any name change, whether it’s for a child or a parent, needs to be requested via a change request form. Courts generally approve name change requests under most circumstances, so having your name changed in California is typically a smooth process.

We hope this post proved to be informative as you continue navigating a variety of family law issues in CA. Don’t forget that the reputable attorneys at R & S Law Group, LLP are a quick phone call away. To speak with one of our legal experts, don’t hesitate to call us at (949) 825-5245. We offer free initial consultations, so call today!