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!

594 Comments

  1. Lori

    I am getting a passport for the first time, and after that getting re-married, Do I have to change my name on my passport

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Valera

      No. If you later undergo a name change you can update your passport to reflect the change, if you so choose.

      Reply
  2. Erica

    HI, I recently got married and just changed my last name. went to social security and the dmv the whole bit..however I was curious because I am currently on unemployment under my maiden name now.. does that affect my unemployment will i stop receiving it?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Erica. It shouldn't be a problem. You can provide proof of your identity and name change with your marriage certificate. You may want to call your state's labor department and inquire if their database automatically syncs with SSA changes. If not, request details of what you need to do to update your record on file.

      Reply
  3. Terri

    I live in Missouri and am getting ready to get a passport. I have all documentation. My first husband passed away and when I married a second time, I kept my first husband's last name (as my middle name) on Social Security Card and Drivers License. My first husband and I had children together and I still wanted to have their last name. I am using my current husbands last name. So my name is
    First name, First husbands last name, and then current last name–ex. Lucy Jones Smith.
    My birth certificate has my given middle name which is Mary. Will I have to prove somehow where this middle name (jones) came from? (like that marriage certificate). Again my SS card and DL match, but my birth certificate has my true middle name. Does this matter when getting a passport.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Valera

      Will I have to prove somehow where this middle name (jones) came from? (like that marriage certificate)

      Not if that's what you previously changed it to. From their perspective, it's simply your middle name. Nothing more, nothing less. Once it's legally changed, its origin doesn't really matter.

      Again my SS card and DL match, but my birth certificate has my true middle name. Does this matter when getting a passport.

      It matters when completing the passport application, as there will be a spot for you to list previous names (e.g., birth, maiden, prior marriage). But it won't prevent you from getting a passport.

      Reply
  4. Emily

    I'm having a bit of an issue. My husband and I recently got married in Illinois but had to relocate to California soon after the wedding (so soon that I was not able to change my name at the DMV). My question is this- In Illinois, on your marriage certificate, they only put down your maiden name. My mother's maiden name was listed as was his mother's. In California they change your last name on the marriage certificate. I'm having a really hard time changing my name here (California) because they won't change it (legally) without a legal document that has my new last name. Well….I don't have any documents that have my new last name. Is there any way I can get around this besides filing a petition to get my name changed (this is a long and expensive process)? I have the legal marriage certificate and I've explained that Illinois doesn't change your name legally on the form…you do that by going to the DMV…but I haven't received much help. It wouldn't be such an issue but I need to change my last name for government related paperwork. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Emily. Update your social security card first. Once that's done, return to the DMV, as your SS record will now reference your new name.

      Reply
  5. linkin

    Hi ..
    what name does a divorced woman use when applying for a marriage license in Tunisia..my passport name or name on birth certificate

    Reply
  6. cathy

    Hi…..When I married I dropped my middle name and used my maiden name and husbands last name. Now I am divorced but still legally have my ex husbands last name. I want to re-marry. So, when applying for marriage license do I apply using name on my birth certificate or my married name? thank you

    Reply
    • Valera

      Now I am divorced but still legally have my ex husbands last name. I want to re-marry. So, when applying for marriage license do I apply using name on my birth certificate or my married name?

      Married name.

      Reply
  7. Diana

    Hi
    I only have one name( diana) .im from refugee. I here in Canada at 2007 and I saw everybody has a last name, now I want to add my father name for my last name, his name is ( kyi sain) so I want to have my father name (sain) to become my lastname, it wil be possible?

    Reply
    • Valera

      I here in Canada at 2007 and I saw everybody has a last name, now I want to add my father name for my last name

      In Canada, you can change your last name through the vital statistics office/agency.

      Reply
      • Diana

        When I came to Canada My age is two year older, when I call cic to fix is they say they need birth certificate but I told them that I'm from refugee n I don't have it, so what can I do?

        Reply
        • Valera

          when I call cic to fix is they say they need birth certificate but I told them that I'm from refugee n I don't have it, so what can I do?

          What was their reaction when you notified them you weren't able to supply a birth certificate? Did they suggest an alternative form of documentation, such as a passport, school records/certificates, membership cards to political organizations or unions, or business documents?

          Reply
  8. Nilambari Salvi

    Hi, I am married for last 4.5 years now and we have a 3 year old son. I never wanted to change my maiden name after marriage and so did I stand by my decision. It was very obvious that my in-laws were against it but surprisingly even my parents were not very happy with this.

    I didnot really face any major problem so far but today when I went to fill up an admission for in a well known school in Mumbai for my son they refused the application saying that Father's and Mother's surname differ. This is really disturbing for me. Can you please advice me what can be done and can I still apply for his admission with my maiden name.

    On other hand I am also doubtful about sending my son to the school which does not respect basic rights of a human being or rather a woman.

    Awaiting for your comments.

    Thanks.

    Nilambari

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Nilambari. Is this a policy of the school or government? Are they refusing entry due to the names not matching or because they don't have sufficient documentation verifying you're the parents?

      Reply
  9. amanda

    hi Im wanting to apply for my first adult passport I was married but now divorced but kept my married surname but I know for the passport they want my birth certificate and that as my maiden name on do you know what documents I will need to send in with the birth certificate and how I get copies plz

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Amanda. You'll also bring in your driver's license and two recent 2×2 color photographs of yourself. You can go to most large-end drugstores and request some passport photos be taken. You can contact your local vital records office to get one or more copies of your birth certificate.

      Reply
  10. nichole

    I've been married since February 2013, i have not changed my name on any documents expect the marriage license. My question is now that its tax time does social security automatically get the information about my marriage or do i need to report it before filing my taxes thank you

    Reply
    • Valera

      does social security automatically get the information about my marriage or do i need to report it

      It's not automatic. You must report your name change to the SSA for your record to be updated.

      Reply
  11. Sandy

    I recently got remarried after being married to my first husband for 30 yrs. I did not change my name when I got remarried because I wanted it to be the same as my children. My question is am I only married on paper until I change my name and let SS know, do I need to do that before my marriage is validated and recognized?

    Reply
    • Valera

      My question is am I only married on paper until I change my name and let SS know, do I need to do that before my marriage is validated and recognized?

      Your marriage is valid. You don't need to do anything extra.

      Reply
  12. Armywife

    I have a ? I was remarried over 11 years ago never change my name to his. But on my marrige License I use my maiden name not my current name i go by i still use my x husbands last name. But did not want my x husbands last name on my marrige license so I used my Maiden name.

    But i want to change it to my current husbands last name since my kids from my x are older. So when i go down to get a new card my drivers license will have a different name than what is on my marriage license. Got remarried used my madien name on the marriage license but currently go bye my ex-husband's last name wanted to change to my current husband.. Confusing i know lol

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Armywife. You shouldn't face any issues. If necessary, you can provide documents detailing your maiden name, such as a birth certificate. The name you're planning to change to (your new husband's) is listed on the marriage document. So that's what'll be used as a reference.

      Reply
  13. brandon

    So my wife and I got married last year, in another country. I have made things complicated. I changed my name legally, through the court, to my mother's maiden name after the wedding. What would be the easiest way to start to change my wife's name? Since the marriage license has my old name on it. Should we just go to social security and dmv with my deed from the court or do they need to see it on the marriage license?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Brandon. Your own recommended course of action is a smart way to go about it. Your court document can be used to verify your identity.

      Reply
  14. Marissa

    I love my maiden name and I recently just changed it to my married name at the SSA and at the DMV, but I'm having doubts about it now and would like to change it back to my maiden name. Is it possible?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Marissa. As you've already changed it once, you'll have to petition the court to change it again.

      Reply
  15. Erica

    since i got married and just recently changed my name, i was curious.. is my maiden name still associated with my social security number?

    Reply
    • Valera

      is my maiden name still associated with my social security number?

      If you haven't notified the SSA of your name change, then your SSN is still applied to your maiden name.

      Reply
  16. Daisy Chiti

    Hi i just got my permanent residence approved on it is my husband last name,i want to change my ss card name too but my problem is have been applying for jobs under my maiden name,am hoping some1 will employ me soon but what happens if they run my maiden name and they cant find my ssn on it should i wait till i get a job?secondly i dont want to wait coz i want my ssn to match with resident card coz am applying for a school loan?what should i do?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Daisy. Could you contact the establishments you sent applications to and notify them of your upcoming name change? Provide them an addendum of some sort so that they're aware of the potential name difference? You should contact your school about your loan to determine which identification(s) they'll expect, accept, and will verify.

      Reply
  17. Tonicia W

    Tax purposes. Am I still able to use my maiden name even though my name is hypnated? A lot of people told me either way.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Tonicia. Some people will register their maiden name as a DBA, then use that to file their business-related taxes. If this is not your situation you'll need to use your legal name.

      Reply
    • Kelly

      For federal tax purposes (and probably for state as well) the name on your tax form needs to match what is shown on your (current) Social Security card. So it'd be best to put your name down as such.

      Reply
  18. Hema . V

    hi
    i got married 2years ago to a muslim. My name in my husbands passport is Heena .Now we just wanted my name in my husbands passport as Hema only . Kindly can you advice us how to go about.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Hema. What country is the passport issued from? Are you looking to modify your first and/or last name?

      Reply
  19. Mika

    Hi, I am getting married this spring. I know it is uncommon, but is it possible to have my husband (to-be) 's surname as my middle name and keep my current last name?
    FYI I do not have a middle name right now. So it is not a change but an addition.
    I thought it is a great compromise solution to have both names,because I do not want to lose my name which I established my career on but at the same time it would be nice to have my husband's name incorporated officially. Many websites talk about having maiden name as middle name and husband's surname as new surname but could not find any resource for this idea.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Mika. You wouldn't be able to accomplish this with a typical marriage-based name change. You'd have to go through the court for such a change.

      Reply
  20. Kelaila Guzman

    Hello,
    I moved from California to Texas…I never got the chance to change my last name when we got married. So when I moved to Texas I said that would be my opportunity to do so when I change my license. My husband has 2 last names because he is from Puerto Rico Rodriguez Barrios and we got married in California at the court house they asked me what I was going to go by and I put down Rodriguez because I don't need his mothers last name so when I when to switch my license at the DMV the lady told me that I had to by law pick up the Barrios Last name and I told her that's not what I was told plus I didn't get married in Texas I got married in California. So I wanted to know if I they can make me take the Barrios name if I don't want to…is a Law? I appreciate your response thank you

    Reply
    • Valera

      So I wanted to know if I they can make me take the Barrios name if I don't want to

      DMV is a state-level institution, so you'll have to abide by their guidelines. What may have been applicable in one state won't necessarily apply in another.

      Reply
  21. misty

    hello, i am a green card holder,i got divorced in December 2013 and married to a new guy in January 2014. my question is can i filled in for my new husband with my ex husband name on my green card,ssn or changed it to my new husband's name before filling for my new husband.thanks

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Misty. Not sure what you're getting at here. If the form is asking for your husband's name, you should specify your current husband.

      Reply
  22. Kim

    Hi! I would like to know how to change my name back to my maiden name. I was divorced 7 years ago but did not at the time change my name because I wanted it to stay the same as my children's. However, my children are older now and I miss my maiden name.

    Someone once told me that since I didn't change my name with the social security office that I could just revert back to my maiden name with the dmv by bringing my birth certificate and social security card and having it changed. Is this correct or do I need to go through the formalities of changing it through the courts?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Kim. Did your divorce decree have an order restoring your maiden name? If so, use that as proof of name change. Otherwise, the courts.

      Reply
      • Kelly

        Actually, according to the SSA guidelines, they will allow you to revert to a maiden name (as shown on your birth certificate, you'll need that for proof) without any court papers IF you can obtain another form of ID under that name. In other words, if your state will let you update your DL/ID without a decree that orders the name change, you'll likely be good to go. If the state requires court papers to do the name change, then you'll need to do that. (This is a form of "common law name change" that I've described before.)

        Reply
  23. Carrie

    This is wonderful information-thank you! I am really stressing about what to do in my situation.
    1. I had been married for 15 years and was hyphenated smith-jones. During this time my carreer took off and I have been published in a number of texts and have obtained my masters under Jones. I dropped off smith (maiden name) a long time ago.
    2. Divorced but kept Jones for my kids sake and professionally all over bios/publications/ and is my identity. Although I hate being apart of Jones and giving my ex's family name credit for my accomplishments
    3. Engaged to be remarried to an Italian man with a great last fun name- I was open to taking it completely, but professionally people are telling me to go back to my maiden name which sounds professional and is well respected. SO here is the real question: If I go back to my maiden name Carrie Smith and hyphenate his fun, but long name —- on my publications and documentations legally (as an advance practice nurse) can I sign only Carrie Smith. On Checks, and CC and life stuff can I be Carrie Funname OR Do I have to be hyphinated on everything with will be a nightmare.
    Any advice is so appreciated..I am so confused and it sucks I am professionally established under Jones- but I have 30 more years to be re-established professionally. My Fiance is absolutely against me being Jones-Funname.

    Reply
    • Valera

      SO here is the real question: If I go back to my maiden name Carrie Smith and hyphenate his fun, but long name —- on my publications and documentations legally (as an advance practice nurse) can I sign only Carrie Smith.

      Not on legal-based documents. You'll have to sign your legal name.

      On Checks, and CC and life stuff can I be Carrie Funname OR Do I have to be hyphinated on everything with will be a nightmare.

      On check's, your bank may allow flexibility if you explain the situation. For CC's it's more problematic. They'll want your name on your card to be your legal name. They'll want it to match the name on your credit report. There are identity theft issues as well.

      Any advice is so appreciated..I am so confused and it sucks I am professionally established under Jones- but I have 30 more years to be re-established professionally.

      Maintaining the name you've established over the years is the path of least resistence. Draw up a t-chart weighing the pros and cons, and that could decide it for you. If you must change your name, but need to maintain your established name for business purposes, you may want to consider registering your preferred name as a DBA and using it as you would a company name.

      Reply
    • Kelly

      In terms of your nursing documents – ask whoever's in charge if you can "truncate" your name. As long as you're clearly identifiable you may be able to just use a part of a hyphenated last name.

      If you'd like to maintain a credit card under your maiden name, contact the CC company – chances are they'd be OK with it. I've known cases where an individual maintains a CC under a truncated last name (as in your case), initials, middle name, and in my experience with transgender people even a case where one got a CC under her chosen name before it was legally changed. Remember any form of your name you use for credit purposes will be recorded as an AKA on your credit report (but in your case your maiden name would probably already be recorded on there, so for you this is a moot point).

      Once again, contrary to what some assume, what is exactly your "legal name" is not cut-and-dried since "common law" permits (in many cases) individuals to assume another name as long as they're not being fraudulent. Of course others are not bound to recognize a non-ordered name change (even technically a name change from marriage if the license does not specifically state the name change, but for most heterosexual marriages it will in practice be universally recognized). You can often use an alternate version of your name as long as you're clearly identifiable, but if you want to significantly change your name (where there would be question that it's the same person) that's where you usually need a court order to be successful.

      Reply
  24. Amanda

    I got married last year and have not changed my SS card. I have changed my name on a few accounts and my DL. Is this ok? Can I continue changing my name without changing my SS card? I did read where it might cause a problem when I have to get my license renewed. Would it be best to just go ahead and change the SS card?

    Thanks,
    Amanda

    Reply
    • Valera

      Can I continue changing my name without changing my SS card? I did read where it might cause a problem when I have to get my license renewed.

      When renewal time comes around, the DMV is likely to query the SSA database and find a name mismatch, which could result in problems renewing until you correct the discrepancy.

      Would it be best to just go ahead and change the SS card?

      Yes, unless you want to go through the process of reverting to your prior name.

      Reply
  25. Quan Le

    Hello

    I am a US Citizen and I married my wife in Vietnam. We got our marriage certificate which shows her maiden name. When she came to The United States, I took her to the Social Security Office. The person there said she had to take my last name and wouldn't let her keep her maiden name. They told me I need to change the green card name after. I want to know is it possible to change to maiden name again because there is no legal documents requesting a name change. I feel like I need to get a divorce to change her maiden name but I don't want to because I love my wife.

    Thank You

    Quan

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Quan. I feel like there's a missing piece of the puzzle here. What was the explanation for why they said she had to take your last name? Of course, anyone can change their name by going through the courts, but it's not clear that your situation merits that path. Please provide some additional clarification.

      Reply
      • Quan Le

        The Social Security person said that since she is married to you It is better for her to take my last name. I said to him that i want her to keep her maiden name but he kept on insisting. I decided to went with it because I thought it was a law. My mom and dad kept their maiden name. My dad took my wife back to the Social Security administration and they said they can't change it. I think because they had a problem with my out of the country marriage certificate.

        Thank You

        Reply
  26. Angela

    I was married last August and have done my name change on everything but my soc. sec card and passport. I had submitted my taxes for this year and they came back rejected because I put my married name on the form (as that is what is on the W-2 from my employer) but it's rejecting it because my maiden name is what is on the soc. sec. card. Can I put my maiden name on the tax form even though my married name is what shows on the W-2?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Can I put my maiden name on the tax form even though my married name is what shows on the W-2?

      The names must match. You'll need to contact your employer and have them issue you a corrected W-2.

      Reply
  27. maggie

    hello,

    I have a question, I had my u.S. citizenship interview on monday, my certificate has my maiden name. I got married in 2009 , in the marriage certificate im with my husband's last name, but I never used.

    my question is .. can I take my husbands last name after 5 years of marriage? what do I need to do to change my naturalization certificate , SS, etc? i need to go to court? thanks

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Maggie. You can still change your name using the regular marriage name change process. You can use your marriage certificate to update your SS. You can contact USCIS about modifying your naturalization certificate.

      Reply
  28. Michael

    My wife was told by a Texas DMV representative that since she does not have a middle name it is required that her Maiden name be used as her middle name on her driver's license. We felt this was a security risk since maiden names are used by banks and other financial institutes to verify identity. (she has already been a victim of identity thief) Also, my wife does not want to use her maiden name as her middle name. Her SS card already states just her first name and her married name and that is it. How can include only her first name and her newly married name on her TX DL?

    Reply
    • Valera

      My wife was told by a Texas DMV representative that since she does not have a middle name it is required that her Maiden name be used as her middle name on her driver's license.

      Texas Administrative Code (Title 37, Part 1, Chapter 15, Subchapter B, Rule §15.23 Names) references this:

      If she chooses to adopt her husband's surname, the application should list married name, first name, and middle name, or the maiden name may be used in lieu of middle name at the option of the applicant.

      …snip…

      In all cases, three full names will be used, unless the applicant does not have three names, including the maiden name.

      I'm wondering if the bit at the end isn't being misinterpreted by the agent you saw. The three full names requirement would apply for someone who has a middle name, but didn't want to use their maiden name. But you're saying your wife doesn't have a middle name, so I don't see how the rule would apply to her situation.

      Just to be clear, are you saying your wife doesn't have a middle name printed on her SS card, even though she actually has a middle name. Or she really has no middle name, going back to the birth certificate?

      Regardless, I would try again and reference the administrative code above to see if it's truly applicable to your wife, considering she's never had (I'm assuming) a middle name.

      Reply
  29. Tiffany Cooper

    Hi from ALASKA

    Our marriage certificate states my maiden -married hyphen name ex. Tiffany Cooper-Allen. But I kept my maiden name Tiffany Cooper legally. Which name should be on my retirement / joint retirement / life insurance etc? My leagal name or my marriage certifcate name? My husbands doesn't know which name should be on these important documents.

    Thank you for your time.
    Tiffany

    Reply
    • Valera

      But I kept my maiden name Tiffany Cooper legally. Which name should be on my retirement / joint retirement / life insurance etc? My leagal name or my marriage certifcate name?

      Legal name, since you haven't change it.

      Reply
  30. NW

    I'm looking for clarification on name change guidelines. I'll be getting married in Wisconsin but am a resident of California and will continue to live in CA after the wedding.

    The guidelines around middle name change seem confusing for CA and since our marriage license will be issued by WI I'm not sure what to do. I'm considering taking my future husbands last as my middle and dropping my given middle name OR adding on his lastname as a second lastname. If I do the latter, will I always need to use both last names or just on formal documents?

    Reply
    • Valera

      If I do the latter, will I always need to use both last names or just on formal documents?

      You'll have to use both names on legal/formal documents. For non-formal circumstances, use your best judgment. For instance, if you're going to fill out a form that will likely attempt to cross-reference your name with a credit check, it's important for the names to match. When filling out a job application, background checks may be performed, so it's important for the names to match.

      Reply
  31. Tamara

    Hello, my daughter got married June 2008 and then divorced two months later. She took his name in marriage but never had it changed on her drivers license or ss card. After the divorce, she just went back to her maiden name without contacting the court. It does NOT stipulate that she may return to her maiden name in her dissolution papers. Now she is wondering if it was legal going back to her maiden name. She was married such a short time. Can she continue to use her maiden name or does she need to go through the name change process? She lives in Ohio incidentally. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Valera

      She took his name in marriage but never had it changed on her drivers license or ss card.

      If she stated on her marriage documents that she intended to take her ex-husband's name but never actually did so, then she never actually changed her name. So, even in divorce, her current name is her maiden name. In that case, there's nothing to change.

      You may want to suggest that your daughter contact the court clerk to have her divorce decree corrected/amended to reflect her actual name, which is her maiden name.

      Reply
  32. Anna

    hello, I am having a couple issues with my last name and my bank account. I was married for 5 years and now am divorced for the past few years. When I married I never changed my ss card to my new last name. The only thing I changed was my DL. The issue I am having now but have never had in the past years is with my tax refund. I use my maiden name for everything due to my SS cars not being changed. I have had my tax refund deposited in my bank account last year and this year. Well now I get a phone call from my bank saying that I need to get a new debt card saying my maiden name before I am aloud to touch my money in my account.

    Heres the problem: 1. My purse was stolen last year and my SS card was in it and I have not gotten a new one yet. 2. I dont have my divorce papers but can get them from my lawyer but in those papers it states I was keeping my ex-husbands last name due to my 3 children. 3. It doesnt matter to me what last name I have, I just want access to my money. 4. This was not a problem last year at the same bank.

    What can I do when the DMV wants a SS card and the SS office wants a DL with correct name. Either way it seems like I am screwed! How can I go back to my maiden name????

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Anna. You need to get a duplicate/replacement SS card. Since you can't supply a driver's license, you'll have to provide an alternative identity document, such as a school or employee ID card, U.S. military ID, life insurance policy, or U.S. passport. You'll also need to bring in the original or certified copy of your birth certificate.

      Reply
  33. Candy

    Hi,

    Thanks for all the info, I read through a lot of the comments, it is very helpful. Here is my situation:

    I got married 2 weeks ago and added my husband's last name to my maiden name on the marriage certificate. I haven't gone to SS office or DMV or anywhere to change my name yet. It is only in the marriage certificate so far because I changed my mind and do not want to change my name now. I am currently in the US with a work visa, H1B, on my maiden name. My husband will apply for a green card for me. Here's the question. Do we apply for the green card using my maiden name (since it is my legal name) or the new name (as it is stated in the marriage certificate)? I understand that marriage certificate is not a legal name change document but it is the proof that I am married to my husband for the green card purposes. I really don't want to change my name, it is such a hassle but I am not sure if it will be a problem with the USCIS office. If I apply with my maiden name, will they issue a green card to me with my maiden name even though the marriage certificate shows that I changed my name to a different married name? or will they give me a green card with my married name, since it is what marriage certificate says? Please advise. Thank you so much in advance.

    Reply
    • Valera

      You'll be using your maiden name. Since you've decided not to change your name, the alternative name on your certificate isn't applicable.

      Reply
  34. Laura

    i was married in august '13, and added his last name to mine at the social security office and dmv. so now its lauren maiden married. can i still use my maiden name when i file my taxes this year?

    Reply
  35. kathleen

    i am about to get married again.i use my maiden name ,the registry office said i need to show them my marriage certificate to link the names together,i don't have it it was sent to the court.what do i do now ?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Kathleen. The marriage certificate isn't available until after you're married. Are you looking to get a certificate from a prior marriage? Here's some info about getting a copy of your marriage certificate, which should be able to help you get what you need if there's a filed certificate in existence.

      Reply
  36. Mollie

    Hi, I changed my ss card a about 3 months ago, but I haven't changed my passport yet. Is my passport still legal?

    Thanks?

    Reply
  37. Valerie

    I got married in September, and I did put in a request to change my SSN. I would like to continue to use my maiden name for now- at work, on my DL, my credit cards, etc. Is that okay, or am I legally responsible to change it everywhere since my SSC says my married name??

    Reply
    • Kelly

      Anything tied to the SSA database – your work, the IRS, (in most states) your DL, etc. the name must match (so in your case that means you must use your married name for those). For credit cards (like I said a few posts above) it depends on whether or not the company will let you keep one under an alternate name.

      Reply
  38. Anand

    Hi, I am a hindu guy, got married to a muslim girl. Yes its a love marriage. while getting married, my father-in-law accepted me only if i change my name like converting. So they have arranged documents for name change. Like a letter from a advocate.. its been 3yrs now, i didint change my name to a muslim name.even my marriage certificate is with my real name only.Was using my old name only.bt now,my wife is conceived. so they were asking me to change my name. i dont want to change my old name in all the proofs right from my school, office and social(bank,credit cards, passport).. is there any idea to change my new name without affecting the proofs of old name.As i have many proofs in that. please advise me. Can i add my old name to the new name(like Zafer Anand?), so that i dont need to change in any proofs…please advise.

    Reply
  39. Misty

    I got married in 2001 and I signed my married name on the marriage certificate but the night we got married he burned it so I couldn't change my name I have been using my maiden name for everything. Can I get in trouble for this? and how do I go about filling for divorce so I can get married to my fiancée now? I live in Ill. Thank You

    Reply
    • Valera

      Can I get in trouble for this?

      No. From what you've described, you never went through a name change, so your legal name remains your maiden name. Divorce, and other legal documents, should be filed under your actual legal name.

      Reply
  40. yiselle

    Hello,
    I'm in process of getting a divorce. But I have some confusion. I never change my name on my greed card to my married name. Its still under my maiden name. Its almost time to renew it. I would like to keep it with my maiden since I'm going through a divorce. Even though I have DL, SS ,and credit card under my marriage name. Do I need to renew my green card with my married name or can I just renew with my maiden name.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Do I need to renew my green card with my married name or can I just renew with my maiden name.

      It's important for the name on your green card to match your social security record. At the time of renewal it should match your current legal name, whatever that may be at the time.

      Prior to renewal you can bring up your intent to restore your maiden name following your divorce and how they can accommodate that ultimate modification.

      Reply
  41. Hope

    I decided to take my husband's last name when we got married two years ago. I'm fairly young, and soon I'll be entering college to refine my writing skills. If we could go back in time, I probably would have stuck with my maiden name, seeing as how it seems slightly costly to petition your name change in court. (We are happily married, I've just had a change of heart when it comes to the name situation.) I've changed all legal documents to his last name. My SS, financial aid, passport, driver's license, & banking info. When it comes to school, for social and artistic reasons, especially if I ever end up working for a local newspaper…I would very much like to be known by my maiden name. Especially in school, including my diploma at the end of it all. Would this be acceptable by the college if I address it with someone and provide my birth and marriage certificate, just making it apparent I want to go by one and not the other? Thanks for taking the time to read this, I appreciate it.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Would this be acceptable by the college if I address it with someone and provide my birth and marriage certificate, just making it apparent I want to go by one and not the other?

      It may be possible. It's up to the college, so you'll have to take it up with them.

      Reply
  42. Bevin

    Hi, I was married in November and my marriage license states my first name, my maiden last name, and my husband's last name. I dropped my maiden middle name so I could keep my maiden last name as my middle. I need to renew my passport for our honeymoon in May and want to keep my name the same on it (maiden). So my question is, do I need to report the marriage name change if I want to keep my maiden name on my passport? I have not changed any other documents and will not for a while. I just wanted to be sure that I am doing the right thing before I send my application off for the passport renewal. Thank you for your help!

    Reply
    • Valera

      So my question is, do I need to report the marriage name change if I want to keep my maiden name on my passport?

      No. Keep in mind, the name on your airline tickets must match the name on your passport.

      Reply
  43. Janet

    22 years ago when I married I intended to take my husband's last name but never changed it with SS. (He put the certificate away in the security deposit box right away and I never got it back out to do the paperwork) I did renew my drivers license using my maiden name as middle name and his last name. Now this year they won't renew my DL because the name doesn't match SS card. Went to change SS card today and they can't use my marriage certificate because it is more than 2 years old. I don't really care which name I go by but I do need a new DL. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Janet. Contact the vital records office where you certificate was filed, then order a new certified copy. Your driver's license is an identity document showing your new name. Your marriage certificate provides proof of marriage. The combination of these two documents should be sufficient to process your name change with the SSA. After the SSA updates their records, return to the DMV to renew your license.

      Reply
  44. Tosha

    Hi my W2s form have my maiden name in my Id have my marriage name but I never changed my social can I still fill our will I have to change everything

    Reply
    • Valera

      The name on you W2′s must match the name on your social. Since they do currently match, you should be good to go.

      Reply
  45. mikki

    Hi, I'm new to your site. I have a question. I got married 6/26/11. I wanted to know if it was too late to change it. I had two days off from work and never got around to it. When I do change next week will it show that I'll only been married since the date that I changed or will it be for the dated that it was issued.
    I know that I have been legally married since 2011 but my name haven't been changed. My husband and I work together so my job has my name under my married but my SS and DL still under maiden. Please help

    Reply
    • Valera

      I wanted to know if it was too late to change it.

      No, it's not too late.

      When I do change next week will it show that I'll only been married since the date that I changed or will it be for the dated that it was issued.

      I'm not sure what you're referring to. Any reference to the date you married would be the actual date.

      Reply
  46. Sharon

    I changed my last name when I got married 30 years ago. For approximately 10 years now I have been doing unpaid professional advocacy work and have used my maiden name. I am now completing my Ph.D. and would like to continue to use my maiden name to do paid consulting work. I will be creating an LLC, and I'm wondering if I can use my maiden name for legal transactions when 1) forming the LLC, and 2) doing business with clients. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Sharon. For legal purposes, you'll have to use your actual, changed full name.

      Reply
  47. Victoria

    I recently remarried & my marriage l chose to hyphenate my maiden & my new husbands name….. so I can keep using my maiden name for professional purposes & my husbands name in all other aspects. All my documents have been updated. I have an 11 yr old who requested my ex to sign permission on the court name change form for minors to list his name then hyphen & her new dads name. If he allows this I know I need to alert the school of legal name change but with the hyphen can she use my new husbands name in everyday situations and be referred to that last name (w/o ex's last name) by teachers & in activities? Her biological father recently moved to Fla. & they have had very limited contact since she was 3. She wants to use the same last name as me & her new "dad" but ex will not allow her to totally remove his last name & she does not want to give up her middle name but wants to be known primarily as her stepdads last name. What is the best way to handle this situation???? TIA

    Reply
    • Valera

      If he allows this I know I need to alert the school of legal name change but with the hyphen can she use my new husbands name in everyday situations and be referred to that last name (w/o ex's last name) by teachers & in activities?

      Yes, it is possible if the school will agree to refer to your child by an alias. You'll have to contact the school to arrange that.

      Reply
  48. Patty

    I got married last feb here in Cali. I got my husbands name but the girl who let sign our marriage contract write my middle name as my new middle name too.. So instead of my surname would be my new middle name.. Is that ok??

    Reply
    • Valera

      Your middle name was incorrectly replaced by your middle name? Are you saying your middle name should have been replaced by your maiden name, but your middle name was maintained instead? Please clarify.

      Reply
  49. Breezy

    I changed my married name only on my passport to my maiden name. Can i keep using my married name on my social security card, driver's license, IRS forms and insurance?

    Reply
  50. Lee

    If you are re-marrying and have never legally changed your name back to your maiden name,and you use your maiden name on your new marriage certificate, does that void the marriage?

    Reply
  51. Azalea

    I'm not sure if you'll be able to answer this one but it's worth a try. I was in the military and got married just before my separation date so didn't feel the need to change it for the military. Although I did legally change my name and notified everything else of the name change. I am now filling out an application to keep my life insurance coverage with the military. Should I continue using my maiden name or do I use my married name?

    Reply
  52. Kim

    Here's a real doozy for you. My last name was recorded on my birth certificate as my mothers maiden name "Smith". When I was 4 years old, my mother married my stepfather (who never legally adopted me) and obtained a Social Security card for me with his last name, "Green" and I've gone by that name (through school, jobs, taxes, all) using "Green" my whole 46 years.

    I obtained a passport with "Green" by showing my DL and explaining what I just explained to you. 1) Which would actually be my legal name, Smith or Green? 2) I've been thinking I might like to have a Consulting Business using the name on my birth certificate (which I've never used for anything before) while still using the Green name as I always have (for banking, W-2s, SS, etc). How might this be possible ( get a DBA as Smith?) 3) When I get married, can I adopt "Green-Married Name' (with or without hyphen) but keep bank accounts, credit cards and such under "Green" only? 4) If I then were to get a divorce (after adding his last name with mine)…would it be difficult to go back to just Green on SS card if divorced? What if I changed my name at marriage to his last name….but got divorced and wanted to go back to Green on SS card? Would SS office force me to use name on birth cert or give me another one with Green since I've had one before?

    I once called the SS office and asked questions related to what name I could use for business and they seemed to be confused themselves as my mother could never walk in and get a SS card with a different name than my birth cert stated (without court name change) today.

    Reply
    • Valera

      1) Which would actually be my legal name, Smith or Green?

      Green.

      2) I've been thinking I might like to have a Consulting Business using the name on my birth certificate

      …snip…

      How might this be possible ( get a DBA as Smith?)

      DBA is a sensible option.

      3) When I get married, can I adopt "Green-Married Name' (with or without hyphen) but keep bank accounts, credit cards and such under "Green" only?

      Yes, to first part. Maybe, on the second, if your bank will allow it.

      4) If I then were to get a divorce (after adding his last name with mine)…would it be difficult to go back to just Green on SS card if divorced?

      No. Request the judge put in an order to restore your previous name.

      What if I changed my name at marriage to his last name….but got divorced and wanted to go back to Green on SS card? Would SS office force me to use name on birth cert or give me another one with Green since I've had one before?

      They'll use the name that is specified to be restored in your divorce decree.

      Reply
  53. Sindy

    Hello..I got married and want to take my husbands name , but I'm not legal in this country for now . I have my social security number and a work authorization through the " Dreamers Act " But my question is , if I change my name , will I have problems when I'll renew my work authorization.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Sindy. You should be fine as long as your records with USCIS are properly updated. You'll want to make sure your name records are synced.

      Reply
  54. Anna

    is there any way i can i change my lastname to my maiden name on my drivers license ( its only on my driver license) my social , my us passport and even my checks from work is on my maiden name, cause me and my ex wasnt together for a long time, less than 2 months after marriage we got separated, we warent living together or have any kids together, we werent married in us so by the law officially i am not even married here in USA, the DPS wont change the driver license name until i will bring them divorse documents, they wont barge or listen, my ex divorced me only this year from another country and dont want to send me documents, this is bothering me alot, i dont wanna live forever with my driver license like this.

    by the law in the country where i got married he doesnt have to send me any papers at all, since we never almost even live together, the marriage was a sham from the start and it was doomed.

    but what am I suppost to do with the stupid last name on my license. what if i get stopped by police and they ask me for licence ( one lastname ) and my insurance ( another last name) am I breaking any law here? if so but how is it my fault?

    Reply
  55. Ana

    Hi:

    I got married 9 months ago and, at the time I was not sure about taking my husband's name. Now i want to take it but can I just do this change on my SS and not the marriage certificate? Will they ask for this name change to be on my marrige certificate?
    Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Now i want to take it but can I just do this change on my SS and not the marriage certificate?

      Yes.

      Reply
  56. Mishell

    I hyphenated my last name when I was married 2 years ago, and I was wondering if I can legally sign documents with just my spouses last name, or if I have to always include the entire hyphenated version? I apologize if anyone has asked this already. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Valera

      can legally sign documents with just my spouses last name, or if I have to always include the entire hyphenated version?

      You'll have to sign your full hyphenated name on such documents.

      Reply
  57. gaby

    Hi, I'm married and live in California. I took my husband's last name and changed it on my DL and SSN. I'm still working under my maiden name though. Am I wrong for doing this? My W2 also shows my maiden name. Do I do taxes with my maiden name or my husband's last name?

    Reply
    • Valera

      My W2 also shows my maiden name. Do I do taxes with my maiden name or my husband's last name?

      Husband's last name. You should get your W2 updated to reflect it as well.

      Reply
  58. Darya

    I got married and legally changed my name on SSN, drivers license but not on my green card or russian passport. Can I still order airplane tickets inder my maiden name since it appers on my passport and green card? Thanks.

    Reply
  59. dawn

    I would like to know if I can legally go back to using my maiden name on my drivers license, ss card and irs? I've been estranged from my husband for 2 yrs, we live in different states.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Dawn. If you were looking to restore your maiden name post-divorce, you could request the judge put in an order restoring your maiden name. But, for your non-divorce situation, you're looking at having to go the court petition route.

      Reply
  60. Elsy

    Hi today monday I just changed my last name on the ssa & they said that within7-10 days I should receive my new ss card , after receiving that in the mail will that be my official name?

    Also do I have to change my last name on my passport and birth certificate?
    In what other documents is it necessary for me to change to my married name ?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Valera

      after receiving that in the mail will that be my official name?

      Yes.

      Also do I have to change my last name on my passport and birth certificate?

      No.

      In what other documents is it necessary for me to change to my married name ?

      Anything that references your prior name, you should look into updating. Government and non-governmental. Anything work, wage, or tax-related. Insurance accounts (e.g., life, health, car). Check your mail stack for bills, bank/credit card statements, and subscriptions you'll need to transition. Online accounts you've registered.

      Reply
  61. Yeng

    Hello,

    I was married 5 months ago. I will be travelling out of the country on May. The ticket I purchased used my maiden name which matches my passport's. I do not want to renew my passport yet as this is to expire on 2016 and it will consume time, effort and expense. Will it be okay? I may not be able to use a verification ID to support my identity in the passport because my IDs are all now under my married name.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Yeng. You should be fine, as your passport and ticket names match.

      Reply
  62. wrigley

    Hello!

    I got married in 2007, and kept my maiden name for a while, Jane Smith. In 2008, while renewing my Drivers' License, I changed my name to my married name – Jane Smith Jones. I have been employed several times using my passport as documentation which is under my married name – Jane Smith.

    In 2013, I had to renew my passport, and I had to change my name to match my driver's license – Jane Smith Jones. Now, when I fill out paperwork for jobs, people want me to put that name, Jane Smith Jones, even though for work I use my maiden name as my professional name – Jane Smith. I have never changed my SS card name from Jane Smith, and so far have not had a problem renewing my driver's license. Is the DL/SS card match something that is new? Will I have problems with this in the future?

    I file my taxes under Jane Smith and all my accounts are Jane Smith. Recently I have had problems with an employer who made me put down the name on my passport "Jane Smith Jones" which was fine, except they published that married name, even though I told them I wanted to use the name Jane Smith professionally. I feel like that's an invasion of my privacy, but I don't know if I have any protection on that, although they said they'd use my professional name, which is my maiden name, Jane Smith.

    So, two questions – am I going to have a problem getting a DL if my SS card isn't updated with the married name, and are there any rights one has at keeping one's married name private (with the exception of within HR, etc.)? Thanks for your help!!

    Reply
    • Valera

      So, two questions – am I going to have a problem getting a DL if my SS card isn't updated with the married name,

      Yes, this can be a problem down the road. The DMV can query the SSA database, and if there's a name mis-match reissuance of your license may not be possible.

      and are there any rights one has at keeping one's married name private (with the exception of within HR, etc.)? Thanks for your help!!

      For tax-related purposes, whatever name your employer uses must match your social security record. You may want to take a look at this taxes and name change article for a more detailed explanation behind this reasoning.

      As for keeping your married name private, that would have to worked out with your employer. You previously mentioned your married name was published when you asked that it not be disclosed. Was an explanation given as to why that happened? Was it inadvertent? Do they have a policy position about this? Did they provide future assurance (verbal or written) that such an error would not happen again?

      Reply
  63. Melissa

    I am getting remarried. I would like to have my middle name be my last married name(which I have had for 17 years) and my new last name be my new married name, can I do that? On my Florida DL now it reads Melissa Davids(maiden name) Smith(married name). My SSC reads Melissa Anne(born with middle name) Smith. My passport reads Melissa D Smith. I sign everything now with Melissa Smith.

    If I can make my new middle name be Smith and make my last name my NEW married name, then can I still legally sign as Melissa Smith and as Melissa (new name)? My job that I work at requires me to sign as a representative of the company so I am trying to not have to change my name on all of the documents I sign at work. Is this possible? Basically I would like to have my name read Melissa Smith (new name) on D,.SSC and passport.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Melissa. It's unlikely, as that would be considered more of an arbitrary name change request which typically would have to be done through court petition. As for signing your name, your full legal married name would have to go on legal-based documents.

      Reply
  64. meagan

    I got married in 2012. I changed basically everything except for my Driver's License (life happened and I've never been able to get around to it). I have two questions 1) Can I get in trouble for not changing it within the 30 day period? 2) If I already have my new social security card, do I even have to bring my marriage license with me?

    Reply
    • Valera

      1) Can I get in trouble for not changing it within the 30 day period?

      What do you mean by trouble?

      2) If I already have my new social security card, do I even have to bring my marriage license with me?

      Yes. Bring your marriage "certificate" with you when you go.

      Reply
  65. Sheros

    I'm getting married next week in NC but reside in GA. This is my 2nd marriage. I kept my previous married name because of all the hassle related to name change, including the scary first trip to the SS office. (My first husband is actually deceased since our divorce.) I want to sign my new husband's name as my last name and my maiden name as my middle name on the marriage certificate. Can I do what since I want to wait to go through the name change process for now since my passport and driver's license are fairly new? Passport expires in 6 years and DL expires in 4 years. I also have a mortgage with just my current legal name as the holder. (Another reason I wanted to wait.)

    Does the GA DMV require I use my birth middle name or once I change my social they must match that or do I have to use my full first, birth middle, maiden and married names? Can I wait to change all my documents and for how long can I wait? I was thinking of waiting a year although I'd use my married name socially for now. I own my own small business and am not concerned about changing it professionally. If for some reason I decided to restore my maiden name completely, would that be an easier process?

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Does the GA DMV require I use my birth middle name or once I change my social they must match that

      The name on your drivers license and SSN should match.

      Can I wait to change all my documents and for how long can I wait?

      Although you could wait until renewal time, it's always advisable to make sure your records are synced, sooner rather than later.

      If for some reason I decided to restore my maiden name completely, would that be an easier process?

      Assuming the restoration isn't part of a divorce, then the process is more involved as it would entail petitioning the court. It's not really difficult—just a different process to undertake.

      Reply
  66. April

    I got married in Oct of last year, so I got name change at SS no problem but when I went to get new DL I was told because my birth certificate last name didn't match my maiden name listed on the marriage certificate I have a lot of other work to do. Anyway, I'm wondering if I can take my birth certificate back to the marriage licenses and get it all changed? If not, what can I do? Please help!! Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi April. A few questions for clarification. Which state is this? Did they specify what additional work they expected of you? Are you trying to change something in addition to your last name, such as your middle name?

      Reply
    • Kelly

      April, which should be the "correct" last name – the one your BC shows or the one your ML shows?

      If the name on the ML is wrong, you ought to contact the court where you got it from to have it corrected.

      If the mismatch is because your last name was changed for some other reason at some point (e.g. adopted, wrong father, took a stepfather's last name, etc.) either show the court documentation along with everything else when changing to your married name, or contact the Vital Records department in the state you were born in to have your BC amended to show the correct maiden name. (For most official purposes your maiden name is defined as the one you had right before your first marriage, so if that is the case then the name after, and not before, the other name change is the one that would be used on things like your children's birth certificates, etc. according to most states' policies.)

      If your BC is in error then likewise try and get it amended to avoid problems in the future.

      Reply
  67. Mili

    Hello,
    I changed my name from married name to maiden name in my naturalization certificate…

    I have 2 question
    1.If someday I want to take again my husband's last name do I need to go to court and pay? or Can I use my marriage certificate?

    2. I have a order court of name change, Can I still use my old name (married name) or Do I need to use in everything (SS, DMV) my new name ? just curious.

    Thank you.

    Thank you

    Reply
  68. Nancy

    I recently changed my name and got hire by a company I really want to work at. I am expected to start working in the new job in June, but I haven't update my information with the SSN, my question is can I still use my old name for the job (since that's what they have on record and they referred to me with my old name), or do I have to change it and update the information with SSA. And what about when they run background checks, would it matter since i haven't update my SSN with the new name?

    Reply
    • Valera

      If the name your employer has on file matches the SSN, then you should keep things unchanged. If they run a background check it'll match, as they'll search against your current legal name. If you later update your SSN, notify your employer of the change so that their records will match.

      Reply
  69. Carrie

    I have moved from Oklahoma to California and I will soon be changing my drivers license. My Oklahoma license has my married name but my social security has my maiden name (divorcing)… Can I legally put my maiden name on my new drivers license?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Can I legally put my maiden name on my new drivers license?

      Yes, as that's what would match your SSN.

      Reply
  70. Belinda

    I got married in Stockton almost 6 yrs ago. I never changed my last name and on my marriage certificate, I signed my maiden name. Will I still be able to change my last name at the DMV and my SSN or will I have to go pay to get my last name changed? I've been wanting to do this for a while but it costs 140 to get it changed here in Washington State. I'm hoping I get response sent to my email.
    Thanks, Belinda

    Reply
  71. wrigley

    MY PREVIOUS QUESTION: and are there any rights one has at keeping one's married name private (with the exception of within HR, etc.)? Thanks for your help!!

    YOUR RESPONSE: For tax-related purposes, whatever name your employer uses must match your social security record. You may want to take a look at this taxes and name change article for a more detailed explanation behind this reasoning.

    As for keeping your married name private, that would have to worked out with your employer. You previously mentioned your married name was published when you asked that it not be disclosed. Was an explanation given as to why that happened? Was it inadvertent? Do they have a policy position about this? Did they provide future assurance (verbal or written) that such an error would not happen again?

    MY RESPONSE: Because my employer took my name from my Passport and not my SS card, my married name is the one they have listed me under. Even though I asked them to change it (and showed them the SS card) they won't, because I have to have another form of identification with that name on it, even though that's my legal name for tax purposes. (Another employer had no problem using my SS card name).

    When they used my married name, I told them I did not want it disclosed, and they assured me that my maiden name (my professional name) would be used, except on HR/tax documents. However, there is a database that shows my class and my name, and it is my married name. This is viewable by my students, and I have asked them to change it, but they told me that they would have to change their whole payroll system in order to keep what they call my legal name off of that database. Apparently, that database pulls from the name line of another database, and even though there is a field for "Legal Name" they don't use it. Do I have any rights to fight this?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Wrigley. As for your rights to fight this, if you're looking for legal options, you'll have to contact a local attorney for assistance.

      The way you describe it sounds like it's a legacy software limitation or deficiency. That it's technically impossible for them to update your legal name on file due to how they've set up their database(s). If that's the case, then you may be at a dead end, unless you can somehow convince or compel them to modify their database and payroll system to accommodate your request.

      Does their system support the use of a name alias? Have you tried having HR step in for assistance? Did you formalize your requests in writing? Were their responses in writing?

      Reply
  72. Julia

    I recently changed my last name in court ( a month ago) but I still use my old last name, Can I have to update my social security, driver license with my new last name?

    Thanks.

    (Im from chula vista, california)

    Reply
    • Valera

      Can I have to update my social security, driver license with my new last name?

      It's not 100% clear what you're asking, so let me answer both possible interpretations:

      1) "Can I" update them? Yes.
      2) "Do I have to" update them? If you don't, then you've not completed the name change process. Your old name would remain your current name.

      Reply
  73. Jessica

    I am getting married in a week and I have chosen to take his last name. I have always gone by my middle name and would like to drop my first name, but don't want to use my maiden name as my new middle name because I don't know my father or that family. I would like to use my mother's maiden name as my new middle name. Is this a possibility?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Jessica. That wouldn't be possible without a court petitioned name change.

      Reply
  74. Melissa

    I am recently divorced (in TN) and in the decree I asked to return to my maiden name. I forgot how long it takes to change everything (license, SS, credit cards, etc). Its been 5 months since the divorce and I have yet to do all that paperwork….my exhusband doesn't care if I keep his name, but will I get in trouble with social security or anyone if I never change my name back to my maiden name?

    Reply
    • Valera

      will I get in trouble with social security or anyone if I never change my name back to my maiden name?

      No.

      Reply
  75. Diana

    I got married in 2010 and I took my husbands last name but I'm having second thoughts in adding back my last name as well as keeping his. Is that possible? I changed it on my ss card and passport but not at the DMV. If so where or who do I have to go to get it done.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Valera

      If so where or who do I have to go to get it done.

      Since you've already changed it due to marriage once, you'll have to do it another way the second go-round. The path is court petition to SSN to DMV.

      Reply
  76. Chloe

    Okay I am getting married next week and fully intend on changing my name. The question is that I'm not a US citizen. If I change it through British courts then I would have to change my passport and my green card (which I just renewed) to match, which is very costly and time consuming. If I don't change it in British courts then I can't change my green card so my social security wouldn't match my green card. If I legally change my name to include my maiden name (hyphenated with my new name) can I use documents in both my maiden name and my new married name? If not, can I get in trouble for my social security not matching my green card? I really want to do the name change but cannot afford the cost of green cards, British petitions and new passport etc. at the moment? Is there a solution? Or do I have to stick to my maiden name for the foreseeable future? (Btw we have a daughter together who has his last name which is why it's important for me to change my name)

    Reply
    • Valera

      If I legally change my name to include my maiden name (hyphenated with my new name) can I use documents in both my maiden name and my new married name?

      Depends on the context. Full name for legal and identity circumstances (think I.D. cards, taxes). Then, optionally, maiden name for the informal circumstances. For the latter, you use your best judgment.

      If not, can I get in trouble for my social security not matching my green card?

      Trouble isn't really the way to look at it. It's expected for your green card and SSN to match. Whichever is incorrect needs to be updated.

      I really want to do the name change but cannot afford the cost of green cards, British petitions and new passport etc. at the moment? Is there a solution? Or do I have to stick to my maiden name for the foreseeable future?

      Not one that would avoid the expense.

      Reply
  77. oneida mcintosh

    I'm getting married next month and cant decide how to go about changing my name. I have went my my middle name my whole life and only use my first name on legal documents, but I perfer to use my middle name..I'm thikning of dropping my first name and using my maddian name as my middle and then picking up his last name or I may just hyphenate his last name onto mine or just add his last name and essentially end up with two middle names…(your confused? I'm confused! lol) My question is how do I go about hyphenate/or adding his name and is that considered a whole new name change or can just pick it up? Also if I decide to drop my first name is that considered a whole new name change or can I just change it as I'm changing my name in the process of getting married? And will that be an added cost?

    Reply
    • Valera

      My question is how do I go about hyphenate/or adding his name and is that considered a whole new name change or can just pick it up?

      You'll just go through a typical marriage-related name change. Instead of specifying his last name, specify the hyphenated version instead.

      Also if I decide to drop my first name is that considered a whole new name change or can I just change it as I'm changing my name in the process of getting married? And will that be an added cost?

      Any name change is considered a name change. The difference being you can easily change your last name during marriage, but a first name change would require a court petition. You'd have to do that in addition to the marriage-related name change that deals with your last name.

      Reply
  78. Mary

    Hi,
    We eloped december 31st 2013 here in California. I have not gone to social security to change name. I was going to do it tomorrow. We have yet to file taxes…should I wait until after tax day to change name? Do we file separate or together? Bad timing on my part:/

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Mary. You're cutting it pretty close. When you go down to SSA, inquire how long they suspect it'll take the IRS to sync with their database. If you're not certain there wll be enough time for the names to match, you can choose to wait to complete the name change afterward. Take a look at this taxes and name change article for more info. As for filing separately or together, that's up to you and your spouse.

      Reply
  79. Jing

    Hi Valera,

    I am from the Philippines and I am applying for a passport. My last name is my mother's maiden name because my father and mother were not yet married when I was born but my mother is using my father's last name now. Would I encounter any problems in my passport application and in the processing of my visa in the future?

    Reply
  80. Norma

    Hi Valera!
    I got married recently, I am not a citizen, but I have been a resident for 5 years , I want to change my last name but I don't know what my best option would be in the future, since i have already filed for the 2013 year. Would benefit me to have his last name or just keep my maiden name to file my taxes, and how does it benefit me or affect me? And also with my retirement pension how does it benefit or affect me to have his last name or keep my last name?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Would benefit me to have his last name or just keep my maiden name to file my taxes

      It doesn't make a difference.

      how does it benefit me or affect me? And also with my retirement pension how does it benefit or affect me to have his last name or keep my last name?

      Same as above—It makes no difference.

      Reply

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