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 six states make the process trickier. These states are: California, 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.

91 Comments

  1. Erica

    I live in New York and wanted to move my maiden name to my middle name. I saw a tip online that if you change your passport and SS card first, then the NY DMV will let you proceed without having to petition the courts. I just tried it this morning and it worked for me, so hopefully it would work for other New Yorkers!

    Reply
    • Sergio

      Erica, will I get a marriage license with a maiden name in place of the middle name?

      Reply
      • Valera

        Sergio, you can specify your preferred name sequence on your marriage license.

        Reply
    • Valera

      Thanks for chiming in with your in-office experience. I've heard of other New York success cases for those going the SSN & passport before DMV route, although there's also been a mixture of let-downs. Still, something worth considering.

      Reply
    • DJ

      So with your SS card as proof you were able to get your maiden name as your middle name on your passport??

      Reply
    • brooke

      Hi Erica,

      I just saw your post – can you let me know what you did and what you needed to get the passport and SS card with the new middle name without going to the court first?

      Thanks! Brooke

      Reply
  2. Laurel

    Well I already have two middle names as is. I want to know if i can add my maiden name to a middle name, thus having three middle names, five names total. I would want to put my maiden name as my "one" middle name on all official documents. Has anyone heard or seen this?? I got married almost one year ago and have been putting it off due to the crazy amount of time it requires and well, I really don't want to find out that I have to give up any of my names. I do want to take on my husbands name by I'm very proud of my maiden name as it holds a lot of history.

    Any advice??

    Reply
    • Valera

      Three middle names is exceptionally rare. As you have two middle names, I'm sure you've experienced the potential difficulties and confusion it can cause. Three names would compound that.

      One thing to think about (and we're getting a bit into the weeds here) is if your name will fit on your driver's license. A month and a half ago there was a story of a woman whose name was too long for her driver's license and how she clashed with the DMV to get the length limitations relaxed.

      Now, I highly doubt you'll be facing any such character length limit, but since I don't know what your actual name is comprised of, it doesn't hurt to throw this out there just incase.

      Reply
  3. Rhoda

    I used my maiden name as my middle name but now want to drop the maiden name to use my middle name, would I have to go through the courts to do so?

    Reply
    • Valera

      …but now want to drop the maiden name to use my middle name, would I have to go through the courts to do so?

      Yes, you will, due to your already having changed your name before. Now, I'm assuming you actually did undergo a formal name change and now you're looking to legally undo it. If that's not the case please clarify.

      Reply
      • Rhoda

        I did not legally change my name. When I got married I dropped my middle name and started using my maiden name

        Reply
        • Valera

          In that case, as long as you're not a resident in one of the six excluded states listed in the article, you don't have to go through the courts. Just initiate a regular marriage-related name change.

          Reply
  4. Jill

    I just got married and changed my middle name to my maiden name and took my husband's last name. I live in PA and had absolutely no problems doing this with SS or the DMV (PennDOT). They accepted my maiden name as my new middle name, no issues whatsoever.

    Reply
    • sarah

      If you don't mind me asking what ID did you use? I just tried to change my middle name to my maiden name (i live in pa as well) and they refused it. Penndot told me I had to get a court order to change my name. So now my SS card and drivers license don't match :-( ugh!

      Reply
    • Aly

      Hi Jill,
      I live in PA and am trying to do the same thing – would you mind telling me how you did it? I called the court system and they said I had to do a full petition to get my maiden name as my middle name before I can go to SS or PennDOT. Please let me know. Thanks!!

      Reply
  5. Jane

    So this is definitely what I want to do when I get married next month. I live in Idaho, but we're getting married in Nevada. I have already applied for my license online to speed the process when we get to Las Vegas. When we're done with the ceremony, I've been told by the Nevada Marriage Bureau that I will need to request a copy of my marriage certificate after I get home. They said that the certificate will only have my current maiden name (first, middle, maiden name) on it to show that I married my fiance. At what point then do I get my name changed to having the maiden name as the middle name? The SS office told me that they will use whatever is on my marriage certificate. Do I get my SS card first or my Drivers License first? Kind of confused on the process here and WHEN exactly I request that my name will be changed. Advice?

    Reply
    • Valera

      When we're done with the ceremony, I've been told by the Nevada Marriage Bureau that I will need to request a copy of my marriage certificate after I get home.

      Correct. You'll contact the state's vital records office to request a certified copy be mailed to you. They'll charge a processing fee, but so does every other records office. Be sure to check it for errors, and request an amendment if you find any.

      They said that the certificate will only have my current maiden name (first, middle, maiden name) on it to show that I married my fiance.

      That's Nevada's prerogative. Every state does it differently.

      At what point then do I get my name changed to having the maiden name as the middle name?

      When you change it with the SSA.

      The SS office told me that they will use whatever is on my marriage certificate.

      I don't know what your local office is going on about, so I can't speak for them. The marriage certificate serves as proof that you're married and that you can legally use the last name of your spouse. Your spouse's last name would also be on the certificate.

      Do I get my SS card first or my Drivers License first?

      SS then DL. It may be a good idea to space them out by at least a day as the DMV may access the SSA database to see that you've initiated a matching name change request. This buffer provides time for such data changes to propagate.

      Reply
  6. Isabel

    I live in california ahve you heard the passport and ssn process first then dmv work for anyone?

    Reply
  7. marcia

    Hi, I am from Brazil and I just got married in august , my husband is American, we did all the immigration process and in the interview which was on Dec 10 the officer ask how I would like to have my name on the green card and I said I wanted to eliminate my middle name and use my maiden name as a new middle and my husband's name as a last name, she said ok and week later I received my GC with my full old name plus my husband's last name, they just added his…….now I made an appointment with immigration to go in January, what do I say to them? they will do the way I want it?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Marcia. Are you saying they made a mistake? If so, you can request a correction.

      Reply
      • marcia

        Yes they made a mistake but I want to know if I can have my maiden name as a middle name and my husband's as a last name…..ex: MARCIA GONCALVES DE SILVA (before marry) can become : MARCIA SILVA SMITH….Smith is my husband's., so I would eliminate goncalves de, and keep Silva as new middle name and add my husband's name Smith….Is it possible ?

        Reply
        • Valera

          You can shift your names around as you prefer as long as you're not in one of the states specified at the end of the article. You'll still need to get your green card corrected though.

          Reply
  8. Rizz

    I live in NYC and will be getting married in February.The state won't let me drop my middle initial and use my "would be" maiden name as my middle name because my IDs all have my middle initial on it. It is frustrating. What should I do in order to have my last name as my new maiden name and also add my fiance's last name? If I petition later to change it after marriage, then do I have to request a new copy of the marriage license also with the petitioned name change? Please any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Valera

      What should I do in order to have my last name as my new maiden name and also add my fiance's last name?

      You'll have to go through a court-petitioned name change.

      If I petition later to change it after marriage, then do I have to request a new copy of the marriage license also with the petitioned name change?

      No. You'll use the document the court provides to facilitate your name change.

      Reply
  9. DJ

    I changed the SS with no problem to maiden name as my new middle name. I have submitted my passport now for a name change to include my maiden name as my middle name. I also included a copy of my SS card. I am completely worried that they will put my former middle name on my new passport. Has anyone been able to get maiden as new middle on passport?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi DJ. I think you're worrying yourself unnecessarily. As long as you've filled out the form specifying your maiden name as your new middle name and included the proper documentation along with your application (as you appear to have done), you should be fine.

      Reply
  10. Jennifer Heacock

    I have a first, middle and last name. I am getting married. Is it possible to add my new married name to my current name without using a hyphen? I know I will probably have to change my drivers license, ss card and passport. What I'm trying to avoid is having to change my bank accounts, payroll checks, etc. Also, can airline tickets be booked in either last name if there's no hyphen?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Is it possible to add my new married name to my current name without using a hyphen?

      Yes.

      Also, can airline tickets be booked in either last name if there's no hyphen?

      Your airline ticket must match your identification. For domestic flights, the name on your I.D. must match your ticket. For international flights, the name on your passport must match your ticket. It's unlikely the airline will be hoodwinked as they'll cross-reference your name and its divisions (first, middle, last) with the TSA.

      You can take a look at the following maiden or middle name on passport article for additional details.

      Reply
  11. Garrett

    My wife and I were just married a few weeks ago. She went to the DMV yesterday and was told she could not use her maiden name for her middle name b/c of some July 2012 bill for security. I've never heard of anything and was trying to research why. Can't find anything. We live in the state of Georgia, USA, if that helps.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Garrett. They're likely referring to the Real ID Act. It's a federal law that was passed around a decade ago, but has been deferred several times for various reasons. It's meant to be implemented in phases, although the majority of states aren't currently compliant. It ultimately comes down to the supporting document detailing the name change event.

      A few questions. First, did your wife present a supporting document (e.g., marriage certificate) to the DMV? If so, was it a certified copy or church issued certificate? Second, did she change her name with the SSA first? If so, how long did she wait before going to the DMV?

      Reply
      • Garrett

        Hi Valera,

        Thanks for your response.

        Yes, she did take a certified copy of the marriage certificate. She also had a certified copy of her divorce decree (issued 12/2/13, since the divorce took 3 years to become final) from her first marriage that reflected her name being restored to her maiden name.

        To avoid having to change her name with government agencies twice in two months, she just waited until our marriage was legalized to do it all at once. Her Drivers license had her original married name, but our marriage certificate showed her maiden name, since the divorce decree had shown its legal restoration.

        She went to the DMV first and hasn't been to SSA yet.

        Thank you for your help.

        Reply
        • Valera

          She went to the DMV first and hasn't been to SSA yet.

          Do the SSA first, then return to the DMV. Georgia's DMV specifies that a valid SSA document can be used to prove the current name along with an additional supporting document showing the new name (e.g., bank/credit card statement, property tax bill, W-2 form, tax return). If you don't have any such supporting document contact the DMV to inquire what other document they'll accept.

          Reply
          • Garrett

            Thank you very much for your help!
            The SSA changed it correctly by mail without any issues. Then upon returning to the DMV they insisted on going by the "Federal Law" that wouldn't allow the change to happen as desired but after speaking with another employee it was straightened out but not easily.
            Thank you again!

  12. Lisa

    My name on my GC that arrived included my mother's last name as my middle name, (shown as my middle intitial) and my last name as my father's last name and my husband's last name combined. All my other docs/ids are under my married name which is my first name, my middle name (my father's last name), and my husbands last name. Am I allowed to call USCIS to correct this or should I asked my lawyer to talk to them? Will this pose problems when I travel since obviously my passport and GC will not match.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Lisa. You can try to contact the USCIS yourself to have a correction issued or have your attorney handle it. Whichever you prefer. You shouldn't face any travel issues as long as you can prove that you're the same person and entitled to both documents.

      Reply
  13. Scott

    My wife and I married in RI almost 20 years ago. At the time, she chose to drop her middle name and replace it with her maiden name (taking my last name). She had no problems changing her SS card or Driver's License (and never had any trouble with any other state we moved to). However, when we moved to Nevada last year, they said they wouldn't honor the name on her SS card, marriage license or current (out-of-state) license because there was no court order showing she legally changed her middle name. The said we'd have to pay to have her name legally changed (which isn't all that cheap from what I've researched). So, now her SS card and Driver's license have different middle names and it is causing quite a hassle. Any advice?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Scott. The Nevada DMV doesn't accept a marriage license as proof for authorizing a name change. You have to supply them with a certified copy of your marriage certificate. This can be acquired from your vital records office.

      Reply
      • Andie

        You're incorrect and are misunderstanding the comment.

        Nevada DMV told me after 9/11 they can't drop the middle name on your birth certificate, regardless of your certified marriage license and new name on your social security card. You can put your new last name on there, but they have to hyphenate it. He told me I could sign it however I wanted. Such a pain.

        Reply
  14. April

    I live in PA as well and changed my name at the SS office. I took my maiden name as my middle and my husband's last name as my last. The DMV will NOT change it without the below:

    "If you desire to use any name other than 1) your birth name, 2) spouse's surname or 3) a name given by the court, you must provide a copy of a Social Security Card (or records), together with copies of documents from two other sources with the desired name such as: Tax Records, Selective Services Card, Voter Registration Card, Passport or any form of Photo ID issued by a governmental agency."

    Now I'm kind of stuck because it seems like the other forms may need my license to change them? Any advice? So far I have my new SS card and tax documents with my new last name…I need one more.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Hello April! I am in EXACTLY the same boat as you. I would recommend using a Voter Registration Card as your third piece of evidence. I just applied for mine, it's a very simple form you mail in with your new name and address, as well as your previously registered name and address. They don't require any supporting documents, so it's OK if your passport and driver's license still have your maiden name on them.

      Here is the site I used to get the form: http://www.votespa.com/

      Then just mail it in and wait.

      Good luck!

      Reply
  15. Sarah

    I live in PA also, and went to the Soc Security office two weeks ago to have my maiden name replaced as my middle name, and they refused to do so without a court ordered document, even thought I had my marriage license. I finally went to PennDOT on Friday to get my license name changed to match my SS card (since my husband and I leave on our honeymoon in 5 weeks), and the PennDOT worker told me I could circumvent the court document requirement by changing my name on my voter registration card as well as either my bank account or my W-4 at work, and take those documents to the Soc Security office for a new card. I'm thinking I may have to wait until after the honeymoon due to time restrictions… I need to be able to board the plane. :)

    Has anyone actually tried this yet? If so, were you successful, and how long did it take?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Sarah. See @Laura's comment (preceding yours) which also mentions using the voter registration card as an acceptable supporting document.

      Reply
  16. Allison

    I went today to s.s to change my name after marriage, and they refused to let me drop my middle name for my maiden name.. I live on Long Island, and never heard such nonsense before..

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Allison. While NY is comparatively flexible with last name change options, maiden to middle name change modifications are more stringent than most other states. This restriction you experienced is applied statewide.

      Reply
  17. priscilla

    This is the only article or blog I can find regarding the pros and cons of making your maiden name your middle name. I've been married for 12 years with a problematic hyphenated name, and I had only noticed recently that this is the simple fix to a lot of the problems with my name on accounts. One of these problems was when my husband answers the phone and he is asked are you Mr.(hyphenated name)?? Those calls always upset him. I'm going to go with the middle name rearrangement for my professional license.

    Reply
  18. Sierra

    So im getting married and I would like to keep my last name as a second middle name. I plan on moving to virginia a few weeks after the marriage, and I currently live in new jersey. Is it wise to wait until I move to make the name change? or should I just change it now so that by the time I get , married its already changed?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Sierra. Just to be clear. If you're changing it now (before you're married) then that's considered a general, adult name change. The name change process after marriage is simpler. So, whether you do it now or later, the end result is the same. You'll just have to decide which route to take.

      Reply
  19. kate

    So I already have a hyphenated name from my mom and dad, but was never given a middle name at birth…what I want to do (I think) is legally make my current hyphenated last name my middle name and take my fiance's last name after marriage…

    I live in NY and am not looking forward to this after reading all the hassle with NYS. Would it be any easier since I don't have a middle name to begin with?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Would it be any easier since I don't have a middle name to begin with?

      Not really. It wouldn't make a difference whether you were modifying an existing or (in your case) non-existent middle name.

      Reply
  20. Nicole

    I live in NJ and when I got married in 2009 I dropped my maiden name and took my husbands name as my new last name – I did this with both DMV and SS. I want to add my maiden name back as my middle name. Is this possible? Where do I go first – DMV or SS? My passport has all my names: First, Middle, maiden and married names. Does that help to get my maiden name back on my license and SS card?

    Reply
    • Valera

      I want to add my maiden name back as my middle name. Is this possible?

      Yes.

      Where do I go first – DMV or SS?

      Court petition, then SSN, then DMV.

      My passport has all my names: First, Middle, maiden and married names. Does that help to get my maiden name back on my license and SS card?

      No, that wouldn't factor into anything.

      Reply
  21. BeLoved717

    I live in TX. I won't be getting married until the end of this year, but came across this article, which has me very curious. I said "I Do" almost 15 years ago, received an annulment after 2 weeks of marriage, and a year stipulated as wait time. My SS card bears my married/annulled last name, though I have NEVER used it for ANY purpose, personal or professional.

    I want to use my maiden last name as my middle name. Will I have to first change my SS card to reflect my actual maiden name?

    Any guidance is appreciated. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Valera

      I want to use my maiden last name as my middle name. Will I have to first change my SS card to reflect my actual maiden name?

      No. You can implement the change when you update your last name.

      Reply
  22. Jason

    This is the most thorough source of name change info I have found on the web! So my wife would like to change all three of her names and go from:

    First Middle Maiden
    to
    Middle Maiden Married

    So there are 3 name changes! We have the marriage certificate to change the last name but SSA won't allow the middle to go to first on a married name change. So we also got a court order (in NC) to change her birth name from:

    First Middle Maiden
    to
    Middle Maiden

    Now…can we take both the marriage certificate and the court order to the SSA and change all 3 names at the same time? Or would we have to go 2 different times?

    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Now…can we take both the marriage certificate and the court order to the SSA and change all 3 names at the same time?

      Yes, do it all together.

      Reply
  23. Mercedes

    I live in Washington State and I'm getting married in June and I currently have two middle names.
    When I get married I want to use my new husbands last name as my last name and drop one of my middle names.

    So I want to go from
    First Middle Middle Maiden
    TO
    First Middle Married

    Can I do that all at once or will I need to do two separate name changes?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Mercedes. For WA, middle name change would require a court petition. You could conceivably change both names at once using that process, but the last name change wouldn't be tied to marriage and would just be considered an general name change. You could also do them separately—middle in court, last after marriage. It's up to you.

      Reply
  24. Linda

    I got married nearly 3 years ago, in NJ & we live in NJ. I want to go from
    First Middle Maiden
    to
    First Maiden Married

    From all the other comments, it seems that I should do SS, Voter Reg, & Passport first, then Driver's License.

    Professionally (I'm a physician), can I continue to use my Maiden name as my last (Dr. First Maiden), or must I change my professional licenses and all the documents that have to do me as a provider for various health insurances?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Linda. You'll have to check with your state board regarding licensing and your preferred name usage. If updates are required, are aliases allowed? Also, how will your name be printed within public records searches or open records requests?

      Reply
  25. Erin

    I live in New York and would also like to change my name to First Maiden Married when I get married this summer. I've heard about all the prior difficulties with that kind of name change in this state, but then ran across this recent article regarding a change in NY State DMV policy.
    Has anyone tried this change recently?

    Reply
    • Row

      I was wondering the same thing. Were you able to make this change? Also, if you did I was wondering how you filled out the marriage license.

      Reply
  26. Helene

    Hello. I was married over a decade ago. When I divorced I kept my married surname because it seemed like more trouble than it really mattered at the time. I regret that decision. I will be getting married next year. I've been wanting to take my maiden name back for quite some time. I do not plan to change my surname to my future husbands when we marry. I've looked into it and here in indiana it will cost me around $300 to have it changed back before the marriage. My question is, if I get married, can I change my name back to my maiden name or is it only for changing your name to take on your husbands surname. I would much rather my maiden name be on my marriage certificate but if I can save $300, I'll live with it.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Helene. You'll have to go the costly route, as what you're suggesting wouldn't be applicable for a marriage-related name change.

      Reply
  27. Amelia

    I am getting married and would like to drop my first name and just use my middle name and his last name is that legal to do without having to go through a name change? Can I make this change with Social Security?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Amelia. First name changes would have to go through the court system.

      Reply
  28. April

    I live in new jersey. I have already 2 names, a middle name, and my maiden last name. When i got married, i dropped my original middle name and my maiden last name so that i only have my 2 names (april rose) and my husbands last name. My SS card went fine. My DL went fine. My professional license doesn't want to let go of my original middle name but no problems just dropping off my maiden last name. Is this something I can argue about to them since i have official IDs now that doesnt contain my original middle name and maiden last name? It's so frustrating. Anyone had this problem?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Is this something I can argue about to them since i have official IDs now that doesnt contain my original middle name and maiden last name?

      Yes, as your official IDs contain your legal name, which your professional license should reflect (if you prefer).

      Reply
  29. Romelyn

    I live in california and i have the problem on my marriage certificate they put my First Middle Married instead of First Maiden Married the SS card went fine they put my maiden name but the DMV wont do it because of whats on the marriage certificate what should i do now

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Romelyn. If there's an error on your marriage certificate you can contact your vital records office to have a correction made. It's called an affidavit to amend a marriage record.

      Reply
  30. Samantha

    This article was really helpful! I guess I am just confused on how to go about this name change. I live in Ohio, and I would like to use my maiden name as a second middle name. Is this going to involve crazy court costs and months of work? Do you know what the process is to start this name change? I am a teacher and would really like to keep my maiden name for all of my teaching records.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Samantha. You would be looking at having to petition the court. It's not a complicated process, although it'll take a bit of time to complete. You'll have to contact your local courthouse regarding procedures and fees.

      Reply
  31. B

    I live in Virginia and just got married in September, I want to add my maiden name as a second middle name, will I just need to go to the SSA and DMV in order to do this?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi B. Also bring along a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  32. Heather

    Hello!

    Thanks so much for this website! It's been incredibly helpful. So we have decided to both take my last name as our second middle name and his last name as both of our last names. So I will have to add a second middle name and change my last name, while he will be adding a second middle name and not changing his last name. I have questions on this!

    Me: First Middle Maiden Fiance's Last Name
    Him: First Middle My Maiden His Last Name

    I am from Washington state, he is from California, and we are currently living in Virginia for school (but we each still have our state driver's license and residency in our respective states) and we will be getting married in Las Vegas. I am having a super difficult time figuring out how to go about the process of changing our names, and if there would be a better state for us to do this in than others? Also, I know the process will most likely be more difficult for him, but I was wondering if there are any tips on what made this process work for them, if at all?

    Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Heather. Your respective residencies preclude both of you from obtaining your preferred name change combination via marriage. You'd have to petition the court instead.

      Reply
  33. Mona

    I live in PA and have been divorced and using my married name for quite some time. I really just want to drop my married name and use my middle as my last name. What is the first step?

    Reply
    • Valera

      I really just want to drop my married name and use my middle as my last name. What is the first step?

      Does your divorce decree have an order reinstating your preferred name? If not, you could contact your county clerk's office to see if they allow modifications to a divorce decree that didn't include a name change order. Keep in mind, such name change restorations (due to divorce) are typically for restoring a maiden name or a name one possessed prior to divorce.

      If that pathway turns out to be closed to you, you'll have to petition the court for a general name change.

      Reply
  34. Valerie

    Hello!

    I guess I just need a bit of clarification so I can decide if I want to change my name. Hopefully you can provide insight.

    I was married for 28 years (in Arizona) and my husband passed away 3 years ago. I have decided to get married again this December (in Arizona) and want to take my new husband's last name, but I also wish to to continue using the last name from my first marriage.

    My question(s):

    (1) Can I get married again and legally continue to use my first husband's last name on my ID, SSN, credit cards, etc.? How would the IRS view this?

    (2) Is it a simple process in Arizona to change to a "hyphenated" last name and reflect that in all forms of ID?
    (First) (Middle) (1st Marriage Last Name – New Marriage Last Name)

    (3) Would it also be a simple process to have the 1st Marriage Last Name changed to a Second Middle so I do not have to hyphenate?
    (First) (1st Middle) (2nd Middle from 1st Marriage Last Name) (New Marriage Last Name)

    I am trying to envision all the legal complexities that can evolve with changing my name for a second time in life and how the change could impact my professional portfolio/certifications, need for new ID/passport, titles/records for real property, trust/estate planning, etc, etc, etc.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Can I get married again and legally continue to use my first husband's last name on my ID, SSN, credit cards, etc.?

      Yes, as long as you don't change your name.

      How would the IRS view this?

      Wouldn't matter, if you're not changing your name.

      Is it a simple process in Arizona to change to a "hyphenated" last name

      Yes.

      Would it also be a simple process to have the 1st Marriage Last Name changed to a Second Middle

      For that particular dual middle name choice (one containing your prior husband's last), it's possible, although you may want to contact your local county clerks and/or vital records office for clarification citing that specific quad-name choice.

      Reply
  35. Sam

    I didn't change my middle name on my marriage certificate when we got it, but would now like to change my middle name to my Maiden name and take my Husband's name as my surname as I start this whole "name change process." Can I do this without changing the marriage certificate for my new social security card application even though my marriage license has my old middle name listed?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Sam. You should be able to use it as-is. Marriage certificate amendments are typically reserved for mistakes (e.g., typos, omissions) on the part of your local vital records office, although such policy can vary from office to office.

      Reply
  36. Erin

    Hi. I live in PA and I just got married in Aug. I went to the SS office to change my name to First Maiden Married. No problem. Then came the DMV. They said I would have to get a court order to change it. So now my SS doesn't match my license. Is there a way around not going to court and giving the 3 documents? Do I need my new license to get a passport? Lastly, when I got married they put my maiden name on it. Is that normal? First Middle Maiden?? Thanks to any advice!!

    Reply
  37. Jessie

    I live in California, The DMV REFUSES to put just the intial for my middle name… which happens to be my Maiden name. For securely issue on my behalf… How do I go about changing my Drivers license to read { First name Middle Intial Last name } Without having to go to court to do a legal name change?
    Appreciate your advise.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Jessie. Not possible in California. Your driver's license requires your "true full name" be printed. By the way, after you update the name on your license, be sure to update your vehicle registration as well.

      Reply
  38. Becky

    Hi Valera!

    I got married October 4 and we just got the marriage certificate back. My situation is unique – I've had my father's surname my entire life, but my sisters and I have also been referred to by my mother's maiden name. I do not wish to keep either my middle name or my father's surname; instead, I want to have my first name, my mother's maiden as my middle, and then my husband's last name. The social security form has a box for "other names used" and I put Mom's maiden name in there (since I do use it and I'm hoping this would circumvent a whole probate name change ordeal). Would this end up having to go to court as a name change, or is there a chance that I could just get everything changed at once? I live in Alabama.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Becky. That's not likely to work, due to your constructing a new middle name not based upon your existing name record. Getting a court order is a surefire way to accomplish your preferred name combination.

      Reply
  39. Alexandra Inoff

    Hi!

    I was hoping for some guidance.

    I recently got married and want to take my husbands last name. I want to use my maiden name as a 2nd middle name but not really use it. I want to keep it for sentimental reasons but don't actually like the name so I want to be first name middle name married name for everything but legally have my maiden name as a second middle name. Is this possible? What would I be forced to include the full legal name (all 4) on? Would it be possible to leave the second middle name off of DL and passport or do they have to reflect the entire legal name? I live in New York if that helps.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Alexandra. This is not possible in New York State when changing one's name due to marriage.

      Reply

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