1,424 Comments

Whether you have decided to change your name in order to match your new spouse's and kids' names or because you like the new name better, there are still some situations in which you may be required to continue using your maiden name. A name change is final in certain situations—if you get your name changed on your passport, for example, you will not typically need to explain what your maiden name is—but it may still come up in other situations.

There are a few specific situations in which you may continue to use your maiden name. Here are some of them:

1. In professional contexts, particularly specialized professions

If you have spent the last decade building up a professional identity and reputation, you will not want to quickly cast that off! Some people change their legal name, but continue to use their maiden name after marriage. This can be tricky when people make out checks to you, for instance, but you often just need to talk to your bank and establish that checks may be deposited in your maiden name. You also may be able to obtain authorization to do business as your new name without changing documents—this is called a “doing business as” approval, or DBA.

Licensing and legal documents may reflect your new name, but some people get around this by adding a last name: for instance, if your maiden name was Lesley Hastings, you could adopt the last name Smith by becoming Lesley Hastings Smith. This means you can often change legal documents but keep letterhead the same. In any case, there are many ways to get around the differences between legal name and the name your professional contacts know you by.

2. When you aren't ready for the name change in social situations

Many people aren't quite ready to change their name—after all, you have had the same name for your whole life until now! Yet, you want to have an easier time with insurance or paperwork, or want to conform to tradition and adopt your spouse's name. You don't have to go by your legal name in every situation. If you're meeting new people who don't know your spouse and refer to you by your maiden name, you don't necessarily need to correct them.

Meeting with old friends is another situation in which most people will continue to use their maiden name. Friends can have trouble adjusting to the new name if they have known you under one name for a long time! Since most of these situations are purely social, there are no legal ramifications. You may also revert to using your maiden name at any time if you just prefer it!

3. When you are legally obliged to disclose your maiden name

In many types of security and background paperwork, you are required to give any previous names you have gone under so that they can do a more thorough background check. This may include your passport, background checks for jobs or volunteer positions, or credit checks. In these kinds of situations, you are usually legally obligated to provide your maiden name.

How do you know if this is a requirement? Check the form—if there is a space for you to list other names you have gone under, there is usually a prompt that says “such as maiden names” in the instructions. It's usually better to be safe than sorry unless you're truly trying to escape your maiden name, in which case you can ask whoever you would submit the paperwork to whether it is a requirement to list your maiden name.

4. If you haven't yet updated all your paperwork

When you get your name changed, there are many steps to take in order to get every name updated! Your name is on everything from your credit card to your bank account, so you may not have updated all of your paperwork yet. Keep careful track of who you have gotten a name change approval from so far, so that you'll never be at a loss as to which name to supply.

Before you get official approval to use your new name, you can introduce yourself or identify yourself with your maiden name, then let them know that you are in the process of changing your name. This is often enough to satisfy requirements at places such as banks, as they understand that the name change process can be a hassle. It can certainly be more annoying when it comes to passports, since government officials tend to be more strict about names.

5. While deciding whether to go through with a name change

Some people just aren't sure whether they're ready for a name change. You might decide to change your legal name on some documents while deciding whether you truly want to change your name. You might even be on board with the name change until you actually start signing documents and introducing yourself with a new name entirely.

You aren't alone if you decide that you aren't sure if you want to go through with a name change yet, if at all. You can often change your name back to your maiden name or simply start to use the maiden name again whenever you choose to do so. If you don't want to go through the hassle of changing back the name again, you can sometimes add the new name as an alternate name to various accounts and with important agencies.

Changing your name is no small matter, and even when you change your maiden name to a new one, no rule says you need to use it in every situation or introduce yourself with it all the time! Many newly-married couples avoid the name change decision, so relax: you have time to choose where you want to use which names. You can continue to use your maiden name until you have decided whether to use it or your married name in each situation… and you may never really change your name when you're chatting with old friends!

1,424 Comments

  1. Tahli F

    Hi,
    I got married 11 years ago and would like to hyphenate my last name.
    How can I do this?
    I live in CA.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tahli. Certified marriage certificate, to SSA, to DMV, etc. Take a look at the procedure article for further info.

      Reply
  2. MegO

    I have a question on what the best legal option is! I want to keep my maiden name professionally as I have built a lot around it now, but I want to be able to use my fiance's last name for like travel and medical continuity. Is it better to change my middle name to my maiden name and use his last name, or to have 2 last names without a hyphen? I am trying to find the least confusing way to go about still using my maiden name and can't seem to find many answers…

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi MegO. Whichever name sequence/construction you choose won't have any legal bearing. It's best to pick whichever legal name you prefer, while you continue to use your established maiden name professionally.

      Reply
  3. Kels

    Im in south carolina. I got married 2 yrs ago. I ran to ss office and dmv to drop my maiden and gain my marital. Now i want to add my maiden name to my marital name. First middle maiden -last. Can i? How do i go about? And when i sign documents do i sign first maiden-last. Or can i sign first and last? Thanks in advance!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can i?

      Yes.

      How do i go about?

      Court order.

      And when i sign documents do i sign first maiden-last. Or can i sign first and last?

      Maiden-last for legal documents. Alternative spelling for less consequential documents.

      Reply
  4. Karen

    I notice that the DVLA state that I must inform them of any name change. I got married 7 weeks ago but I can't get used to the new name and I am certainly not ready to change it on official documentation. Am I still required to inform the DVLA and is there a time limit? All other documentation is in my maiden name. Please advise.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Am I still required to inform the DVLA and is there a time limit?

      Since you haven't changed your name, there's nothing to notify them about. There's nothing you need to do. If you ever do change it (a week/month/year later), then notify them.

      Reply
  5. jacqueline osuna

    Hi,
    I got married in 1996, got separated in 2000( not annulled yet). In 1998 I used my married name in my college documents(went back to college late) but never changed my passport,drivers license, sss, health insurance, bank account etc. would this be a problem?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jacqueline. Unless there was an attempt to commit fraud or evade legal/monetary obligations, then I wouldn't look at it as being a problem. It's more a matter of do you need or want your college documents updated to reflect your legal name?

      Reply
  6. Val

    Hi,
    I have this question for you. I am an american citizen by birth who married a Saudi citizen. We have been married 15 years. I took his last name at the time of marriage and have been using it since. He obtained his green card shortly after that. Recently, he became a US citizen and was offered the option to change his last name. Since our last name is quite complicated, we decided to shorten it. I am panicking now. I am not sure if this name change just applies to him only.

    I had assumed that it would apply to both of us and did not give it much thought. We have a document that was signed by the judge at his citizenship ceremony last week that shows the new name change.

    I know that he will need that document when changing his last name. I had planned to take our marriage certificate that shows my maiden and our married last name, my birth certificate, and drivers license with my married name, and of course my husband's new name change document with me to the SS office in attempt to change my name as well. Does the name change apply to me too?? So scared. I don't want to have different last names.

    Reply
  7. Andrea

    Hi, I'm really hoping you can help me! I've been married for six years, and took my husband's last name legally. All of my documents, SS card, bank accounts, paychecks, insurance, etc. are under that name. But I continued to go by my maiden name at work – this is my second marriage, so I've already been through the "please note that after Monday my new name will be X" process twice with all of my business contacts. They have known me as Andrea Maidenname for more than 10 years at this point. Also, I work at the same company as my husband, and I would prefer that people think of me as my own person rather than as "X's wife".

    All of a sudden the senior management at my company (HQ in Europe) has started referring to me in mass emails as "Andrea Maidenname (Marriedname)". This isn't, or wasn't, I guess, widely known information, and I complained about my marital status being made public. They informed me that from a legal standpoint, because my legal name is my husband's name, they have to make it known. Is that true??? Because it feels to me like someone just wanted to make sure everyone knows who I'm married to.

    Any advice you have would be appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Andrea. This appears to be a HR issue specific to your company. You can ask this be overridden within their database/software. I assume most companies would like to keep their longtime employees happy and not get into a dispute over the display name in an automated email distribution. You may have to put it in writing to explain your case. If they need something to go on to justify the change within HR, perhaps you can suggest the use of an alias as a compromise? For instance, you can register a fictitious business name (e.g., doing business as Andrea MaidenName). This may give them an "out" to accept the change, for your particular case. Would they accept this?

      If they're not willing to bend on this, you could legally change your name back to your maiden, which is something I assume you'd prefer to avoid.

      Reply
  8. Lisa

    Hi. I was married in NYC and hyphenated my last name with my husband's. I have never used this name on anything and have exclusively used my maiden name as I always had – At work, taxes, drivers license, passport, health insurance, pension, etc. Could this cause me any difficulty or my husband if he needs to collect my SS or pension? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lisa. If you haven't changed your name with the SSA, it's a non-issue.

      Reply
  9. Lisa

    I am a lawful permanent resident and need to renew my green card soon. My marriage certificate has my maiden name and I still use my maiden name on my ID, SS, bank cards etc. Now, I need to renew my green card and I'd like to have my husband last name instead of mine. Do I need to have a new marriage certificate with my husband's last name before renewing my green card? Thanks.

    Reply
  10. Kiya

    I've been married for 6 years now and never changed from my maiden name personally, professionally, legally, etc. My husband supports me 100% and loves my independent spirit (most of the time LOL!). We have no kids or passports, but do have joint accounts, policies, and tax returns, no problems. I don't regret my choice, but I do contemplate the idea of hyphenating sometimes, just to have both. I've seen info on how professional ladies with publicaions manage this, but have never seen my particular concern addressed. I have professional licenses, malpractice/liability insurance, and state/ federal insurance/billing credentials, etc. If I did legally hyphenate my last name, does anyone know what the impact is on those things? Does it cause suspicion, fraud inquiries, billing reviews, etc. The idea of that is overwhelming, both personally and professionally. Anyone with any insights?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kiya. You'd have to contact your state's licensing board to determine if you 1) must notify them of a name change, 2) are required to have your licenses reissued with your updated name or is notification only to update their internal records sufficient. For insurance and government purposes, you'll likely have to use your legal name.

      Professional people undergo name change all the time, so the main thing you'll be dealing with is how to achieve some continuity—bridging your maiden name history with your hyphenated.

      Reply
  11. maine

    Has anybody tried renewing their Philippine passport without filing a Report of Marriage? I was married last 2014 and now separated with my husband. We agree to get divorce. Do i still need to report our marriage? My passport will expire on May and I don't want to change my maiden name in my passport.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Maine. Under Philippine law, the Report of Marriage is mandatory. If you don't file it, you're still considered "single" in the Philippines. When you renew your passport, you won't have to change your maiden name. Even if you had filed a ROM, you'll could still renew in your maiden name.

      Reply
  12. Maggie

    I want to change my first and last name soon. I would like to know if I have to make my job aware of this? I don't plan on staying in this job for more than 3-4 months. I just want to avoid the questions that will be asked, as to why I changed my name. Practically everyone at my work loves to talk.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Maggie. You'd want to notify your employer for tax-related purposes.

      Reply
  13. Kristina

    Hello, I'm a German citizen living in ca for over 10 years. I have my own green card and am ca 2 years away from applying for us citizenship. Before I can do so I have to apply in Germany for permission to keep my German citizenship / dual citizenship.

    My us fiancé and I are getting married next month in CA. I have to choose what name I would like to carry on the CA marriage lisense. Now my issue is:
    – I'm interested in taking on his last name so our future children will share a commun family name. But I do not want to change anything on ssi, dl, green card, passport, bank accounts until I am done with all German and American citizenship matters. Is it best to change it on the marriage lisense now but not change it anywhere else for about two years and then just change it when giving the oath during naturalization?
    – in Germany we have a law that after a marriage abroad you do not have to use the nane on the marriage lisence if not filing for a change in Germany. The marriage however is legal. But then I would have a German passport with my maiden name before and after marriage. But once naturalized a us passport with my married name (not a combined name, only my husbands name). Is that possible? How would I go about names on plane tickets, visas etc?

    I reside in the us and pay taxes only in the us.

    Looking fwd to some deeper insides. I have done a lot of research but no info seams definite. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it best to change it on the marriage lisense now but not change it anywhere else for about two years and then just change it when giving the oath during naturalization?

      Yes.

      Is that possible? How would I go about names on plane tickets, visas etc?

      Yes, it's fine. When purchasing plane tickets from the U.S. and its territories, use the name on your U.S. passport.

      Reply
  14. Crystal

    Can I use my old ss card with my maiden name after divorce or do I have to go get a new card with my maiden name

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Crystal. If you hadn't changed your name on your social security card, meaning it's always been your maiden name, then you can continue using your card as-is. Your name has never been altered, so there's no point in getting a new card or notifying the SSA of anything. On the other hand, if did change your name with the SSA, then you should notify them of the change, and have them reissue you a card. Yes, it'll match the name on your previous card, but what's important is that their internal database record be up-to-date.

      Reply
  15. Vivienne

    We are in CA. We got married 6 years ago and I didn't change my last name. I have my professional life under my maiden name and all other legal docs, included our mortgage. Now I am pregnant and thinking to add my husband's last name as a second last name (no hyphenate, 2 last names; First, Middle, Maiden Married). I know I need Court order to add his last name. My questions are; 1) After I added his last name, Is it possible to use husband's last name(4 names) only on my US passport and everything else stay same (only my maiden name)?
    2)Is there any confusing or conflict on the travel when my passport has First, Middle, Maiden Married name and DL has First, Middle, Maiden? Or buying the ticket with First, Middle, Maiden Married will solve the problem?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Vivienne. You can do this. When you buy airline tickets make sure they match the name on your passport. Carry a certified copy of your court ordered name change document with you to answer any confusion that may arise over your passport name differing from your driver's license.

      Reply
      1. Vivienne

        Thank you so much for your time and answer. Just want to clear; even though adding the husband's last name by court order there is no requirement to change any legal docs or loans. I can still continue use only my maiden name every legal docs and title and loan. Did I understand correctly?
        Thanks in advance

        Reply
  16. Kathy

    I am getting divorced and want to go back to my maiden name. Unfortunately, not my first marriage. I have been married three times and each time took my spouses names. Do I need to list all of those names (and my original maiden name) on the petition (NYS) when asked "do you have any other names that you use?"? thanks!

    Reply
  17. Andrea

    I'm getting married in June, and I'm considering last name options. I want to take my husband's last name; however, professionally, I'm not sure what to do with my license. I've been known professionally by my maiden name for 10 years, and it would involve changing 2 state licenses and a national board license.
    What do most people do in this situation?
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Andrea. That's determined by your licensing boards. Some may allow you to continue using your professional name as long as their records are updated to log the name you've legally changed to. You'll have to get in contact with them to determine if your license(s) will need to be reissued.

      Reply
  18. Naureen Benjamin

    Hi Valera,

    So just to confirm, if I change my last name on my marriage license to my husband. I have the option to change it? I'm getting married on May 21, 2016 and I decided to take my soon to be husband last name but don't want to go through the hassle of changing everything. Is that ok? or Am I required to? Just want to confirm that I dont have to if I don't want to

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is that ok? or Am I required to? Just want to confirm that I dont have to if I don't want to

      You've got it right. It is not required. You do not have to change your name regardless of what you specify on your marriage license.

      Reply
  19. tracey

    if my social security card is still in my maiden name but i have a state ID in my marriage name can i change my state id back too my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tracey. It's unlikely unless you can provide a document verifying a name change from your married to maiden.

      Reply
  20. Laura O.

    Valera,
    I got married two months ago, I changed my name on my SSC, and I'll do the same on my DL. Now, I'm a permanent resident in the USA, and I want to keep my Maiden name until I become a citizen. Can I do that?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Laura. Since you've updated your SS card, it's a good idea to report your name change and have it updated universally.

      Reply
  21. Ms. Yel

    Good day! Greetings with peace!

    I am married since 2003 and got separated last 2010. I am currently working here in Palau, and I filed my Divorce here and got my Divorce Decree May of 2016. I am married in Phils to a Filipino Citizen also. My question is can I revert my passport name to my maiden name? And can I remarry a Palauan National here?

    Thank you so much.. Looking forward for your response. God bless.

    Reply
  22. Dawn

    Hello. I have a question. How hard would it be to go back to my maiden name even though I am still married. I need to do this for medical reasons. There is another person in the same city that I live in with the same first, middle, and last name as me and born the same year but different month and day. I still want to stay married obviously, just want to go back to my maiden name so there won't be any more confusion since we go to the same doctors, hospitals, etc.

    Reply
  23. Lori P

    HI,
    So, I have been married for 18 years and have children with a traditional name change with my husband. I am now going back to work in my old profession (counseling) and there are reasons my maiden name would be less distracting in a counseling situation. I am about to get a part-time job at the place I want to work full time eventually and I am wondering if I can just go by my maiden name for clients or if I have to change it officially?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lori. That would depend on the requirements in your place of employment as well as any state regulations you'll have to abide by regarding the accurate disclosure of your identity.

      Reply
  24. Megan L

    Hi! I am going to apply for my marriage license in NYC soon. I'm wondering, if I change my name on the marriage license to my husbands name, but then never change it anywhere (SSN, passport, DL, banks, etc), can I just continue using my birth name on all of these? Is there any legal problems with this. Basically, is there a law that says I have to change my name on these forms and is it illegal for me to have taken my husbands name on the marriage license but not change it anywhere else?

    Additionally, if several years after our marriage we decide to have children and I want to change my birth name to my husbands last name, so I then just apply to the SSN, Dmv etc. even though several years have passed since my marriage? Thanks!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I'm wondering, if I change my name on the marriage license to my husbands name, but then never change it anywhere (SSN, passport, DL, banks, etc), can I just continue using my birth name on all of these?

      Yes.

      Is there any legal problems with this.

      No.

      Basically, is there a law that says I have to change my name on these forms and is it illegal for me to have taken my husbands name on the marriage license but not change it anywhere else?

      There's no such law.

      so I then just apply to the SSN, Dmv etc. even though several years have passed since my marriage? Thanks!!

      Correct, although you may have to provide additional identity documentation, which typically isn't much of an issue.

      Reply
  25. Sandra Woodward

    I'm getting married soon. If I decide to keep my maiden name (which is Woodward) is it still proper to introduce myself as Mrs. Sandra Beal (which is my future husband's last name.)

    If I decide to use Sandra Rae Woodward-Beal as my married name will I have to change SS, drivers license and everything else or can I still them under my maiden name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I decide to keep my maiden name (which is Woodward) is it still proper to introduce myself as Mrs. Sandra Beal (which is my future husband's last name.)

      There's nothing wrong with you using the name informally.

      If I decide to use Sandra Rae Woodward-Beal as my married name will I have to change SS, drivers license and everything else or can I still them under my maiden name.

      If you're using the name informally, but don't wish to update your documents, that would be up to you. You're not required to make any change. You can maintain your maiden name for however long you choose. You don't ever have to change it.

      Reply
  26. Esperanza

    Hi i have a question I have to go to court next month and I started renting with my maiden last name
    (I have been renting there for ten years now) and put my real social security number and everything but I was married already and didn't use my new last name and now my court papers have my old last name can I get in any legal trouble because i used my old last name now I am going to go to court and well what should i do or say about my last name? or is there no problem because of that ? is that something I should ignore ?is that something I should worry about? if so please let me know

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Esperanza. It's not something you should ignore, nor is it something you should be nervous about. The court should reference the name that's currently on your social security card. Notify them of them of your current name. Furnish a certified copy of your marriage certificate, if necessary, to confirm your name change event.

      Reply
  27. Judith

    Hello, I recently applied for a job and was hired. I work with a family member who doesn't know I'm married and I'd like to keep it that way for personal reasons. So I asked the work place to use my maiden name, instead of my legally changed name. However HR has called and wants it to all be my legal name. Is there any way around this? If I hyphen my last name to both will I be able to keep the work place name the same without showing the married one? Can I hyphen it without a court petition? I would just like to add my maiden name not drop my spouses name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there any way around this?

      Unfortunately, this is a matter that'll have to be determined by your HR department. If you explain your issue they may be able to accommodate. Perhaps with the use of an alias or addendum record referencing your legal name internally without disclosing it publicly.

      Can I hyphen it without a court petition?

      No, hyphenating your name after you've already changed it would require a court petition.

      Reply
  28. Claire

    I'm a physician. I wasn't married when I graduated from medical school, but got married at the end of fellowship. I changed my name to First MaidenName HisLast. This is the name on my board certification and state license. I took some time off to be with our kids and am now going back to work.

    I'm wondering if there is any legal reason I can't be referred to as Dr. MaidenName, as long as my badge has my full name and my full name is on my paperwork. Can I ask that emails, memos, etc be addressed to Dr. MaidenName and that I be addressed as Dr. MaidenName?

    Thanks so much for your time –

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Claire. That would be an employer/HR decision. If your place of work doesn't object, and are able to technically accommodate your preference across correspondences (e.g., email, memos), it shouldn't pose a problem.

      Reply
  29. Glits

    If my international passport is in my married name and every other certificate and document is in my maiden name, can I continue with my maiden name for professional reasons and use this for my driver's license and SSN?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Glits. Yes, that's doable if you're able to manage it without difficulty.

      Reply
  30. Xhina

    When I first came here in USA I wasn't married but after 1 year I did go back to my country to get married and I took his last name but when I came back here I didn't change my ssn id or the green cart last name more my passaport .. It's been three years but he is not in usa with me .. We are not separate.. I was wondering if it will be a problem when I get my citizenship? Cuz when I will apply for that I'm gonna change it to his last name .. Now I just don't want to go through all this truble ti change eveything… Is there any problem? Please help

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Xhina. It shouldn't pose any problem. You needn't change anything if you don't want to. You can just ignore your previous intent to change your name.

      Reply
  31. Sophie

    Hi Valera, thank you for your good article and information. I recently became an American citizen last week and I changed my last name. So my naturalization certificate has my husband's name. I will apply for a passport also with his last name. But is it ok to keep my maiden name in social security card, DL, work, bank and etc? There was a section of writing social number when applying for a passport so I am worried. Thank you so much for your help! :)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sophie. The name you chose when you became naturalized is the name that should match what's on your SS card. Your driver's license must also match your SS card. At your work or bank, you may be able to continue using your maiden name. That would be up to your respective employer or bank to agree though.

      Reply
  32. Nelia

    Hi I got married on August 8 2015 and kept my last name but / with his and I only changed my licence and sin card and health card do I need to up date my mortgage account to married and my bank accounts if he is not on them?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nelia. Yes, it's a good idea to update your mortgage as well. It's easy to do since you're only changing your name. Your marriage certificate will serve as sufficient proof. You can do it in person or contact them about how to complete the process through the mail.

      Reply
  33. Mrs. Smith

    Hi, my husband is going through a stepparent adoption and our lawyer was going through our paperwork and realized that I change my name to where I had my first husband's last name as the middle name and my current husband's last name but never changed it for my first child's birth certificate. Was I suppose to update the name change on all my kids birth certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mrs. Smith. No, it's not required you change your name on your children's birth certificates.

      Reply
  34. Amanda

    I was married years ago – and now i'm divorced. I did change my name when married but kept my maiden name on the SS so it states First Name Middle Name Maiden Name Married Name.

    Do i have to go back through Social Security office to go back to my maiden name? Like update my DL back to maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Amanda. If you haven't changed it on your SS card, then there's nothing to update there. There's nothing to do. If you've changed it on your driver's license, then it's possible you may face difficulties getting it to renew in your maiden name due to it not matching what's on your social security card.

      Reply
  35. kelly

    Hi when i married my ex husband 10 years ago i took his last name and had it changed on my social security card. We divorced two years ago and I'm fixing to get remarried. I have misplaced my social security card and have applied for a new one but we would like to get married as soon as possible. I still have my old social security card with just my maiden name on it. Can i use this one to get a marriage licence? or should we just wait for my replacement to come in? My driver licence has my ex husbands last name still.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kelly. You can try to use it, but the clerk who issues your marriage license might not accept it. You may have to provide other identity documentation. Contact your county/city clerk to determine if you'll need to supply alternative documentation.

      Reply
  36. Daniel

    Hi there,
    Great posts and answers. I hope you can help me as well. My wife used her maiden and my last name, both, after we got married. Her green card shows both names. The naturalization certificate however, reverted back to her maiden name only. Now if she were to issue get a passport, I'm assuming it "Must" match the naturalization certificate, but our marriage certificate has both maiden and my last name. Confusing as heck. What is the best corrective action?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Daniel. That depends on what your wife's preference is. Is she looking to renew in your maiden+married name? If you want that name reflected on the naturalization certificate, you can have it reissued with the name on the marriage certificate. USCIS may charge a reissue fee. If maiden+married was supposed to be on the naturalization certificate (meaning the mistake was on their part), then she can request a correction, which wouldn't entail a fee.

      Reply
  37. Colin

    I got married two years ago, and I decided to change my last name and have his last name, but because I'm just American Resident and not a citizen my country doesn't allow such name, however I already change my name in my social security. My question is; can I go back to my regular name and change my social security or they won't let me do it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Colin. SSA would change it back if you can provide a document supporting a new name change event. You wouldn't be able to use your marriage certificate again. You'd need a new document, such as a court order.

      Reply
  38. Anne

    Im a widow and i have been using my maiden name ever since…my fiance is filing a fiance visa… Will it post some problems with USCIS if i use my maiden name in our application?thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Anne. As long as your maiden is your legal last name, it should be fine.

      Reply
  39. Angel

    Hi! My question is, how difficult is it to add my maiden name back into my legal name if I only changed it through the DMV. Either with a hyphen or just in addition to. I want to still use my new married name but regret not hyphenation or just adding on the married name to the maiden name. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Angel. When you change your name at the DMV or SSA, they'll want some evidence of the name change event. Such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree with a name restoration order, or court order. Such documents are one-time use.

      So, if you change your name from Maiden to Married, but later change your mind. Or you want to add a hyphen, or switch the order around, or remove a name, or change the middle name, etc, those institutions will want to have some document evidencing the new name change event. As long as they're requirements are satisfied, they'll process a name change without incident like any other service they provide. But, as previously stated, it's one-time use.

      You couldn't go in with a marriage certificate at the first of the month to change your name, then return a month later to change it again using the same marriage certificate. They'll want another document; the prior can't be recycled.

      So, I'm assuming you used a marriage certificate the last time. To change it again, you'll need a court order. Or get remarried, and have a new marriage certificate issued. Remarriage is as simple as getting a "remarriage marriage license" and following it up with a civil ceremony.

      The only time the DMV might alter a name, after the fact, is if there was a mistake/omission on their part.

      Reply
  40. joe

    My wife and I were married 10+ years ago. Technically on the marriage certificate she changed her last name to a hyphenated one with her maiden name and mine. However, she did not change here name anywhere else — ever. She uses her maiden name on everything — SS card, green card, Drivers License, Passport, legal documents, financial accounts, etc.

    She is now applying for naturalization! On the form we are required to use her legal name, and we want to get our ducks in a row. Does she simply apply with her maiden name — which is used everywhere? Does she need to get a name change from her marriage certificate back to her maiden name, before she applies?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      On the form we are required to use her legal name, and we want to get our ducks in a row. Does she simply apply with her maiden name — which is used everywhere?

      Yes, maiden.

      Does she need to get a name change from her marriage certificate back to her maiden name, before she applies?

      No, not necessary.

      Reply
  41. Pati

    Hi Valera,
    My fiancé and I are planning to marry within the next year. We already have a son together who has his last name, and if it weren't for my son, I would probably not consider changing my last name. But since I would like to make things easier for him, I'm looking for options. I am a 45 year old nurse practitioner with certifications, licensures, DEA registration for prescription writing privileges, passport, DL, employer records, etc that would need to be changed to reflect a change from my maiden name. My question is…..If I dropped my middle name and used my maiden name as my middle and then assumed my husband's name, would I be able to continue using my maiden name on all of my professional documents to avoid having to change everything? But then still be able to sign with my husband's last name on everything else?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Pati. In professions where there aren't licenses and boards to satisfy, then it's a matter of making sure your employer is able to accommodate and accept it. You'll have to get the OK from your employer and to check with your licensing boards to determine if 1) they require notification of formal name change, but not credentials be reissued, 2) do they require credentials be reissued under the new name?

      Reply
  42. Angel

    I got married and changed my maiden name to my husband name.only my wk permit and DL have same name all other documents have my maiden name.can I change my DL to my maiden name?if so how do I do it

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Angel. If you've changed your DL to your married name already, they'll want another document to change it back. Such as a court order.

      Reply
  43. Kathleen Schuckel (professionally) Kathleen Schuckel Andrews (legally)

    My husband and I have been married for 27 years. From the start, I took his name legally and used my family name as my middle name. Professionally, I have continued to use just my first name and my family, or maiden, name. (My husband and I are both writers so a separate identity in my writing is important to me.)

    But, six years ago, I began teaching high school, and school officials have been reluctant to allow me to use my professional name. After some convincing, I was allowed to use my professional, maiden name as my email address, but they insisted that my student rosters and grade book had to reflect my legal name. But, at least, this allowed students and parents to see my professional name as my maiden name in this context. Students refer to me as: Ms. Maiden Name.

    But in about a week, I start a job with a new school district where officials refuse to use my professional name or even my legal first, AND middle and last name. The IT official at my new school district said this: "Following the Patriot Act, we are supposed to create any online identities by what matches the government ID that payroll receives. Usually that is the social security card." My Social Security card indeed has my entire legal name. However, that may be too many letters for an email.

    Advice? Thank you for your good work.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kathleen. Would they willing to accept an alias or DBA document? IT and HR problems frequently come up. Often times it's just a matter of the software unable to accommodate much or any flexibility.

      Reply
  44. Heather

    My divorce was final in April of this year and I requested my maiden name back. I still have my social security card with my maiden name on it and when I looked on the site it said I would get a new card. Do I even need a new card? Do I need to go through that process? We do receive state health benefits would it effect them?, I would tell them about my name change of.course but is having it changed through social security mandatory is I still have my old card in my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi

      Do I even need a new card? Do I need to go through that process?

      If your current social security record does not reflect your maiden name, then you need to update your record. It's not about the card, it's about the record on file with the SSA. It needs to be updated internally.

      We do receive state health benefits would it effect them?

      It shouldn't, but you want to make sure your name is in sync across records so mismatches don't become problems.

      but is having it changed through social security mandatory is I still have my old card in my maiden name?

      Just because you have an order restoring your maiden name in the divorce decree doesn't mean you have to go through with it. If you've decided you prefer not to return to your maiden, you can keep your married name by doing nothing.

      If you do intend to return to your maiden, then it's important that you update your records. Your old card showing a pre-marriage name isn't relevant.

      Reply
  45. Bola

    Hello Valera,

    I'm a physician who recently completed residency and also recently got married. I would like to add my husbands last name to mine, thereby giving me two last names without a hyphen (First Middle Maiden Married). I'm fine with going forward with changing my name to this on my SSC, DL, and passport. However, I want to know if I'm legally required to change all other miscellaneous documents (ie: banks, credit cards, airline miles, etc) that are currently under my maiden name to my my full new last name? What about licenses and certificates if I intent to continue practicing under my maiden name? I guess the bigger thing I am trying to figure out is if having two last names would grant me some flexibility in using either last name or both together interchangeably. Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      However, I want to know if I'm legally required to change all other miscellaneous documents (ie: banks, credit cards, airline miles, etc)

      Not required, but a good idea to do so.

      What about licenses and certificates if I intent to continue practicing under my maiden name?

      It's up to your employer and your state board. The prior needs to be cleared with HR and to make sure taxes are submitted under your legal name. The latter determines if new documents reflecting your legal name will need to be issued.

      Reply
  46. Brittney Eden

    Hi,

    I recently got married and want to change my name to match my husband's. The problem is I recently started a business and it is legally filed under my maiden name. Do I have to re pay the fees to have it changed to my married name or can I leave it as my maiden name and if so how does that effect the company bank account, tax filings etc…?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Brittney. Your maiden name would be considered a legal alias. Still, you may want to look into restructuring things under something such as a DBA. This can help you to avoid potential conflicts with your state's laws about doing business under a name that's not your legal name.

      Reply
  47. John

    My wife and I got married last month but haven't changed her SS yet. Her license is expired, can we renew under her maiden name and then change it to her new name after we get her new SS card back with her new name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can we renew under her maiden name and then change it to her new name after we get her new SS card back with her new name?

      Yes.

      Reply
  48. Adaobi

    Hi,

    I got married in April and decided to maintain my maiden name till my passport expires in 2018, then I would take my husband's last name and change my name on my passport at the same time. My question is, what prefix do I use now? Is it ok to use 'Mrs' along with my maiden last name just so people easily know i'm married? If maintaining your maiden name, must you remain 'single' and keep bearing 'Miss'?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My question is, what prefix do I use now? Is it ok to use 'Mrs' along with my maiden last name just so people easily know i'm married?

      Yes, that's perfectly fine.

      If maintaining your maiden name, must you remain 'single' and keep bearing 'Miss'?

      Not necessary. It's a personal preference. Use whichever you're comfortable with.

      Reply
  49. Christy

    I got married last month and ended up dropping my last name and took on my husbands name. Ever since I've been having a lot of anxiety about dropping my maiden name. Now I want my name to be hyphenated so it'll be first, middle, maiden-husband name. Do I have to fix this on the marriage license? Or can I just add it in? I am in MA. I have not changed any documents such as SS card, passport etc…

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Christy. You can't update a marriage license/certificate after it's been issued, unless the clerk made a mistake on it. You may not be able to change your name just by using your marriage certificate since you didn't specify your preferred surname on your marriage license. You can try to use your certificate as-is with the SSA, but if it doesn't go through, that'll be the reason why.

      Reply
  50. Dre

    Hi Valera,

    I live in CA and recently changed my name after marriage to my husband's surname. I work as a consultant and continue to use my maiden name professionally (and it's not at all part of my now legal name).

    Do I need to file a DBA? Would doing so allow me to use my maiden name on contracts/billing?

    With a DBA, would my taxes still be filed in my married name or maiden?

    With a DBA, would I fill out w9s and have my 1099 issued in my maiden name or married name?

    With a DBA, does it matter if my business name is just Jane Smith vs Jane Smith Consulting (is it allowed to just be a name?).

    Or, can I continue to use my maiden name without a DBA and use my married name on legal/tax forms with the caveat to my clients that my name is Jones legally but I continue to use my maiden name Smith to avoid confusion?

    If so, can I write my name as Jane (Smith) Jones on contracts? Or would it need to say Jane Jones?

    My bank will allow me to have an aka on my account. Can I still ask for business checks to be made out to Jane Smith vs Jane Jones?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      With a DBA, would my taxes still be filed in my married name or maiden?

      With a DBA, would I fill out w9s and have my 1099 issued in my maiden name or married name?

      How you file your taxes depends on how your DBA is structured (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership). You should contact an accountant to determine what's most proper for your situation. Generally speaking, you'd use your DBA (or trade name) for business, professional, advertising, consulting purposes, and your legal name for tax purposes.

      With a DBA, does it matter if my business name is just Jane Smith vs Jane Smith Consulting (is it allowed to just be a name?).

      It doesn't matter.

      Or, can I continue to use my maiden name without a DBA and use my married name on legal/tax forms with the caveat to my clients that my name is Jones legally but I continue to use my maiden name Smith to avoid confusion?

      You could, but you may face consequences (minor to significant) depending on the situation and state. Some states may impose a fine and for failing to register. You could also face problems dealing with other businesses. For instance, if you use your non-registered, fictitious name to hire a company to do a job or deliver goods, and they fail to deliver, you wouldn't be able to sue them until you register your name.

      If so, can I write my name as Jane (Smith) Jones on contracts? Or would it need to say Jane Jones?

      See above for the consequence of taking this approach.

      My bank will allow me to have an aka on my account. Can I still ask for business checks to be made out to Jane Smith vs Jane Jones?

      That depends on whether or not your bank will honor them.

      Reply
  51. Tatiana

    Hello,

    When my husband and I got married, I wasn't quite sure how I would officially change my last name. In the end I decided to hyphen my last name incorporating my maiden last name and his. I was semi attached to my initials TNT that I figured with adding an "S" it would still be me. But once I officially changed it and saw my new SS card I didn't really like the hyphen separating the two.

    My first question is, can I change my SS card resubmitting my name without the hyphen? Or would I have to legally ask for a name change to remove the hyphen? When we bought our car I signed with both last names without the hyphen and my Driver's license has the two last names without a hyphen as well. And at work I sign documents with my husband's last name. Can I not include my maiden name and just use his or because I "legally" changed it to incorporate both I must use them? It really confuses me sometimes and I feel like I just want to be Mrs. S and subtract all that has made me feel unsure. Which would say would be the best solution?

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My first question is, can I change my SS card resubmitting my name without the hyphen? Or would I have to legally ask for a name change to remove the hyphen?

      It would have to be a legal name change using a court order.

      Can I not include my maiden name and just use his or because I "legally" changed it to incorporate both I must use them?

      You could use it informally, but your hyphenated name would still be your legal name.

      Reply
  52. Rona

    Hello,

    I recently got married to my US husband and he's currently filling for me to become a natural citizen here in the US. When we started the filing, I used his last name which I didn't ant to take at first because I love my Maiden name, but I was told for legal reasons , It would be best to take his name.

    I already got my SSN card and AED card which has his last name and my name is also updated as his last name. I want to go back to school but I would love my Maiden name to be on my degree, is that possible? and also if not , am I allowed to change my name back to my maiden name at this point , just so i can go to school with my maiden name . I want all my degree, certificates to have my maiden name. ( Now I wish I didn't change to his name). I do not want to hyphenate my name either.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rona. You would have to petition the court to return to your maiden name.

      Reply
  53. Mary annn wiedemann

    Hallo im marriage for 2 years with My husbands Name.All My papers already change in philippines as mrs.Now My husband want To convert My single Family Name.Since we use now her ex wife Family name…any suggestion atty.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mary. I'm not sure what you're asking. Could you please clarify which part of your name you're looking to change and in which country?

      Reply
  54. Samara Blei

    Hello,

    I just got married in ny state (7/2016) and obtained my marriage certificate in ny city. I want to use my maiden name professionally and use my husband's last name personally.

    My profession requires a license to practice, so whatever I change my name to legally, I need to change that with the licensing board as well. That said, my plan was to add my maiden name to my middle name (assuming I could use my middle name professionally) — — OR to add my husband's last name to my maiden last name, which would mean having 2 last names, without a hyphen.

    For example, if my name before marriage is Jane (first) Jen (middle) Smith (maiden last), I would become Mary Jenn (middle) Smith (last name 1) Jones (last name 2). When I went for my marriage license, they said that my only 2 options were to hyphenate my maiden name with my husband's last name or only take my husband's last name. Adding my husband's last name to my maiden name without a hyphen was not a permissible option, nor was I able to add my maiden name to my middle name while taking my husband's last name (they wouldnt allow me to adjust my middle name in any way).

    In the moment I was told that it would be easy to add my maiden name to my middle name or add a second last name after I received my marriage license (adding my maiden name to his surname). I ended up just taking his last name on the marriage certificate. However, I think I am finding it is not so easy to add my maiden name without it on my marriage license.

    I have not yet changed my name on my license, with ss or with the DMV etc. What is the easiest and least expensive way to have my maiden name added to my name again (either to my middle or as part of my last name)? Could I just ask to add my husband's last name (which is on my .marriage certificate) to my maiden name when I file with SS and DMV? Or do I need a court order to have my maiden name also appear on my legal documents if it is not on the marriage certificate?

    Is adding my maiden name to my middle just as difficult? Is a court order needed for that in ny, or is there a more simple way to add my maiden name to my middle name? If a court order is needed for all of the above in ny, would it be easiest to try to get an ammendment to the marriage license (in which case I think I would be required to hyphenate if I want both last names) ? And if I can't get an ammendment, would remarrying be an easier option than getting a court order?

    1 last question– if I do need to get a court order for a name change, would my name be changed on my birth certificate? I obviously don't want my husband's surname on my birth certificate. Thanks so much!!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      In the moment I was told that it would be easy to add my maiden name to my middle name or add a second last name after I received my marriage license (adding my maiden name to his surname).

      They probably mean it's easier just to do this in court, rather than issue you a license containing a name sequence that wouldn't be acceptable to any of the government agencies you'd end up trying to change your name with.

      What is the easiest and least expensive way to have my maiden name added to my name again (either to my middle or as part of my last name)?

      Court order. It's not necessarily the easiest or cheapest, but it's the option you have left for the name combination you prefer.

      Could I just ask to add my husband's last name (which is on my .marriage certificate) to my maiden name when I file with SS and DMV?

      Unlikely. They'll want to go by what's on the marriage certificate.

      Or do I need a court order to have my maiden name also appear on my legal documents if it is not on the marriage certificate?

      Correct.

      Is adding my maiden name to my middle just as difficult? Is a court order needed for that in ny, or is there a more simple way to add my maiden name to my middle name?

      Same process through the court. You can change all aspects of your name at once.

      If a court order is needed for all of the above in ny, would it be easiest to try to get an ammendment to the marriage license (in which case I think I would be required to hyphenate if I want both last names) ?

      You can request an amendment with the City Clerk. If you married within the past two weeks, it'll be free. Otherwise, it'll cost you $10. Unless the fault is their own, they don't technically allow surname changes. Having said that, you can try to make your case for hyphenation. It's not a big change.

      And if I can't get an ammendment, would remarrying be an easier option than getting a court order?

      Yes, it would be an easier option. You'd purchase another marriage license, and can even get married within the Clerk's office.

      1 last question– if I do need to get a court order for a name change, would my name be changed on my birth certificate? I obviously don't want my husband's surname on my birth certificate.

      No, not unless you want to. You can leave your birth certificate unchanged.

      Reply
  55. Carito

    Hi, I been married for 20 years and we are in the process of getting a divorce and I want to change my name back to my maiden name but I have never liked my first name and always use my middle name. Is it anyway that during the name change process can I drop my first name and combine my dads and moms last names?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Carito. It may be possible. You'll have to request the judge to grant it. If he/she does, you can use your divorce decree to change your name as you prefer.

      Reply
  56. shuvo

    Hi Valera,

    I don't like my current name that has been on all of academic credentials, I want to be known under new name. If I change my name, Can I still use my previous name as legal name in account in bank, insurance, office? or can I use both names alternatively?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Shuvo. You'll only have one "legal" name. If you continue to use your previous name, it will be informal or for business purposes.

      Reply
  57. Lori Ortiz

    Hi Valera,
    I've been divorced 5 years and kept my maiden name as my middle name and kept the ex's last name. Professionally it is a hassle to change all insurance panels I serve in mental health field. I had believed we would reconcile at one time. I'm starting my own practice and no longer wish to use his last name. My DBA is under a business name I.e. City Counseling Services. Can I legally use my maiden name for purposes of marketing with the business name? – Lori in Texas

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lori. You can register a second DBA under your maiden name.

      Reply
  58. C

    Hi
    I would like to change my name to my new married name.
    but I would like to keep one of my bank accounts in my maiden name and not change it to my married. Am I allowed to do this even though I will change my credit cards and other things to my new name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Am I allowed to do this even though I will change my credit cards and other things to my new name?

      That would be entirely up to your bank. If they're willing to accommodate it, sure.

      Reply
  59. Judith

    Hi;
    I am a divorced women, and still use my ex's last name. Can I buy stocks in my maiden name?
    Thanks
    Judy,
    in Alberta Canada

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Judith. You'll need to contact the financial or brokerage firm that holds your account.

      Reply
  60. Paige

    Hi I got married in Nov, changed my last name to my husbands and kept both my middle name and maiden name as my new middle name. My question is that because we are now starting to plan for kids would I be able to change my last name again to be both our last names so it would be S******-s***** we may want that for our kids last name. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Paige. Changing your name again would entail going through a court petitioned name change.

      Reply
  61. Joy

    Hi Valera,

    I had change of name requested on my divorce and it was granted; however I haven't made name change to any of my legal documents. I am still using my married name, will that be a problem?

    Thanks,

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am still using my married name, will that be a problem?

      Not at all.

      Reply
  62. lili

    Hi. I got married abroad to a non US Citizen. I did apply for a name change (my husband's last name) , so I have a new passport with my husband's last name. I did not apply for a new Social Security card. When I return to the US, can I still use my driver's license and social security card with my maiden name (when applying for employment and government programs)? Thanks!

    Reply
  63. Jane

    Hello Valera,
    After my first marriage I changed my name with social security and received a new card. During my second marriage I changed my name but never updated social security of the change. I filed my taxes using the name from my first marriage. I would like to apply for a drivers license using my maiden name (as is on my birth certificate). Will this be a problem when trying to get my license since my social security number is still listed under my first name change? Do I have to get a name change and submit it to social security first?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jane. It's unlikely the driver's license office will update your name unless they're provided a document authorizing it, such as a court order. Going by what's on your birth certificate wouldn't be sufficient. As far as they're concerned, your legal name is what's on your social security card, and your previous (maiden) name is no longer applicable.

      Reply
  64. Anita

    Hi, I am getting married soon and I was previously marrie, been divorced for 20 years. when I got divorced I kept my ex husbands last name because of the children or I would have taken my maiden name back. My question is , when I get married this time, can I go back to my maiden name hyphenated with my new husbands name? I live in Michigan and just wondered if this is possible without it costing anything extra or going through a court process.

    Reply
  65. Gladys

    I Have a questtion, Can I have a problem if My Passport i used now is my Maiden name although I already Married but in my other documents I used my Husbands surname like my PhilHealth and Pagibig.
    I want to work in abroad I have no time to change my Passport. Can i have a problem in paying my Philhealth and Pagibig when i used my Maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Gladys. Your passport is still valid and usable, even though you haven't yet synced it to match your other changed documents. You may want to keep a certified copy of your marriage certificate on you when you travel, in case there's ever a question about a name mismatch between your passport and other documents.

      Reply
  66. Lusreel Del Prado Mendoza

    Dear Valera, I have been separated from my husband for more than 7 years. I know that he has a series of women, not that I care since we are separated already. He even had children with those women, and now i was told that he is living with another woman. I am working abroad and so, contact between us is certainly impossible, besides, I really do not want to have anything to do with him. I am not planning to remarry but I want to know If I can drop his name from my name. If so, what should I do?

    Louie

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lusreel. You have a couple of things to consider, depending on what's transpired.

      1) You are divorced: If so, did the judge issue an order to restore your maiden name? In this instance, a certified copy of your divorce decree can be used to change your name back to your maiden. If it wasn't part of the order, then you may be able to return to the court and get it revised (which could be a longshot, depending on the state). Otherwise, you'll have to petition the court for a name change.

      2) You are planning to divorce: Make sure you request your prior name be restored upon finalization. If you don't want to wait until finalization to change your name, see the last option, below.

      3) Separated, not divorced: Court petitioned name change if your remaining option.

      Reply
      1. Lusreel Del Prado Mendoza

        Thank you so much. Seems like i am stock with his name unless, like you said, I apply for a name change. If this will cost me a lot, then, i have no choice at all.

        Again, thanks a million

        Reply
  67. Mary

    Hi,
    I got married in California but I am a resident of Oregon state. On my CA marriage certificate it states my new last-name (husband's last name). It's been already 2 years and I haven't changed my last-name on any of my legal documents (social security, passport, driver's license, etc.) because I realized that I want to keep my maiden name. Is there a law that says I am now required to change my last-name on all legal documents because on my marriage license it states that I took my husband's last name upon marriage? Can I just continue to officially use my maiden name on all legal documents and never change it to his last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a law that says I am now required to change my last-name on all legal documents because on my marriage license it states that I took my husband's last name upon marriage?

      No there is no such law or requirement.

      Can I just continue to officially use my maiden name on all legal documents and never change it to his last name?

      Yes, you absolutely can.

      Reply
      1. Mary

        But am I breaking a law by leasing a car or having a car insurance registered under my marriage last name?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Mary. That you should not do. For such documents, continue using your legal name, which is your maiden name.

          Reply
  68. Sharon

    I am in process of getting divorced and have put down to change back to maiden name legally. My husband and I have had a business together and will still be continuing it. How long do I have to change my name back once judge grants it, and can I continue to use married name professionally even though legal name would actually revert back to maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How long do I have to change my name back once judge grants it,

      There's no deadline.

      and can I continue to use married name professionally even though legal name would actually revert back to maiden name?

      Yes.

      Reply
  69. Laura

    I married 13 years ago in NYC and took my husband's name on the marriage license. I changed my name on everything except my Social Security Card, which still shows my maiden name. I'm in Louisiana and am changing jobs and filled out all the applications in my married name. They need to run a background check and now I'm realizing I might have needed to use my maiden name on everything since it is on my Social. If I take my marriage certificate to the SSA office, will they give me a receipt showing that my name will be changed, so that I can move forward with my job on boarding? How long does it take to show up with the SSA. If they run my background the next day will it trigger a rejection? Will I need to fill everything out again using my maiden name for now? Thank you for your help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I take my marriage certificate to the SSA office, will they give me a receipt showing that my name will be changed, so that I can move forward with my job on boarding?

      If you're going to change it with the SSA, it would be up to the office/agent to provide you a document showing your name change is processing. You'll have to contact your local office to determine if they'll provide it.

      How long does it take to show up with the SSA. If they run my background the next day will it trigger a rejection?

      Employers often use third-party services to perform background checks. Their databases and procedures are different, so this can't be answered clearly. Since you're going to the SSA office, in person, you can pose this question to the agent to get an idea of the typical background check services ran in your area and expected turnaround times.

      Will I need to fill everything out again using my maiden name for now?

      For things such as filling out government forms, insurance, employment, yes. At least until you complete the changeover.

      Reply
  70. Kathy Falor

    I remarried about a year ago and am not sure if I want to change my name on all my documents because of a disabled son. My social security card and driver license still have my son's father's name. I also haven't changed my name yet on anything like the banks or credit cards. My husband is pressuring me to get this done so I need to decide what to do. I am having a hard time making the switch because of my son's name will be different from mine. Do you know of any other situations like mine. I read all your posts and didn't see any. I am worried that not having my son's last name will present problems as he is special needs and I had to file for legal guardianship when he turned 18. It's required by law or he becomes a ward of the state. Do you know of any complications that could arise if I didn't have his last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kathy. The SSA know how to handle such such situations. Yours is not uncommon. When you change your name, it isn't as though your previous name history and linkages are erased. The SSA maintains a prior name timeline for all changes which are mapped to your social security number/record.

      Reply
  71. Louise Bond

    Hi,
    can you help I have been using my maiden name since my divorce in 2008 on all my documents apart from my exit husband's pension and my passport .l needed to replace my passport but I haven't changed my name by depot can do i still use my married name my ticket have been booked in my passport name just found out that it needs replacing as I only have 3 months left and need six months for visa . What must I do.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can do i still use my married name my ticket have been booked in my passport name

      Yes, you can.

      Reply
  72. Jana

    Hi!
    I changed my last name, but prefer to use my maiden name for work. I make my maiden name my middle name. Is it a problem to use my maiden name and my married name as I see fit? Is it unlawful?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jana. As long as you're using your married name when your legally required, you should be fine.

      Reply
  73. drs

    Dear Valera,

    I am an international student and have been in US since 2005. Year ago I got married to an American citizen and changed my last name to his last name on the marriage certificate. We got married in Oregon. However I am not ready to take in the new last name and continued to use my maiden name and did not change my name on any immigration, passport, drivers license, bank account or any other document. The only place I have the name change is the marriage license and face book. Can I just continue to use my maiden name and disregard the marriage license? Should I get a court order to change last name back to my maiden? Also I am visiting home in 4 months and will have to go to an American embassy to get visa stamped before entering United States. I will be keeping my maiden name in all documents. Would the name change in marriage would cause me an issue? Would I have to mention this this name change on marriage certificate at all? If I am going to apply for permanent residency based on marriage would not adhering to the name change be an issue?

    I really appreciate your advice!

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I just continue to use my maiden name and disregard the marriage license?

      Yes.

      Should I get a court order to change last name back to my maiden?

      Unnecessary, as your legal name hasn't changed; it's still your maiden name.

      Would the name change in marriage would cause me an issue?

      No.

      Would I have to mention this this name change on marriage certificate at all?

      No.

      If I am going to apply for permanent residency based on marriage would not adhering to the name change be an issue?

      No.

      Reply
  74. Just

    I'm getting a divorce and will be changing my name back to my maiden name. My passport still has my maiden name and is not expired yet, do I need to get a new passport anyways or will my Maiden name work?

    Also, would I be able to travel out of country with my maiden name on my passport even though I am using my husband's name on my license? Should I just book the ticket with my Maiden name instead of my legal name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My passport still has my maiden name and is not expired yet, do I need to get a new passport anyways or will my Maiden name work?

      You can continue to use it as-is.

      Should I just book the ticket with my Maiden name instead of my legal name?

      You'll be fine as long as the name on your ticket matches the name on your passport.

      Reply
      1. Louie

        Dear Valera,

        I am a Filipina married to a Filipno but because of so many reasons, (womanizing being one of them) I left my husband 8 years ago and work abroad since the separation. Our separation is just our mutual decision, no papers at all. He lived with so many other women after that and even have children with some of them. As for me, I stayed celibate, (my own decision) and just work and live for my son. Is it possible for me to use my maiden name although all of my documents are registered under my ex-husband's name? It's been 8 years after all and I want to drop his name from this year onwards. Is this possible?

        Reply
  75. Liza

    Hi Ms. Valeria, git married since 2003 & separated for 5 yrs now… when I enter college I fill the information document with my maiden & married name ex. Liza Guzman Tamayo Santos, but when graduated all my credentials appears as Liza T. Santos, I request the School registrar to issùe me TOR & Diploma using maiden name but the chief registrar says "it cant be" since i was admitted as Liza T. Santos.

    I use my Maiden name on all my Government (past & present)Valid IDs specially passport under the article 370 civil code of the Philippines.

    Do i have the right to corrrect my records to get a copy of TOR/DIPLOMA using my maiden name and re-enroll for another course to appear my maiden name on the same school? Pls. Help, thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Liza. Is the school registrar aware that you are divorced? Also, has your divorced been recognized in the Philippines?

      Reply
  76. Shannon

    I have a question. It may have been answered, but the list was so long I lost track. Lol. I changed my name to my husbands through the social security office, changed my drivers license, and on my bank account and PayPal account. I didn't really want to change my name, but felt pressured because I had changed it in my last marriage and didn't want to offend my current husband. I wish I hadn't done it. I still have my old ss card and dl with my maiden name. Since it's now in the computer, do I have to go through another name change process? Do I have to get a court order, or can it just be done with my birth certificate? Thanks so much.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I wish I hadn't done it. I still have my old ss card and dl with my maiden name. Since it's now in the computer, do I have to go through another name change process?

      Yes, you will have to go through another one.

      Do I have to get a court order, or can it just be done with my birth certificate?

      Yes, you'll have to go through a court petitioned name change. You wouldn't be able to use your birth certificate to undergo any type of name change, be it marriage or non-marriage-related.

      Reply
  77. simone

    I need to renew my passport for travel immediately and the courts are moving at a glacial pace, Can I still renew my passport now?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Simone. I don't know which court you're referring to; divorce or name change petition. Let's just cover both scenarios:

      If you're undergoing a divorce, you can request the judge restore your name to a prior name. If you can't wait until your divorce is finalized, you'll have to petition the court separately for a name change.

      If you're petitioning the court for a name change, and the turnaround is slow, there's not much you can do other than asking about expedition options or look into getting the assistance of an attorney (which may or may not help).

      You should also take into account the State Department's turnaround times to process passport renewals. So, if you're in a time crunch and need a quick renewal, you may have to opt for their expedited service option, which has an additional fee. At this point you'll have to decide which name you'll be renewing under. If the court isn't going to finish with your name change request before you need to renew your passport, then you'll just have to renew it in your current name then renew it again, later.

      Reply
  78. Sally

    Hi, I got married in New York State 2 years ago. On my marriage license I put that I wanted to hyphenate my last name with my husband's. I never went through to change my name with social security or the DMV or anything. I've actually decided I want to keep my maiden name and not change my name at all. Do I have to get a court ordered name change? The only place the hyphenated last name for me appears is on the marriage certificate. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I've actually decided I want to keep my maiden name and not change my name at all. Do I have to get a court ordered name change? The only place the hyphenated last name for me appears is on the marriage certificate.

      You don't have to do anything. Your legal name is still your maiden name. Name change is optional and if you do nothing everything will remain as it always was.

      Reply
  79. RJ

    Hi! I'm a green card holder under my maiden name. I got married in 2014 and had changed my documents to my married name; except my green card. I plan to change my maiden name to my married on the green card when I renew it. But my question is, will it affect my status on my Philippine passport? I need to renew my passport sometime this year but I don't want to change my last name on that. Do I still have to do a Report of Marriage and not change my maiden name? Will it affect my travel back to the Philippines? Thank you for your response.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi RJ. You don't have to renew it under your married name. When you travel keep a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you to clear up any possible confusion.

      Reply

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