1,568 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!

1,568 Comments

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
    2. LaKeisha

      Hello Mary,
      Good question, I got married last November and still haven't changed my last name to my husband's last name as well. Monday is our 1 year anniversary and I'm still legally listed as my maiden name. It's not that I don't want my husband's last name; i just prefer not to go through all the hassle of changing my last name, but since I've been viewing all of the comments regarding marriage name change I now see that I do not have to change my last name to my husband's last name. I really prefer to keep my last name instead. And thanks for asking this question because I thought I was the only woman in America that didn't legally change names being I got married November of 2015 and now approaching my 1 year anniversary.

      Thanks Again,
      LaKeisha

      Reply
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
    2. LaKeisha

      Hello Drs,

      Good question, this would be my first marriage and as of now I'm approaching my 1 year anniversary on November 14 of this year and I also did not or do not want to change my maiden name as well. Seeing other comments asking this same question makes me feel not so guilty for not wanting to change my last name to my husband last name. Its just too much work and hassle and not to mention if ever we were to get a divorce (God willing that we don't) I would have to go through so much to change everything back over to my maiden name so with that being said I prefer to keep my maiden name, I think for me this is best.

      Kind regards,
      LaKeisha

      Reply
  16. 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
          1. Louie

            Philippines. I hold a Philippine passport. I work abroad but I go home every year for Christmas and New Year so I can be with my son. The university is kind enough to allow me to do this.

          2. Valera

            Hi Louie. You just need to go to court and get a judicial order to change your name. Then you can change your name on all your documents.

          3. Louie

            Thank you so much for your advice. I will work on this when I return to the Philippines this coming Christmas season.

  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
    2. LaKeisha

      Hello Sally,
      Good question, I'm approaching my 1 year anniversary as of November 14, and yet to change my name to my husband's last name and prefer to keep it that way.

      Kind regards,
      LaKeisha

      Reply
  21. 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
  22. Lhina

    Hi I'm a green card holder . I was divorced and then remarried. I already changed my SSS#, drivers license, insurances, debit/credit cards accounts on my current husband last name. Also I'm on the process of changing my Philippine passport last name to my current husband name. My question is do I need to change my green card last name too? I hope this will not cause a problem. Thank you so much.

    Reply
    1. Lhina

      And also my green card is under my previous marriage last name. Thanks again.

      Reply
  23. Kirchel

    hi…my husband died last year and I'm widow now, i did not changed my passport yet from single to married and i want to renew my passport to work abroad, it is possible to use still my maiden name in my passport but my status is widow. And will it affect to my other documents like philhealth, my diploma/certificate etc. because that time i used my husband surname.

    Also my other ID's remain in single status because didn't changed it yet.

    Thank you for your response.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kirchel. You shouldn't face any issues with your existing passport. It's still valid. Same goes for your other documents.

      Reply
  24. Lisa

    After divorce I legally resumed my maiden name. But I would like to match my children's last name, my former married name, on all the paperwork and such, class phone directory even when I call in to the school, is this legal?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lisa. It is legal, but it would have to be done informally on a case-by-case basis. For official circumstances, where your legal name is requested, you should provide your maiden name.

      Reply
  25. Maritza

    Hi I am a permanent residence I got married one year ago and I just decided to start changing my last name to my husband last name I did it with the social security office and my driver license …. But now the problem is that I had barely renew my green card 1 year before I got married and I dnt want to pay a fee of 450 again to change my last name on it… My question is if I travel outside the United States would it b a problem to re enter due to my green card not having my marriage last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Maritza. You do have to update your green card to reflect your legal name change. I understand not wanting to absorb the fee again, but your document should kept in sync.

      As for reentering the country, equip yourself with documents linking your prior and current name. Document your name change event by keeping a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you. Still, updating your green card resolves any potential problems or holds you may face when reentering.

      Reply
  26. Annie

    Hello! I recently eloped with my now husband and are planning a church wedding next year. I had my name changed with my husband's last name on my DMV driver's license and I am about to change it on my Social Security; however, I am hoping to wait until our church wedding to change my information at work. I do have few concerns.

    What consequences will I face concerning any legal matters?

    Will there be consequences when I file tax as my W-2 will still have my maiden name?

    How will it affect my health benefits as my health insurance will still have my maiden name as well?

    Lastly, if I change my bank information with my married name, will there be a problem with the direct deposit of my paychecks?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What consequences will I face concerning any legal matters?

      Unless you're planning to commit fraud or avoid debts, there's not much to be concerned about there.

      Will there be consequences when I file tax as my W-2 will still have my maiden name?

      File whatever name is on your social. You say you're updating that next, so you'll file with whatever name's on your SS card at the time.

      How will it affect my health benefits as my health insurance will still have my maiden name as well?

      It shouldn't. It's just a record update. Your SSN isn't changing, so the unique identifiers pointing to your old name will still point to your new name. Just be sure to update your insurance company of your name change, just as you would state and federal institutions.

      Lastly, if I change my bank information with my married name, will there be a problem with the direct deposit of my paychecks?

      As long as the name on your checks matches the name with your bank, you should be fine. Some ACH systems don't even both with the name portion; it's just based on the routing and account number.

      Reply
  27. Name Conundrum

    I was married in 2002 in PA. At that time I never legally changed my name with local SSA. I DID, however, change my name on my PA Driver's License (at that time, I was simply able to request the change online to my ID and registration; certainly no longer this way). For all employment I always professionally use my married name but for payroll and tax purposes use my maiden name, again since I never changed it with SSA. For many other bills/utilities, vehicle title, bank account, lease, etc…. I am listed as either First Name Maiden Last Name Married Last Name or First Name Married Last Name.

    NOW…..fast forward and I am legally divorced as of June 2015 and getting remarried.

    I have one child with my ex-husband and one child with my fiancé.

    I don't know if I should keep my previous married name in honor of my first child and add my new married last name or if I should only take my new husband's last name. And, based on which I determine is best for me/us, what I need to do and how to go about it as I never did legally change my name with SSA in the first place.

    Do you have any recommendations and how to's on how best to proceed given my circumstances?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do you have any recommendations and how to's on how best to proceed given my circumstances?

      Your only available name change path with the SSA is to change it to your new married name. Since you never changed your name with the SSA for your first marriage, your maiden name is the only reference on file. You couldn't do "prior married last name + new married last name" without going to court.

      So, your options are:

      1) Old married name + new married name = court order.
      2) Remove old married name, only use new married name = basic marriage-based name change process.
      3) No name change, keep everything as-is = nothing to do, but your SS record and driver's license would still be out of sync, but you're already dealing with that.
      4) Use "old married name + new married name" informally = this is with the understanding it wouldn't be your legal name and you'll have to continue using your maiden name for legal/government/tax purposes.

      Reply
  28. Critt

    I've been married for 3 years and I changed my name on my social security card but have been unable to get to the DMV. When I called I was told that I couldn't do it by mail, I would have to go there physically and present the marriage certificate and get a new photo.

    Have you ever heard of it being possible to get a drivers license changed in the same way that I was able to the Social Security Card? I work in an area that is very far from the DMV and the hours do not work with my work hours. Also, I don't want a new picture. My license is good for another 6 years so can't I keep the one that was taken originally? I can go online and change the address without the picture or any proof of address? Maybe the employee that I spoke with was unaware?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Have you ever heard of it being possible to get a drivers license changed in the same way that I was able to the Social Security Card?

      There are a few states that allow driver's licenses to be updated through the mail, but most don't. You apprently live in one that does not permit it.

      My license is good for another 6 years so can't I keep the one that was taken originally?

      A new photo is required for reissuances or renwals.

      Maybe the employee that I spoke with was unaware?

      Since you're trying to change an aspect of your license related to your identity, the standard is different.

      Reply
  29. EDEN S. GOLORAN

    Hi, I would like to know if its posible for me to use my maiden name while annulment is on process. My husband and me separated about ten years and we both have new partner in life now. He is not supporting our teenaged kids. I find it insulting myself using his name as he is no longer a part of my life and I dont want to be identified as his wife anymore. So please help me if there is some way I could atleast use my maiden name while we are not yet officially separated. More power!!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I would like to know if its posible for me to use my maiden name while annulment is on process.

      Only informally, until it's finalized. If you need to jump ahead of the process, you can look into getting a court ordered name change.

      Reply
  30. Balbina

    Hi
    I became a US citizen by Naturalization, I used my husbands last name.
    I'm divorce now.
    Can I still use my maiden name as my legal name ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Balbina. Was your maiden name restored within your divorce decree? If yes, then you can use that document to change your name with the various institutions. If no, you can try to contact the court to get an amendment, but it may not be granted. If neither of those work out, you can undergo a court ordered name change to restore your maiden name.

      Reply
  31. Sherry Durant

    I just recently got divorced in the State of Oklahoma, Aug 29, 2016. I requested the option to change my last name to a former married name. I just had my DL changed, Sept 9, 2016, but not my SS Card or any other documents. I am disabled and on SSI. After reconsideration of everything I would have to have changed, Wills, Life Ins Policies, Titles, Credit Cards, Deeds, Pre-Paid Funeral Plans, SS…ect…it is overwhelming. I do not want to keep the former married name. Is there any way such as a legal affidavit or something I can sign to take to the DMV to have my license restored to what it originally was? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there any way such as a legal affidavit or something I can sign to take to the DMV to have my license restored to what it originally was?

      A court order would do it.

      Reply
  32. Linh tang

    Hello! I have been married for more than 20 years. But now I want to change my last name to my husband last name. Do I need a court order? Or just go to SSN and DMV to change my last name? Thank you so much.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Linh. You can go to the SSN then DMV. Bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate. You may be asked to submit additional identity documents since your marriage took place several years ago. You can call ahead to make sure you gather the required documents before going in.

      Reply
    2. LaKeisha

      Hello Linh,
      I never would have thought that I'm not alone about my decision to not wanting to change my name to my husband's last name. This would be my first marriage and as of now I'm approaching my 1 year anniversary on November 14 of this year and I also did not or do not want to change my maiden name as well. While viewing other comments where the majority of the questions that are being asked is do I have to change my name? Which now I see the answer is No. Anyhow, I feel not so guilty for not wanting to change my last name to my husband last name seeing you have waited 20 years and now your name change is taking place or about to take place. For me Its just too much work and hassle and not to mention if ever we were to get a divorce (God willing that we don't) I would have to go through so much to change everything back over to my maiden name so with that being said I prefer to keep my maiden name, I think for me this is best.

      Kind regards,
      LaKeisha

      Reply
  33. Jenna

    I recently got married and plan to tag my husband's last name onto my own, sans hyphen. (First middle maiden last marriedlast). I proposed this name change on my marriage certificate but haven't yet changed it anywhere else yet, as I am a but hesitant.

    I plan to use his last name informally, (socially, and for our children's school contact info, pta, phone lists, etc.), (firstname marriedname), and keep a double barreled last name, sans hyphen, legally (firstname middle maidenlast marriedlast). My first question is, how common is this? I know most women do the opposite and use their maiden name informally or professionally, while keeping their husbands name legally. From what i understand, this is my choice as long as I use my legal name where required. But I'm wondering how often I will need to explain myself socially as this is not the norm.

    My second question: on the marriage certificate I have a proposed name change with my last name as MaidenName MarriedName. If I decided to switch the order would I need to change the marriage certificate to MarriedName MaidenName or would ssn office allow me to change it without the exact name on my marriage certificate?

    I have heard of people having difficulties having a hyphenated last name. I was wondering why hyphenated last names are so inconvenient, aside from spelling out a long last name. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I would assume the same difficulties lie in having a double barreled last name without the hyphen. Are there any added difficulties to not having a hyphen?

    Final question: a friend of mine got married and did not propose a name change on her marriage certificate. The name on the certificate is the name she has been using since birth. She plans to change her last name to his last name next year, moving her maiden name to her middle name. Would she need a court order to change her maiden name to her married last name or would presenting her marriage certificate suffice?

    Thank you much. This thread has been incredibly helpful.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      But I'm wondering how often I will need to explain myself socially as this is not the norm.

      If you're just using it socially, you can keep your legal name private so that it doesn't come up in conversations.

      My second question: on the marriage certificate I have a proposed name change with my last name as MaidenName MarriedName. If I decided to switch the order would I need to change the marriage certificate to MarriedName MaidenName

      Such an amendment wouldn't be granted by the recorder's office, so that option's out.

      or would ssn office allow me to change it without the exact name on my marriage certificate?

      Depends on the state. Some will only honor what's on the certificate, while others don't have such a requirement.

      I have heard of people having difficulties having a hyphenated last name. I was wondering why hyphenated last names are so inconvenient, aside from spelling out a long last name.

      There have been technical problems reported with long names not fitting on the driver's license, or having to be truncated within the DMV database due to column length constraints.

      Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I would assume the same difficulties lie in having a double barreled last name without the hyphen. Are there any added difficulties to not having a hyphen?

      Hyphenatation is universally accepted as an option for a marriage-based name change, while double-barreled may not be a viable option with all states without having to get a court order.

      Would she need a court order to change her maiden name to her married last name or would presenting her marriage certificate suffice?

      It depends on the state. For instance, in California, the "change to" name must be specified on the marriage license which will subsequently be reflected on the marriage certificate. The name on the certificate is what it'll need to be changed to. Otherwise, court order.

      Not all states are like this. Some states don't even have a space on the marriage license to specify a new name.

      Reply
  34. Lilly

    Yes hi,im Lilly and me and my boyfriend want to get married soon but we still live with our parents and we don't want them to know so I'm asking all I have to do is change my name on the marriage license and i can keep my maiden name for legal documents,paychecks,SSN,doctor records and and any thing else to keep my marriage anonymous .

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lilly. Correct, changing your name on your marriage license is an isolated action. It doesn't affect any other document unless you take the next step to formally change your name.

      Reply
      1. Laura

        Is the marriage recognized by law if you change your name on the marriage certificate but not on legal documents like ss, drivers licence, etc?

        I want to change my name to my fiancés last name on the marriage license so I can legally change it to his name if/when we have kids, but if we don't have kids I want to keep my maiden name. can I wait years to change my name? What if I never change my name to match the marriage license? Are we married?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Is the marriage recognized by law if you change your name on the marriage certificate but not on legal documents like ss, drivers licence, etc?

          Yes.

          can I wait years to change my name?

          Yes.

          What if I never change my name to match the marriage license? Are we married?

          Yes to both.

          Reply
  35. Jalisa McClinton

    Hello,
    I'm beyond frustrated I've been married since May of 2015 and I've gotten my name changed on my DLs and at the Social Security office. I've attempted to check my credit reports, apply for loans, credit cards, and have been unable to due to them all stating "my identity cant be verified". I've been the Social Security office and have been informed everything has been changed in their system with my married name. What else is there for me to do??? Please HELP!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jalisa. When you change your name with the SSA, the credit bureaus should eventually become aware of it without your intervention. This transition period usually shouldn't affect things, but if you find it becoming a problem you may have to contact each credit bureau in writing (via postal mail) to move things along. In your correspondence, specify your old and new name, social security number, and include a copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  36. Myra Matthew

    I recently got married a year ago, my husband is in the military so on my military card I took his last name but I didn't change my new last name on my ssc and dl until a month ago because of NC state law. I had to in order to get a DL. I am currently in Tn where I'm from and i was wondering since I still have my old social security card that has my maiden name can I get a id with that name? Because I have flight benefits where I get to fly free because of my mother but I can't fly with my married name I have to go by my maiden name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am currently in Tn where I'm from and i was wondering since I still have my old social security card that has my maiden name can I get a id with that name?

      It wouldn't be valid. It's doubtful it would even work if background checks are processed, or if your social security number is ran. It would just turn up a name mismatch.

      Reply
  37. Lindsey

    My ss was never changed when I got married, I've been divorced for 7 years now and just recently got married again, and in the process of changing my name to my spouses name , but my license and other things are in my previous last name ? Is this going to be a prob when changing ss card?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      but my license and other things are in my previous last name ? Is this going to be a prob when changing ss card?

      No, that shouldn't pose a problem.

      Reply
  38. Jessica

    Good morning,
    So my husband and I are currently married and I have already changed my last name to match his. We are having another ceremony due to our parents not knowing we got married and I was wondering if it's possible to obtain another marriage license with my maiden name even though it has been legally changed.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jessica. Contact your clerk's office (or whichever office distributes marriage licenses) about a getting a remarriage license.

      Reply
  39. Suzdoc

    First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer all these questions! I am widowed and getting married soon, and planning to take my maiden name back. I'm an established and published physician under my late husband's last name, which presents its own issues. If I plan to use my maiden name professionally, is it just better not to take my fiancé's name at all, than to complicate documents and such with his name? I'd like to be able to use his last name socially, at times, so should we just do that unofficially instead? Thank you SO much for your guidance.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Suzdoc. This depends on whether or not you intend to legally change your name to your maiden. If you plan to do so, the path of least resistance would be to have your legal name be your maiden, then informally use a surname of your choice. This assures your legal and professional identifications will be synchronized.

      If you plan to use your maiden name professionally, but legally change it to your fiance's, then the circumstances for navigating that would be similar to maintaining your late husband's name. You'd still have to notify your licensing board, employer, and arrange taxes under your legal (non-maiden) name.

      Reply
  40. Melissa

    Hello. I am filling out forms I-130 and G-325a. I changed my last name to my husband's on my marriage certificate, but have been using my maiden name since we got married 3 years ago. I have never used his last name or changed anything. Should I use my maiden name or his last name on these forms? I feel strange using his last name since my passport and eveything is in my maiden name, but under 'other names used' it says 'including maiden name'. I really do not want any unnecessary delays with this process. What is the best choice to make? My maiden name or married name under family name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Melissa. You can put your maiden name, since you haven't actually changed it anywhere; the marriage certificate doesn't really count.

      Reply
    2. LaKeisha

      Hello Melissa,
      Good question, I had this same problem once, now i know how to handle most of these types of forms.

      Kind regards,
      LaKeisha

      Reply
  41. Melissa Zaffrann

    I got married 17 years ago and hyphenated my name at that time. My husband wants me to drop my maiden name. A lot of stuff, like medical records and papers with our kids' schools, are only in my married name. Do I need to involve the court system to make the change? Or do I start with Social Security?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to involve the court system to make the change? Or do I start with Social Security?

      Changing your name a second time would require you go through the courts.

      Reply
  42. Stella M

    I have a Dutch passport and US permanent resident card, both in my maiden name. The passport has my maiden name showing married to xxxx which reflects my married last name. My legal name on DL and SS is my married name. I need to update to the current format permanent resident card and am guessing I probably need to change to my married name. I was told by the embassy that I won't have issues traveling with the discrepancy in names as the green card will show the tie to the passport. Can you confirm that interpretation is correct? Also, the Dutch hyphenate the maiden name after married name routinely other than on passport, but this only appears in my signature on passport. Do I need to sign with exact same signature on my green card replacement request? I normally don't sign in US with maiden name hyphenated.

    I've been married many years, but current TSA and Homeland Security rules have complicated the process

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I was told by the embassy that I won't have issues traveling with the discrepancy in names as the green card will show the tie to the passport. Can you confirm that interpretation is correct?

      You should be fine. You can also keep a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you to serve as additional identity confirmation.

      Do I need to sign with exact same signature on my green card replacement request?

      Your signature should match the name on your green card.

      Reply
  43. Rebekkah

    I am a dentist in Ohio and I just got married :) I would like to keep my last name professionally, like Dr. Maiden Name, but go by Mrs His Last Name every where else. Would that require me to legally change my name? Would I have to hyphenate it? If so, do I have to get a new drivers license, passport, dental license etc?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Would that require me to legally change my name? Would I have to hyphenate it? If so, do I have to get a new drivers license, passport, dental license etc?

      That depends on if you're planning to actually change your name, or to just use your new married name informally. Let's map out both scenarios.

      1) Option 1: Change your last name to married name with SSA, DMV, passport, etc.

      You can continue doing business in your professional name, but you'll have to contact your licensing board to determine what notification standards they have in place. Would your license have to be reissued in your married name, or do they just need to be notified of the name change for their internal records? Taxes would be done in your married name.

      2) Option 2: Don't change your name anywhere; just use the married name socially.

      In this scenario, nothing legally would change. Your documents would remain the same, no one would have to be notified of anything, as there's nothing to update. You'd use your married name in social settings, or anywhere else that doesn't require the use of your actual legal name. If you're filling out a government form or doing your taxes, you'd still use maiden.

      Reply
  44. Euni

    Hi. Ok. So i got married in january. I asked my name to be changed in marriage cert however I didnt changed it anywhere else. Although we did get me a DoD id since he is military. My green card has now expired, has been expired for 6 months now actually, and now I am just going to apply for citizenship. So Do i just wait til Im naturalized to have my name changed in SS and my DL?
    (i think i might have to, since my card is expired, i need an unexpired greencard to change name in SS)

    2.) Also, I am in a nursing program at the moment, and I thought that maybe I shouldnt change my last name yet and just renew my greencard with my maiden name still (i will be spending more money tho when I want to apply for citizenship) so I dont have to deal with changing my last name everywhere and get paperwork all mix up … if I decide to do that, can I do that?
    (I feel like, i might get in trouble if i do this)

    Also, lets say I didnt ask the question above (#2). Once I get naturalized and all, can I not change my last name in my SS right away, maybe wait til after the nursing program, about a year?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      So Do i just wait til Im naturalized to have my name changed in SS and my DL?

      You can. During the naturalization process, you can request your name be changed. Then you can proceed to change it with the SSA and DMV.

      I thought that maybe I shouldnt change my last name yet and just renew my greencard with my maiden name still (i will be spending more money tho when I want to apply for citizenship) so I dont have to deal with changing my last name everywhere and get paperwork all mix up … if I decide to do that, can I do that?

      You'd be changing your name twice, which'll be two expenses.

      Once I get naturalized and all, can I not change my last name in my SS right away, maybe wait til after the nursing program, about a year?

      The name on your naturalization certificate and social security card should match.

      Reply
  45. Laurie

    I am eloping on Saturday. The marriage license has my soon to be husbands last name as my surname. We plan on filling our taxes together but I don't want to change my name yet in my license, ss#, credit cards etc… is that a problem if my marriage license says his name but I keep my maiden name for everything else right now?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      is that a problem if my marriage license says his name but I keep my maiden name for everything else right now?

      No, it wouldn't be a problem.

      Reply
  46. Trinity

    Hi, I got married 7 years ago and never changed my last name on anything. My husband is completely okay with that. As his beneficiary on retirement and insurance, he listed my name using his last name. We'd like to know if I would have a problem with my last name not matching records, if anything every happened to him.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Trinity. This could be a problem for some companies/organizations. Name mismatches could result in questioning your identity. Even if a particular agent believes everything is on the up-and-up, company standards may require verification. It's worth contacting those organizations to notify them of your legal name.

      Reply
  47. Kim

    Hi Valera,
    I got married in August and have already legally changed my name with SSA and on my license, but I have not notified my bank of my name change. If I write a rent check that is in my maiden name, but sign in with my new name, is it still valid, or will my landlord have trouble cashing or depositing it?
    Also I'm having trouble contacting my health insurance provider to notify them of my name change, and my premium for the month is due! If I mail them a check with my maiden name, which name should I sign it with for now? Or should I just use an easier payment method until my name is consistent everywhere?
    Thanks in advance!
    Kim in CT.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I write a rent check that is in my maiden name, but sign in with my new name, is it still valid

      Yes, it's still valid, but you can sign it with your maiden name. You could even sign "maiden married" to make the connection. It's unlikely to matter either way.

      or will my landlord have trouble cashing or depositing it?

      It's unlikely to be a problem. Unless someone's commiting check fraud, the signature line on a personal check doesn't mean much.

      If I mail them a check with my maiden name, which name should I sign it with for now?

      You can sign with what's on file, or use "maiden married" (to tie both together), or specify the change in the memo block, or draft a letter notifying them of the name change. The latter the best option as it provides them notification. In your notification letter you can request they provide written confirmation that it's been received and processed.

      Or should I just use an easier payment method until my name is consistent everywhere?

      Yes, that's a good approach.

      Reply
  48. Joan

    I have been using my maiden name-married name for 37 years. However, I would like to remove the hyphen only as it creates problems when I try to book airline tickets, hotel reservations, etc. The hyphen is not an accepted character (must be alphabetical only). My passport is up for renewal shortly so wondering if there is anything I need to do to have just the hyphen removed.
    The second question I have is what would I need to do to remove my maiden name and just keep my married name.

    Reply
  49. Poornima jumberhallimath

    Hello,
    I am an Indian citizen currently on L2 visa. My name on marriage certificate is Poornima. H . R. I've changed my surname legally in India to poornima jxxxxxmath through an affidavit. Passport have my new name .my husband's passport states this new name for spouse. I don't have the affidavit with me. I need SSN now for DMV and in turn for EAD and all. Do i need the affidavit for proof of name change to SSN office , as its all verified while issuing passport. Please help me in this matter.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Poornima. Does your visa reflect your name change? If so, can you present that to the SSA?

      Reply
      1. Poornima jumberhallimath

        Hi valera
        Yes, my visa reflects the name change. I will try for SSN now. But i have a doubt. What should i apply for first? EAD or SSN?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Poornima. You don't need a SSN to apply for an EAD. It may ask if you have a SSN, but it's not mandatory. You can do the EAD first.

          Reply
  50. Angela

    HI Valera –

    I'm located in NY. I recently got married in August and still debating on which name to go by. I'm considering adding my husband's last name as a second last name (no hyphen) but I have a few questions.
    -When we went in for our marriage license since I was unsure of what name I would take the clerk added his name under the line "surname after marriage" and sad this would give me the option to change my name at any point if I choose. Now since she only added his name, would I still be able to legally change it to First Middle Maiden HisLastName.
    -If I'm able to have two last names, I know I would have to change it at SS, passport and DMV. Anywhere else where I would have to change my name? Considering that my maiden name will still be part of my legal name, do I have to notify banks, credit cards, professional licensing board?
    -Do I have to come up with a new signature showing both names?
    -Do I always have to use both last name or can I interchange?

    Thank you
    Angela

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now since she only added his name, would I still be able to legally change it to First Middle Maiden HisLastName.

      Unlikely. Some states require the name on the license, and subsequent certificate, match what you intend to change it to.

      Anywhere else where I would have to change my name? Considering that my maiden name will still be part of my legal name, do I have to notify banks, credit cards, professional licensing board?

      Yes, notify all. Even though your last name still contains your maiden name, it's still treated as an entirely new name.

      Do I have to come up with a new signature showing both names?

      You would just sign your current, legal, changed name.

      Do I always have to use both last name or can I interchange?

      In formal situations, use your full name. For less formal circumstances, you can use less.

      Reply
  51. Toni

    I'm an actor and have used my maiden name for my entire career thus far – I'm also listed under various unions with my maiden name – SAG/AFTRA, AEA, etc… I'm getting married this November (YAY!!!), and would like to take his name, but keep using my maiden name since it's what I have established with my acting career. Would I still change my passport, DL, and SS# to his name, because how would that affect me if I went on tour and they had me listed as my professional name? It's just one giant mess – hahaha! Also, if I legally change my last name to his, and still do professional acting jobs under my maiden name – does that mess up taxes (I'm assuming not due to it all being under my SS#)? Thank you for any and all help in this matter!!! All the best!!! :-)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Would I still change my passport, DL, and SS# to his name, because how would that affect me if I went on tour and they had me listed as my professional name?

      It shouldn't affect anything. One is your legal name, the other's your stage name. You can look into registering your maiden as a DBA.

      Also, if I legally change my last name to his, and still do professional acting jobs under my maiden name

      Yes, you can continue doing work under your maiden name.

      does that mess up taxes (I'm assuming not due to it all being under my SS#)?

      As long as you file your taxes under the name matching your SSN, you're fine.

      Reply
  52. Cathy Konen

    My 1st husband passed away and I am now going to remarry. I am deciding if I should change my name to my new husbands last name or to using my 1st husbands last name along with my new husbands last name. I was married to my 1st husband for 40 years.

    If I would use both last names, would I have to use that on all documents and sign with both names on all documents (checks, taxes, etc.)?

    Is it easier to do one or the other?
    Thank you for your help.
    Cathy

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I would use both last names, would I have to use that on all documents and sign with both names on all documents (checks, taxes, etc.)?

      Yes, for such legal documents.

      Is it easier to do one or the other?

      I don't really see much difference. It's just a personal preference.

      Reply
  53. Alicia

    Hi,
    I changed my name on ssn and have a new ID. I have my old driver's license and credit card which still reflect my maiden name. Can I still use them? I have started the process to change over to my new name for all my cards.
    Is it ok to still use old name until new cards come?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it ok to still use old name until new cards come?

      Yes, they're still valid.

      Reply
  54. Gina Nolan

    I changed my name with SSA in 2011 when I got married. My tax preparer needs me to sign the tax form 8879 and Georgia form 500, but my maiden name is on the 8879 form. What name do I sign?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Gina. Your taxes should be filed using the name on your SS record. If there's a mismatch, try to correct it. But you should ultimately defer to the judgment of your tax preparer, as he/she may be able to send corrections/amendments along with the filing.

      Reply
  55. Dom

    Hi,
    I recently got married and took my husband's last name. I went through a lot of anxiety behind changong my name as it holds quite a bit of weight for me personally and professionally. Initially, I decided on hyphenating. However, ended up solely changing it to my husband's because it's what was written on my marriage certificate and was told it's what had to happen as it was already registered. Now that it's changed, I'm still struggling over the decision. In California, is it possible to add my maiden name back onto my name as part of my middle name? And if so, how? Is it as simple as it was changing it the first time or do I have to obtain a request or documentation from a other government office before heading down to SSA again?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Dom. Since you've changed your name once already, you would have to get a court order to change it again. It's not as expedient as a marriage-related name change, but still a straight-forward process. The California name change page has a section that discussing going through a general adult name change.

      Reply
  56. Lina

    Hi I got married 2 years ago and changed my last name to my middle name and got my husbands name as my last name on my marriage certificate ONLY and DID NOT change it anywhere else. My SS, DL, Mortgage, Credits and everything is still under my original maiden name. Do i have to change it anywhere? Will i get in trouble later on ?

    Reply
  57. Tyler

    Hi, my wife had two first names given at birth, but never used the second name if she could avoid it. On our marriage certificate she used both first names because it was what was on her birth certificate. She's now gone to social security and changed her name to adopt my last name, with her maiden name as middle. They dropped the second first name though. Is that going to cause us issues, as her social security card now doesn't match our marriage certificate?

    Reply
  58. Pascale

    Hi, I am a resident and want to avoid annoying situations just by using my maiden name hyphen husbands name. Is it ok for me to ad my husbands name without the hyphen on a daily and without going through a legal process?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Pascale. As long as you make sure you're using the hyphenated version when filling out government-based forms, taxes, insurance, loan requests, anything employment related, etc. Anything that might cross-reference your legal name in full. Even if you run into a situation where a name mismatch occurs, you should be able to explain the minor deviation of a single hyphen character.

      Reply
  59. Lisa

    I recently was married (2nd marriage). My marriage license gives me the option to change my name however I want to keep my maiden name legally but update credit cards, rewards programs, etc. with my married name. Can I do that without changing DL, SSC, Passport, etc.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lisa. You may be able to do that for some things that won't cross-reference your legal name (e.g., rewards programs), but for things like credit cards or bank accounts, that probably won't fly, as the name wouldn't match what's on your social security record.

      Reply
  60. Adaobi Obasi

    Hello. I am married x 6 months but still have my maiden name on all docs including the married license. I am a professional with a business, board certifications and licenses etc and would prefer not to change my name on all of these. I heard of the option of adding my husband's name (non-hyphenated) to use socially, match with future kids (to avoid hassle with travel, school etc) and maybe for joint financial accounts; while keeping my maiden name professionally on licenses, board certification, my PLLC etc.
    How do I "add" my husband's name to use interchangeably with my maiden name? what agencies should I make the change at and which should I leave as my maiden name for professional reasons?

    I hear I can change my passport and DL to my married name (to avoid issues with traveling with our kids and with school) but not my social security card i.e. I keep my maiden name on my SS card (where tax return and payroll are tied to); is that adequate and what issues do you see arising due to the mismatch? What name do I use for voters registration? What agency do I "add" my husbands name? If we are co-signing a lease, mortgage or other joint ventures, which name do I use?

    This is driving me nuts! This can't be an unusual situation :-).

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How do I "add" my husband's name to use interchangeably with my maiden name? what agencies should I make the change at and which should I leave as my maiden name for professional reasons?

      That depends on if you're going to legally change your last name to add your husband's, or if you're going to keep your legal name as just your maiden, while using your husband's.

      If it's the prior, you'll notify the SSA, then driver's license office, passport, and any third-party organizations. You'll also notify your state licensing board to determine if they merely need notification or is it required that new certificates and licenses be issued. They may just require their internal records be updated to reference your new, legal name, while maintaining your maiden name as your professional, licensed name.

      If it's the latter, then you don't need to do much of anything, as you're just using it socially without any legal implications.

      I hear I can change my passport and DL to my married name (to avoid issues with traveling with our kids and with school) but not my social security card i.e.

      SS card and driver's license names should match. SS card changed first, so that the DMV can query their database for a name match/mismatch. It's unlikely you'll be able to update your driver's license without first updating your SS record.

      Passports name changes can be done on a separate track, before or after SS or driver's license changes.

      I keep my maiden name on my SS card (where tax return and payroll are tied to); is that adequate and what issues do you see arising due to the mismatch?

      Your taxes are filed using the name on your SS card. So whichever you change it to (or not change it to), you'll want to make sure HR/payroll has your current name on file.

      What name do I use for voters registration?

      Your current legal name, which is what's on your SS card. Some voter registration rolls cross reference the voter identification number with the social security number and/or driver's license number, so that's another reason why it's useful for your SS and driver's license to match.

      What agency do I "add" my husbands name? If we are co-signing a lease, mortgage or other joint ventures, which name do I use?

      Whichever is your legal name, which is the name on your SS card.

      This is driving me nuts! This can't be an unusual situation :-).

      It's quite common. Good luck.

      Reply
  61. LLearn

    I just got married in CA and moved my last name to my middle name and changed my last name to my husbands name on the marriage license ONLY. I have not yet updated my DL, SS, bank info, etc. The decision truly pained me and I wish I could reverse it. Do I have to change my name with these institutions/will I be penalized in any way? If I do not update my new name with SS am I still obligated to update it with my HR at work for tax reasons?

    Also, if my husband and I later decide to take each others name will we need to get a court order? Thank you for your time!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to change my name with these institutions/will I be penalized in any way?

      No, it's optional. There's no penalty.

      If I do not update my new name with SS am I still obligated to update it with my HR at work for tax reasons?

      No, you don't have to notify anyone at work.

      Also, if my husband and I later decide to take each others name will we need to get a court order?

      No, just use a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  62. Lisa

    I have been legally married over 15 years and have not changed any documents to my married name, I still use my maiden name. Will that become a problem?

    Reply
  63. Edward Garber

    Prior to his marriage, Edward Garber had been in financial difficulty and had a poor credit rating. His wife, Natalie, applied for a credit card in her family name, fearing that she would be turned down if she used her married name of Garber. She was told that she must use her married name on a credit application. Could Natalie have used her family name when she applied for credit

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Could Natalie have used her family name when she applied for credit

      She'd have to use whichever was her legal name, or whichever name is on the social security card. Credit checks are done against the social security number, and a name mismatch may result in an application rejection, regardless of creditworthiness. Credit bureaus are able to maintain a history of name changes, but it's not a good idea to rely on that when applying for credit.

      Reply
  64. Teresa

    October 27, 2016

    I am looking to start a new business but I want put everything under my name using another last name other than my married name. My husband and I already own another business together. I don't want my new business to be connected to my husbands name if possible to avoid conflict of interest between both businesses. So if someone did a search on my new business there would be no connection through our last name. What are my options?

    Reply
  65. Magda

    Hello Valera,

    Just got married a few weeks ago in California. I took my new hubby's last name in the marriage license but have not updated SS cars, license, passport, etc. I'm considering opening up a new bank/saving account to transfer premarital assets to, since a large portion is designated to care for my parents in the future and I want to make sure that doesn't become community property. Am I allowed to open this new checking/savings account with my maiden name, since all my documentation still carries my maiden name?

    Thank you!

    Reply
  66. Mia

    Hello,
    I got married and divorced within the same year. I changed my name on my social and license but everything else still has my maiden name. I'm still waiting for the divorce papers to be finalized. I need to buy a new car due to an accident and was just wondering if my name situation would present a problem or if I had to wait until my divorce is finalized.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I need to buy a new car due to an accident and was just wondering if my name situation would present a problem or if I had to wait until my divorce is finalized.

      As long as you use your current legal name, which is what's on your social, then you should be fine. Off topic: If you haven't already, you may want to look into the consequences of making large purchases (such as a vehicle) during a divorce. It has the potential to be problematic if not properly navigated.

      Reply
  67. Jessica

    Hello Valera,
    I have been married for 3 years and recently changed my Driver's license to my married name due to pressures from my husband. Only my driver's license has my married name, my passport and social security still have my maiden name. I want to change my driver's license back to my maiden name because I regret the name change. Can I go back to the driver's license office to change it or do i need a court order or divorce decree? I had to take my marriage license with e to do the name change. The name change on my driver's license sometimes causes issues when I need to verify who I am because ll my other documents have my maiden name but my identification has my married name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I go back to the driver's license office to change it or do i need a court order or divorce decree?

      That is what you'll need. A court order would do it.

      Reply
  68. beth

    I recently got married and changed my name to my husbands on our marriage license but have not changed with SS, DL, etc yet. He had some tax issues in the past which he is in the process of cleaning up. Is it best to wait to change my name officially until he does so or does it not matter? Also, some wedding gifts were checks made out to my new name – am I able to deposit into my account as my maiden name or able to add my new name to my existing account without changing with SS?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it best to wait to change my name officially until he does so or does it not matter?

      It shouldn't make much difference.

      am I able to deposit into my account as my maiden name or able to add my new name to my existing account without changing with SS?

      That's entirely up to your bank. If you can present them a copy of your marriage certificate to validate the name change, that may be enough for them to make an exception or notate your account to allow such future deposits.

      Reply
  69. Colleen

    I got divorced a few years ago. I kept my husband's last name. I did not revert back to maiden name. I now want to get remarried but want to take my maiden name as last name, instead of my new husband's name. Can I do this legally without going back to court?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Colleen. If your divorce decree has an order restoring your maiden name, you can use that to effect a name change. Otherwise, you'll have to get a court order.

      Reply
  70. Kristina

    Hi,

    I have been married for four years, and I am still quite confused over the whole name changing process and all it entails.
    I have only changed my name on my tax forms, and with documents that are work related . My banking information, passport, and pretty much everything else is still in my Maiden name. When I went for a Vulnerable Sector Check for my teaching positon , I inquired whether this was a problem , and they informed me it was no issue to go by both names.
    Recently though, I have been wondering will this become a problem as I file for government issued document for my child who has the same last name as my husband?
    Would you suggest being consistent with all forms of legal documents, or is using both names an OK way to continue until I am 100% committed to making the change?
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kristina. Being consistent is best. At a minimum, you'll want to make sure your legal name is used for government forms/purposes, and tax filings. Banking and passport can remain as-is, as long as you can properly manage it, but it's still best to get those sort of documents in sync.

      Reply
  71. Lee

    Hi,

    I'm sorry if I'm asking questions previously asked. There are so many messages on here I just couldn't read them all.

    I've been divorced for a couple yrs now but At the time of the divorce I kept my ex husbands last name. The first question I have is, is it legal for me to use my maiden name to get a bank account?

    I live in MA. The second question is, Do you know how much it would cost me to change my name back to my maiden name? Wish I'd done it during the divorce but for kids I thought it would be best not to. Now as my ex has remarried and had another child I've decided even though I've had his name for 40 yrs and felt it's been my name most of my life I've changed my mind about keeping it. I know it will cost me to change it but I don't have much money so that's why I'm asking this.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Oh and at the time of the divorce it was put down that I could change to maiden name I just never did it. Would I be able to just change everything without going to court now even though I've been divorced for 3 yrs now ?

      Reply
      1. Valera

        it was put down that I could change to maiden name I just never did it. Would I be able to just change everything without going to court

        If your divorce decree has an order restoring your maiden name, then you can just use that document to complete your name change without having to go the court route.

        Reply
  72. Mary Smith

    I am a Vet. I was told by the VA to file a claim for disability and when I went to the VA claims office, the VA claims officer told me to sign the claim as my maiden name, at the time I was separated (but not "legally" separated) and my social security card lists "only" my married name. I told the claims officer about the separation, and showed him my social security card and drivers license which listed only my first name and my married name but he told me "it didn't matter because it was best to sign my claim using my maiden because that was the name that the Military knew me as when I was in the Military and that if I signed the claim using my married name, the VA would take forever to put the two and two together."

    He said by signing it using my maiden name would help them find me faster in the system. So I signed the claim as my maiden name at the instruction of the VA claims officer and it was my legal name at the time I served in the Military. I have been very concerned and confused legally about this. But I did later on tell the regional claims office via an Affidavit that I had been instructed to sign my claim using my maiden because the VA claim's officer told me to sign it that way so that the Military could identify me.

    And I had also told the regional office over the phone that my married name was EX: Mary Smith but that my married name was EX: Mary Jones and they said they would note it in my file that my married name being EX: Mary Smith. I never heard anything back from them about it so I'm assuming it was Ok, but who knows with the VA especially when filing a claim. Was that legally ok to do?

    Also I have been having to submit Affidavits and "since the Military knew me as only my maiden name" and I was instructed to sign the claim as my maiden name I have signed my affidavits as my name by adding "both" my maiden and married name, but my social security card only list my married name. I read on the internet that if the business which in this case, would be the government, that it would be legally ok to use both names in things pertaining to the business and to sign your name as
    EX: Mary Smith Jones
    so that the business can identify you, which sort of matches what the VA claims officer told me when he said, sign it as the name the Military knew by at the time you were in Military.

    So "in this case" would it be legal to sign my name as my maiden name "or" sign my Affidavits using both my maiden and married name? This is very legally confusing especially pertaining to signing my Affidavits. Is there a code of laws or something legally specific I can refer to that states it's ok to sign your name as you maiden name on legal documents if the legal documents were pertaining to something that happen to you at the time the business knew you only by your maiden name?
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Mary Smith

      Here is the website that I found that said it was ok to sign your maiden even though your legal married name is different if the business knew you as only your maiden name.
      http://www.marriagenamechange.com/blog/maiden-name/

      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.

      Reply
    2. Mary Smith

      Could a "One in the Same Person Affidavit" by my spouse submitted to the VA help cover me legally?

      Reply
      1. Valera

        Hi Mary. As mentioned in the comment below, you may want to get in contact with a VA lawyer to discuss this issue. Such an affidavit may be useful or unnecessary.

        Reply
    3. Valera

      the VA claims officer told me to sign the claim as my maiden name

      Following the advise of your claims officer was appropriate. Different institutions have different procedures in place, some of which may seem counterintuitive.

      I never heard anything back from them about it so I'm assuming it was Ok, but who knows with the VA especially when filing a claim.

      You can try contacting the VA in writing, via certified mail, to try and get a response back. This will also allow you to have a document inserted in your record where you've brought up this issue and its history.

      Was that legally ok to do?

      You're fine, as you're following the advise of the VA claims officer.

      So "in this case" would it be legal to sign my name as my maiden name "or" sign my Affidavits using both my maiden and married name?

      The VA claims officer suggested you sign using your maiden, not your maiden and married, so that's their recommended path. You'll have to ask yourself, for whomever is looking at your file at the given moment, are they more likely to have an easy time dealing with just your maiden name (which is what's in their system) or your maiden married (which is not)? You'll have to rely on their "trying to put it together" or noticing a notation in a file somewhere.

      Is there a code of laws or something legally specific I can refer to that states it's ok to sign your name as you maiden name on legal documents if the legal documents were pertaining to something that happen to you at the time the business knew you only by your maiden name?

      Much of what you're referencing has to do with DBA, taxes, and ease of managing one's business under a trade name. It's not really related to your situation.

      What you're dealing with is an identity verification issue, and legal problems arise when there are folks attempting to commit fraud. That's not what you're describing.

      This ball started rolling due to the VA claims officer suggesting you sign your maiden name. He/she suggested this for a reason (they understand the VA's system), so had you gone against that advise, your situation may be worse.

      As mentioned previously, you can contact the VA in writing, detailing this history, requesting verification that what has transpired has been appropriate, and if there's anything you need to do to clarify any aspect of your identity.

      Also, consider contacting a VA attorney who specializes in these matters.

      Reply
  73. Kendall

    I am married and legally changed last name to my husband's. Shortly thereafter stopped working after having 2 children with special needs. I'm a licenced mental health professional (prior to marriage) that wants to start rebuilding my career and would prefer to hyphenate my last name or return to maiden name altogether. Hyphenated name isnt the most ideal sounding, unfortunately…rhymes to default. Your suggestions appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kendall. If you're looking to legally change your name, then the process would be to go through a court petitioned name change. At that point, you could choose whichever name you prefer, as the process would be the same.

      Reply
  74. Emily

    I changed my name on Ss and all docs but my apt lease is under my maiden name, do I have to tell them or can I just sign it using my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Emily. Whether you sign with your maiden or changed name, your identity wouldn't really be in question. It's not as though you're trying to escape debt or commit fraud. Some people just take more time than others to notify all parties of their name being changed. Some institutions are prioritized over others. Having said that, it best to notify such parties of your name change so that they may update their records.

      Reply
  75. Erica

    I was married 3 years ago, changed my name on my SS card, but never my ID card (as it wasn't expired)
    Just recently it became expired, I was wondering if I needed to change my last name with the DMV or if I can leave it as my maiden name

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Erica. When you renew, you'll have to change it to what's on your SS card.

      Reply
  76. Kara

    Hi Valera,
    Thank you for helping. I am a healthcare provider in Florida. I was married a little over a year ago and have not changed my name. I want to use my maiden name professionally (on my healthcare license, to sign prescriptions, etc.). I want my name to be hyphenated with my husbands for all other personal matters (bank, passport, DL, etc.). I am pregnant and I want our child to take only my husbands name. Is all of this possible if I change my name legally to our hyphenated names?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is all of this possible if I change my name legally to our hyphenated names?

      As long as your state licensing board and employer okays it, you'll be fine.

      Reply
  77. Mia

    Hello,

    I left a comment a few weeks ago and found your answer very helpful, thank you!!
    I have another question though, So I got married this year and I am going through the process of divorce right now. I changed my SS Card and my driver's license to carry my married name but everything else still has my maiden name on it. I am not sure whether my divorce will be finalized by the end of the year.
    How will this affect my income taxes if my legal name is my married name but my work and paystubs have my maiden name on it? Will my name be a big issue if I cannot change my ss and license over before the year ends?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How will this affect my income taxes if my legal name is my married name but my work and paystubs have my maiden name on it?

      You'll have to make sure your name is updated at your place of employment.

      Will my name be a big issue if I cannot change my ss and license over before the year ends?

      You previously mentioned that you already changed them over? Please clarify.

      Reply
      1. Mia

        Hello Valera,

        I meant if I cannot change my married name on my SS and driver's License back to may maiden name before the year ends. I just don't want to go through the hassle of changing all my documents and records to my married name only to have to change them back to my maiden name a few week later once the divorce is finalized.

        I guess another question I have is would I have to go through a tax specialist or a different process to get my taxes done If I do not change my name at work?

        Thank You for the advise, I appreciate it.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          I just don't want to go through the hassle of changing all my documents and records to my married name only to have to change them back to my maiden name a few week later once the divorce is finalized.

          You'll need your place of employment to update their records to reflect your current legal name, which is your married name. When they submit their taxes, the name they submit for their employees must match what's on file with the IRS. Same goes for state taxes. Take a look at the taxes and name change article that discusses tax filing and divorce.

          Now, if your divorce is likely to be finalized well before your employer submits next cycle's taxes, then it may not matter. In that instance you may be able to wait until your divorce is finalized and your maiden name is restored. Your employer wouldn't have to update anything.

          I guess another question I have is would I have to go through a tax specialist or a different process to get my taxes done If I do not change my name at work?

          Any regular tax specialist should be able to deal with this.

          Reply
  78. Emily

    I got married in September of this year. I signed the marriage license with his last name. Do I have to change my drivers license and all the other documents right away to have his last name on it? If not, how long can you go without changing those documents?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to change my drivers license and all the other documents right away to have his last name on it?

      No.

      If not, how long can you go without changing those documents?

      As long as you need. There's no time limit or expiration.

      Reply
  79. Kathryn Barnes

    Hello! I'll be getting married in January and I'm confused. I'd like to have my new last name on my marriage certificate but I'm not sure if that means I legally have to then go through the process of changing my name everywhere else and spend 100's of dollars to change it if im not ready. I sort of just want it on the certificate to look nice and keep my maiden name and same Social security number the same until I'm ready. What exactly do I do in my case? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I sort of just want it on the certificate to look nice and keep my maiden name and same Social security number the same until I'm ready. What exactly do I do in my case?

      Nothing. Literally, do nothing and your name will remain the same. Your marriage certificate wouldn't serve any official purpose until you decide to later make use of it.

      Reply

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