Frequently Asked Questions about Marriage Licenses and the Name Equality Act of 2007
What is it and what change does it make to marriage licenses?
Effective 01/01/2009, couples applying for a marriage license may elect to include the name they wish to be known as after they are married by including their new middle and/or last name(s) on the marriage license when the County Clerk or Authorized Notary, as applicable, issues the marriage license.
Do I have to indicate a new last or middle name at the time of purchasing my marriage license?
Parties to a marriage are not required to change their name and nothing in this law would deny the right of either party to adopt a different name through usage or to petition the Superior Court for a change of name at a later date. If you have questions regarding whether or not to include a new name on your marriage license, you should seek legal advice from an attorney prior to obtaining your license.
What if, at a later date, I want to add a new middle or last name or change my new middle or last name from what is on my marriage license?
The new middle and last name fields on the marriage license cannot be amended at a later date. If a person wants to legally change their middle or last name, it must be done by filing a petition for a court ordered name change in Superior Court.
Can I choose any name as my middle or last name at the time I obtain my marriage license?
No. Parties to a marriage may only adopt any of the following as their new last or middle name(s):
- The current last name of the other spouse.
- The last name of either spouse given a birth.
- A name combining into a single last name all or a segment of the current last name or last name of either spouse given at birth.
- A hyphenated combination of last names
Can I drop my middle name using the marriage license?
No. If the person has an existing middle name, the name can kept or changed as outlined above.
Can I use the letters of either name in any order that I wish?
No. The new last name must be “derived” from segments of the last names, not individual letters.
Can I change my first name also?
No, only the middle and last name can be changed.