561 Comments

When you're considering ways to change your name while honoring your maiden name, one of the best options to consider is adopting your new spouse's name and making your maiden name your new middle name. Since many people choose to adopt a new name, losing your old name can feel like a loss and some people even grieve it. If you are an only child or don't have children, you might worry how your parents will feel when your surname is lost. Making it a middle name is a great way to keep it in your life while still following marriage conventions as far as changing your name.

Pros of Maiden Middle Names

This option is particularly attractive not just for the sake of sentimentality. If you change your maiden name to your middle name, when you're dealing with unexpected little name changes at non-government institutions and need to quickly provide proof that you have just changed your name, having your maiden name as your middle name makes it easy to verify that you "added a name" and you're the same person. It's also great if you plan to continue using your maiden name in business for professional reasons, as using just part of your name is still common.

Satisfies Your Relatives

Your parents and other relatives might have a problem with you completely giving up your maiden name. Pride in your family and heritage can run deep, and giving up your name can feel like abandoning that heritage. If your name is particularly famous or linked to relatives you admire, choosing to make your maiden name into your middle name is a great way to honor your past while honoring your commitment to your partner and future with them. If you're trying to show that you aren't forgetting where you came from, keeping your heritage as a part of your name is a wonderful gesture and sure to heal rifts that might develop over adopting an entirely new name.

More Than One Middle Name?

About three in four people have a middle name now—and ten percent use it on a regular basis. If you already have a middle name, you have a dilemma: do you choose your new middle name instead of the old one, or do you have more than one middle name? The answer depends on how you feel about having more than one middle name. Some use two initials, or one initial and one middle name, and others use just one middle name on a regular basis and keep the other as strictly an official name. If the middle names clash, you might want to consider replacing your old middle name with the new one. Just remember: having more than one middle name can prove unwieldy, especially when it comes to forms and documents that only have space for one middle name on them.

Usually Easier Than Hyphenation

When you have your maiden name as a middle name, it's still easier than hyphenating your name. You won't struggle with an overly long name and you don't have to use your middle name on a regular basis—but you won't get penalized if you don't. For someone who has a maiden name that just wouldn't sound good when hyphenated with their partner's name, a middle name may be a much better option. You will be able to more easily prove your connection to people in both sides of your family as necessary (which is especially important when it comes to childcare issues, such as flying with children). Plus, it means your last name won't be such a mouthful.

Helps Ease You Through the Transition

If you aren't thinking about hyphenating your last name because you just want a single last name, you're probably choosing your partner's name for convenience or because you like it. In doing so, you might feel a sense of loss. It isn't always about just keeping your relatives happy—you have to feel like you're inhabiting your new name as you go through changing all your paperwork and possibly updating your professional details. By keeping your middle name, it won't feel as scary because you won't feel like you need to abandon what you are familiar with. You get to take on your new name while keeping the old, which is definitely like having your cake and eating it, too!

Disadvantages of Maiden Middle Names

There are a few disadvantages to this option, of course. Certain states (see below) make the process trickier than average, though most don't. If you already have a middle name, you have to choose one or feel like "one of those people" by listing more than one middle name whenever you give your full name. Getting used to having a middle name is also a process, and you may need to add this middle name to a lot of documents. Everything from your driver's license to passport must be in the exact same name with the same middle name, especially if your first and last names are both fairly common.

Some States Make This Tricky

Our site can help facilitate this name change in most states, but five states make the process trickier. These states are: New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington State. In these states, you need to petition the court to change your name from your maiden to middle name. The process can be relatively easy or stressful, depending on how much you like bureaucracy and the court system! For many people, it's stressful just because it takes more time and name changes can already be a time-consuming process. If you live in one of these states, hyphenation may well be the easiest option.

Changing your maiden name to your middle name is becoming increasingly popular as people try to find a balance between tradition and more practical modern alternatives. No matter whether you're leaning towards hyphenating, changing your name, creating a new last name, or keeping your maiden name, it's worth considering this as an option.

561 Comments

  1. Monica Corcelles Jones

    Hi. I need some help I was married 2014 but I was misspelled the middle name of my mother it was supposed to be Solvera but I mistake to wrote down Sulvera is there a possibility that I could change it? Here in the united states I'm from Philippines and married here. I appreciate the response and help. Monica from MaryLand

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Monica. If you're referring to your marriage certificate, contact the state/county vital records office where you marriage certificate is filed and request information about how to correct your record due to a typo.

      Reply
  2. Linda

    Do you know how it works in ma? The ma.gov website doesn't mention this topic at all. Several sources from 6 years ago mentioned that you need a court order to change your maiden name to your middle name in MA. Is that still the case? It wasn't in your list so I wonder if it has changed. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Linda. You'd change your name as you normally would. No special procedure.

      Reply
  3. Maria

    Hello, I was married back in 2015 and I'm finally ready to get my name changed. I have my marriage certificate ready, but from the beginning I was not told to put my married name on the certificate, was this wrong? And if I keep my last name and add on my husbands can I still be referred to as Mrs.(husband last name) or will it be Mrs. (my last name, husband last name)?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Maria. Yes, you can change it fine. Not all states provide an option to specify the name you intend to change to. How you're referred to is an informal matter, so it's whichever you prefer for a given situation.

      Reply
  4. Lindsay

    I got married in Colorado with a and signed my name "FirstName MaidenName Husband'sLastName" because that was how they told me I needed to sign it in order to change my middle name to my maiden name legally post marriage. I went to my local SSA office in Des Moines, Iowa, and they refused to change my middle name because it wasn't typed out on the certificate. I called to other states and even another office in Iowa, as well as the court and a judge who deals with the name change petitions in Des Moines, and everyone else told me that according to my marriage license, this shouldn't be a problem. What gives?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lindsay. I'm not sure what they're speaking about. You can try another clerk/office. Name change documents can also be submitted by mail.

      Reply
  5. Virginia A Knox

    I got married in Virginia but live in New York. I have never gone by my first name – always my middle name – and I now want my name on my documents to be middle name maiden name husband's last name. (So, from Jane Ann Doe to Ann Doe Jones, for example.) Will I have to get a legal name change to do that, or can I just make that change at social security and proceed from there? It looks like it has gotten easier in NY to make some name changes, but I'm not sure if the one I want is easy (or cheap). My husband and I are going to be buying a house soon and I'd like all name changes to be done by then.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Virginia. First name changes do indeed require you go to court.

      Reply
  6. Meagan

    Hi. I'm getting married soon in Michigan and would like to completely eliminate my middle name. Can I do this on our marriage license or marriage certificate? Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Meagan. Even if you omit it from your marriage license/certificate, it wouldn't legally result in the dropping of your middle name.

      Reply
  7. Lucero

    Hi, I am from Texas and got married a year ago but have not changed my name because I do not want to give up my maiden name and I do not want to hypen my last name with my husbands last name because they are so long. I am glad I found this blog and see a lot of people do put their maiden name as their middle name. I do not have a middle name, so I would go from Lucero E. to Lucero E. S. Would this need to go to court? Thank you!

    Reply
  8. Hrisimira Philippe

    Hello, i have a question. I am married for american citizen and im goin through the process to get my papers, but i would like to keep my last name instead my middle name and ofcourse take my husbands last name. Is that possible ? and what should i do ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Hrisimira. You can take a new name during the naturalization process.

      Reply
  9. Lisa

    Hi, I live in NY and am getting married in a few weeks. I want to add my maiden name as a second middle name so my name would be First Middle Maiden Husbands Last name. On the marriage license do I put First Middle Husbands last and then try to add the maiden name as a middle at SS office? Or do I do the marriage license as First Middle Maiden and then do the change at the SS office? Thanks so much, this is such a helpful site!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lisa. If a marriage license has a block to denote your new name, specify it there. Having said that, I don't believe a double middle name through marriage is recognized in NY.

      Reply
  10. Alyssa

    Hi Valera,

    I live in Indiana and I am getting married in about 2 and 1/2 weeks. I'm trying to decide whether to have a dual middle name or a nonhyphenated dual last name. I would casually go by my new husband's name, but I just don't want to drop my current middle name or my maiden name. Is it easier to make the transition to a dual middle name or a dual last name? Not just legally, but in terms of bills, credit cards, etc.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Alyssa. Dual middle name would result in less complications due to the fact that it will be referenced considerably less than your last name.

      Reply
  11. CJ

    Hi Valera,

    I read the through all the comments and I'm not entirely sure if this was answered. I live in NJ and got married Oct. 2015. My full name includes my mother's maiden name as my middle name. If I want to take my husband's last name and drop my middle name (since I won't be using my maiden name), I would still have to go through a court petitioned name change?

    And the same answer goes with if i decide to change my middle name to my maiden name and then take my husband's last name correct?

    Reply
  12. Bethany

    Hello! I'm about to get Married in Montana using a double proxy since we live in Germany. I was born in Vermont. I want to change my name to First Middle Maiden Husband's name. Would that be possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Bethany. Support for double names is typically not supported or is ambiguous, at best. Best course of action is to contact the driver's license office to confirm support. And even with positive confirmation, you could be at the mercy of whichever agent/clerk determines what is and is not recognized.

      Reply
  13. Aviva

    Hello! I'm going to be getting married soon in Indiana. I plan on changing my legal name to "FirstName MyMaiden HisSurname", however I intended to change the spelling of my maiden name. My family's name was anglicized after they moved to the United States and I'd like to go back to the older spelling. It has been multiple generations since that spelling was used so there are not any legal documents with it listed, however the pronunciation is clearly the same. I haven't seen anything on Indiana's laws regarding what exactly is allowed during marriage name change procedures. Do you think this would require a petition or would it be allowed through the regular process? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Aviva. Changing a character in your maiden name would require a petition.

      Reply
  14. Sarah

    When I get married, I want to take my husband's last name. The question is this: No one calls me by my first name so i was wondering if when i change my social security card, instead of using my first, last and married last name can i use my middle, last and married last name, dropping my first name? Example – If Susan Ann Brown was my birth name and I am marrying a Smith, Can I use Ann Brown Smith instead of Susan Brown Smith or Susan Ann Smith?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      The question is this: No one calls me by my first name so i was wondering if when i change my social security card, instead of using my first, last and married last name can i use my middle, last and married last name, dropping my first name?

      No, this wouldn't be accepted. You'll have to get a court order for such a change.

      Reply
  15. Dena Theiss

    I'll be getting married next month in West Virginia. I plan on taking my husband's last name. My question is this….can I change my middle name to something completely different? Like not my maiden name or anything like that? Would this make the process more involved?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I change my middle name to something completely different? Like not my maiden name or anything like that?

      This can only be done with a court order.

      Reply
  16. Georgia

    Hi Valera,

    I am recently married in Georgia, and would like to change my name to First OriginalMiddle MaidenLast MarriedLast, with both the OriginalMiddle and MaidenLast as middle names rather than having a double last name. It seems that Georgia allows changing a Maiden name to a Middle name, but I'm not sure about appending it to an existing middle name. I filled out the marriage license application using MarriedLast as the last name I intended to use after marriage but there was no place to change the middle name on that form.

    Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Georgia. As you surmised, a dual middle name is unlikely to be accepted without having something such as a court order.

      As for there not being a spot to specify a new middle name, that's not uncommon in many states. Not all states setup their marriage license applications to specify what the "change to" name will be, if any. Those forms are only concerned with your current name.

      The marriage certificate you ultimately receive will serve as your proof of marriage to allow you to go through the marriage-based name change process. At that point, what you're allowed to change to will be determined by state law, and, sometimes, the flexibility and interpretation of the agent you end up dealing with.

      Reply
  17. Cera J

    Hi Valera,

    In Ohio and marrying soon. I'd like to be FirstName MiddleName Maiden(as 2nd middle) HusbandLast.

    Would it be "easier" to petition for second middle name before marriage, or does it not matter when? State laws are annoyingly confusing to decode into layman terms. Calling the marriage license office was comical, unfortunately. Thanks in advance :-)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Would it be "easier" to petition for second middle name before marriage, or does it not matter when?

      It doesn't matter when.

      Reply
  18. Laurel Moser

    I have used my maiden name as my middle name for 28 years. I made this change when I married. It is on every document and account (IRS, retirement, heath insurance, Social Security, driver's license, bank, etc.) that is associated with me. Going for a Real I.D. driver's license in Nevada, I am told I have to use the middle name on my birth certificate, requiring me to change my name with every account and agency I am associated with. Is this correct? Clearly, my maiden name is on my birth certificate. Why can't I have it on my driver's license? (It has been on my driver's license since 1988.)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Laurel. Are you certain you've brought along the three necessary pieces of documentation: proof of identity, proof of SSN, proof of state residency? Also, Real ID should still optional for the time being. You should be able to renew using a standard license.

      Reply
  19. Allison

    Hi!

    I got married this past November in the Bahamas (and have a certified copy of our marriage certificate/entry in the register of marriages). I live in NY and am finally starting the name changing process.

    I'm hoping to change my name from "First Name / Middle Name / Maiden Name" to "First Name / Middle Name Maiden-as-2nd-Middle-Name / Husband's Last Name." Is this going to be a huge hassle?! I found online a 6 point rule where if I get my SS card and passport changed to whatever new name I want, the DMV will accept these 2 IDs to process the name change for my driver's license. I'm just worried I'll get roadblocked at one of the agencies/organizations and have to do a re-do or something. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

    Reply
  20. Toni

    Hello. I recently got married in Hawaii and my certificate now shows my last name as my middle name and the last name of my husband. I live in NJ and tried to update my ss card to my new name and the agent told me that he cannot change my middle name to my last name with out a legal petition. Is that correct? Even if my marriage certificate already shows that's.

    Reply
  21. Janet Richardson

    I was married in 1980. At that time, I changed my middle name to my maiden name and took my husband's last name. My driver's license and social security card reflect this change. When I applied for a passport in the 90s, the postal worker would not allow my maiden name to be my middle name. Therefore, my passport has my original middle name and husband's surname. The discrepancy between my IDs has caused my some problems and I would like them to match. Can I change my passport? Was the postal worker just plain wrong (and sexist)? Any direction you can give would be appreciated. I live in Michigan.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Was the postal worker just plain wrong (and sexist)?

      It's possible. You can get a certified copy of your marriage certificate and try again. There is a possibility that you may face difficulty changing it due your already having changed it. Maybe. Explain your situation and bring documentation confirming your name change (e.g., marriage certificate, social security card, driver's license).

      Reply
  22. Cecilia

    Hello, I live in California. My Mother gave me her maiden name as my middle name and my fathers last name as my last name. I got married and took my husbands name and dropped my fathers last name. My question is, if I were to ever get divorced can I drop both my married name and maiden last name and use my mothers maiden name (which is my middle name) as my new last name. The reason for this is because if we divorce I do not want to go back to using my maiden last name because I have absolutely no contact with my biological father, nor with any members of his side of the family. I would rather restart my life with a name I identify with.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cecilia. It's possible. If you get divorced, ask the judge to order your name be restored to the format you prefer.

      Reply
  23. Brandi

    I'm applying for a passport renewal. My last passport contained FirstName MiddleName MaidenName. I married within the last 10 years and dropped MiddleName with SSA by changing to First Maiden Husband's with no trouble. My marriage license lists my name as First Middle Maiden. What do I put for my middle name on the passport renewal? Would prefer First Maiden Husband's. Hate my given middle name! Live in Alabama. Thanks!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Brandi. The passport form has a spot for current name and prior name. Put first middle maiden for prior name and first maiden husband for current. Provide a certified copy of your marriage certificate to facilitate your name change.

      Reply
  24. Marge

    Hello.. I'm from Texas. I've been married for 4yrs..my name in marriage certificate is first name,middle name(mom's last name) ,last name(fathers last name)…but in all my legal documents SSN, DL,Bank etc… I used my first name,last name(fathers last name) and husband last name..

    I just finished my interview for naturalization today., the officer correct me I can't use my last name(fathers last name) as middle name..so I just follow him first name, middle name(mom's last name), and husband last name..And since I passed that would be my name in citizenship certificate..I know I need to change all my documents..Do I need to change my name also in marriage certificate??

    What if I want to use my fathers last name as my middle name….first name, middle name(fathers last name),& husband last name like this.. Do I need to go to court??

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Marge. You wouldn't be able to change your certificate, even if you wanted to. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears the agent used the name you chose on your marriage certificate as the reference for your middle name? In this instance, your name is out of sync on your documents. So, in order to change it on that one document you may need a court order. It may still be worth revisiting the agent (or another agent) and present your other identity documents to confirm your father's name as your middle. Request your name reference these current, legal documents.

      Reply
  25. Monterey

    Hi!

    I'm from CA and I filled out my marriage certificate with my first name, middle name, and new last name but now that I am about to apply for my new Social Security card, I want to include my maiden name as part of my middle name. Will that be an issue or will I have to go back to the court and change my name on my marriage certificate?

    Reply
  26. KyRose

    What is the downside of not changing your name when you marry?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi KyRose. If you're referring to social downsides, then there's nothing meaningful. Whether you change your name is a personal choice that you must be comfortable with. If you're referring to technical downside, then some states ask that you choose your new name when applying for you marriage license. Failing to do so could preclude certain people from changing their name after marriage using just the marriage certificate.

      Reply
  27. dhess

    I just got my greencard last july 2nd,and we havent apply yet any id's like SSN and drivers license,coz i want to chanhe my lastname to my husband's lastname.Were here at Wisconsin and im originally from the Philippines.

    In my country when u get married we have to use my husbands lastname and my lastname will be my maiden name.Untill now we cant start to get SSN because we dont know what is the legal action to do it,do we have to go get legal change name and court order for changing my lastname to my husband's lastname and my lastname to be my maiden name?thank you so much in advance.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Dhess. You'll first need to get a certified copy of your marriage certificate. When you visit the Social Security office, be sure to take this document with you to change your name (last and maiden).

      Reply
      1. dhess

        After we get the certified copy of our marriage certificate can we change it already to social security?.Is it not going to have a problem that my greencard and my social security and drivers license if ever,are not the same lastname?thank u so much how many months already that we cant start how to do the right thing to change my lastname

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Dhess. Although you can begin to change it with those organizations, it's important that the name on your green card is sync with what's on your social security record.

          Reply
  28. Claire

    Hi there,
    My sister is getting married this weekend in MI and would like to keep her first name, middle name, maiden name, husband's name, without a hyphen. Is this possible? Would the two last names be her legal last name or would one count as a second middle name? We are confused and want to be sure before she gets married!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Claire. It's whichever is specified on the marriage document. If the names are positioned in the last name area of the document, then both last names will become the full, legal name surname.

      Reply
  29. Christina

    Hello! We live in Massachusetts and married in 2014. I took my husbands last name as my last name and dropped my maiden name. Now, I'd like to drop my given middle name and use my maiden name as my middle name (wish I had done this sooner!). Will this require court order or can I just start by updating social security?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will this require court order or can I just start by updating social security?

      Court order, since you've already changed it before.

      Reply
  30. Sheryl Taylor LaRue

    I'm in Oklahoma and I just legally changed my last name back to my late husbands but I also added my maiden name as my middle. I did not put down my birth given middle name. Does this mean that I only have my maiden name as my middle name now since I did not list it in the papers I filed with the court and the Judge approved?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Does this mean that I only have my maiden name as my middle name now since I did not list it in the papers I filed with the court and the Judge approved?

      Yes, your middle is now just your maiden. However, your name change won't be complete until you notify the various government institutions to have your records updated.

      Reply
  31. C

    I'm in Indiana and am getting married next week. I just want to verify how I have to sign my marriage license. I want to change my middle name to my maiden name and take my husband's last name. I have to sign the marriage license how I want to be known. Does that include my middle name? Should I sign it First Name/ Maiden Name/ Husband's Name? Or if I just signed it First Name/ New Last Name would I be able to easily change my middle name to my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi C. You'll typically sign your current name, and not the new "change to" name. Still, you should follow whichever instruction is on the application. By the way, most Indiana counties allow the marriage license application to be filled out online.

      Reply
  32. Ann

    Is maiden to middle name change allowed in Nevada? Where can I find the "rules"?

    Reply
  33. Kristina

    I didn't have a middle name so I added my maiden name as middle & took my husbands last name. The SS didn't have a problem with it, will the Nevada Dmv give me issues? I can't find anything on their website.

    Reply
  34. Rochelle

    Hello,

    I live in Texas and was married in April. I have yet to change my name but when I do so I plan to make my maiden name my middle name and take my husbands name as my new last name. I plan to change it with the Drivers License office but do I absolutely have to change my social security card? Also, do you think I will have any challenges with my direct deposited paycheck because I don't want to change information at work?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do I absolutely have to change my social security card?

      It's likely you wouldn't be able to update your driver's license if you don't update your social security card first.

      Also, do you think I will have any challenges with my direct deposited paycheck because I don't want to change information at work?

      That's a possibility, assuming it's set to reject upon a name mismatch.

      Reply
  35. Heidi

    Where do you start if you want to change your middle name? Do you change your middle name first and then submit all the paperwork to change to your married new last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Heidi. If your name change is because of marriage, you'll update both your middle and last name simultaneously.

      Reply
  36. Jenny C

    Hi Valera,
    I have a somewhat complicated scenario. Me and my soon to be husband are both in the military. I live in Italy and he resides in Alabama. I am technically a TN resident, but my drivers license is from VA. We are open to getting married in TN or GA, but here is where it gets tricky. I would like to incorporate both our names by adopting an old Latino tradition of my surname de his surname. So Jenny Lynn CamdeLopez. Is it possible to incorporate that article between both of our last names in either state? I can't find anything speaking to this particular scenario. Thanks for your help.

    Reply
  37. Ann

    I just went to SS in Nevada today and they allowed me to use my maiden name as my middle name. However, when I got to the Nevada DMV, they did NOT let me do the same, citing NAC 483.055 Item 4. They said I need a court order and that the SS card with the new name means nothing to them.

    Reply
    1. Katie

      This happened to me too!! What did you do about it? Does your drivers license match your SSC?

      Reply
      1. Janessa

        Yes, this happened to me, too. Nevada DMV will not recognize my maiden name as my middle name, because my marriage cert does not specifically note the change. The clerk said it didn't matter what my SS card, previous driver's license, tax returns, or military ID card say. I brought a whole cache of certified/original/current docs, but none of them mattered. She said I had to go through the court to change my middle name. (I should add she was quite snotty about it, to boot!). I am perplexed because I assumed my maiden-as-middle after marrying 4 years ago, in another state, with no issue. It's on my SSC, IRS docs, military ID, work ID, house deed–everywhere except my NV driver's license. They don't match, and it bugs me. I called the NV DMV 800 number, and the clerk there confirmed this, citing the RealID act. Sigh. I may bite the bullet and go through the court process. It will end up costing about $300. Sadly, this new law isn't accommodating to cultures whose women change their middle names to their maiden names after marriage.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Janessa. Can you specify the state you were married in? Also, did your marriage certificate have a space where a new name could be specified?

          Reply
  38. Katie

    Hi!
    So I live in PA and did not know I was going to be unable to make my maiden name my middle name. I went to SSC and they allowed me to drop my middle name, so my SSC says FIRST, MAIDEN, MARRIED SURNAME. I then went to the DMV and they told me I cannot drop my middle name. So my license now has my middle initial in addition to maiden name and new married last name. Am I going to have trouble in the future because they do not match? Also which name is my middle name now when filling out official documentation? This is stressing me out and I am tempted to re-do the documentation and just drop my maiden name entirely. What are your thoughts?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Am I going to have trouble in the future because they do not match?

      It's doubful you'll face future issues with the PA DMV. They'll likely do what they've already done; apply a workaround that works for them.

      Also which name is my middle name now when filling out official documentation?

      Typically it's the name on your SS card, as it's federal, while the DMV is state-level. For instance, when you're doing your taxes, the name on your SS record is what matters. Same thing with employers, insurance, etc.

      It may be annoying to have a defunct intial appearing on your license, but even with that it's not ommitting a portion of your name.

      This is stressing me out and I am tempted to re-do the documentation and just drop my maiden name entirely. What are your thoughts?

      The DMV would be willing to change it, but they'd need a document, such as a court order, to process a follow-up name change.

      Reply
  39. Nicole .

    Love your site. I'm also having a scenario it's stressing me out, my husband and I are residents of NJ I'm from Jamaica with a residents Green card my original birth certificate my middle name has hyphen in between Ann-Marie. On my marriage certificate middle name has no hyphen I recently went to have my passport renew at the Jamaica consulate in New York and was told my passport would be rejected if I did not correct the middle name. I had used the same marriage certificate before n renew my passport in the pass no issues then. Is there any way of correcting middle name with hyphen in NJ? Also how long will something as a hyphen correction in middle name take as we book trip for overseas? Was not expecting to have issues.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there any way of correcting middle name with hyphen in NJ?

      You can go to the office that issues marriage certificates and request a correction/amendment. They may be able to do it the same day.

      Reply
  40. Amy

    Hi! I'm getting married in November in Ohio in the county I was born/grew up in, but I've lived in Michigan since December of last year. We may be moving back to Ohio right before/after the wedding, but we're not sure yet. I'd like to make my married name First Middle Maiden Last, but I'm not sure what I'll need to do. Everything I've read makes it sound like it's a royal pain to move your maiden name to middle in Ohio, but I haven't been able to find much about adding it as a second middle in Ohio. Is that even possible? And would I even be changing it in Ohio if I'm still living in Michigan? What would I need to do if (1) I'm still living in Michigan and (2) if we move back to Ohio?

    Thank you so much!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I haven't been able to find much about adding it as a second middle in Ohio. Is that even possible?

      No.

      And would I even be changing it in Ohio if I'm still living in Michigan?

      You'd change it in Michigan.

      What would I need to do if (1) I'm still living in Michigan and (2) if we move back to Ohio?

      If you change it in Michigan, Ohio doesn't matter. At that point it's a done deal.

      Reply
  41. Michelle

    I'm sorry if this was already asked. I line in NJ. For my wedding I got a name changing kit. It stated in NJ there are 3 options. 1. Taking his last name, 2. Adding with a hyphen 3. Adding with no hyphen and having two last names.
    First step was social security they let me have two names with no hypen. Next step was DMV and they made my hyphen. Is this a problem? What's legal? Is my name officially changed? I'm so confused.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michelle. It is changed. The hyphenated variant is primarily what you should go by.

      Reply
  42. Maya

    Very helpful website! I didn't come across this scenario in the comments, but if I missed it I'm sorry to make you repeat!
    I am recently married and am starting the name change process. I already have 2 middle names: Maya [middle 1][middle 2] and Maiden Last (legal name on MN birth certificate). I have a professional license under name: Maya [middle 1 initial] Maiden Last in MN and WI and have built my professional name using my maiden name. Therefore I would like to keep it part of my name. For sake of compromise, I plan to add my husband's surname but would like to drop [middle 2] and replace it with my maiden name. This way I can hopefully continue to use my maiden name professionally and make my new husband happy by using his surname in my personal life. So new name would look like Maya [middle 1][new middle 2 = Maiden] and Husband's Surname. We are WI residents. Long story short, is this possible? And can I do this just through the process of a married name change? Or do I need to go through the court?
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Maya. Because you're looking to drop a part of your name, that would require getting a court order.

      Reply
  43. TE

    I was recently married in PA (this was my 2nd marriage). When I married the first time I kept my middle name and added my maiden name as a 2nd middle name and took my husbands last name. So I had first, middle, maiden ,last name.
    With this marriage I wanted to drop my maiden name as my 2nd middle name and take my new husbands last name. I had no trouble at the SSA. What is the process for the dmv so that everything matches and I have first,middle, new last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi TE. DMV follows theSSA. Go to the DMV with your marriage certificate to change your name.

      Reply
  44. Carrie

    Hi! I got married eight years ago and changed my middle name to be my maiden name – first by going to the SSA office and then applying for a license at the Texas DMV. Since then I have successfully gotten a license with this name in Missouri as well. It is listed on all financial documents, including mortgages. We just moved to NJ and I am told they will not accept my maiden name as my middle name, even though this has been my legal name for eight years. Do you know if that is correct? Appreciate your help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Carrie. NJ is one of the few remaining states where a maiden to middle through marriage is difficult. You may still want to try a different office/agent considering your marriage took place outside the state and you have established identity documents that have existed for many years.

      Reply
  45. Erin

    I'm from Texas…
    I was married and since divorced. I took my ex-husband's last name and just dropped my maiden name. I didn't change it back to my maiden name when I divorced. I am now getting remarried and I want to drop my ex-husband's last name to take my new husbands but I also want to drop my middle name and use my maiden name as my middle, can I do that? Thanks for your assistance!

    Reply
  46. Alicia

    Hello! I got married in September 2016 in the state of Ohio. Before getting married I did a lot of research and every website said Ohio doesn't allow a maiden to middle name change and I would have to petition the court. I figured that I would try to see if they would let me once I got there. Social security had no problem with it and neither did the BMV. It was absolutely painless. My social security card and my drivers license now has my correct chosen name. I made sure to verify with everyone that I was not hyphenating my name and it is a true middle name. I don't know if this law has been updated or something just recently changed but I'm hoping brides are able to find this post so they know it's not a problem and won't have to petition the court!

    So good news for Ohio brides!!!

    Reply
  47. Jennifer

    When I remarried, I kept my ex husbands last name as my middle name because of our children. They are getting older and I'd decided to change my middle name back to my maiden name and drop his last name. I went through the social security office with no problems and had my name changed. However, when I went to get my driver's license updated, they refused because it was not stated anywhere in the divorce papers that I could drop his name. He's my ex, why do I have to have it written in divorce documents? Is this something that is common? It's in Mississippi.
    They told me I would have to get my divorce document amended from 10+ years ago or pay a lawyer to petition a name change. It just seems to me if my social security card is updated; I showed my divorce papers, current marriage license, and my birth certificate that I should be able to get it changed on DL. They said I couldn't get a name change on DL without going through the courts.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      He's my ex, why do I have to have it written in divorce documents? Is this something that is common?

      Yes, it is a common requirement. During divorce proceedings one would request the judge restore the maiden (or prior) name. If it's not spelled out in the divorce decree changing your name consistently across all institutions can be a problem.

      Reply
  48. Annamarie

    Hello…we are planning to marry in the coming months, and I find myself in a bit of a situation with the name change. I'm originally from Chile and I own a business in my country, with bank accounts tied to it, legal contracts, etc. If I was to take my future husband's surname, what would be the legal implications back in my country? Due to my surname having a difficult pronunciation, it would be so much easier just taking his, however I don't want to jump into something that might jeopardize my business overseas. Would moving mine as a middle name be my solution?
    Many thanks in advance

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I was to take my future husband's surname, what would be the legal implications back in my country?

      Your name in Chile would remain as-is. The connection to your identity wouldn't be severed due to your changing your name in another county, therefore not much would practically change.

      Would moving mine as a middle name be my solution?

      Not really. You may want to look into registering your name as a business/trade name (or equivalent) within Chile. This would allow you to continue doing business in your established name, while allowing you the option to legally change your name in Chile if you ultimately decide to take your husband's name after you get married.

      Reply
  49. Ashley Weitzel

    Hello Valera,
    When I got married in Colorado I signed my wedding certificate with my maiden name…. I would like to add my maiden name to my middle name, having two middle names with no hyphen, and take my husbands name as my last name….
    1) Where do I start this process? County clerks office?
    2) Do I have to change my marriage license?
    3) I would only have to use all 4 names when signing formal documents, right? Normally I could just sign with my first and last.
    Thank you so much.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I would like to add my maiden name to my middle name, having two middle names with no hyphen

      While replacing your current middle name with your maiden name wouldn't be a problem, appending it to your middle name may not be recognized.

      1) Where do I start this process? County clerks office?

      You'd return to the county clerk/recorder office to get a certified copy of your marriage certificate, assuming you don't already have one.

      2) Do I have to change my marriage license?

      Only mistakes are corrected, so there's nothing to do with this.

      3) I would only have to use all 4 names when signing formal documents, right? Normally I could just sign with my first and last.
      Thank you so much.

      Unless the document explicitly asks for your middle name, you can omit it.

      Reply
      1. Ashley Weitzel

        Thanks for your help. Our marriage license has my maiden name and that is still valid if I change my last name and take my husbands?
        Thank you

        Reply
  50. Christina

    Hi, I'm in NY. My current Middle name has two parts. When filling out the forms for my last name to change, can I just drop the 2nd half of my middle name? Or do I have to first change my last name, then change my middle name and THEN apply for my license and passport etc?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Christina. You wouldn't be able to drop your middle name without getting a court order. That can be done before or after you change your last name. If you go the court petition route, you can request both your middle and last name be changed for the sake of expediency.

      Reply
  51. Shauna Pires

    Hello Valero,

    First, you are super helpful and greatly appreciated.
    Second, I apologize if this question has already been asked.

    I got married last week in MA. I wanted to change my middle name to my maiden name but there was no place to write that on my marriage license and when I asked the clerk she told me not to worry about it. When I recieved my marriage certificate it states my full name as First Middle Last and then the next line says surname after marriage which lists my wife's last name. Nowhere on the form does it show that my middle name is or can be changed to my maiden name.

    I have not changed my name on any documents yet. If I go to social security to change my name to First Maiden Wife's last name would there be a problem? If not, then is my name considered legally changed at that point?

    Thank you so much for your help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I have not changed my name on any documents yet. If I go to social security to change my name to First Maiden Wife's last name would there be a problem? If not, then is my name considered legally changed at that point?

      It shouldn't be a problem. And, yes, it would be considered legally changed at that point.

      Reply
  52. Jennifer

    I will be getting married very soon and am wondering if anyone knows how this works in Arkansas.

    Ideally, I'm leaning towards adding my maiden name to my middle name (having two middle names) and taking his last name as my last name. Is this possible without a court order in Arkansas? My main concern is the Arkansas DMV. I wanted to get some opinions before filling out the SSA form.

    I'm hoping if I list the two middle names on my SSA form and get the new card back that this will sufficient in Arkansas for my driver's license change (along with my marriage license of course), but don't know anyone who has added their maiden name to their middle name in my state. I also don't know anyone who dropped their middle name and replaced it with their maiden name, which could be a less preferable2nd option for me….but still wondering if even that requires a court order here.

    Definitely don't want to go through a court ordered change if it can be avoided, so any information is appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jennifer. That's unlikely to be accepted. A straight maiden to middle, yes, but there's a good chance it won't pass with the DMV even if you happen to get it through the SSA.

      Reply
  53. MJW

    Hi!

    I am getting married next year and would like to add my maiden name as my second middle name. I reside in Nebraska and will get betting married in Nebraska. Is this a difficult process? Do you know what steps I need to take? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi MJW. Appending a second name to your middle is not likely to be recognized by the DMV as part of a standard marriage-based name change.

      Reply
  54. Bren

    I live in TX & just got married. I want to drop my middle name and use my maiden name as my middle name and have my husbands name as my last name. So it would be FirstName MaidenName(now middle) HusbandsName(now last)
    My parents added my current middle name to my birth certificate when I was 7, but never updated it through the Social Security office.
    What do I need to do to drop my current middle name, or do I even have to do anything since it was never updated on my SS card?
    What steps are needed to do this?
    Can I achieve this without appearing in court and filing a petition?
    Can I start the process to do this with the Social Security office and a certified copy of my marriage license?

    Thank you in advance

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My parents added my current middle name to my birth certificate when I was 7, but never updated it through the Social Security office.

      Not important.

      What do I need to do to drop my current middle name, or do I even have to do anything since it was never updated on my SS card?

      You just need a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Can I achieve this without appearing in court and filing a petition?

      Yes, court petition isn't required for the type of name change you're seeking.

      Can I start the process to do this with the Social Security office and a certified copy of my marriage license?

      Certified copy of your marriage certificate, not license.

      Reply
  55. K.F.

    I've just gotten engaged and my fiance' INSISTS that I drop my last name and take his. I REFUSE, I've been married twice before, my last marriage lasted 20 years. I compromised and stated I would hyphenate and keep my middle name and just be Mary L James-Lewis. We live in GA, would this be an issue?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi K.F. It wouldn't be a technical issue, as Georgia allows such a name change without a problem. The only issue is whether or not you want to undergo a name change at all.

      Reply
  56. Rich

    I got married in florida and now im waiting for my gc.my problem is my maiden name is jane lim juan and then after marrieage i used jane lim chan.is there any problem with that.my friend said i done it wrong i supoosed to used jane juan chan.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      my friend said i done it wrong i supoosed to used jane juan chan.

      There's nothing wrong with what you've chosen. Perhaps your friend was suggesting you could have gone with another name sequence, but that doesn't invalidate your choice.

      Reply
  57. Jacki Harper

    I applied for my marriage license in California. I filled out the paperwork to adopt my maiden name as my middle name. After the paperwork was filed, my husband to be reviewed the license and realized that I did this and he is devastated. To make a long story short, we are getting married on Saturday and I want to change my marriage certificate to my original middle name and my new last name (so basically I just need to change my middle name on the certificate). From what I have gathered, once the forms are filed with the county clerk, they have to be submitted this way. Is that correct or can I still change the license before I actually get married in order to reflect the correct information??

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jacki. You can return to the recorder's office and have the license reissued.

      Reply
  58. Krystal Miller

    If I want to adopt my husband middle on my marriage certificate can i adopt his middle name..i like his middle instead of using my maiden name

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I want to adopt my husband middle on my marriage certificate can i adopt his middle name.

      No, not without a court order.

      Reply
  59. Gaby L.

    I got married in CA. I don't have a middle name and would like to add my maiden last name as my middle name and add my husband's last name as my last name (First: name, Middle: maiden last name, Last: spouses last name) Can I do this in California without a court order? Could I just change it at the SSN office and go from there?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I do this in California without a court order? Could I just change it at the SSN office and go from there?

      As long as you specified your new name sequence on your marriage license application, then yes to both questions.

      Reply
  60. Erin

    Hi – I want to keep my middle name and add my maiden name to it. I live in Texas. Can I do this? I don't have a preference of whether it's two middle names or they are hypenated as one middle name. Just looking for what's legal under the married name change process. Any references online for Texas u can point me to? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Erin. Adding to your existing middle name would entail getting a court petitioned name change.

      Reply
  61. Andrea

    I am reading so many conflicting things on the internet and wanted to see if you could help to clarify.
    I live in NYC. Got married in NY state. Marriage license says I am taking my husband's surname and I would like to change my middle name to my maiden name. Some things I have read say I need to get a court order to do this legally, and others say that if you just go to SSA and change on passport by showing marriage license for both (and both of those actually work- seems to be at discretion of SSA clerk) then you're good. But is this the case in NY? And is this considered a legal name change? Or do I need to get a court order? When I went to get copies of my marriage certificate from Brooklyn Marriage Bureau yesterday, I asked about changing my middle to maiden and they gave me the number of Brooklyn Civil Court for Name Changes. This number just rings and rings if you call it, so I wasn't able to get any information. Please help! I am traveling soon and need to sort out my passport! Thanks so much!

    Reply
  62. Bethany

    I'm getting married in a few months. When filling out the marriage license should I write the full name I want it to be changed to or should I write my given name on the license? Then when filling out the certificate I put the name I want it to be changed to right?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Bethany. If your marriage license application has a change to new name block, then you'd put it there. You wouldn't write anything on your certificate. The certificate will just mirror what you originally put on your license.

      Keep in mind, not all states/applications have a change to new name block. If yours doesn't, then your marriage certificate won't reflect a new, change to name. In that case, it wouldn't matter, you could still use that marriage certificate (showing your current/maiden name) to change your name.

      Reply
  63. Emma

    Hi,

    I got married last month and am trying to change my name. I live in Maine. I would like to make my new full legal name to have 2 middle names as opposed to one:

    First Name Middle Name Maiden Name Husbands Last Name.

    Is this possible to add a legal middle name so my middle name is now my current middle name and maiden name? I am not trying to hyphenate my maiden name with my new last name. I have yet to legally change my name.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Emma. You're looking at having to petition the court to append to your middle name.

      Reply
  64. Gabby

    I live in Texas and I'm getting married in March. I have a middle name but would like to drop it completely and make my current last name my middle name.

    My mother in law told me it wasn't possible. Can it be done??

    Reply
  65. ACP

    Hi, I got married in PA 12 years back. My marriage license and certificate shows my 'first name-maiden last name'. Now settled in CT. Till now all my official papers (GC, foreign passport, DMV, job, mortgage, credit card, etc) have my 'first name-maiden last name' listed. Now applying for citizenship through naturalization (N400) and also considering legal name change to my husband's last name using the same form. Can I use my maiden name as my new middle name? I do not have any middle name currently. I do not want to hyphenate the last name and make it very lengthy. All I want is 'my first name-maiden last name(as middle)-husband's last name'. Is that legally possible in CT? Please suggest. Thanks.

    Reply
  66. Lynette McColl

    I don't have a middle name. My parents couldn't figure one out one that sounded good. I am not looking to use my maiden name, but my nickname is Lynn (Lynette is full name). Some documents are in one or the other name. Would it be a good idea to use my nickname as a middle name and make it legal?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lynette. It's neither good nor bad. It's just a personal preference. You wouldn't be able to make a change like that through a marriage name change. You'd have to petition the court for that.

      Reply
  67. Kimi D

    How can this be done? What is the process? What document will suffice to show this change, the marriage certificate? Similar to the post above, I am a resident of Texas and when I get married, my maiden name will be become my new middle name and my last name will be my fiance's last name.

    Reply
  68. Michelle Rickey

    I'm not sure what to do with my last name since I do feel a sense of loss when thinking about ditching it. Although I imagine documents will be annoying, I'm thinking of hyphenating my middle name with my maiden name. Is that a thing?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michelle. It's an option, but not something that's guaranteed to be supported in all states.

      Reply
  69. Aly

    Hi there!

    My husband and I got married in Minnesota in August. On the marriage certificate it states my new name after marriage will be With my current middle name and New last name. I now want to add my maiden name as a middle name. We are currently living in Washington but I am not sure how long we will be here. I have not switched anything over yet. can I go through Minnesota since that's where we got married and will eventually move back to? Or do I have to go through Washington since we are currently living here?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Aly. You'll likely face resistance from the Department of Licensing. You may have to consider going with a court petitioned name change.

      Reply
  70. Jenna

    I live in CT and will be getting married next month. I do not want a long hyphenated last name, so I would like to take my maiden name as a second middle name.

    FirstName MiddleName MaidenName HusbandsLastName

    Can this be done?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jenna. I don't believe this is possible without a court order.

      Reply
  71. Rachel

    Can I make my maiden name my middle name in NYS through marriage?

    If not, what office takes care of this? Do I first change last name to husbands name and then separately petition to change my middle name?

    How much time do you typically have to update liscense, passport, etc.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rachel. Yes, you can change it in one process using your marriage certificate. There's no time limit to changing your name.

      Reply
  72. EILEEN

    I am puertorrican currently living in KY. I am getting marries this July in Boston, so my marriagr license would be from Massachusetts. My question is as puertorrican we have two last names(name- fathers last name- mothers maiden name). I don't have a middle name and I would like to have my mothers maiden name as my middle name and take my future husbands last name. Would I have to go to court for this or am I able to just change it on my marriage license? Also how would this change work in PR?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Eileen. You'd likely have to go to court as you're looking to use just a portion of your last name.

      Reply
  73. Nicole

    Hi,

    I'm American but of South American descent, so my middle name is my mom's last name, and my last name is my dad's last name. I'd like to add my fiance's last name without dropping my last names, and without hyphen-ating. Is that possible? We are residents of New York city, but we have the option have being legally married in the state of Maryland as well if I'm not allowed to change my name the way I'd like to in NY. Do you know if this is at all possible? I know I have the option of moving my maiden names to my middle name, but I'd have 2 names as my middle name in that case..

    Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nicole. I don't believe using a space is an option. You could hyphenate, or combine the names without a space, but that's about it.

      Reply
  74. Melissa

    Hi, I kept my middle name and now decided I would really like to have my maiden name as my middle. Is this an easy process to do? Thank you for your advice.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Melissa. It depends on the state. A few won't do it at all. For states that require a new name be specified on the marriage license, not specifying it could prevent such a name change as well. So, it depends on the state. If none of these impediments exist, the process is easy. You'd just need a certified copy of your marriage record. Otherwise, the alternative is to go to court.

      Reply
  75. Susan Graham

    When I file my taxes I sign them my first name, middle initial then maiden and married name. My drivers license has just my first, middle and married. Can I add my maiden name on my DL so it matches what the IRS has?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Susan. Since you've already changed your name once with the DMV, you wouldn't be able to do it again without some other document (not your marriage record) signifying a new name change.

      Reply
  76. Trixie S.

    I would like to make my maiden name my middle name. Do I have to go through the courts to do that? Or can I simply do that through the process where I would change my last name to my married name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Trixie. In most states you can. Take a look at the last two paragraphs of the article for a list of states where it's not possible without going to court.

      Reply
  77. Abby

    Just went to pick up a marriage license and was wondering if I was suppose to sign it with my husbands last name or my legal name in the state of north Carolina

    Reply
  78. Kathy Skillern

    I was widowed and recently remarried in Texas. I would like to change my middle name to my deceased husbands last name due to my children and legal accounts etc…, but would like to take my new husbands last name. From what I am reading here, that can be done ar the Social Security office with just the marriage license. Is that correct? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kathy. That would work for your last name, but unlikely for the middle.

      Reply
  79. Ramona

    I live in New York, getting married this Nov 2017.I've been reading up on whether I can drop my middle name and make my maiden name my middle name. So my name would read First Maiden Husband Lastname. There so many conflicting stories where some people have been successful, while others were not successful in making such change.

    I noticed that on the NY marriage license form, writing your middle name is optional. If I do not list my middle name anywhere on the license form, would this make it easier to change my name with SSI to First Maiden Husbands Lastname?

    FYI : my current SSI card and passport reads First, Middle, Maiden.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I do not list my middle name anywhere on the license form, would this make it easier to change my name with SSI to First Maiden Husbands Lastname?

      Omitting it wouldn't do much as those organizations already have reference to your middle name in their records.

      Reply
  80. Jay

    We got married 4 years ago and I used my last name (Lopez) as my middle name and took his last name(Garcia). I never changed my last name in any documents because I didn't want to go through the stress while I was in school. My husband and I talked about it and he suggested I should just drop his last name and keep my maiden name. Is there any consequences to not changing my last name in all these years?? What would be the process to changing my surname in the marriage certificate??? Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there any consequences to not changing my last name in all these years?

      No.

      What would be the process to changing my surname in the marriage certificate?

      You'd have to file an amendment request, but those are typically reserved for errors.

      Reply

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