477 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.

477 Comments

  1. Sarah

    Great info! I live in Colorado and when I went to change my name the person at DMV said in Colorado they have the full name law and I could not legally change my middle name to my maiden name. I have looked online a ton and can't find anywhere that says that Colorado is one of these states. Is this correct??
    Thanks.
    -Sarah Jane

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sarah. There was a previous rule put in place temporarily barring maiden to middle name changes in Colorado, but it was soon after overturned due to the outcry. I've not heard of anything since.

      When you went to change your name, did they cite a specific rule that disallowed it? Did you bring supporting documentation, such as a certified copy of your marriage certificate to facilitate your name change?

      Reply
  2. Jen

    Love your site! I got married in July of 2015. I live in NY. We got married in Long Island. (I currently reside in Queens but will be moving). On the marriage license, I hyphenated my name. I wanted to keep all names (first, middle, maiden, married) but see that this is difficult. I am thinking of dropping my middle name and would like to try to make my maiden name my middle name and take my husband's name as my last name. I would like to use my maiden name when I feel like it but not HAVE to (as in hyphenate). For example: I could be Jen Smith (Smith being my "new" middle name) or Jen Jones (Jones being his surname).

    I currently have a teaching license with my maiden name. I am still using my maiden name at work as I have not made any steps yet to change my name. I haven't decided whether I'll keep using my maiden name at work or change to my married name. I'd like both options and thought if I DON'T hyphenate, that would enable me to have that option. (I also don't know if I have to have the name on my teaching license changed).

    I am worried that because I put the hyphen on the marriage license, I will not be allowed to drop my maiden name and just use it as a middle name. Could the court house issue an amended license without the hyphen if this is a problem? I am hoping one little hyphen isn't an issue to eliminate now before making any name change! I don't want the hyphen. I also read here that some people were able to make the middle name change and others weren't?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Could the court house issue an amended license without the hyphen if this is a problem?

      It's unlikely your certificate will be reissued, unless there's a mistake on their part. It shouldn't much matter anyway, as you should be able to use it as-is. It serves as proof of marriage, which is what's most important.

      I also read here that some people were able to make the middle name change and others weren't?

      You should be good to go now. There was an apparent NY DMV rules change in 2014 that now allows maiden to middle name changes without the resistance some faced. Yes, there has still been sporadic reports of those still facing problems, but it's unclear if it's the result of 1) the rule not having taken effect yet/properly, 2) the rule not fully propagating to all DMV agents, or 3) a mistake on the part of the filer, such as not bringing proper identification (e.g., prior driver's license) or proof of marriage (e.g., certified marriage certificate). The article has been updated to strike through New York as one of the states that do not allow swapping out the middle name with the maiden.

      Reply
      1. Jen

        Thank you so much for your reply! So now I'm wondering a few more things.

        Number 1: If I can make my middle name my maiden name, is it then okay to use it as a last name when I'd like (as in teaching) or do I have to always use my new last name since it is a "last" name?

        If DMV gives me a problem, is there any proof of the newest law? Could I find it online to show them?

        Did you say I should go to Social Security before DMV or vice versa?

        Lastly: Is it still correct what I read that I cannot have 2 middle names or 2 last names if I want to keep all of my names?

        Sorry for so many questions. Thank you!!!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          If I can make my middle name my maiden name, is it then okay to use it as a last name when I'd like (as in teaching) or do I have to always use my new last name since it is a "last" name?

          For legal documents, you'll want to use your full name. For other contexts, you'll want to use your best judgment. Have a look at the maiden name article for further information and discussion on the topic.

          If DMV gives me a problem, is there any proof of the newest law? Could I find it online to show them?

          Here's a reference: NY name rules updated.

          Did you say I should go to Social Security before DMV or vice versa?

          SSA first.

          Is it still correct what I read that I cannot have 2 middle names or 2 last names if I want to keep all of my names?

          AFAIK, that's not supported without a court order.

          Reply
          1. Jen

            Thanks for being so thorough in your answers!!! You are very kind!

  3. Sade

    Is it possible to have a double unhyphenated last name in NJ without petitioning the courts?

    Sade, Middle Name, Maiden Name, Married Name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sade. It's typically not allowed without a court order. Although some states may allow it, it's such a rare implementation that many official state/county/city websites don't even bother to reference its exclusion. It can be a YMMV situation. Your best option is to contact your DMV to confirm if they'll honor it. If you get a no, you can try another location(s) for confirmation.

      Reply
  4. Lucy Smith

    Hi,

    I got married to my husband in Las Vegas, NV in 2013. On my marriage certificate I kept my name as my maiden name: Lucy (Middle: Marion) Smith. I now want to change my maiden name to my middle name and also take my husbands name as my last name. Therefore the new name would be: Lucy (Smith) Cochrane.

    Now here's the tricky part. I am an Irish citizen and hold a U.S. permanent resident card and an Irish passport. Both of which are still listed as my maiden name: Lucy (Marion) Smith. I'm currently in the process of removing the 2 conditions from my green card. After that gets completed, wondering how I change everything over to my new name as Lucy (Smith) Cochrane. Need to change my passport, SS card, DMV license etc..

    Thanks!

    We now live in Portland, Oregon.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lucy. You'll get a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the vital records office. Take it to the SSA office to update your SS card. Afterward (it's a good idea to wait at least 24 hours later), then update your driver's license. This'll allow the SS database to refresh by the time the DMV queries it. You can update your passport concurrently, or later.

      Reply
  5. Jen

    Hello, I have a question is it possible to change your surname back to your maiden name while married.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Yes, but you'll have to petition the court to do so. Such a name change isn't tied to your being married. It's just considered a general adult name change that a person might choose for any number of reasons.

      Reply
  6. Carolyn

    Hi!
    I'm getting married at city hall tomorrow and have a few questions.
    I want to use my Maiden Name as my middle name. However, because we're going to get married tomorrow, I have not gotten it changed. Because I had no idea i needed to go to court to use my maiden name as my middle name.

    So do I put on my marriage license tomorrow: First, Original Middle Name and Husband's Last name?

    And do i change my middle name to my maiden name afterwards? Can i update our marriage certificate afterwards without having to annul it?

    Do I go to SSA first?
    I work in NY, but my driver's license is from California. Do i just wait to go to the DMV in California afterwards?

    Thank you in advance!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      So do I put on my marriage license tomorrow: First, Original Middle Name and Husband's Last name?

      You write it however your marriage license application instructs it. It will tell you to either put your current legal name, or the name you intend to change to. It'll be self-explanatory when you see it.

      And do i change my middle name to my maiden name afterwards?

      After you're married, you'll go through the process of completing the name change.

      Can i update our marriage certificate afterwards without having to annul it?

      Why would you need to?

      Do I go to SSA first?

      Yes.

      Do i just wait to go to the DMV in California afterwards?

      After doing the SSA, then do the DMV. Bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you, then you're good to go.

      Reply
  7. matthew

    Hi Valera I am getting married and I live in Louisiana. When you get your last name changed does it cost extra to change your middle name completely? Also if i elope for a same sex marriage in another state is it valid in every state?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      When you get your last name changed does it cost extra to change your middle name completely?

      No, there's no extra cost.

      Also if i elope for a same sex marriage in another state is it valid in every state?

      Yes, it sure is.

      Reply
  8. Sam

    I married 2 years ago in NJ. My wife recently decided to take my surname along with her maiden name. Currently, she has also middle name (name+middle+maiden) and she wants to omit her current middle name and use her maiden name as a middle name. (name+maiden+husband surname)

    We live in Nj and planning to move NY this month. When we move, we have to change dmv, geico, etc. I am thinking it is good time for her to take my surname.

    In marriage license (NJ) she has her original name with maiden…

    What is the first think to do under this circumstances? I read almost all the replies and there is a difference between New York and New Jersey laws, I guess. What is the easiest way to follow? Any difference when we become ny resident and apply surname changing after that? Less hassle is the best for my wife since she hate paperworks in general….

    Thanks in advance…

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sam. Well, NJ doesn't recognize moving the maiden name to the middle, so that's out. If you waited until you both moved to NY, you could change things all at once. Start with the SSA, then DMV, then everything else. In the meantime, order a certified copy of your NJ marriage certificate so you'll have that ready to go when you arrive in NY.

      Reply
  9. Sharon

    Thank you in advance for you advice, so much!

    I got married in Brooklyn 3 years ago and kept my maiden name. I am now in the process of changing my maiden to my middle, and taking my husband's last night. I now live in NJ.

    I got a new SS card no problem, and a new license. What are my next steps (besides credit cards, banks)?
    Do I need to get a new passport or can I just keep mine until it expires?
    Do I need to get a new marriage certificate?

    THANK YOU!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I got a new SS card no problem, and a new license. What are my next steps (besides credit cards, banks)?

      You're on the right track. Whatever else you can think of, such as doctors' offices, online accounts and email profiles, employer, insurance, subscriptions, and so on.

      Do I need to get a new passport or can I just keep mine until it expires?

      You can still use it and update it later. Make sure your airline tickets match the name on your passport.

      Do I need to get a new marriage certificate?

      No, your marriage certificate is stored by the vital records office. It does not change, and serves as a historical document of your marriage event.

      Reply
      1. Ruchika

        Valera-
        If you already signed and submitted your marriage license do you have to change your name to the name you listed as your intended name after marriage, or can you change your mind after the fact? I got married in CA but live in NJ and had intended to move my maiden name to my middle name and take my husband's last name- so that is what I put down on the license as my intended name. But I did not realize how involved the process was in the state of NJ. I'm now wondering if I should just drop the idea of keeping my maiden name somewhere in the mix, or just add his last name to mine (with or without hyphenation) just so I don't have to go through the petition process. I am getting mixed answers on whether or not I can still do that since my marriage certificate should be arriving any day now and cannot be changed.
        Thank you for your help!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          If you already signed and submitted your marriage license do you have to change your name to the name you listed as your intended name after marriage, or can you change your mind after the fact?

          Yes, you can change your mind. Just ignore what you specified on your license.

          Reply
    2. Ruchika

      Sharon,
      Did you go through the NJ court system for your maiden to middle-name change? How was that process, sounds so daunting. I wasn't sure because you said you got the SS card no problem and when I read the court petition process I definitely think it sounds like a lot!
      thanks!

      Reply
  10. Jessica

    Good evening! I was married back in March and already changed my last name to my new married name. Recently I've been regretting not taking my maiden name as a second middle name. What would the process for this be in South Carolina? Would I simply go to SSA and file to change my name and pay the fee?

    First, middle, maiden, married would be the order I'm looking for. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jessica. You'll have to petition the court. Once you're granted a court order, you can take it back to the SSA and change your name again.

      Reply
  11. Bonita Villaflor

    Hi , i have a kind od concern i bern married this yrs last may 15 here in the philippines then as what i seen my marriage certificate that the name of my husband was timothy michael instead that michael is his middle name is michael shawn in america could be a big deal if we just let like that but mine everything is fine i can go back to local regestear office to report it. Or what os best to do ?Answer will b very appreciated and hoping no such big problm.

    Reply
    1. Bonita Villaflor

      I did all my passport good and change all my status and we almost submitted our petition i-130 a little worry and for now theres no problm but just worry becox in america thy just used like given name and thy write all together n same line i want ask help just incase if i need to fixed first name timothy middle name michael shawn and last name is cole that i have now in my passport and other id cards

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Bonita. Are you saying there's a mistake with the marriage certificate that you required from the Philippines? If so, have you tried having it corrected and reissued? Is there a problem with the certificate or are you facing some other problem completing some other aspect of your name change, as you seem to suggest your passport was successfully changed without issue?

      Reply
  12. Nicole

    Hi there. I was married last year in San Francisco at city hall. When we filled out our application i did not hyphenate or list my maiden name. I now want to add my maiden name or hyphenate if possible. So I went to the social security office and clerk grabbed my paper work and told me I can not add my maiden name or hyphenate. She advised she can only go by the name on the certificate. Is there a way to add my maiden name in or hyphenate? Do I just go to city hall and request they add/change my name? Is there a fee? I was told there is a large fee to change anything on our marriage certificate. I mostly just want my maiden and married last name on my ID. Will DMV do the same as the SSI and only use my married name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a way to add my maiden name in or hyphenate?

      You may be looking at having to get a court order.

      Do I just go to city hall and request they add/change my name? Is there a fee?

      You can try, but it's unlikely they'll change it unless the mistake is theirs.

      Will DMV do the same as the SSI and only use my married name?

      Yes.

      Reply
  13. Yesica Garay

    Hello, I'm from Texas…
    I'm want to change my last name to husband's last but I wanted to keep my maiden last name as well and maybe putting it as 1 of my middle names so could it be first middle middle and last name? Do I have to go to court to put it as 1 of my middle names, my maiden last name? Or can I just add it when I go do my ss and etc?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Yesica. While shifting your maiden name to your middle isn't a problem, appending it to an existing middle may not be recognized, especially by the DMV. You can contact your county clerk's office to inquire.

      Reply
  14. Linsey Atkinson

    Question.. I have been married for 3 years and when I got married, I dropped my middle name and put my maiden name as my middle and then took my husbands last name. Do I have the option to go back my original middle name and drop my maiden name?

    thanks,

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have the option to go back my original middle name and drop my maiden name?

      Yes, but not without a court order.

      Reply
  15. Shannon Kish

    Recently got married and am at a loss for what to do. I am in my mid 30s and have a professional life (with a professional license and degrees) that came before my marriage. All of these documents have my current full legal name.

    I have thought about hyphenating my last name. I have also thought about adopting my maiden name as my middle name.

    Which is the easiest to do all around while still maintaining my professional life as whom I am?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Shannon. Maintaining your established professional identity, even after a name change, can be done. You can read further about continuing to use your maiden name after having undergone a formal name change.

      Of course, the path of least resistance is to not change your name. Or to at least delay it until you've settled on a decision you're most comfortable with. In such circumstances, there's nothing to prevent you from informally using your spouse's name within social contexts while not actually having changed it for real.

      Reply
  16. Alia

    Hi! I am getting married in about 2 weeks and just filed for my marriage license (in Georgia). When I asked about changing my middle name (I just want to make it a single initial, instead of a name), the court clerk said that's something I have to do at the social security office and dmv. Will I have to legally change my middle name now, going through the whole process, or will I be able to do it any easier?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Alia. It's doubtful that'll fly. You can inquire if they'll allow your initial to be printed on your document, while having it entered within their database as your full name. You may have greater luck with the DMV than SSA, but I doubt either would actually honor the request. Going through the courts is a clear-cut way to accomplish your goal, assuming you're unable to get it done through the married name change route.

      Reply
  17. Alejandra

    Hello,

    I've always lived in California, but got married in Las Vegas in May 2014. My name on the marriage certificate is First Name Last Name (I don't have a middle name). The application in Las Vegas did not state to list the name change I wanted like I've read California does. I have not changed my name because I read some time ago that California was one of the states that would not allow a maiden name to become a middle name without a court petition. I do not want to entirely drop my maiden name and would like to do First Maiden Married. Do you know if this is possible without having to do the court petition?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Alejandra. You should be fine using your Nevada marriage certificate as-is. California does permit maiden to middle name changes.

      Reply
  18. Margarita

    I'm getting married soon. I wonder if I can change my first name (from Margarita to Maggie) add my last name as middle name and use my future husband last name in the estate of Texas.
    Actual Margarita Coromoto Perez
    New Maggie Perez Rivera
    Thanks,

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Margarita. You'd have to petition the court to change your first name.

      Reply
  19. EM

    Hi,
    I recently changed my name through a court petition putting my maiden name as my middle name. Though, I'm starting to realize that many forms only require the middle name initial, when in reality I'd like my full name to print on my document. So I've been adding it to my given name, do you think that will be a problem in the future?

    Ex.
    Legal: Mary (given) Little(Maiden) Lamb (New surname)
    Form that don't allow me to write my full middle name: Mary Little (given) Lamb (New Surname)
    Rather than: Mary L. Lamb
    I want my name to read Mary Little Lamb

    Any help would be appreciated!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi EM. It depends on the document and organization. Unless the organization is performing name look-ups to verify your credentials, it's unlikely to bubble up into a real problem.

      Reply
  20. Mayra

    What is the maximum characters allowed for names on a NJ driver license? Does this vary by state? I'd like to take my husband's last name while keeping my maiden name. Will: 5 characters (first name) + 4 characters (maiden name) and + 11 characters (husband's last name) –not hyphenated– fit on the NJ driver's license? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mayra. It used to be nine letters for the first name. It's been a longstanding issue with the NJ MVC clipping names due to database length limitations. It was supposed to be updated in 2014 to accommodate 50, 30, 50 for the first, middle, and last name.

      Reply
  21. Mary kate

    My fiancé and I live in Massachusetts but are getting married in ct. I would like to change my name to:first /middle/ maiden as second middle /name his last name. Is this possible? And in what state do I need to change it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mary. While it may be possible with the SSA, you should contact your RMV to confirm it. Since you're residents of Mass, you'll change it there. You'll need to order a certified copy of your marriage certificate from Connecticut though.

      Reply
  22. Cathy

    I have been married for decades, and have used my maiden name as my middle name in banking and mortgage statements for at least 10 years. Now I want to make it official on my driver's license. Should I go to SSA first , then DMV. I no longer have anything with just my maiden name on it–except my original SS card. Would that be enough? I live in CT.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cathy. Correct, go to the SSA first, then DMV. Bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you. Bring any useful supporting documentation/identification which confirms your use of the name you've been using all these years to confirm you identity.

      Reply
    2. Cathy

      Thank you –I am planning to do this next week and will bring my old SS card, mortgage statement and marriage certificate and anything else that seems pertinant.

      Reply
      1. Cathy

        It went very smoothly at the SSA office. Most important document was marriage license and my driver's license. So now my official middle name is my maiden name, which makes my happy. Next stop if the DMV–I have to wait 48 hours.

        Reply
      2. Cathy

        I just want to reiterate that the SSA was most concerned with my marriage license and my current driver's license and birth certificate.

        Reply
      3. Cathy

        No luck at DMV today–I need to get a passport with my "new" name –that would be the easiest and less expensive than probate court. DMV was adamant I needed "proof" of the name change. Not as easy as I thought.

        Reply
  23. Jennifer

    I was married two months ago in New York State. When I applied for the marriage certificate the application asked for my new last name. It did not ask for a new middle name. I wanted to change my middle name to my maiden name and take my husband's surname. The marriage license has my first name, middle name at birth and new last name.
    Will I be able to change my middle name to my maiden name with social security if it isn't printed on the marriage certificate this way? Also will this pose a problem when changing my name with the dmv? Thanks for your help!

    Reply
  24. See

    I was married 9 years ago in Nevada and now residing in California. At the time I didn't think about making my maiden name as my middle name. And, now I want to. How do I go about it? I just have a first and last. No middle name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi See. If you haven't yet changed your name in all these years, first step is to get a certified copy of your marriage certificate from Nevada. You'll have to get it from the county recorder in the county where the marriage took place. Use that document to change your name in California with the various government and non-government institutions.

      If you did change your name, way back when, then you'll have to go through the court petition process to change your name again.

      Reply
  25. Jen

    I got married a few months ago and have already changed my name to the new hyphenated name that is on the marriage certificate (my surname-husband's surname), but I would like to drop the hypenation and just take his name. Does this require a court petition or just the usual name change process? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jen. In order for it to be recognized and reflected on your official documents, it'll have to be by court petition.

      Reply
  26. Mrose Galang

    hi valera! hope you can help me. i just had my citizenship interview last week and i was asked by the consul what name do i prefer? on our marriage certificate, my middle name there is my mom's maiden name. After i get married, i have been using my first name (given name), maiden name (last name when i was still single), and my husband's last name.

    The consul said if i want my middle name as my maiden name, all i have to do is go to SSA and have my card changed. On the otherhand, if i want to use my maiden name as my middle name, it requires a court order that would put my application for citizenship longer.

    all of my documents, nurse licenses, sea card, dmv, bank accounts are all FIRST NAME, MAIDEN NAME (LAST NAME WHEN I WAS STILL SINGLE), LAST NAME (HUSBAND'S LAST NAME).

    So which is really the correct one that does not require a court order. Please help! Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      if i want my middle name as my maiden name, all i have to do is go to SSA

      …snip…

      On the otherhand, if i want to use my maiden name as my middle name, it requires a court order

      These two read the same to me. Please clarify with an example.

      Even with that said, when it comes to citizenship matters, it's best to defer to your counsel considering not every state recognizes changes to the middle name as part of the marriage name changing process.

      Reply
  27. april martinez

    hi I married in 2014 changed my name and all tht was wondering can i take my maiden name and use it as my middle name?? do I need to go to court or just to ss office? I live in Michigan

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi April. If you've already changed it once after marriage, you'll have to go to court to change it again.

      Reply
  28. Lindsay

    Valera – thank you for all of the helpful info!!

    I got married in DE and the name on the certificate is my first, middle and last. I lived in NYC and have a NY license. We just bought in Hoboken so I will be a NJ resident for the forseable future,meaning I have to get a NJ liscence. I want to change my name to first, maiden then my husbands last name and need to get a NJ license in the process.

    What is the best course of action knowing the issues in NJ and NYC with making your middle name your maiden name (which I don't get!!) and the need to get a new liscence. Thank you!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lindsay. NJ doesn't currently recognize a switch from maiden to middle. You'd be looking at having to go through a court petitioned name change in order to replace your middle name.

      Reply
  29. Ann Rose Collett

    I was married 22 years ago and always used my middle and last name before I married – I didn't go by my first name. When I married and went to change my name at the SSN office they had no issue letting me change to middle, maiden and husbands last name.

    When I wanted to change my drivers license to be the same as SSN at the Alabama DMV, I was told I could not – AL state law does not allow one to drop first name, but they had no problem putting first, middle, maiden and husband's last on my drivers license.

    I few years ago, I was told when I renewed my driver's license by a DMV employees I would have to get the name on my driver license and SSN the same or I would "problems". I couldn't get any clarification of what "problems" when I asked so I later called a different AL DMV office and they said they had never heard of that. I was recently told again by a DMV person that it would cause me problems when I file for SSN if my driver's license and SSN were not exactly alike.

    Given the SSN matches the name I have use for 22 years on employment records, credit cards, home loans, etc it seems the name that is out of sync is my AL driver's license name, but AL won't let me drop the first name.What do you recommend I do ? Are you aware of any issue with filing for SSN when the name on that card matches employment records but not exactly the same as AL driver's license ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      When I wanted to change my drivers license to be the same as SSN at the Alabama DMV, I was told I could not – AL state law does not allow one to drop first name

      Are you saying you successfully changed your first name with the SSA using just your marriage certificate 22 years ago? Even if that's the case, it's not surprising the DMV of today won't recognize a first name change.

      I few years ago, I was told when I renewed my driver's license by a DMV employees I would have to get the name on my driver license and SSN the same or I would "problems". I couldn't get any clarification of what "problems" when I asked so I later called a different AL DMV office and they said they had never heard of that.

      I doubt the clerk meant anything ominous. By problems, it's likely they'll just not be able to renew your license without sufficient supporting documentation.

      I was recently told again by a DMV person that it would cause me problems when I file for SSN if my driver's license and SSN were not exactly alike.

      Your license does need to match your social security card.

      Given the SSN matches the name I have use for 22 years on employment records, credit cards, home loans, etc it seems the name that is out of sync is my AL driver's license name

      Correct.

      What do you recommend I do ?

      Getting a court ordered name change would resolve it. The driver's license office would accept such a document to change your name within their records.

      Are you aware of any issue with filing for SSN when the name on that card matches employment records but not exactly the same as AL driver's license ?

      Doubtful, since your employment records match what's in SSA's records. It would be worth phoning your local SSA office and pose this question to them.

      Reply
  30. Michael

    We're getting married end of this year (2016). I never liked my middle name and saw briefly somewhere that California allows male to change names. I specifically want to change my middle name. How would exactly this work? I mean what is allowed and not allowed?

    For example Michael Bernard Doe I would want Michael Joseph Doe when we apply to get married with my lovely woman of my dream :-)

    Thanks.

    Reply
      1. Michael

        Hi Valera, I checked the link you provided. It does not say anything about middle name as I specifically mentioned in this thread. It only says male can take spouse's last name with no further info on other issues as mine.

        Thanks

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Michael. The California page has been updated to include further information about just changing the middle name portion, under the "Either party…" subsection.

          Yes, you may be able to change your middle name, as long as it meets the following criteria: You can change your middle name to your spouse's last birth name, or spouse's current last name, or a hyphenated combo of your middle name and your spouse's current/birth last name.

          Any arbitrary name change outside those boundaries are not recognized.

          Reply
      2. Michael

        Hmmm…I checked further on Google and found one thing that makes me wonder. Maybe you can help?

        I'll select the specific to my case…

        It states: "Each party to the marriage may adopt any of the following middle names: The last name of either spouse given at birth"

        For that, do I or my fiancé have to show proof of the birth name in order for me to take other than her current last name?

        For example, her birth name is Jane Doe, current is Jane Smith and I want Doe in my middle name. Or would California clerk accept what we write in our application for marriage?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          For that, do I or my fiancé have to show proof of the birth name in order for me to take other than her current last name?

          When you and your spouse apply for a marriage license both will have to specify your birth names. So, when you specify you'll be taking her birth name as your middle name, there will be a reference right there on the application. There's also an affidavit section on the application where you declare (under penalty of perjury) that what you're filling out is true (to the best of your knowledge). So, it's possible they'll just take your word for it.

          Still, the best thing to do is phone the county clerk's office where you'll be applying for your license and asking them if you'll need to bring along a certified copy of her birth certificate. You could also call the Vital Records office (916-445-2684), but county clerk would be better.

          Reply
          1. Michael

            Thank you, Valera. I will call them and see what's the specific requirements if they said they'll take our words, GREAT if not then we will need to gather proof before we go there.

            Happy New Year!

  31. L M West

    Hi – I have always gone by my MIDDLE name my entire life. I want to take my husband's last name, but I also want to keep my maiden name. I live in New Jersey. What kind of fun is in store for me? :)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi L. Well, maiden to maiden is out, unless you want to go to court. NJ is one of the few states that don't recognize it. So, if you're looking to go through a marriage-based name change to keep your maiden name in the mix, you're looking at hyphenation. Otherwise, it's court in order to maintain any configuration of your name, including your middle and middle in whichever combination your prefer.

      Reply
  32. Jenn

    Hi. I am a resident of Missouri. When I divorced five years ago, I kept my ex husbands last name so I could have the same last name as my kids.

    I got remarried last year and would like to take my new husband's name, but would like to make my current last name my new middle name. So first name, ex husbands/current last moved to middle, new husbands name as last. Can I do this without a court order? Thanks!

    Reply
  33. Stephanie

    Hi there! I live in Texas and I am getting married in June. I would like to make my maiden name my second middle name when I take my future husbands last name. Is this possible to do in Texas, and if so, is it complicated to do? Does it make everything else complicated?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Stephanie. I don't believe that's supported, as it would constitute creating a new name.

      Reply
  34. Pauli Swartwood-Haynes

    Hi!
    My daughter is getting married and she wants to change her middle name to a completely different name than her current middle name or maiden name. She is planning on taking her future husband's last name as her own.
    Is this difficult to do?…or do you need to petition the Clerk of Court in the state/county we live in which is North Carolina?

    Thank you,
    Pauli

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Pauli. You're on the right track. Yes, your daughter would be looking at petitioning the court.

      Reply
  35. Lev

    What if I just want to drop my middle entirely? I'L soon renew my NY driver's license, considering EDL, but don't want the middle. Is that possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lev. I don't believe so. You'll have to contact the NY driver's license to confirm if they'll accept removing your middle name.

      Reply
  36. Lynn

    Great site, very informative. I was married to my late husband for 20 years and had children. I remarried and took my new husbands last name. Unfortunately that marriage ended in divorce and I didn’t realize I could go back my late husband’s last name. I am now getting married again and want to change my middle name to my late husband’s name and take my new husbands name as my last name. I live in Georgia, and am getting married in Tennessee. Is this allowed and how would I go about doing it while applying for a marriage license?

    Reply
  37. Puja Chokshi

    Hey is the state rule depend on where you were married or where you currently reside? I was married in Ohio but currently live in Washington, DC and have a license and we bought a home in DC. I am wondering what the process is to make my maiden name my middle name in this situation. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Puja. It's where you reside. You can just go about a regular marriage-based name change, as you normally would.

      Reply
  38. Merisenda

    I was born and am currently living in California. However, I was married in Massachusetts. I had started the name change process there – just with my social security card. I added my spouse's last name and made my mom's maiden name my middle name. (technically, it used to be my last name, but I was legally adopted by my stepdad and my original last name wasn't carried over).This didn't seem to be an issue with the SSA, I brought my marriage certificate and when they asked where I got my new middle name from I pointed out that it's my mom's maiden name (listed on the certificate). I got my new SSN card with the name I wanted.

    However, I went to the DMV today (in California) to attempt to change my name on my license. They wouldn't do it. They said the SSA made a mistake and shouldn't have allowed me to make my mother's maiden name my middle name, and I would have to go back to the SSA and change my name to just my first name and spouse's last name if I want to renew my license, or show some document that shows my previous name containing that name. This seems like such a headache, if it worked for the SSA, I don't see why it's such a hassle with the DMV since they verify my name with the SSA anyway..

    Anyway, what's the best way to deal with this? Just do as the DMV said?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Merisenda. You can try ordering a certified copy of your birth certificate which shows your prior name.

      Reply
  39. PJ

    Hi, I got married in Pennslyvania (where I am from) in October 2015. We currently live in Minnesota. I want to keep my middle name (which is short) and maiden name and still add my married name and I do not want to hyphenate. Can I add my maiden name to my middle name easily? It would be First name, 2 middle names, married name?
    Or is it better to do First name, middle, two last names with no hyphen?
    Our PA marriage license states my husbands full name and my current name (with maiden only) were married.

    My main question is how can I keep maiden name somewhere, whether I add to my middle or just add my married name to my maiden name? I only have my certified marriage certificate which I mentioned previously. And I was just going to fill out the SSN forms and go with my marriage certificate.
    Help! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi PJ. In Minnesota, hyphenated is fine. It's unclear if a spaced name would be recognized. Any potential difficulty could be with the DMV. Appending your maiden to your middle is not recognized; replacing your middle with your maiden is.

      Reply
  40. 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
  41. 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
  42. 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
  43. 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
  44. 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
  45. 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
  46. 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
  47. 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
  48. 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
  49. 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
  50. 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
  51. 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
  52. 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
  53. 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
  54. 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
  55. 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
  56. 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
  57. 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
  58. 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
  59. 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
  60. 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
  61. 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
  62. 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
  63. 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
  64. 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
  65. 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
  66. 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
  67. 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
  68. 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
  69. 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
  70. 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
  71. Ann

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

    Reply
  72. 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
  73. 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
  74. 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
  75. 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
  76. 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
  77. 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
  78. 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
  79. 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

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