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!

829 Comments

  1. Rebecca

    Hi there,

    I have been married for three years and changed my name on my main documents (SS, DL, passport) to be Rebecca "smith" "jones" (smith, being my maiden name; jones, my married name; no hyphen though). All documents and bank info have my name including my maiden name and last name.

    I'm a social worker and have worked for years under my maiden name (currently my pay checks come in my married name but socially at work I'm referred to, and introduce myself, with only my maiden name).

    I am starting my own private practice (my clinical license says Rebecca Smith Jones). My question is, can I work and refer to myself (on websites, business cards) solely as Rebecca Smith (maiden name)? I don't want to do anything "illegal", as technically I did change my name, but I cannot get a clear answer as to whether this is acceptable, to advertise and refer to myself using my maiden name, while using my full name Rebecca Smith Jones on tax forms and legal documents (ie. office rental agreement, insurance forms).

    Thanks very much for your help and guidance!

    Reply
    • Valera

      My question is, can I work and refer to myself (on websites, business cards) solely as Rebecca Smith (maiden name)?

      That shouldn't pose a problem. You may also want to consider registering a DBA for that name.

      Reply
  2. Katie

    Hi, don't know if you can help or if this makes sense. I got married in 2010 in California so that I could be under my husband's health insurance policy because I could no longer be on my parents' and my job did not offer it. We got a confidential marriage license because we didn't want anyone to know we were getting married (only our parents) and planned on having a "real" wedding a few years later.

    So we went and got married at a courthouse and when we applied for our marriage license I never signed my married last name because for some reason in my head I thought if I signed a new name right then and there I would have to go change it everywhere (W-2, SS, DL, bank accounts,etc) and we didn't want anyone to know so I never filled out the bottom portion of the license with a new last name.

    We had our "real" wedding in 2012 which was a ceremony only but everyone there thought it was real and for the first time. Anyways, I want to change my last name to my married last name now. What do I do? Everything I find says bring your marriage license and change it at SS, DMV, etc but my new name isn't on my marriage license! And all the "petition for a name change" process references changing it on my birth certificate which I don't want to do that either. I was just trying to do things the "right way" and ended up screwing everything up and no one seems to know what I should do.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Everything I find says bring your marriage license and change it at SS, DMV, etc but my new name isn't on my marriage license!

      But your spouse's last name is. Your marriage documents serves as proof of marriage, which will help facilitate your name change. If you don't already have a certified copy of your marriage certificate, you can order one from your vital records office. Use that record to complete your name change.

      Reply
      • Katie

        So even if I never signed my "new married name" on the bottom of my marriage certificate, it is literally blank, I can still use that and change my name at SS, DMV, etc?

        Reply
  3. Amy

    I recently got married, and I'd like to take my husband's name, but also keep mine. Do I need to submit a name change petition to add his name to mine? So my name would read: Amy Middle Maiden Married. If not a name change petition, can I simply add it on SS, DL, etc?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Amy. You can just undergo the regular married name change route.

      Reply
  4. Liz

    I am a professional artist and have been using my first two initials with my maiden last name as my art business name. My name is my brand. I would like to take on my fiancés last name but don't want to drop my first, middle or maiden name, as they are essential to my branding. Can I just tack his last name onto my current name? Can I have 4 names? I'm not particularly fond of his last name (It's very hard for me to pronounce), but would like for us to have the same last name. What is the best way to not lose my brand and clientele but still take on my fiancés last name? Would it be best to not change my last name and just introduce myself socially with his last name? I've heard it can get really confusing when using your given name as a business name and using a married name socially. I'm getting married in 2 months and don't know what to do.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Liz. One option is to register your "brand name" as a DBA and use that for all professional purposes.

      Reply
  5. Tere

    On the marriage certificate I agreed to name change with my husbands last name. However, I did not change my legal documents. We are going through a divorce which name should I file. The new name in my marriage certificate or the maiden name I am currently using?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Tere. You'd use your maiden name, as you have never legally changed it.

      Reply
  6. florence

    hi, I got my greencard with wrong middle name? what should I do? im going home in our country but my middle name in greencard different in my passport.someone can advice me?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Florence. If your green card has a mistake, you can contact USCIS for a correction. You'll typically have to submit the I-90 form and choose "my existing card has incorrect data" as the reason for submission.

      Reply
  7. Maria

    Hi,

    My fiance and I are getting married this October. On our marriage license, it states my first name, my maiden last name, and my soon-to-be husband's last name. After reading about the hassle of name changing and all the trip to SS, DMV, Passport, etc. I was wondering If I can just still use my maiden name and not change anything except for Marital Status on all documents such as tax, payroll and insurances? I also recently got my green card and it's under my maiden name. Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Valera

      I was wondering If I can just still use my maiden name and not change anything except for Marital Status on all documents such as tax, payroll and insurances?

      Yes, you can. Name change is optional. If you do nothing, your maiden name will remain in place as it has been.

      Reply
  8. Maria M

    Hi, my case is too confue, In my citizenship interview (July 2014) the officer told me my current legal name is Maria Volk (my married name) but I explained I never used it, in my marriage certificate I agreed to change my nAme but I did not change my legal documents. I have my order court for name change from Maria Volk to Maria Morales. (my maiden name ). On monday I went to Social security to update my status from Resident to U.S Citizen and I asked about it, he told me I can change my maiden name to married name whenever I want because I never changed with them.

    In short, my maiden name is the same since I came to USA in all my legal documents ( U.S. Passport, sentri card, SS, DmV) my question is after 7 years of marriage, Can I Take my husbands last name only with marriage certificate? thank you

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Maria. Yes, name change can be facilitated with your certificate and document providing proof of your identity (e.g., drivers license).

      Reply
  9. Leah

    Is there a conflict when i renew my phil. passport with my married name even my green card is in my maiden name.. thanks

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Leah. You may be able to renew it as-is, although it's recommended that you try to get your documents in-sync with one another.

      Reply
  10. Anna

    Hi Valera,

    I got divorced last year and I decided to go back to my maiden name (it is changed on my divorce decree. Since I added my ex husband's name to my last name, I just dropped his name). However, I never changed anything on my SS card, driver's license, passport, etc. These documents still have my old married name. Now, I am getting married again soon and my fiance and I are going to apply for a marriage license in Florida. Which last name should I provide to the court when I apply for the license: my maiden name (since it was changed on the divorce decree) or my old married name that still appears on my driver's license, SS card?

    Also, I will be taking my future husband't last name, which documents should I provide to the SS administration and driver's license office to reflect all the changes?

    Thank you for your help!
    Warm regards.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Now, I am getting married again soon and my fiance and I are going to apply for a marriage license in Florida. Which last name should I provide to the court when I apply for the license: my maiden name (since it was changed on the divorce decree) or my old married name that still appears on my driver's license, SS card?

      Your old married name, as that's still your current legal name.

      Also, I will be taking my future husband't last name, which documents should I provide to the SS administration and driver's license office to reflect all the changes?

      Your new marriage certificate, once you receive it.

      Reply
  11. Kate

    I've been married to my husband for 24 years. My Virginia driver's license has my married name, as does my bank account. However, my SSN is still in my maiden name (therefore I sign my married name on our tax returns). Which one is my legal last name? We are about to move to Pennsylvania and I would like to have everything under my maiden name if this is possible. What do I need to do? I thought about changing my name on Virginia driver's license to my maiden name prior to the move, but it appears that I need some documentation to support a name change (although I provided none 24 years ago when I got the Virginia driver's license). I feel like I'm in limbo with two last names. Is it possible to use my maiden name on everything, or must I make the switch to my husband's name? Please advise me on how to proceed with this properly. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Kate

      An addendum to my above post – I do not have my physical Social Security card. I need to get a replacement. I'm worried this will be a problem since my photo ID (driver's license) is in my married name. I do have an official copy of my birth certificate showing my maiden name. I don't have access to my marriage certificate at the moment. Thanks for your help!

      Reply
      • Valera

        It shouldn't be a problem getting a replacement from your SS office. Other forms of identification are accepted. Explain your situation about how your drivers license was modified while your SS record was not.

        Reply
    • Valera

      Which one is my legal last name?

      Maiden name, as SSN record takes precedence.

      We are about to move to Pennsylvania and I would like to have everything under my maiden name if this is possible. What do I need to do?

      Nothing, as your name hasn't officially changed.

      Is it possible to use my maiden name on everything, or must I make the switch to my husband's name?

      Name change isn't required. You can maintain your maiden name or switch to another.

      Reply
  12. Maggie

    i got married in 1993 and wrote on the marriage cert that I would be First Name, Maiden (middle), Married (Last). I kept using my maiden name while I worked as a lawyer, then changed everything after I left work to be a stay at home mom. As soon as I went back to work, I started using my maiden name.

    Since now everything is legal in my married name, can I still look for jobs in my maiden name? It is how people know me professionally. I write a new resume (in a job search now) that has First Miaden (Married) just in case someone knows me under married name, which i used socially for 20 years.

    Such a mess, I am sorry I ever used my married name, but do not want to go through formal name change court documents. Am I ok leading this bifurcated life?

    Advice to all is never change to your married name if you like it and already are known by it pretty well professionally. (For what it is worth. Plus my married name is much harder to spell)

    Thanks so much.

    Lost in Resume Hell

    Reply
    • Valera

      Since now everything is legal in my married name, can I still look for jobs in my maiden name?

      You could, although an area where it may become an issue is if an employer runs customary background checks. It would result in a name mismatch. This is something you'll just have to explain. Your ultimate employer would also likely need your full legal name on file for payroll and taxes.

      Reply
  13. Laura

    Hi there,

    Maybe you could help me out. :)

    I came to the US in a F-1 visa and got married May 2014. Our marriage certificate has my maiden name and for USCIS docs I applied with my 2 Maiden + Husbands Last Name without getting a court name change. When my work permit arrived it had my 2 Maiden + Husbands Last Name all in the "last name" area, no middle names, no problems. If my previous names were, for example, Scott and Smith, my name would look like Laura Scott Smith Milton. But when I went to get a SSC the lady warned me that my last name was too long for the system. She sent my info as 2 Maiden names all together with no spaces between them + space + my husbands last name ( Ex: Laura Scottsmith Milton). And that's what my SSC looks like now. Appartently having 3 last names is uncommon in the US but very normal in my home country, I was very surprised and chocked. Now I don't really know what to do since starting the process all over again would cost me about $400 or more. I believe this name error will cause me problems in the future and it is making me very anxious because my husband thinks it is not a problem.

    That made me realize I should have not adopted my husband's name in the fist place since now I probably would also have to spend money and time changing my home country's passport and other documents. Also it probably wouldn't have brought problems with my new US docs.

    Or that I should have dropped my maiden name at all and adopted my husband's name making a legal court name change before all those papers. I'd have loved that. But some people say that would bring me problems if we ever decided to get me citizenship.

    Thanks for your help and attention.

    Best Regards,

    Laura.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Laura. It's a database character limit/standard set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). You're not along in having a name that's too long for your SS card.

      Reply
  14. Calil

    I was unsure about changing my name when I got married two months ago but wound up taking my spouses name on our marriage certificate. I now do not want to change my name at all and have been doing everything under my maiden name as usual since we got married. Does the marriage certificate (in California) require me to change my name? I haven't changed it with social security or the dmv/passport – only the marriage certificate. Can I just ignore it? Does not changing it effect the legality of the marriage?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Does the marriage certificate (in California) require me to change my name?

      No.

      I haven't changed it with social security or the dmv/passport – only the marriage certificate. Can I just ignore it?

      Yes.

      Does not changing it effect the legality of the marriage?

      No.

      Reply
  15. Carol

    I got married almost 3 months ago and I am pregnant. I have been using my medi-cal insurance card using my maiden name for all my appointments and I havent reported that I changed my last name. I still haven't got around to pick up my marriage certificate so I haven't changed my last name on my DL, SSC, ect.. Do I have to report it to my insurance?

    Reply
    • Valera

      I still haven't got around to pick up my marriage certificate so I haven't changed my last name on my DL, SSC, ect.. Do I have to report it to my insurance?

      Yes, it is a good idea to inform your insurance company of your name change so that they can update their records and issue you a new card.

      Reply
  16. Sasha

    I have a two part question.
    One – according to my birth certificate my middle is spelled Rani, on every other legal document (DL, W-2s, taxes) it is spelled Renee. When I was married five years ago I used Renee on the marriage certificate. Which is considered my official legal spelling?
    Two- When I was married I chose to hyphenate my maiden last name with my husband's last name. That is how I signed the marriage certificate. I did not, however, change my name in any other capacity and have continued to use my maiden name. I would now like to officially change my last name to my husbands and it seems I will need to file a court petition here in NE. Taking into account the issues with my middle name, how would I list my current legal name on the court documents?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Which is considered my official legal spelling?

      The spelling on your social security record, which should match your birth certificate.

      how would I list my current legal name on the court documents?

      Same as above.

      Reply
    • Kelly

      You may have done a "common law" name change to the Renee spelling. Either way, the important thing is to be consistent from here on out – and if you want to go with Renee you could contact the vital records department of the state you were born in and they may be able to amend/note the correct spelling if you've consistently used it since early childhood. If you want to go with Rani then update all those other documents.

      Reply
  17. Lesley

    Hi , I am still on my ex partner mortgage documentation , he needs me to sign for a new product for him in my maiden name , I however have. Got martied in last couple years and taken my husbands surname and changed passport etc so legally can I sign this documentation in my maiden name without any repercussions , the bank have said I can but would like confirmation this is correct

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Lesley. Based upon your description, it shouldn't be a problem, as 1) you're getting the go ahead from your bank, 2) all parties are aware that both names represent the same person (you), and 3) there isn't an attempt to commit fraud.

      Reply
  18. Julia

    I got married in 2012 and avoided changing my name because I was torn as to what to change it to. I finally decided on keeping both my maiden and married last names, no hyphen (FirstName MaidenMiddle MaidenLast MarriedLast). It's been a month now, and I am having regrets about my decision and want to consolidate now to having just my married last name (and making my maiden name a middle name). Do I have to go through an entire formal name change appeal with the court? Or can I just take my marriage certificate back to the SS office and have them update it that way?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Julia. If you've already changed your name with the SSA, then you'll have to go through the courts to change it again to something else.

      Reply
  19. Sarah

    I got married in August. I am just now ready to start the process of changing my name (UGH!). My marriage certificate says that I have taken my husband's last name. I am wondering if it is OK to hyphenate my name for my SS card or go by two last names, my maiden and married without a hyphen. I am having a hard time with the idea of completely dropping my maiden name.
    So, my question is: Does my SS card needs to match what is on my marriage certificate?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Sarah. That shouldn't be a problem. What's important is what the document represents, which is proof of marriage.

      Reply
  20. Jenny

    My partner and I are finally allowed to marry in Oklahoma. We each carry our ex-husbands' last names but want to return to our respective maiden names. Can we do that by signing our maiden names on the signature lines of the new marriage license?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Jenny. Reverting to your maiden names would involve petitioning the court. It's a pretty straightforward process. Your county clerk's office can detail the necessary paperwork and procedure you'll need to complete.

      Reply
  21. Cassandra Urzi

    Hi I'm getting divorced in ohio and it will be final November 6. My fiancé and I would like to get married soon after before he gets deployed. Do I have to change my drivers license back to my maiden name before we can obtain our marriage license?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Do I have to change my drivers license back to my maiden name before we can obtain our marriage license?

      No.

      Reply
  22. dcoates, uggghhh

    Im married, seperate maybe 30 days, I hate my husbands last name and him for that matter, can I use the same marriage cert to change ss card ,dl, and other stuff. ?.back to maiden without a divorce??

    Reply
    • Valera

      I hate my husbands last name and him for that matter, can I use the same marriage cert to change ss card ,dl, and other stuff

      Not if you've already used it to carry out a previous name change.

      Reply
  23. Chantal

    hi hi,

    i changed my name at my naturalization to first maiden-married. My US passport is in my new name "first maiden-married" Now i am having second thoughts and I want to keep all documents in my maiden name, do i need to make any name changes with driver's license or ssn?

    i have another question, it's important to my husband that i take his name so i did the hyphenated name, is it too late to go by "first married"? would i need to go to court to make this change?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Chantal. You can contact the USCIS regarding the procedure to revert to your maiden name.

      Reply
      • Chantal

        Thank you so much for responding!

        Since the naturalization certificate is hyphenated maiden-married, can i use first married? Or would I need to go to court to have the change made?

        Reply
  24. Lina

    Hello, i have a question. If i take my spouse's last name on marriage certificate, can i still keep unmarried last name on other docs, ssn, DL etc? Will there be any future problems renewing DL? Thanks in advance for Your advice.

    Reply
    • Valera

      If i take my spouse's last name on marriage certificate, can i still keep unmarried last name on other docs

      Yes, because just specifying a new name on your marriage certificate doesn't actually change your name in any official capacity.

      Will there be any future problems renewing DL?

      No, as your name would be the same as it was on your previous license.

      Reply
  25. Uma

    Hello.
    I am in a rather delicate situation. I moved to the US and got married almost a year ago and I changed my name into my husband's. I did not know that I could hyphen my maiden name and my husband's name. Now that I know about it, I would like to know how I could do so on my DL and Green Card ? Do I need to change the name on my SSC too ? if so do I need any specific legal paper ?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Uma. If you've already undergone a name change, you'll have to go through a court petition to change it again.

      Reply
  26. Cynthia

    I changed my name when I got remarried last June. I'm now having reservations because for 23 years I used my ex-husbands last name and have established myself personnally and professionally. I'm going back to school to earn my masters and hopefully Ph.D. and would like for everything to be consistent. If I changed my last name so that it is ex-husband (hyphen) current husband could I use my ex's name except for on legal documents (bank, credit cards, etc)??

    Reply
    • Valera

      If I changed my last name so that it is ex-husband (hyphen) current husband could I use my ex's name except for on legal documents (bank, credit cards, etc)??

      Yes, you could use it precisely in that way.

      Reply
  27. Nora

    I am really confuse. I want to change the name of my 2 months old baby. the old name appears on all document including passport. less than 2 weeks we would be traveling out of the state. the process to change all documents would take 8 weeks, would there be any implications if I travel with the passport having the old name and having the new birth certificate as a back up. I am really confuse please help me.

    Reply
    • Valera

      …the process to change all documents would take 8 weeks, would there be any implications if I travel with the passport having the old name…

      You shouldn't face any difficulties. It's not uncommon for passport name changes to be deferred due to time constraints. While not strictly related to children, you may still want to review the which name on your passport topic which delves into the rationale of waiting to update a passport until after travels are completed.

      Reply
  28. Tammy

    I had to wait 3 months before my caseworker finally changed my maiden name to my married name, and I have a doctor appointment coming up soon. Do I have to wait for new Medicaid cards before I can go to the doctors? She just changed it!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Tammy. You should be fine with your old cards (for now) as it's unlikely your member number has changed. It's still worth phoning your doctor's office in advance to alert them your situation.

      Reply
  29. GingerCat

    Hi all,

    I just changed my last name to my husband's last name. But after doing it, I realized that I want to add my maiden name to my middle name so that my name is First Middle Maiden MarriedLastName. Can I just make the change using my marriage certificate or do I have to get a court order? I'm in New Jersey.

    Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Can I just make the change using my marriage certificate or do I have to get a court order? I'm in New Jersey.

      Whether you changed your married name or not, middle name modifications in New Jersey require petitioning the court.

      Reply
  30. Yulisa

    I recently got married and on my marriage licence it has my first name and my new last name is my maiden name and my husband last name no hyphen. Example: Yulisa John Paul (John Paul is my new last name). I am planning on changing my name on my SS card and I was wondering if I always have to have John Paul on all documents or can I use either John, Paul or both depending on the document.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Yulisa. At a minimum, use both last names on government and legal documents.

      Reply
  31. nikki

    Hi I renew my indian passport but I didn't put my spouse name on it.I am going to travel in few weeks. Can any one tell me do I need my spouse name on my passport.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Nikki. This doesn't appear to be a required field on Indian passports. You can contact the Passport and Visa Division for confirmation as well as inquiring the turnaround time to reissue a passport that adds a spouse's name.

      Reply
  32. Chi

    Hi Valera,
    I got married in 8/2014 and I wrote a name change (to my husband's last name) on the marriage certificate. However, now I want to resume my maiden name because I don't want to go through the whole complicated name change process for all of my legal documents (DL, SS, bank, work…etc.). I am still married with my husband, not separated or divorced. I have not used or updated my married name on any of my legal documents yet. Can I just go to the marriage lisence office to resume my maiden name? Or Can I just keep using my maiden name since all my legal documents are still in my maiden name ? the marriage certificate is the only document that shows I signed for a name change. Is it illegal to keep using my maiden name despite the name change request on the marriage certificate? If I want to resume my maiden name legally, where do I have to go, and what do I have to do?
    Please help me
    Thank you very much!!!
    Hope to hear from you soon
    Chi

    Reply
    • Valera

      Can I just go to the marriage lisence office to resume my maiden name?

      Not necessary. Not applicable.

      Or Can I just keep using my maiden name since all my legal documents are still in my maiden name ?

      Yes. Your legal name is still your maiden name.

      Is it illegal to keep using my maiden name despite the name change request on the marriage certificate?

      No.

      If I want to resume my maiden name legally, where do I have to go, and what do I have to do?

      You don't have to go anywhere. You don't have to do anything. Keep using it as you always have, as your name hasn't changed.

      Reply
      • Chi

        Hi Valera,
        Thank you so much for your help. If one day (maybe when I have kids), I decide to change to my husband last name as stated in the marriage certificate. Can I use my marriage certificate to do that or there is a time limit on it base on the date on the certificate?
        You are very helpful, and I really appreciate it !!!
        Thanks again
        Happy Halloween!!!
        Chi

        Reply
        • Valera

          If one day (maybe when I have kids), I decide to change to my husband last name as stated in the marriage certificate. Can I use my marriage certificate to do that

          Yes, you'll still use your marriage certificate if you decide to change your name several years down the road.

          or there is a time limit on it base on the date on the certificate?

          There's no time limit.

          Reply
  33. Linda

    Hey I got married a year and 7 month ago. I looked on my marriage license and I didn't add my husbands last name. How do I go about adding his last name to my name? I want it to be Linda Rogers – Johnson. And another question if I change my name on my Social Security card and my drivers license do I have to give my car insurance place my new name?

    Reply
    • Valera

      I looked on my marriage license and I didn't add my husbands last name

      If you're talking about amending your marriage license, then it's unlikely you'll be able to do that unless there's a mistake on it (such as a typo). If you're talking about officially changing your name, then use your marriage certificate to facilitate it—it serves as proof of marriage.

      do I have to give my car insurance place my new name?

      If your insurance company isn't aware of your marital status, it's important to notify them. Keep in mind, it can have an effect on your premiums. If they're already aware of your marriage, but not your name change, it still makes sense for them to update your record so that it matches your drivers license.

      Reply
  34. Valerie

    I  had lost my divorce decree documents from my divorce in 1982, which I have already ordered and have received back from the court. I required the decree so that I could correct my surname on my Social Security and Medicare records, which, for reasons spelled out below, I had failed to do at the time of the divorce.

    Unfortunately, upon receiving the divorce decree (certifed) copy, I discovered that the court had made a clerical error and had failed to check the box in the court's portion ("For Court Use Only") of the final decree/order, wherein they should have restored my maiden name,  which I had requested on the petition (California Superior Court, Alameda County).

    The divorce was an uncontested Summary Dissolution.  Never having discovered the error, I began using my maiden name, which I now have been using for 32 years; on my driver's license, tax returns, work records, credit cards, bank accounts..you name it.  I only became aware 2 years ago, that it had not been changed with Social Security, but had thought my legal name was my maiden name and that I had just failed to change it with Social Security (since it's been 32 years, I can only guess that, at the time, I must have been thinking  it would be changed automatically…young and dumb).

    I still, at the time I divorced, had my old Social Security card with my maiden name so, being unaware of the need for chaging my surname with SS, I began using that card, instead of the card that had my married name, and because it's been 32 years, I had forgotten all about all of this until SS refreshed my memory.  (It may also have been selective memory, as the person I divorced was not a nice person…violent, on drugs, and an alcoholic,  and I had no further contact with him after the divorce.)

    Social Security had told me at the time that I applied for retirement benefits, that the incorrect name would not effect my payments (I couldn't afford the fees required to get copies of the decree until recently), because the SS payments are automatically deposited by SS number,  rather than name.  However, now that I am eligible for Medicare, my name is not matching my State Medicaid and Social Services records, which, even though so far, has not created any problems, I fear it may cause problems with my prescriptions, doctors, etc., as I have ben, and am still, being treated for cancer, and the medications and followup doctor visits are now being covered by Medicare (under my married name), with the secondary coverage through my State's Medicaid, which is under my maiden name.  Therefore, I feel it safer to correct the court clerical error to restore my maiden name to avoid any legal problems.

    When speaking with the court clerk, I was advised to file an Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgement.  However, because it was a clerical error by the court, and because I have been using my maiden name for 32 years, I feel that the court should correct the error non pro tunc, since it may cause legal problems when it is discovered that I used the wrong name when obtaining State unemployment, Medicaid,  and EBT benefits, among other things (although it was inadvertent on my part).

    To complicate matters further, I no longer live in the State where the marriage and divorce took place, and I'm financially and physically unable to travel to that State to appear in court.

    Which route would be easier to take to correct the record; filing the Ex Parte, or a non pro tunc? (If non pro tunc, what form would I use, and would that require a court appearance?)  (FYI: I also cannot afford a filing fee, so am filing a fee waiver with whichever document requires a filing fee.

    I thank you in advance for any advice you are able to give me and apologize for any confusion, as this is such a complicated situation, I felt it necessary to include as much detail as possible.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Valerie. Filing a motion for nunc pro tunc may necessitate the hiring of a trained paralegal to help you draft it, so the suggested Ex Parte Application may be the more straightforward path. You may want to consult with an paralegal or attorney for advise. Or at least contact the courthouse and pose these question to them. As for the nunc pro tunc form, you'd have to contact the court to specify which form it is and how to acquire it—it may be downloadable.

      Reply
  35. Cara

    I am recently married and want to retain my first, middle and last name. If I add my husband's last name as a second last name (no hyphen):

    Is that allowed? (I'm in Arizona)
    Does that mean I can go as either/or/both last names?

    My name is important to me, but I'm willing to add his if I can still preserve my identity for day to day purposes (bank, credit card, checks, etc)

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Cara. You can contact your county clerk's office regarding last name options. You'll have to go by both names on formal/legal documents.

      Reply
  36. MJ

    Good day, Valera!
    My partner and I just obtained a marriage license in NY and I have opted to change my name (hyphenated). We will be marrying in a few days. Now I feel like reverting back to my name as is for practical reasons and convenience. Can I still make those changes? If I can, what's the process involved?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi MJ. Since you haven't yet married, you don't need to do anything. Just don't go forth with formally changing your name and nothing will change.

      Reply
  37. Rosy

    Hi,
    I got married three years ago. My marriage license has my maiden-husband name hyphenated. (Rosy Smith-Doe). I have not changed any of my IDs, SS, or bank accounts, nothing. Now my passport needs renewing. Do I have to use the name on my marriage license or can I use my maiden name still? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Do I have to use the name on my marriage license or can I use my maiden name still?

      You can still use your maiden name.

      Reply
  38. Shelly

    I live in Oklahoma and I just recently got married. I wanted my last name is as middle name but the DMV wouldn't allow that so now my SSI card and license don't match. I was able to get my name change fine with the SSI. I'm not sure what to do at this point. Will the SSI allow me to change the name on my card to match my license. I really want to keep my last name but if I have to go through all this trouble then I'm going to drop it.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Shelly. That's odd, considering the Oklahoma driver's license website specifies a "former surname" as a recognized middle name option. You may want to request clarification regarding the conflicting information between the clerk and the state government's website.

      Reply
  39. Claudia

    Hello,

    I just got my citizenship certificate. During the process I requested to change my maiden name to my husbands last name because if was going to request to get him a recidents card. But the day of my oath ceremony I found out stuff. Is there any way I can change his last name back to my maiden name??

    Reply
  40. Ms/mrs?

    I'm employeed and married I use my maiden name. My SS it listed under my maiden name my DL is hyphenated a combo both mines and his last name. I applied for another company for employment. I was hired contingent upon me changing either my SS to add my husbands last name to match my DL or either I drop my husbands name to match my current SS with currently has only my maiden name. But as it stands my DL and my SS do not match. It's never been a problem and I currently work for the state an the stipulation are not so high. Is this real? Can an employer bare down on me like that. It feels wrong please add insite

    Reply
    • Valera

      Without knowing the rationale behind your employer's motivations, in general, an employer can be concerned with an employee's name inconsistency when it comes to tax filing. An employee's name on an employer's document (such as a W-2) needs to match what's on file with the Social Security Administration. SSA and the IRS sync name records, so if your employer's data doesn't match what the IRS has it can be a problem.

      If the name on your employer's documents is your maiden name, then that matches your SSA and IRS record. Do you know why they need require your driver's license to match? Would an alternative form of identification be satisfactory?

      Reply
  41. Crisy

    Hi there!
    Question for you folks!
    Greencard holder since March 2013, Married in October 2014.

    My current legal maiden name is (fake names): Mary Jane Smith
    I would like to change it to: Jane Smith Jones : in order to keep my maiden name and add on my new married name.

    I understand I need to go to the state court to change this since its more than just adding my husband's name. My immigration lawyer suggested I change it legally first, apply for new Green Card, and once the card gets in (4-6 months) go through the process of changing everything else, SSN, drivers license, foreign passport, etc.

    My question is: can I continue to use my maiden name Mary Jane Smith, even though it has legally been changed to Jane Smith Jones?

    I ask because I am in the middle of applying for business licenses that I need and can't wait 4-6 months for. Not sure what order I should be doing all of this in.

    Thanks folks!

    Reply
    • Crisy

      Or, in all sincerity, should I just wait until I apply for citizenship to legally change my name?

      Reply
    • Valera

      My question is: can I continue to use my maiden name Mary Jane Smith, even though it has legally been changed to Jane Smith Jones?

      Your name's not legally changed until you update your records with institutions such as the SSA and driver's license office. If you get a court ordered name change, but don't do anything further, your name is still what it was before the court order. You have to do the legwork of changing it with the necessary organizations, or else it all remains the same. In that case, it would make sense to continue using your current name until you've changed it for real.

      Reply
  42. Nicki

    I am in the process of divorcing and I am pregnant as well but my soon to be ex is not the father. Am I able to change my name back to my maiden before the divorce is finalized so that my child's birth certificate will have my maiden name rather than my married?

    Reply
      • Nicki

        With that said would I so be able to put the real father's name on the birth certificate because I believe I may end up having the baby before my divorce is finalized.

        Reply
        • Valera

          would I so be able to put the real father's name on the birth certificate

          Yes.

          Reply
  43. R R

    I got married back in 2000. I never changed my last name legally through SS after that. However, years ago when me and my husband (we are legally separated since 2001 due to he abandoned me and our daughter and was abusive) moved to a different state during that time, when we were getting new drivers liscense in that state he got upset at me for not using his last name. So to keep him from getting upset, I wrote down my last name as his. The lady at the DMV during that time didn't mind and all she asked was "well are you both married?" I said "yes". So she went through and let me use his last name. To make a long story short, all this time for the last 12 years I have had to use his last name on my drivers liscense when infact I still never legally changed my last name to his last name. So now it's affecting my tax forms. I have asked (when moving to different states when filling out a DMV drivers liscense renewel) if I can just put my legal maiden last name and they all tell me "no" (when infact my married name has never been legal in the first place). They all tell me I have to legally change my last name to his last name first before legally changing back to my maiden name (which I can't do because I still to this day has NEVER changed it legally to his last name anyway!).

    So…what are my choices?

    Reply
    • R R

      continued….also, because I never changed my last name to his last name (legally-even though we are technically still legally married because I havn't been able to find him to get a divorce and other reasons-long story), my tax information has always stayed the same. He ripped up the marriage certificate years ago in a argument but I do have the original papers when he first tried filing for divorce after he left us back in 2002. But again, I feel that I am stuck using his last name over one simple "writing it down" at a DMV YEARS ago without even legally changing it in the first place. How do I get the permission to just use my legal maiden name on my drivers lisense without having to legally change it to his last name first (since I never legally changed my last name to his anyways)???

      Reply
    • Valera

      Hi R R. A few things. If you're looking to get a divorce but can't locate your spouse, you can inquire with the court how to get permission to publish a notice of divorce in your newspaper or courthouse. It's typically called a Motion to Serve by Publication or Posting.

      You may also want to look into filling out an Affidavit of Identity form confirming your current name/identity.

      Finally, you can visit your local Social Security Administration office and request a "Numident record" printout which can be used to confirm your current legal name.

      Before doing all this, you can contact your DMV if these things will be acceptable identity documents to facilitate the correction of your name on your drivers license. If not, what identity document(s) would they accept.

      Reply
  44. Natalie

    I was recently married last month and I would like to change my name to my husband's. Problem is we have airline tickets booked forMarch. The airline says I cant change the name on the ticket. I was thinking of changing my name with SS but leaving my DL as maiden until after I fly. Would this be unlawful and cause potential problems at the airport when going through security? Or will they not know? I dont want to do anything illegal. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Natalie. You should be fine. Folks waiting to change their name (due to travel) is a common thing. Take a look at this which name on your passport article which delves into this very issue. I assume you're traveling domestically, so ignore the passport remarks and focus on the subsection that discusses domestic travel.

      Reply
  45. Betty Raper Muise

    If you are married but,was not able to go get social security card changed can you go back to maiden name while married for legal purposes

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Betty. If you weren't able to get your name changed, then wouldn't your maiden name still be your current, legal name? If so, then what are you attempting to change from?

      Reply
  46. Duygu

    Hello. I'm getting married soon and am considering simply adding my fiancé's last name to mine with a space in between. If I do this will I be able to avoid having to change all ID cards and documents since I still legally have my maiden name or will the new word addition cause a problem? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Duygu. You will have to update all your necessary documents to reflect the change.

      Reply
  47. Kris Johnson

    OK, so in 1993 I was married, but I never changed my SSN to my married name. I did change my DL to my married name with my marriage certificate. I divorced in 1996 but still kept that married name. Divorce docs never mentioned anything about name (my assuming maiden name back was not a thought at the time). In 1999 I got a mortgage with BB&T, and to verify my identity they used my DL, so my mortgage is in my married name. Years later the SSA is saying that the mortgage interest I am claiming is not matching up due to my SSN being in my maiden name but my mortgage still in my married name. So I call BB&T and fax then a cover letter syaing all of this and that I need them to change my name back to my maiden name so it matches my SSN. I sent them a copy of my DL (which I switched back to my maiden name with just a divorce doc), passport in maiden name, marriage certificate and subsequent divorce court order, and a copy of my SSN card. They still refuse to change it. They say they need a legal doc saying I changed my name back. What do I do?

    Reply
    • Kris Johnson

      Please note I went back to my maiden name about 5 years ago and now everything I have is in my maiden name except this mortgage. BB&T says they are going to start backup withholdings because my names don't match, but I faxed all docs showing I have all pertinent ID in my maiden name now – yet they still say I need a court doc saying I changed my name.

      Reply
  48. Krishia

    Hi iam a green card holder,married i didnt yet changed my last name from my husbands name. Can i petition him? Or it can affect the petition? Because i sed my maiden name? Thankyousomuch

    Reply
    • Krishia

      And should i update ss for my marital status changed and uscis? Thankyouu more power

      Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Krishia. I'm not certain what your petition is in reference to. It would be worthwhile to notify USCIS regarding your marital status. SS doesn't have have an equivalent.

      Reply
  49. Rob

    I got married in NYC on 10/11/12 (same-sex), but we reside in South Carolina. Unfortunately, when we went to get married, we did not realize that we could only use one of our surnames names for the other or a combination of the two together. At the last minute we hastily chose something we ultimately didn't like.

    SC did not recognize marriage between same-sex couples and we were forced to use our previous individual surnames for the time being. Now that SC recognizes marriages between same-sex couples, we would like to get our surname changed; however, we would like to get them changed to something more appealing.

    'm assuming we have to go through the court process and pay $150 each to change our surnames. If we have to go through the court process, how does our NYC Marriage License get updated to reflect our new surnames? Will we receive a new Marriage License in the mail from NYC with our new surnames, but retain the original marriage date of 10/11/12?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Rob. If you both get your names changed through the court system then that'll supercede your NY marriage document. The court order is what you'll use to complete your various name change tasks.

      Reply
  50. Victoria Alexander

    my husband and I have been separated for 5 years now some people don't know that I was married and on one of my social security card it has my married name and on the other one I have has my maiden name on it someone wrote me a check in my maiden name and I could not cash it they said unless I had ID can I take my birth certificate and social security card that has my maiden name on it and go to legally get an ID in my maiden name

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Victoria. Are you saying you have one social security card with your maiden name and one with your married name? I'm assuming the prior is a legacy document that's been invalidated by your most recent name change? Anyway, what are you ultimately trying to accomplish? Making it possible to cash checks in your maiden name, or legally reverting to your maiden name?

      Reply
  51. Sabrina

    Hi…..I married my husband in 2000.I changed my name on my DL,Bank account,Military Dependent ID,etc,but never changed it with SSA…Stay at home mom…Never had a problem…Fast forward almost 15 years and I am getting ready to seek employment and realize that I will need my DL and SS card to match…I have heard that I will need Identification in my maiden name in order to change my name on the SS card to my married name because it has been longer than 2 years…Problem is,I don't have anything in my maiden name(besides my birth certificate and marriage license)Will these two forms work?Thanks in advance for your response!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Sabrina. That should work fine. Make sure it's a certified copy of your marriage certificate. If they consider it insufficient confirmation of your identity and you can't provide acceptable supporting documentation, then your driver's license showing your new name could be used as a backup.

      Reply
  52. C

    I am recently married, but have not yet changed my name. I do not want to lose my maiden name or my middle name (by moving the maiden to my middle), so my plan was to change my name to "First, Middle, Maiden Married" (so, two last names, no hyphen).

    My question in this case is if (after the change) I must use both last names on documents, or if I can use one or the other.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi C. Legal based documents would require the use of both names, which is still considered a whole name despite the space.

      Reply
  53. racho

    I am a senior and recently married (2 weeks ago). When I filled out the app for a marriage license I used my previous married name which my drivers license, my social security benefits and pension are still in. I would like to use my maiden name hyphenated with my new married name. Please advice on how to do this. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Racho. Acquire a certified copy of your marriage certificate from your vital records office, then use it change your name with the various institutions (e.g., SSA, DMV).

      Reply
  54. Samantha

    Hello, I changed my last name on my SS and Drivers license to my married last name. Now I am having second thoughts about it, will it be possible for me to go back to my maiden name without a hassel. I currently live in Texas.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Samantha. A follow-up name change would require you to petition the court.

      Reply
  55. Lori

    Ok. Here is my question. I got my passport in 2005 (still good until October 2015). It was in my maiden name. I got married and never changed my passport to my married name. We have since been divorced. I did not change my name back to my maiden name. I got remarried December 2014. So I now have a new legal name with SS and DMV. Passport is still in my maiden name. Can I use my passport or do I have to change it into my new married name and how will my former marriage and divorce play into my changing my name on the new passport?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Lori. Your passport's still valid and usable. When it's time to renew, it'll have to reflect your married new name.

      Reply
  56. joyce

    I have been married almost four years,I took my husbands last name.But now I would like to take my maiden name back,even though we're married. Is that possible?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Joyce. Since you've already undergone a marriage-related name change once, in order to change it again within the same marriage (such as maiden name reversion) would require you to petition the court.

      Reply
  57. Valerie

    HI I'm getting married next week and we're getting the confidential license. we are secretly getting married and we don't want anyone to know is there a possibility that i could still use my single last name on legal document / career/ passport and have it on my marriage license ? what are my real options I've been reading a lot of stuff and I'm just confused right now. or can i change my single name to my married name maybe in 10 years ?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Valerie. Yes, to both questions. If you don't change your name (regardless of what's on your marriage license) you'd continue using your maiden name. You can wait to change your name many years later, if you so choose.

      Reply
  58. Perdita

    When we married, we hypenated our surnames and registered the change with our banks, Social Security, Immigration and the DMV. But – after the marriage – I applied for jobs in my maiden name, because I wanted to retain my professional reputation. On my first day at my new job, I filled in a lot of forms. I used my married (legal) name on all the tax forms, but my pay slips are always in my maiden name, and so I'm worried that filing my taxes is going to be a problem. I was told by a guy at social security that I could continue using my maiden name for work purposes if I wanted to. Have I made a terrible mistake or is this scenario okay?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Have I made a terrible mistake or is this scenario okay?

      Seems perfectly fine and well structured.

      Reply
  59. Lisa

    I plan on marrying In Las Vegas in 2015, but will reside in Pennsylvania. I am marrying late in life (I'm 44) and do not want to change my SS, DL, Banking, Credit Cards, or professional licenses (of 15 years), etc .. On the application for marriage certificate I'm filing ahead of time Vegas thru the Clerk my name is: firstbirthname, Middlebirthname, Maidenlastname Husband last name. (No Hyphen)

    However, I don't plan on changing all of those documents above, but do plan on having a utility bill and 1 joint account placed in my "married name",
    Can I legally do that?

    Additionally, socially I will be referring to myself w/ Husbands last name (which I know I can socially do w/o legal issues).

    Also, how will this effect me &/or my spouse later in life when it comes to financial issues if I don't "legally" have his last name? Social security death benefits (him &/or I).

    Also, I have a purchased home prior to marriage, (deeded only in my name as I purchased it alone). If something happens to me, I would want him to receive that. Would he have a problem b/c I didn't legally change my last name? Would I have to will it, rather tan it automatically go to the surviving spouse?

    Any assistance is apprecoiated

    Reply
    • Valera

      However, I don't plan on changing all of those documents above, but do plan on having a utility bill and 1 joint account placed in my "married name", Can I legally do that?

      Sure, if your bank allows it. As for the utility company, it's possible they wouldn't object or really care one way or the other. You could always pose this question to them as a "prospective" customer.

      Also, how will this effect me &/or my spouse later in life when it comes to financial issues if I don't "legally" have his last name? Social security death benefits (him &/or I).

      Shouldn't be an issue.

      Would he have a problem b/c I didn't legally change my last name?

      No.

      Would I have to will it, rather tan it automatically go to the surviving spouse?

      Best to contact your mortgage provide or an attorney for clarity on this.

      Reply
  60. Montgomery

    Hi! My husband recently got the courts to approve his daughter's (my step daughter's) last name being hyphenated. We live in Georgia. He has primary custody, the mother has been in and out of the child's life. She would not agree to a last name change but did agree to a hyphenated name. They were never married.

    My first question is: the biological mother took her stepfather's last name, Smith, at 13. To my knowledge he never legally adopted her. Should this change our circumstances for getting a full last name chAnge? Or is that technically still considered her maiden name? Let me add she is also married and no longer uses the last name Smith.

    My next question is this: My husband had the judge put his last name first so it looks like this: Williams-Smith. Our thinking was that friends of ours who are Hispanic have the mother's maiden name at the end because it was done that way in Puerto Rico. They however only go by the father's last name which is first. We assumed that on everything but her SS card would be able to just be Williams. Our attorney also believed this was the case. We are getting some push back from the school to just use Williams (even in the yearbook). Is it legally ok to leave the second part of the hyphenated name off? Or does my stepdaughter legally have to use both? Insurance company even agreed to just use Williams but we don't want the have her going by multiple names. Please help!!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Should this change our circumstances for getting a full last name chAnge?

      Change circumstances how? Are you looking to override the biological mother's objection to a non-hyphenated name change?

      Is it legally ok to leave the second part of the hyphenated name off? Or does my stepdaughter legally have to use both?

      This depends on the situation, and may very well have to be decided on a case-by-case basis. What you're currently doing is a safe approach. For the school, you're making them aware of her legal name and the name that you/she prefers to be referred by. Same for the insurance company. It works because they're aware of the full picture.

      Problems can come into play if your stepdaughter's name is registered with an entity that isn't aware and it has some legal implications that could arise due to a name mismatch.

      Reply
  61. Amanda

    Hi i am amanda I've been married 3 years and I have not got my last name changed. I'm am also getting ready to file seperation papers soon. I no longer want to have his last name. I'm kind stressing myself out about this name change thing can I get In trouble

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Amanda. If you've never changed your last name, then what would you be concerned about? There's no trouble for you because you never chose to change your name. Many people choose not to go through a name change post-marriage, which isn't a big deal.

      Reply
  62. melinda williams carlos

    Hi! I was wondering if I can use my maiden name instead of my married name being widowed before a divorce was possible? Thanks

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Melinda. There's not a shortcut way to do this, even if you have a certified death certificate. You'll have to petition the court for a name change. Once you go through that process and the judge signs off on it, you can take your court order and change your records back to your maiden name.

      Reply
  63. Camille

    Hi, I have a question about my California ID card. I have an orientation for my new job coming up and the HR asked me to bring my SS card and my ID. I am a bit worried because although my SS card has been updated with my new name, my ID card still has my maiden name on it. Should I bring my marriage license to prove the name change or will having my maiden name on my ID cause problems with the hiring process?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Camille. If you're unable to update your ID before orientation, then it would be a good idea to bring your marriage certificate and, even perhaps, your birth certificate which would confirm your maiden name and identity. It also wouldn't hurt to contact the point person ahead of time to inquire if these will be acceptable forms of identification.

      Reply
  64. lisa

    I changed my name to my martied name on my DL but not at Social Security. Can I change my name on my DL back to my maiden name and how. I no longer want to legally change my name.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Lisa. It's interesting that you were able to change things in that sequence, as SSA typically comes before DL. Some driver's license offices will query the SSA database for a new name match before processing a name change. Anyway, considering the atypical order, you can contact your driver's license office about reverting to your maiden name which would reflect the current name on your social security card. Although it's unlikely they'll process the request without a court order.

      Reply
  65. Ann

    I came to USA on L2 visa seven years back. I had kept my maiden name. I have SSN issued while I was on L2. Two years back, I had to switch to H4. I decided to change my last name to married name, so I got the court order for the same last week. However, SSA denied to change the name on SSN since now I am on H4. We haven't changed the name at any other authorities yet.

    Can I still change name for driving license, uscis, car loan and bank accounts etc.?

    I have second thoughts now given all this hassle. Is there an option to not change the name and continue using the maiden name, even after the court order?

    Is not obeying the court order going to be a problem? Do I need to go back to court and file another petition?

    Reply
    • Valera

      However, SSA denied to change the name on SSN since now I am on H4. We haven't changed the name at any other authorities yet.

      H-4 visa holders aren't able to get a SS number, nor can they be employed. That's why the SSA denied your request.

      Can I still change name for driving license, uscis, car loan and bank accounts etc.?

      Yes.

      Is there an option to not change the name and continue using the maiden name, even after the court order?

      If you do nothing and notify none of the institutions that you want to change your name, then your name won't change. Things will remain as they always were.

      Reply
      • Ann

        Thanks for the reply.

        If I continue the maiden name, what happens to the court order? Will that public record cause problems in future?

        Do I have to mention my married name wherever they ask "other names" on forms?

        Reply
        • Valera

          If I continue the maiden name, what happens to the court order? Will that public record cause problems in future?

          Nothing. If unused, it has no impact and serves no purpose.

          Do I have to mention my married name wherever they ask "other names" on forms?

          No.

          Reply
  66. Nita

    I got married 10 years back in India. My marriage certificate issued by Indian Government just certifies that me (my full maiden name) and my husband (his full name) have got married. I have a professional career built on my maiden name and hence I never changed it. My passport, GC and all official documents have my maiden name. We also file our taxes jointly and I've been using my maiden name on it.
    We are going through naturalization process now and the name change has come up. I don't want to lose my maiden name for sure. I was wondering if there is a way to add my husband's last name as an alias to my last name. In other words is it possible to have 2 last names. I don't want to change my identity but want to share my husband's and kids last names.

    Please advice.

    Reply
    • Valera

      I was wondering if there is a way to add my husband's last name as an alias to my last name.

      No, although you can use an alias informally.

      Reply
  67. Faye Scott

    hi there, I am Canadian and had a legal name change over ten years ago. I never changed my drivers license to reflect this change because I had bank accounts etc in my old name and needed ID until I could change everything over. Time passed and I got busy with other things and just never got around to changing anything. Am I going to be hit with a big fine or arrested if I attempt to update my drivers license now? If I renew it with my old name that will be equally illegal, yes? Would yo be able to email me a response? Many thanks!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Faye. You're fine. When you go to update your name at the driver's license office just bring your current ID as well as your marriage certificate. Since you've waited a long while to change it, they may charge a modest fee to update your name. It's not a penalty fee, just a regular processing fee.

      Reply
  68. Lei

    Hi,

    I am a green card holder and was divorced last year but I kept my ex-husband's last name. I got remarried on January 10, 2015 and my husband now (and I) wants me to carry his last name. I will be applying for naturalization this coming September and we were both wondering if I have to file for I-90 to change my last name on my green card and pay $450 for it or if we can just wait until September for my naturalization and provide all documents at once like the divorce decree, marriage certificate, green card with my ex's last name. Will this be a conflict if we change my name with the RMV and SSA for now and wait until the filing for naturalization? Your response will be highly appreciated. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  69. Toni

    Hi,
    I have been married for nearly 30 years. When I got married I changed my passport to my married name and for my driver's license I have my maiden name and married name which I used for almost all my bank accounts. But my husband opened new accounts using only my married name and several of those entities have been sending us w-9's . I have been sending them back with both my maiden name and married name and some of them are coming back asking for proof of change. The fact is I did not change for social security and for IRS I file jointly with my husband but use my maiden name for some time now per their request. Do I need to change my social security card? My voter's registration shows both names as well.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Toni. As I understand it, you're currently employing three surname usages:

      1) Maiden only (for social security card)
      2) Married only (for passport and new miscellaneous accounts)
      3) Maiden and married (for driver's license and older bank accounts)

      IRS goes by #1. That's what your W-9's reference (or are supposed to). As you've been jointly filing taxes for years with this setup, you or your accountant may have been able to navigate around this, but surname #1 is your primary recognized name.

      You could update your SS record and passport to reflect what you already have on your driver's license and bank accounts. That'll sync up most of your records.

      If you prefer not to do that and maintain the status quo, you'll have to contact the various "entities" to determine what proof of name change, identity, or marriage they'd deem acceptable. Perhaps a copy (certified or photocopy) of your marriage certificate, or a photocopy of your driver's license?

      Reply
  70. Anna

    So good to find you. A lot of great info.Here's my own twist:

    Married, last year in EU to an EU man. Live between US and EU.

    All papers and insurance and such have been changed to married name in EU only +my US passport, as required, there.

    Is it required that I change all things in U.S., because I changed passport?

    Or, can I simply change marital status on US tax forms without having to change my name?

    My work name continues to be in maiden name along with all US accounts and credit cards,etc.

    If we fully move back here to US, then likely I would do it all in one shot:).

    I don't feel ready to totally lose my old identity and am hoping for good news:).

    Thank you for your help:).

    Reply
    • Valera

      Do I have to change things in US to match passport?

      No.

      Or, can I simply change marital status on US tax forms without having to change my name?

      Yes.

      Reply
      • Anna

        Wow. Thank you!:) Months of stressing all whooshed away by a simple "no" & "yes". Will look you up when the time comes to change all:). You just made my year!Happy 2015.:):)

        Reply
  71. Kirsten

    I need help! I recently was married in May 2014. I've sucessfully changed my last name on my DL and bank accounts/ insurance/ work/ tax forms…….all except my SSN. This hasn't been an issue until now…. My husband and I just filed our taxes tonight online with TurboTax (as he's done every year) and shortly after we submitted everything, we received an email from them stating our submission was rejected because the name does not match the name on the SSN.
    My question is- do I need to go change this asap or is there a way to enter the information that is legal? Any help would be awesome as we paid to submit these online tonight and worried we will lose our money!!!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Kirsten. It would make sense to change it with the SSA. Once that's done, your records with the IRS will sync up. Find a SS office that's closest to you, then do it in person. Bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you.

      Reply
  72. Mechy

    Hello,

    I'm in the process of becoming an U.S Citizen. My name in all my documents here in USA is: Mercedes Albeniz Howell (my name as a married US resident).

    My passport from my country goes by: Mercedes Elena Albeniz Bermudez (my original full maiden name).

    I am not changing the way my name shows in my country's passport to my full married name as it would be too long and tedious, plus that would force me to be in my country for weeks to take care of it personally and change some other documents as well. Lastly, almost no women takes the husbands name in my country when they get married.

    When I become an US citizen, I'm planning to drop my husband's name (Howell) just to have my passport issued in a way that matches more exactly my country's passport. I travel a lot to my country and will need to carry both passports every time.

    My question is: Even if my USA passport showed Mercedes Albeniz as my full name, could I continue being Mercedes Albeniz Howell in all documents in the USA (DL, credit cards, etc)? My understanding is that I could, as long as I don't change my Social Security card to Mercedes Albeniz only. Am I right? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Mechy. You can maintain the preferred name on your passport, but you'll need to make certain that name matches what's on your airline tickets.

      Reply
  73. Wendy

    I got married by city hall office back in November, I changed my surname on paper but I haven't changed any documents like social security, ID etc.. How do I file my taxes, married or single? Alil confused here… Help! Please.

    Reply
    • Valera

      How do I file my taxes, married or single? Alil confused here

      Whether or not you change your name doesn't impact how you choose to file. There's no applicable connection.

      Reply
  74. joana

    Hi, i recently got married (less than a month)and i took my husbAnd's last name . i will start working soon but i havent changed any of my legal paper would this be a problem when getting my check ? Also, can i change back to my single last name if so what would i need?

    Thank you in AdvAnce

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Joana. Since you haven't updated any of your documents, you'll just keep doing what you have been by using your established name. Once you undergo a legal name change, you can only return to your prior name by petitioning the court.

      Reply
  75. Kim

    Is there a way to add my husband's last name without effecting other documents. A relative stated I could just add his name without hypenating and that would allow me to use both my maiden name and married name interchangeably. Is that true? Can I just add the name to the end and then be able to use all the same identification..DL, pass port etc…

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Kim. For documents such as your driver's license, passport, you'll have to use your full legal name, hyphenated or not.

      Reply
  76. Susan

    I have been married many years and can't remember if when I was married if I officially took my maiden name as my middle name or not. How can I find out what my legal name is? If I didn't add my maiden name years ago, How can I do it now?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Susan. I'm assuming you chose to change your name when you married several years back, but never got around to officially changing it anywhere. If that's the case, your legal name (at least the middle portion) is what it was before you married. You can visit your nearest SS office to verify the name record on file. If you're looking to change your name now, acquire a certified copy of your marriage certificate from your vital records office, then use that to begin the name change process across the various institutions.

      Reply
  77. hetalbahen

    hi , i am Indian, i married to my ex husband and i took his middle name and last name thats how mostly indian do but now i am divorced with him but i have never changed my name so i still have my ex name as my middle name and last name too.now i got marry and i want to get his middle and last name so ican u guide me step by step . do you think am i able to do that …thank you

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi hetalbahen. Are you in the U.S. or India? For U.S. name changes following marriage, you can change your last name as you prefer, but modifying your middle name to something that's not your maiden name may not be possible without getting a court order.

      Reply
  78. Rob

    My husband and I got married in NYC and combined our surnames. We never really had the chance to use the surname since our state did not recognize marriage between same-sex couples. However, now that our state does recognize our marriage, we want to change our surname to something more favorable.

    We're in the process of going through all the documentation and forms to present to the court in order to change our name; however, we never updated our surname to the one we chose in NYC since our state just recently recognizes our marriage. Do you believe we will need to update all our information (Social Security, DMV, etc) to our NYC surname before we can choose an updated name through the court, or do you believe using our maiden surnames in our documents will be sufficient?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Rob. If you're going through the court petition process, why not just specify your new preferred name there, then use the court order to change your name on your documents (e.g., SS, driver's license)? This way you can complete the process in one sequence.

      Reply
      • Rob

        That's what our intent was; however, I wasn't sure if the court would not accept our documentation since we have not updated anything to our married surname Originally we chose "Kreese" when we got married in NYC in 2012; however, South Carolina only recently recognized marriages between same sex couples. We now decided that Kreese was not the surname we wanted, but rather than go through the process of updating all our records AND THEN going through the court to change our surname to "Kies"… we were hoping we could just go through the petition process and then update our records. I just wasn't sure if the courts would hold this against us.

        Reply
        • Valera

          Hi Rob. By going through the courts you and your husband would be able to get your name changed as you prefer. A court order would take precedence over all.

          Reply
  79. RL

    Hi. I live in Oklahoma. I got married 6 years ago and changed my DL to my married name and never officially changed my SSN…what do I need to do to change my SSN to my married name now when my ID already says it? I know they need proof of identity. I do have my marriage license. My parents have misplaced my birth certificate so I need to file for one of those as well…

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi RL. Bring in a certified copy of your marriage certificate and your current driver's license.

      Reply
  80. Nancy Figueroa

    Hi my name is Nancy. I got married in 13yrs ago. N my husband is bipolar, when he gets angry he is always saying, "I want my last name back", so can anyone tell how I can change back to my maiden name , on my SS card, drvers license? Please help !

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Nancy. You would have to petition the court. Once you're granted a court order to change your name, you can do so.

      Reply

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