Property Records

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  • What information should appear on a Recorded Document?
    The document must be typed or filled out legibly in ink. It should include all recording requirements and a complete legal description of the property and the parcel number. We recommend that you seek the advice of an attorney before filing documents that affect the ownership of your property. You should also file a Preliminary Change in Ownership Report with the deed when it is recorded. The Preliminary Change in Ownership Report is available on our website or by calling (619) 531-5848. If you have additional questions, please contact the Title Unit at (619) 531-5557.

    By State law, San Diego County Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk staff is not permitted to give legal advice or to assist in document preparation.

  • What is an Affidavit of Death or an Affidavit of Death of a Joint Tenant?

    This is a legal document that may be required by title companies or attorneys in order to make the death a matter of public record. The completed document should be recorded in the San Diego County Recorder's Office with a certified copy of the death certificate attached. For recording information, please call (619) 238-8158. 

  • How do I report the death of a Property Owner?

    To report the death of a property owner, you may fill out a Preliminary Change in Ownership Report and send it to the Assessor's Office with a copy of the death certificate. The death of a property owner is a change in ownership and may affect your property taxes. Failure to report the death may result in penalties. If the property is in a trust, you may want to review the trust papers with an attorney.​

  • Will a Change In Ownership affect my Property Taxes?

    A change in ownership may result in an increase to your property taxes. If a transfer is between parent and child or between spouses, it may be excluded from reappraisal in certain circumstances. If you have any questions, please call (619) 531-5848.​

  • How do I change the name on the Tax Bill Or Ownership Records?

    In order to change the name as it appears on assessment records, a new deed would need to be recorded to reflect that change. Record the notarized deed in the San Diego County Recorder's Office along with a Preliminary Change in Ownership Report. For recording information, call (619) 238-8158.

    We recommend that you seek legal advice and assistance from an attorney before filling out documents that affect the ownership of your property.​

  • Are Public Records available?
    The Assessor's Office provides a public information service to assist taxpayers with questions about property ownership and assessments.  Property ownership information is available for all properties in the County by phone or in person at all branches of the Assessor's Office. 

    The Assessor's Office also provides recent property sales information for public review as well as property characteristic information.  Both the sales and characteristic information are available online or in person at the San Diego Main Office.  For more information, call (619) 236-3771.

  • How do I get Assessor's Parcel Maps?
    The Assessor's Office prepares and maintains over 27,000 maps delineating every parcel of property in the County.  These parcel maps serve as a basis for all property assessments and are continuously updated to reflect new subdivisions and surveys.  These maps are available for review and purchase at the Assessor's San Diego Office or through ParcelQuest.  For more information, call (619) 531-5588. 

 

 Property Assessments

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  • Are Boats and Aircraft subject to appraisal?

    Boats and aircraft are taxable and appraised annually at full market value. Their value is determined by reviewing purchase information and comparable sales. Information on their location and ownership is obtained from the State Department of Motor Vehicles, the United States Coast Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration, and on-site inspections of all marinas and airports. For more information, call (858) 505-6200.

  • When is Business Personal Property appraised?

    Unlike real property, business personal property is appraised annually. The owners of all businesses must file a property statement each year with the Assessor's Office detailing the cost of all their supplies, equipment, and fixtures at each location. This is required unless the Assessor's Office has already established the taxable value of the business and sent out a Notification of Value Card. Business inventory is exempt from taxation. For more information, call (858) 505-6100.​

  • Are manufactured homes subject to property taxes?

    Newly purchased manufactured homes, and those on permanent foundations, are subject to property taxes. As with real property, the assessed value of manufactured homes cannot be increased by more than 2% annually unless there is a change in-ownership or new construction. Older manufactured homes bought before June 30, 1980 are generally not subject to property taxes. They are licensed under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Housing and Community Development at (619) 645-2960.

    As a result of recent State legislation, the purchase of a manufactured home park by the residents will not cause a reassessment. Property taxes will remain at their current level and be prorated among the spaces. For more information, call (619) 531-5478.

     

  • What is a Change-in-Ownership Statement?

    This statement is required by State law to be filed with all property sales and transfers at the time of recording. If it is not filed, a $20 fee must be charged and the Assessor's Office will send out another statement to obtain the required information. This statement is used solely for appraisal purposes, and is confidential. For more information, call (619) 531-5848.​

  • Other than an appeal, is there another option to request a review of my assessment?

    Between January 1 and April 30, a taxpayer may submit a written request to the Assessor, indicating their opinion of value and providing supporting documentation, such as comparable sales that occurred three months prior or three months after January 1, or a recent appraisal. For the appropriate form visit www.sdarcc.com or go to any of our branch offices.

  • Under what circumstances should I file an appeal and when?

    The filing of an appeal becomes necessary when there is a difference of opinion regarding value or if a change in ownership has occurred.

    If an action taken by the assessor results in a supplemental billing, the taxpayer has 60 days from the mailing date of the bill to file an appeal. 

    If the disagreement is regarding the assessment on the regular annual tax bill, the filing period is between July 2 and November 30 (if November 30 falls on a holiday or weekend, then the deadline is the next business day). Under state law, if the current market value of your property as of January 1 falls below the assessed or taxable value as shown on your regular annual tax bill, the Assessor’s Office is required to lower the assessment. For applications call (619) 531-5777 or visit www.sdarcc.com.

  • How long will it take for the Assessor's Office to reassess the property based on my purchase?

    The Assessor is required to complete the assessments for each calendar year by the following June 30th. For example, all transfers occurring between January 1 and December 31, 2008, must be completed by June 30, 2009.

    At the start of each new fiscal year, July 1, the Assessor's Office has 6 months, January 1 to June 30, of work to begin processing. After the Assessor's Office reassesses a property for a change in ownership, the information is sent to the Auditor/Controller and finally the Treasurer/Tax Collector's Office for processing of a refund or bill, whichever is appropriate. Therefore, a supplemental refund or billing may not be generated for several months after a change in ownership occurs. In general, reassessments due to a change in ownership are usually processed within 4 to 6 months.​

  • What if I purchase a property at market value, but the assessment on the tax rolls is higher, and the tax bill coming due is based on that higher assessment? Should I pay the bill, file an appeal, or request a review of assessment?

    A.) The existing tax bill is due and payable as billed.

    B.) If the Assessor's Office accepts the purchase price as market value, a supplemental refund will be generated for the difference between the purchase price and the existing assessment on the tax rolls, prorated for the period of time remaining from the purchase date to the end of the fiscal year. The filing of an appeal or request for review of assessment is not required for this to occur.

     

  • What is a Supplemental Assessment?

    State law requires the Assessor to reappraise property, immediately upon change-in-ownership or completion of new construction. The Assessor's Office must issue a supplemental assessment which reflects the difference between the prior assessed value and the new assessment. This value is then prorated based on the number of months remaining in the fiscal year ending June 30. This supplemental is in addition to the regular tax bill. To appeal a supplemental assessment, an application must be filed with the Clerk of the Board within 60 days from the mailing of the tax bill. For more information, call (858) 505-6262.​

  • What about NEW CONSTRUCTION REAPPRAISALS?

    Copies of all building permits are sent to the Assessor's Office by the cities and County. If the construction is new (such as a room addition), a reappraisal is required. If the construction is for replacement, repair, or maintenance, a reappraisal is not required. In appraising new construction, the market value of the addition is determined and added to the value of the existing property. The existing property, however, is not reappraised. As with a change-in-ownership, the owner is notified of the new assessment and can appeal the value. For more information, call (858) 505-6262.​

  • When is Real Estate reappraised?

    Under State law (Proposition 13), real property is reappraised only when a change-in-ownership occurs, or upon completion of new construction. Except for these two instances, property assessments cannot be increased by more than 2% annually, based on the California Consumer Price Index. The property tax rate is 1% plus any bonds, fees, or special charges.

    When a sale or transfer occurs, the Assessor's Office receives a copy of the deed and determines if a reappraisal is required under State law. If it is required, an appraisal is made to determine the new market value of the property. The owner is then notified of the new assessment and has the right to appeal the value.
     
    The transfer of property between husband and wife does not require a reappraisal for property tax purposes. This includes transfers resulting from divorce or death. In addition, a refinancing will not cause a reappraisal. There are other exclusions for senior citizens, the disabled, and those involving parent/child transfers which are discussed later. For more information, call (858) 505-6262.

 

 Property Exemptions and Exclusions

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  • What is the Property Tax Assistance program?

    If you are blind, disabled, or 62 years of age or older and on limited annual income, the State provides for partial reimbursement on the property taxes on your home. Filing for this program will not result in a lien being placed on your property.

    For more information and the necessary application, call the State Franchise Tax Board (toll free) at 1-800-868-4171 or visit them on the web at www.ftb.ca.gov.

     

    This program has been suspended by the State Controllers' Office

  • What is Property Tax Postponement?

    If you are blind, disabled, or 62 years of age or older and on limited annual income, you may defer the property taxes on your house, condo, or manufactured home. This deferred payment is a lien on the property and generally becomes due upon sale, change of residence, or death.

    For more information and the necessary application, call the State Controller's Office (toll free) at 1-800-952-5661 or visit them on the web at www.sco.ca.gov.

     

  • How about Exclusion for Seniors and Disabled?

    Senior citizens 55 years or age or older, and those who are severely and permanently disabled, can buy a residence of equal or lesser value than their existing home and transfer their current taxable value to their new property. This provides property tax relief for seniors and the disabled by preventing a tax increase if they sell their existing home and buy another. For more information, call (619) 531-5481.​

  • Is there tax relief for Disabled Veterans?

    Veterans of the United States military who are rated 100% disabled as result of a service-connected disability, or who are compensated at 100% due to unemployability. For more information, call (619) 531-5773.​

  • Is there a Builder's Exclusion?

    New construction may be excluded from a supplemental assessment. The property must be for sale and unoccupied, and the builder must file a claim form with the Assessor's Office for any development of four units or less prior to or within 30 days from the start of construction. As of January 1, 2006 developments of more than four units automatically qualify for this exemption as long as the property is for sale and unoccupied. For more information call (858) 505-6262.​

  • How do I get a Homeowners' Exemption?

    If you own and occupy your home as your principal place of residence on January 1, you may apply for an exemption of $7,000 off your assessed value for an annual savings of approximately $70 on your property taxes. New property owners will automatically receive an exemption application. A homeowners' exemption may also apply to a supplemental assessment. For more information, call (619) 531-5772.​

  • Can I apply for Disaster Relief?

    Property destroyed by a calamity (i.e., fire) may be eligible for property tax relief. In such cases, the Assessor's Office will immediately reappraise the property to reflect its damaged condition. In addition, when it is rebuilt in a like or similar manner, the property will retain its previous taxable value. To qualify, you must file a calamity claim with the Assessor's Office within 12 months, and the loss must exceed $10,000 in value. For more information, call (858) 505-6262.​

  • What is the Parent/Child Exclusion?

    The transfer of real property between parents and children can be excluded from reappraisal for property tax purposes. The principal place of residence and up to a maximum of $1,000,000 in assessed value of any additional property may be transferred without a tax increase. An application must be filed with the Assessor's Office to determine eligibility for this exclusion. For more information, call (619) 531- 5848.​

  • What are Examples of Tax-Exempted Properties?

    Property used exclusively for religious worship, colleges, cemeteries, museums, schools, or libraries may qualify for an exemption from property taxes. Properties owned and used exclusively by a nonprofit religious, charitable, scientific, or hospital corporation are also eligible for an exemption. For more information call (619) 531-5763.​

 

 Recorded Documents

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  • Is there a notary available at your offices?

    Notaries are only available within the premises of the San Diego Main Office, located at the Clerk of the Board: County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Highway, Room 402, San Diego, CA 92101.  The other branch offices of the Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk do not have notaries onsite.

  • Do you record wills?

    Wills are filed with the Clerk of Superior Court after the death of the person who made the will.  State law does not authorize the Recorder to record wills. 

  • What is Documentary Transfer Tax?

    State law requires the Recorder to collect this tax for the county and cities on real property transfers when the value (or consideration) exceeds $100.00.  The tax is based on the value (or consideration), minus any existing liens or encumbrances, at a rate of $0.55 per $500.00 or fractional part thereof. (Revenue & Taxation Code 11911) 

  • How can I add another person to my deed (title)?

    State law prohibits us from providing assistance or advice in the preparation of legal documents.  Most office supply and stationery stores carry legal documents that may fit your situation. There are also legal document preparation websites that provide certain forms.    There are a few standard templates listed on our website as Courtesy Recording Forms that you may access.  You may contact a legal aid service  or your legal advisor for assistance in the preparation and completion of your legal document(s). (Business & Professions Code (BPC) Section 6125) 

  • How do I complete my Quitclaim Deed/Grant Deed, Affidavit of Death, etc.?

    State law prohibits us from providing assistance or advice in the preparation of legal documents. Most office supply and stationery stores carry legal documents that may fit your situation. There are also legal document preparation websites that provide certain forms.  There are a few standard templates listed on our website as Courtesy Recording Forms that you may access.  You may contact a legal aid service or your legal advisor for assistance in selecting the appropriate form and the preparation and completion of your document(s). (BPC 6125) 

  • Where can I go to record a document?

    You may record your documents in person at the following locations:

    ​Location
    Address​
    San Diego Main Office 1600 Pacific Hwy., Ste. 260
    San Diego, CA 92101
    Chula Vista Office590 3rd Ave.
    Chula Vista, CA 91910
    East County Office & Archives
    10144 Mission Gorge Rd.
    Santee, CA 92071
    Kearny Mesa Office9225 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
    San Diego, CA 92123
    San Marcos Office141 E. Carmel St.
    San Marcos, CA 92078
        

    You may also submit your documents by mail to the following addresses:

        Please mail all express/overnight mail requests to:
        
    San Diego County Recorder/Clerk
    1600 Pacific Highway, Suite 260
    San Diego, CA 92101
        Standard US Mail to:

    San Diego County Assessor/Recorder/Clerk
    P.O. Box 121750
    San Diego, Ca 92112-1750
            

    Please contact our offices at (619) 238-8158 for more information.




 

 Fictitious Business Names

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  • Who has to file a fictitious business name?

    Any business using a fictitious business name must file a statement.​

  • Do I have to publish my fictitious business name?

    Yes, all new filings must be published.  A list of approved newspapers will be provided at the time of filing. 

  • Does a fictitious business name expire?

    Yes, a fictitious business name expires in 5 years.  Additionally, if a business address or the ownership changes, the statement expires and a new one with the current information must be filed. 

  • What is the filing fee?

    The fee is $42.00 for one owner and one business name. There is also a fee of $5.00 for each additional business name or owner name.​

  

 Birth/Death/Marriage Records

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  • How do I obtain a certified copy of a vital record from another county or state?

    You must contact the state or the county in which the event took place.​

  • How long does it take to obtain a certified copy of a vital record?

    If you submit the vital certificate application and payment in person, in most cases the transaction takes as little as 15 minutes.  If you submit the vital certificate application and payment by mail, the certificate will be mailed to you within 7 to 10 business days from the date of receipt. 

  • How much does a certified copy of a vital record cost?

    Birth certificates are $28.00 each.
    Death certificates are $21.00 each.
    Marriage certificates are $15.00 each.​

  • How do I obtain a copy of a vital record?

    If the birth and/or death occurred in San Diego County, or if the marriage license was issued by the County of San Diego, the Recorder’s Office can accommodate customer requests for certificate copies of the vital records through several means: (1) in person at our office locations, (2) by mail, and (3) online.  California Health and Safety Code Section 103526 permits only an authorized person to receive a Certified Copy of a vital record; this legislation requires the notarization of vital certificate applications when submitted by mail.  For more information, proceed to BIRTH AND DEATH CERTIFICATES or HOW TO OBTAIN A MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES

  

 Marriage License and Ceremonies

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  • What do we need to do to get a marriage license/get married?
    Both parties must be at least 18 years old.  If either party is under 18 years of age, you must contact the San Diego County Juvenile Court at (858) 634-1600 for approval; you may also contact our offices at (619) 237-0502 for additional information. 

    To purchase a marriage license, you must schedule an appointment to appear at any of the San Diego County Clerk office locations together, with valid and current government-issued photo identification for both parties, a completed marriage license application, and payment. 



  • Do I need to bring a witness?
    If your appointment is to purchase a non-confidential or confidential marriage license only, you do not need to bring a witness. 

    If your appointment is to purchase a non-confidential marriage license and hold a civil ceremony, you will need to bring at least one witness.  If you do not have a witness, one can be provided for you for a fee of $18.00.

    Civil ceremonies for a confidential marriage license do not require a witness. 


  • What types of identification is required?
    You will be required to present valid government-issued photo identification. Examples of acceptable identification include:

    • A current driver's license (no temporary or interim extensions accepted)
    • A current passport
    • A current military identification card
    • A current state identification card

    The identification must be current - if it is expired, the marriage license cannot be issued. 

    If either party has been divorced or filed a "Termination of Domestic Partnership” within the last 90 days, he/she must also bring the final divorce decree or termination documents with the judge's signature and date.



  • How do I change my name?
    Questions concerning name changes should be directed to the Social Security Administration, California Department of Motor Vehicles, or any other applicable agencies before applying for a marriage license. 

    The Name Equality Act of 2007 allows one or both applicants of a California marriage license to change the middle and/or last names by which each party wishes to be known as after the solemnization of their marriage.  Please refer to the NAME EQUALITY ACT in the FAQ below.


  • How much does a marriage license cost?

    A non-confidential marriage license is $70.00. 

    A confidential marriage license is $89.00. 



  • What is the difference between a non-confidential and confidential marriage license?
    A valid marriage license (non-confidential or confidential) must be purchased prior to solemnizing a civil ceremony.

    Non-confidential marriage license: The civil ceremony can take place anywhere in California, with at least one witness present to sign the marriage license.  If either party is under 18 years of age, they must contact the San Diego County Juvenile Court for approval; they may also contact our offices at (619) 237-0502 for more information.  Emancipated minors must provide court approval for a non-confidential marriage license.  The fee for a non-confidential marriage license is $70.00. 

    Confidential marriage license: The civil ceremony can take place anywhere in California, and a witness is not required.  Both parties must be at least 18 years of age and living together as spouses.  Confidential marriage licenses cannot be issued to minors.  The fee for a confidential marriage license is $89.00.  A confidential marriage record resultant from a confidential marriage license limits the authorized individuals who can receive a certified copy of the record to:

    • one of the two registrants listed on the marriage certificate
    • or a party entitled to the record as a result of a court order. 


  • When will my marriage license expire?
    Marriage licenses expire after 90 calendar days from the issue date.  It is recommended to submit the completed marriage license to the County of San Diego Recorder’s Office within 10 days after the marriage ceremony for recordation.  The marriage ceremony may be performed at a church, chapel, or other location of your choice by persons authorized to solemnize marriage ceremonies in California.  Appointments for civil ceremonies performed by the County Clerk staff are available at our office locations for a fee of $88.00. 



  • Does purchasing a marriage license make us married?

    No, a ceremony must be performed after purchasing a marriage license and before the license expires, for the parties to be married.

  • How soon can I get married?

    Parties can get married as soon as the marriage license is issued. 

  • When will the marriage certificate be ready to pick up?

    A certified copy of the marriage certificate will be available for purchase approximately 7 to 10 business days from the time the marriage license was returned to our office.  The fee for a certified copy of a marriage certificate is $15.00.

  • Where can we go to get a license and get married?

     

    Location
    Days
    Office Hours
    San Diego Main Office
    1600 Pacific Hwy., Ste. 273
    San Diego, CA 92101 

    Monday to Friday

    Appointment Only
    8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    San Marcos Office
    141 E. Carmel St.
    San Marcos, 92078 

    Monday to Friday

    Appointment Only
    8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    East County Office & Archives
    10144 Mission Gorge Rd.
    Santee, CA 92071

    Monday to Friday

    Appointment Only
    8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
     
    Chula Vista Office
    590 3rd Ave.
    Chula Vista, 91910

    Monday to Friday

    Appointment Only
    8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
     
    Kearny Mesa Office
    9225 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
    San Diego, CA 92123

    Saturday Schedule
    Appointment Only
    9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

     


  • Do I need an appointment?

    Marriage License and Ceremony Service Appointments can be booked through our award-winning self-service system by clicking here.

  • Can I walk into your office and get a marriage license and civil ceremony without an appointment?

    No, appointments for marriage licenses and civil ceremonies are required. 

  • How long will I have to wait?
    Customers are seen in the order of their appointment and sign-in time.  

    Schedule at your earliest convenience: there are a limited number of appointments available each day. 


  • Do I need a blood test?

    No. In California, there is no blood test requirement

  • I was legally married in another state/country. Can I get married here also?
    No, you are already married.



  • Is there a residency requirement to get married in California?
    No, there is no residency requirement to get married in California.
  • How many people do the indoor ceremony rooms accommodate?
    ​Location
    # of Guests​
    San Diego Main Office 20 to 30 guests
    San Marcos Office15 guests
    East County Office & Archives
    21 guests
    Chula Vista Office15 guests
    Kearny Mesa Office15 guests


  • What form of payment is accepted?

    All office locations accept cash, check, money order, and select credit/debit cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa (with a $2.50 surcharge for card payment).  Payments submitted by mail are limited to checks and money orders.

  • Can you explain to me the “Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a Day” program?
    For a fee of $80.00, a friend or relative may be commissioned as a “Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a Day” to perform your marriage ceremony.  Prospective commissioners may apply in person or by mail, but applications must be submitted at least 4 weeks prior to the ceremony for timely processing.

    If applying in person, applicants are required to appear in person at any of our 5 office locations with the completed "Deputy Marriage Commissioner For a Day Packet In Person" application, valid government-issued identification, and payment.  The County Clerk will provide the applicant a short instruction and administer the Oath of Office. Within 4 weeks, the applicant will receive their Certificate of Appointment as a Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a Day by mail along with a sample of wedding vows and instructions on how to complete the marriage license.

    If applying by mail, applicants must submit the completed "Deputy Marriage Commissioner For a Day Packet By Mail" application with the “Oath or Affirmation of Office” page notarized and check or money order payment issued to the “San Diego County Clerk”.  Within 4 weeks, the applicant will receive their Certificate of Appointment by mail along with a sample of wedding vows and instructions on how to complete the marriage license.  Please mail the completed/notarized application and payment to:

    San Diego Recorder/County Clerk
    Attn:  Marriage Commissioner
    P.O Box 121750
    San Diego, CA 92112-1750



 

 Name Equality Act

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  • What is the Name Equality Act and how does it affect me?
    The Name Equality Act of 2007 allows one or both applicants of a California marriage license to change the middle and/or last names by which each party wishes to be known as after the solemnization of their marriage.   

    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.  The Name Equality Act also specifies that a certified copy of the marriage certificate shall be accepted as identification establishing a true, full name for purposes of obtaining a California driver’s license



  • What should the public know about the Name Equality Act?
    Pursuant to Family Code (FAM) Section 306.5(b)(2), each party to the marriage 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 combination of last names. 

    Pursuant to FAM 306.5 (b)(3), each party to the marriage may adopt any of the following middle names:

    • The current last name of either spouse. 
    • The last name of either spouse given at birth. 
    • A combination of the current middle name and the current last name of the person or spouse. 
    • A combination of the current middle name and the last name given at birth of the person or spouse.

    NOTE: Parties to the marriage may not change their first name on the marriage license.  Parties to the marriage may not add or amend this information after the marriage license is issued unless it is a clerical error and the amendment is signed by one of the parties to the marriage and the County Clerk, a Deputy Clerk, or a notary authorized to issue confidential marriage licenses. 

    Parties to the marriage are not required to change their name, nor are they required to have the same name.  If one or both parties do not wish to identify a new name on the marriage license, the fields on the marriage license will be completed using two single dashes. 

    The information on the marriage license cannot be changed after it has been issued by the County Clerk. 

    The marriage record is used by multiple local, state, federal and private agencies, each of which have different requirements regarding what documents are acceptable to change your name on their records following the solemnization of the marriage. It is recommended to contact these agencies to verify their requirements prior to applying for a marriage license.

    County Clerk staff cannot provide information on how to complete the marriage license application as it relates to the entry of a new name or retention of your former name on the marriage license application.  For your protection, if you have any questions about the Name Equality Act and how changing your name may affect you legally, please consult with a private attorney or seek legal advice prior to applying for your marriage license

  • When does the Name Equality Act take effect?

    The Name Equality Act only applies to marriage licenses issued on or after January 1, 2009; marriage licenses issued prior to January 1, 2009 are not covered.

  • What if I am not sure what name I want to use after marriage or have questions related to my legal rights?

    If, at the time the marriage license is purchased, you have not decided on the name you wish to use after marriage, you may adopt a different name through usage at a future date or petition the superior court for a change of name.  If you have any questions about the Name Equality Act and how changing your name may affect you legally, please consult with a private attorney or seek legal advice prior to applying for your marriage license. 

  • Am I required to list the name on the marriage license that I will be known as following the solemnization of my marriage?

    No, you are not required to list the name on the marriage license by which you will be known as following the solemnization of your marriage.  However, if you choose not to change your name at the time you purchase your marriage license, you cannot add or amend this information on the marriage license/record/certificate at a later date.  If you decide to change your name on the marriage license after the issuance of the marriage license but before the ceremony, you must purchase a new marriage license with the changed name and have the old license voided.

  • What if I live in another state or country?

    There is no prohibition against including new name(s) on the marriage license if applicants do not reside in California or the United States.  If you have legal concerns about how the changes may affect you in your particular state or country, please consult with a private attorney or seek legal advice prior to applying for a California marriage license.

  • Will other agencies accept my new name?

    The marriage record is used by multiple local, state, federal and private agencies, each of which have different requirements regarding what documents are acceptable to change your name on their records following the solemnization of the marriage.  It is recommended to contact these agencies to verify their requirements prior to applying for a marriage license. 

  • What written information is the State required to provide?

    The law requires that the pamphlet entitled “Your Future Together” include information regarding the options the parties to the marriage have for choosing a new middle and/or last name upon solemnization of marriage.  “Your Future Together” is published by the California Department of Public Health Genetic Disease Screening Program.

  • Who should I call if I have unanswered questions related to this process?

    If you read the “Your Future Together” pamphlet thoroughly and still have questions, you may contact our office at (619) 237-0502 for further assistance.  You may also contact the California Department of Public Health Vital Records Customer Service at (916) 445-2684.  If you have any questions about the Name Equality Act and how changing your name may affect you legally, please consult with a private attorney or seek legal advice prior to applying for your marriage license.

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