1,692 Comments

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

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

1. In professional contexts, particularly specialized professions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1,692 Comments

  1. Tyler

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

    Reply
  2. Pascale

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  3. Lisa

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  4. Adaobi Obasi

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

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

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      What name do I use for voters registration?

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

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

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

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

      It's quite common. Good luck.

      Reply
  5. LLearn

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

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Reply
  6. Lisa

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

    Reply
  7. Edward Garber

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply
  8. Teresa

    October 27, 2016

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

    Reply
  9. Magda

    Hello Valera,

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

    Thank you!

    Reply
  10. Mia

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply
  11. Jessica

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply
  12. beth

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      It shouldn't make much difference.

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

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

      Reply
  13. Colleen

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  14. Kristina

    Hi,

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  15. Lee

    Hi,

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

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

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

    Reply
    1. Lee

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

      Reply
      1. Valera

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

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

        Reply
  16. Mary Smith

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply
    1. Mary Smith

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

      1. In professional contexts, particularly specialized professions

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

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

      Reply
    2. Mary Smith

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

      Reply
      1. Valera

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

        Reply
    3. Valera

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

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

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

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

      Was that legally ok to do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Reply
  17. Kendall

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  18. Emily

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  19. Erica

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  20. Kara

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply
  21. Mia

    Hello,

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

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

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

      Reply
      1. Mia

        Hello Valera,

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

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

        Thank You for the advise, I appreciate it.

        Reply
        1. Valera

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

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

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

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

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

          Reply
  22. Emily

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      No.

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

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

      Reply
  23. Kathryn Barnes

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply
  24. Felicia

    Upon marrying I changed my last name to my husband's. 8 years later, my husband's family have all changed their last names or disowned us and we both are wanting to change our last names back to my maiden name and change our children's last names as well to my maiden name. How do I pull this all off?

    Reply
  25. Esther Yee

    I'm in California and got married 12 years ago, but never changed my last name. From what I've researched, there is no time limit to when I can change my last name.
    My husband wants to pay to legally change his last name. If I decide to take my husband's last name after he changes it, will I be able to take the new or does it have to be the old one since we married under his old name?

    Reply
  26. Maggs

    To make a very long story short, I filed an application for a marriage license in Washington state in 2006. The clergymen who married my now ex husband and I never turned in the required documentation after the marriage. He didn't provide us with the required documentation either.

    We had a child together and then divorced in 2009. The divorce was granted and I kept my last name as what I thought at the time was my legal last name as I thought it was changed when I married. My last name on my social is my married name, and on my drivers license is also my married name. I am now trying to get a drivers license in a different state from where I was married and they require a certified copy of my marriage certificate in order to prove that I am who I say I am. This is how I found out that my marriage documents were never turned in.

    Because this information was never turned was my name ever legally changed? And if not, how do I go about changing the name on my social security card and drivers license back to my maiden name? Just as an additional FYI the name change to my married name happened with the non certified decorative copy of my marriage certificate. Any help and advice would be awesome. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Because this information was never turned was my name ever legally changed?

      Yes, it was.

      And if not, how do I go about changing the name on my social security card and drivers license back to my maiden name?

      It was legally changed, but to return to your maiden you'll have to petitiion the court. If your divorce decree included an order to restore your maiden name, you could just use that document. If not, then it's off to court.

      Reply
  27. Meg

    Hi Valera,

    I love your blog! I got married 2.5 years ago and kept my maiden name both legally and professionally. The marriage certificate only has my maiden name. I am an attorney and would like to continue practicing under my maiden name, but want to legally change my name to my husband's last name.

    Is it a problem that my marriage certificate only has my maiden name? Can my paychecks at work still be in my maiden name? Can I keep a bank account in my maiden name? And do professional licenses have to me changed from my maiden name?

    Thanks for the tips!
    Meg

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it a problem that my marriage certificate only has my maiden name?

      Depends on the state. For most states, it doesn't matter. For a few, the name on the certificate must match what the change-to name becomes.

      Can my paychecks at work still be in my maiden name? Can I keep a bank account in my maiden name?

      That's strictly up to your employer and if your bank is willing to honor it. It typically isn't a problem.

      And do professional licenses have to me changed from my maiden name?

      You'd have to contact your state's licensing board to determine that. It's possible your licenses won't have to be changed/reissued, but your legal name change will have to be noted within their internal records.

      Reply
  28. Michelle

    I changed my name back to my maiden name when I divorced 6 years ago. I have my maiden name on SS card, drivers license, bank, taxes, and almost everything else. The one thing I did not change was medical accounts for my children. My children and I use the same doctor's, so it was easier for me to keep their accounts in my married name and my account in my maiden name (the name I use). I also have to summit those bills to my kids father and I don't want my charges on there. My ex has noticed that my married name is on those bills and has requested I update it. Is it a problem for me to keep my married name on those accounts?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it a problem for me to keep my married name on those accounts?

      Your own experience would suggest it is not a problem, as you've been able to navigate it without issue.

      Reply
  29. jazz

    Hi. Do you think I can petition my kids from Philippines they're both 11 years old using my maiden name? Because they are using their father's last name and we're never married. The time we're together he was married but separated (not legally annuled) already. I mean they don't leave together anymore and they had one kid. So in short, our kids are illigitimate.

    It has been 10 yrs that we are also separated. He left for Canada because he and his first family filed for immigrant their but he did not bring them their only to find out that just recently that he was able to bring his son in Canada he's like 21 already. And now my daughters father has his own family their already, they have 2 young sons. In short, that's his third family. It's a mess.

    Anyway, what I want to do is take my kids here in USA using my maiden name, before I got married here in US. Because I don't want their father to know anything about me. And also I don't want his permission since they are his illigitimate children and he barely support them for years they are growing up. The problem is for 8 years I was not able to see them because of work and family here. But I do support them and I have communications with them. Instead of buying a plane ticket I have no choice but to just send the money to them because money is tight.

    Their father visited them three times only and this year he was in Philippines he did not visited them. He does not care about them. And right now just three months ago I had no choice but to put my ego and pride away saying sorry for everything which I am not supposed too, to the woman he's with right now, his third family. I said sorry eventhough they are the ones who should apologize to us.

    My daughters and I we use to eat rice and sault just to survive before. The reason I married too because it's for them. The reason that's why I am here away from my kids is because of my x and his family. I have no pride anymore just to get support for our kids from their father. It was his lady who is sending very little support just because of mercy, she has hidden agenda, together with my x that's why she's nice a little. I can feel that they are planning to take my kids from me.

    What should I do they have lots of money? Can I get my children here without his approval using my maiden name that what is on their birth certificate? He used to beat me up before. And now they're on vacation in Philippines for christmas. And they want my kids there. It was my parents who has been taking good care of them. My x is now a very rich man because he has bis own company and resort and businesses now. His lady is only giving 15k a month and started only 3 mnths ago because I stoopd down my level from them. Please advice me. Thank you so much. I have no peace of mind.

    Reply
    1. jazz

      Sorry for the wrong spelling, I mean live and not leave. And I am not that good in english. Thank you from my humble heart.

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Jazz. It's not clear to me if you're trying to petition for a child name change in the U.S. or Philippines. If it's the latter, you can file a motion in court without the father's consent, but it's not guaranteed it would be accepted. There's a variety of conditions that can determine success or failure, such as who has the authority to petition, whether or not notifications are sent out, time frame to answer notifications, objections, parental rights, etc.

      Reply
  30. G B

    Hi,

    My husband and I got married in California in February 2016, and I did not change my name on the marriage certificate. So I am still using my maiden name in all my documents (passport, credit cards, drivers license, etc). But now I am wanting to change my last name to his. What do I need to do?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi G B. You'll have to change your name through the courts since your new name isn't reflected on your certificate.

      Reply
  31. Linda

    I'm not sure what name to use when filling out paperwork. I got married and took my husband's last name but so far have only officially changed it on my social security card, not my driver's license or ID yet. Am I required to use my maiden name or married name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Am I required to use my maiden name or married name?

      It depends on the situation and document. Your legal name is on your SS card. That's the name to use, even though your driver's license doesn't reflect it yet.

      Reply
  32. Karl H Hittinger

    In the State of Florida, for business purposes (involving taking title to real property, forming a corporate entity, closing real estate transactions) can a woman who's legal married name is "Jane Smith Jones" with "Smith" being her maiden name and "Jones" her taken married name use the name "Jane Smith" (her maiden name) and it be legal.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Karl. Yes, there are those who use the maiden name professionally and the married name socially. Registering a DBA is one method folks use to have the business identity remain as the maiden name.

      Reply
  33. angela

    Hi!

    I just got married and finally got my green card. To my surprise it is still on my maiden name. I have my ssa and dl under my married name. I have a job offer and needs to clarify if this going to be a problem. What name should I go by!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Angela. It could be a problem. Have you tried to get your EAD updated to your married name? By the way, if the name on your EAD is incorrect due to a mistake on USCIS' part, you can contact them to get a corrected card.

      Reply
  34. temitope lawal

    am trying to go to american embassy with my family inside my passport am using my maiden name I and my husband have been together for 6years but we just got married last year but I wrote he's surname in the marriage certificate is that enough to take to the embassy since its my maiden name that's there.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Temitope. The married name you specified in your marriage certificate doesn't hold much significance, as your legal name is still your maiden name. Your current documents reflect your current legal name, so you shouldn't face any issues. Your marriage certificate can provide proof of marriage, but the married name on there isn't really important.

      If there's something more specific you're concerned about, please clarify.

      Reply
  35. Steven

    Is it legal for my possibly soon to be x-wife to be filing her taxes "single" for the last 5 years , and using her maiden name . Especially when the first 2 to 3 years of our marriage we filed jointly . I think she did this to get the extra earned income credit .

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Steven. While one can't choose single if married, she can file "Married Filing Separately." Whatever name she files in would have to match what's on her social security record, so if she were to file in the wrong name then her returns could face rejection.

      Reply
  36. Jane

    hi.. hope you could help me out! i wanna get a state id but i wanna use my surname when i was single.. is that possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jane. It's unlikely you'll be able to get a state ID in anything other than your current, legal name.

      Reply
  37. Nik

    Hi, I've been married for 5 years and had changed my last name to my husband's. We are still married but I want to change my last name back to my maiden name. More so for personal reasons. Is that a bad idea? And how difficult is it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is that a bad idea? And how difficult is it?

      It's neither good nor bad. It's a personal decision. You'll have to petition the court to change your name back.

      Reply
  38. Brenda

    Would it be easier to get a resident card under your maiden name and then later change all the documentation like Drivers license SS card and passport and also update your green card or do you think it would be better to change everything first like ID and then change that ? ( USCIS info is all under maiden )

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Brenda. Your resident card would have to match your legal name. If you chang your name with the SSA, you'll want to notify USCIS of the change so that their records will be updated. One thing to keep in mind are potential fees you may have to pay if you have to have your identification reissued through USCIS.

      Reply
  39. Shibu

    Hi
    I am from India and while registering my marriage they changed my surname to my husband's surname.
    I made the changes to my passport as people said its easier for travelling purpose if my name matches my husband's name in passport. I did not update any other documents including pan card or aadhar card. Is it okay to have maiden name on few documents and husband's surname on few documents? Are the documents with maiden surname accepted in all places? Which name will I have to write in new documents i.e if I create new bank account? I am very much confused, Please reply.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it okay to have maiden name on few documents and husband's surname on few documents?

      Yes.

      Are the documents with maiden surname accepted in all places?

      Yes.

      Which name will I have to write in new documents i.e if I create new bank account?

      You'll have to defer to your bank (or equivalent institution). There are multiple government issued documents that can be used to verify identity. The hierarchy of the documents (e.g., India passport, Aadhaar card) may vary based on location. Generally, your Aadhaar card should be recognized as an acceptable identity document for most purposes, but not necessarily proof of Indian citizenship.

      Reply
  40. Mimi

    I got married last month and decided to change my last name at that time. On my marriage certificate, it states my Surname will change to my husband's.

    However, after a month I realized I want to keep my maiden name. I have not gone to the Social Security office or done any legal name change procedures yet. Is this legal?

    There is also another concern– I'm switching my current H1-B visa status and applying for a spouse visa. Will this name issue potentially be a problem in this process?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      However, after a month I realized I want to keep my maiden name.

      Is this legal?

      Yes. Name change is optional. You aren't required to change your name regardless of what's on your marriage certificate.

      I'm switching my current H1-B visa status and applying for a spouse visa. Will this name issue potentially be a problem in this process?

      No.

      Reply
  41. Ashley

    I got married in September and will be changing my name, but I also know we will be moving out of state in the fall which is why I haven't filed any paperwork to change it yet(Figured I'd wait to change name and address on everything at once). My predicament is that my passport just expired, and I will be getting my professional license in a few months.
    Can I change my name on my SS card in order to get my new name on my passport and professional license, then wait until we move to change the rest? I'm not sure what kind of repercussions I will face until we move since I want to keep my maiden name for as much as possible until then.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I change my name on my SS card in order to get my new name on my passport and professional license, then wait until we move to change the rest?

      Yes, you can stagger it out like that without an issue.

      Reply
  42. breanna

    i was just signing up for snap and i put in my married name and it didnt go through with my soical but then i used my maiden name and it went trough can u explain why this happened?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Breanna. It can mean the current name they have on file is your maiden name. If this shouldn't be the case, then you can contact the SSA to inquire.

      Reply
  43. luane

    Hi. I am in Pa. I married in 1997 and changed my name on everything but my SS card. I am now getting a divorce and wonder if I have to change my SS card to match my 20 years of credit cards, banks etc. My soon to be ex states I have been using an alias for 20 years. Can I leave my SS card alone or is it better to have everything match?

    Reply
  44. Steff

    I have been a widow for 42 years. i want to go ack to my maiden name for some time i live in the state of pa; s,s. want me to pay for the name change. when i lived in fl. (which i know i shold have completed) all i had to do way change it is every state different? p.s. i was a widow very young never remarried.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Steff. You'd have to petition the court to change your name back to your maiden.

      Reply
  45. Ashley

    Hello! I am wondering if I legally add my married name so that I have First Middle Maiden Married….can I still use First Maiden on things? I want to go by First Maiden socially and professionally but both my fiance and I think there is benefit to us having the same legal last name (medical, etc.).

    Would I have to change my name on everything such as bank accounts, credit cards, etc. or could I still use my First Maiden signature for those things?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I still use First Maiden on things

      Informally, you can.

      Would I have to change my name on everything such as bank accounts, credit cards, etc. or could I still use my First Maiden signature for those things?

      That would be up to your bank. They may be willing to accommodate an alias, but it would have to be setup with them in advance. Then you could apply your preferred First Maiden signature. Although the credit bureaus keep a history of name changes, it's still a good idea to at least notify them of your new name. They can update their internal records, while continuing to issue your cards in your preferred name.

      Reply
  46. rhein

    Hi. I am rhein. I am planning to work at middle east. I was married 6 years years ago but never used my married name.Can I still use my maiden name on my passport but my civil status will be married.please HELP.. thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rhein. If you've never actually changed your name, then you'd have to use your maiden name, as that's your legal name.

      Reply
  47. Mary

    So … not sure what to do. I got legally married 2 years ago but I don't announce to people nor my employers that I am married. Only my family members know that I am married. I got married by the justice of peace and want to delay announcing anything to those outside the family till I have a ceremonial wedding in a church with the white dress and honeymoon stuff.

    On my W4 I use my maiden name and put that I am single. Can I get in trouble for this? Would that have any legal repercussions? So far for the past 2 years I've been ok and nothing has happened legally. There have been no problems receiving W4 and filing taxes. Can I continue to use my maiden name and put that I am single? All my W2 come in my maiden name but I file jointly with my husband under my married name.

    My marriage certificate has a name change from maiden last name to married last name. I got my DL and SS changed to state my married last name but my passport is still in my maiden last name. Additionally I still have my SS that states my maiden last name. So are both of my SS cards valid (one has maiden and other one has married)? I've decided that I want to use my maiden name for everything. How would I go about doing that? My bank account and my car tittle are both under my married.

    Is there a way I can change my DL back to my maiden name? I use my maiden name for work. For my school, legal documents are under married but in the online system I am still listed under my maiden name. I take tests under maiden, attendance is listed as maiden but my transcript is married. How would I go about changing my transcript and legal stuff back to my maiden name? I believe my 1081 from is listed as married.

    On legal documents do I have to state that I am married or is it still ok to put single?

    Reply
    1. Mary

      Also one more question, what is my legal name? Is my legal name my maiden or married name? I have been putting maiden as legal name and it has gone through.

      Reply
    2. Valera

      It's best to speak to an accountant about this, but here are a few guidelines.

      Let's make sure we have a few base facts correct:

      1) Your W4 shows single, maiden name.
      2) You're filing under your legal, married name as "married filing jointly."

      On my W4 I use my maiden name and put that I am single. Can I get in trouble for this? Would that have any legal repercussions?

      Unlikely. When you file your personal taxes it's meant to settle what you owe and paid.

      Can I continue to use my maiden name and put that I am single?

      You can, but that doesn't mean you should. You should file under a status matching your personal filing.

      My marriage certificate has a name change from maiden last name to married last name. I got my DL and SS changed to state my married last name but my passport is still in my maiden last name. Additionally I still have my SS that states my maiden last name. So are both of my SS cards valid (one has maiden and other one has married)?

      1) Passport isn't relevant in regards to your taxes/filings.
      2) Only your married name SS card is valid.
      3) Your previous, maiden name SS card is now a nice keepsake.

      I've decided that I want to use my maiden name for everything. How would I go about doing that? My bank account and my car tittle are both under my married.

      If you want to use it for everything and have legal force behind it, you'll have to undergo a court-petitioned name change. If you want to use it informally or at convenient points, it'll have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

      For instance, you can work out with your bank to allow checks to be printed and signed under your maiden name. They may or not agree to it. Car title would have to remain under your married name unless you legally change it again.

      Is there a way I can change my DL back to my maiden name?

      Court petition only.

      I use my maiden name for work. For my school, legal documents are under married but in the online system I am still listed under my maiden name. I take tests under maiden, attendance is listed as maiden but my transcript is married. How would I go about changing my transcript and legal stuff back to my maiden name? I believe my 1081 from is listed as married.

      Such institutions will typically want a document to verify your name change event, such as a court order. They may be willing to allow a revert using a prior document, such as a birth certificate, but that'll have to be done on a case-by-case basis. It differs because some institutions are federal, state, and private, so the rules vary. You can review the name change on professional documents article which touches on this a bit.

      On legal documents do I have to state that I am married or is it still ok to put single?

      Married.

      Reply
  48. Verjin

    Hi good evening . I have changed a letter in my name when I got married .
    From vergin to verjin. Plus I changed my last name to my husband last name I am not sure if I kept my last name ans a maiden name . Now I want to start to do my families immigration paperwork . Should I send an approvea documentation that I changed a letter in my name or it doesn't matter .
    Plus my husband last name is on my marriage certificate and my last name is on my birth certificate . So does it matter the change of the last name also .

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Verjin. It's not clear to me where you've made these changes. Just on the marriage certificate? Generally, it's important to notify the USCIS of name changes.

      Reply
  49. Lisa Lyde

    I have been married for almost 10 years. I never changed my last name on my social or license. I use my maiden name everywhere except my military Id. They automatically put my husbands last name on it. I am now trying to renew my id and the clerk told me that without another form of ID with the married name he could not do it. He told me I was commuting tax fraud by using two different last names but I file in my maiden name. I don't want to change my last name. Is there any way to obtain the ID without changing my name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there any way to obtain the ID without changing my name?

      Unlikely. At best you can inquire if there are some lower tier levels of identity documentation that may be acceptable for you to provide.

      Reply
  50. Rene

    When my husband and his ex divorced she kept his last name. When she got remarried, she used my husband's last name on her marriage license but under previous last names, she did not list her maiden name. Would this cause an issue with the marriage license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Would this cause an issue with the marriage license?

      It's unlikely to be an issue.

      Reply
  51. Heather

    My last name on my w2 is my married name but my ss card is my maiden name do i have to change mu ss card name to file my taxes

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Heather. You're facing an eventual name mismatch. To prevent it, either your SS card would have to be updated or your W2 would have to revert to your maiden.

      Reply
  52. Amber

    Hi my name is amber and i just got married last year and i didn't change my last name on my id or ssc i was wondering if i can keep my maiden name on my id and on my ssc but i took my husband last name

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Amber. Yes, you can. Specifying a name change when you get married that subsequently appears on your marriage certificate doesn't bind you to follow through. Take no further action, and your legal name will remain your maiden name.

      Reply
  53. Heidi

    I have been divorced for just short of a year and on my divorce degree it states I can change my former married name back to maiden name. I have not made the change back to my maiden name yet and still on all things i am using the former married name. I may be getting married again soon. Can I change from former married name to new married name which will be comprised of my maiden name hyphenated & followed by new married name? How?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Heidi. Yes, you can go directly to Maiden-NewMarriedName without first returning to your maiden. Just go through a regular marriage-based name change.

      Reply
  54. Julia

    Hi there! I am in the process of getting divorced. My driver's license and birth certificate are in my maiden name but my social was changed to my married name. Should I sign all the divorce papers in my maiden name or married name? Will it cause a problem at the courthouse?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Julia. You should typically sign with your current, legal name, which is still your married name. But it's something you can ask the court clerk/judge to advise you on.

      Reply
  55. Shian

    My fiancé and I went yesterday to get the marriage certificate at the clerk office. I was having such a huge problem changing my middle name. I should of waited. So now I am regretting what I picked. We didn't get married yet. We just needed the marriage liscense document to get married at the church. But we did have an oath. Not sure what the process and fee will be? Hoping it's not too late?
    And i picked two double middle names. And now I just want one.
    I just don't want it to be much of a hassle before the wedding and hoping to get this done before then. I am a month away in getting married. Please help me.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Shian. If you haven't gotten married yet, I'm assuming the document you picked up was a marriage license, not certificate. If that's the case, you can return to the office and request an amendment. They may charge a fee. If they can't do an amendment, then you can reapply for a new license which will void the old one.

      Reply
      1. Shian

        It's both on the top of the page it says license and certificate of marriage.

        At the back of the paper I read an amendment may be added if there was clerical error.

        I'm planning to go in Monday. I hope it's not that big of a process. And hopefully I can still do the amendment.
        I also hope this can be done before the wedding.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          It's both on the top of the page it says license and certificate of marriage.

          In some states it is the same document. The only thing that changes is the status. Before you're married, it's just a license. After you're married, it becomes the certificate.

          Reply
  56. Emma

    I'm in California and recently got married and changed my last name to his on the marriage certificate ….I haven't changed my name thru the social security office or dmv do I have to change my name or can I still use my maiden name? And for how long?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do I have to change my name or can I still use my maiden name?

      Yes, you can still use your maiden.

      And for how long?

      As long as you want.

      Reply
  57. Jacqueline Perez

    Hi i had issue where i had to relinquesh parental rights well i was married and name changed but through whole court process the agency or courts never knew i had married or changed name and i never told them either but day i was signing relinqueshment papers they were under my maiden name and i signed them with maiden name but there was a notary there dont they ask for i.d so point is are papers valid if they signed in name i legaly had changed my liscense ss card arent in maiden name so is it legal papers

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jacqueline. It's best to contact the court for such specific advice. Having said that, it's unlikely to have an impact on the validity of the papers. It's not as though your identity would come under question.

      Reply
  58. Loren

    Hello, good day :)

    I just want to clear out some doubts and confusions. I am a Filipina, I have acquired my passport before marriage and have'nt change my civil status yet in all of my documents, in short I'm still using my single name and single status the whole time. I am going to acquire a condo unit soon (in Philippines) and I want to know if, do I have the right to declare single in my Application Form / Buyer Information Form? I want the property to be solely in my name only since we are already separated (but not yet legally done).I dont want my ex husband to be involved anymore. Do i have a problem with that later on, especially on the time of applying for a bank financing. Thank you and i'm hoping you can help me on this. God Bless and more powers..

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Loren. You may need to consult with an attorney to determine if the purchase would later be considered a marital asset, which could be a problem for you later.

      Reply
  59. Alicia

    What if I put on my marriage license that I was going to change my last name but decided not to change it at all. Is that okay?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Alicia. The marriage license application wouldn't have block for you to write such explanatory text. If you think you might change your name later, you can specify the new name on the marriage license (if it has a space for it), but that doesn't mean you have to actually do it. It's not binding.

      If you live in a state that 1) mandates the new name be specified on the application, 2) you choose not to specify it, and 3) you later change your mind and really want to change it, then you very well may have locked yourself out of changing your name through marriage and your remaining path is to petition the court.

      So, specifying a name to change to on your marriage license is just an option that you can take advantage of later. You don't have to use it. You don't have to change it (ever) if you choose not to.

      If you're sure you will not want to change your name, then you can leave that area blank.

      Reply
      1. Alicia

        I put my name to be changed but I don't think I want to change it I'm in Hawaii and it does ask what your name will be

        Reply
        1. Valera

          I put my name to be changed but I don't think I want to change it

          You don't have to change it no matter what you put. If you specify a new name, but change your mind, then do nothing and everything remains as-is/unchanged.

          Reply
  60. Kristen

    I legally changed my last name to my step fathers name when I was 20. It was changed on my birth certificate and everything. Now I am married. I am a female married to a female. I never changed my last name to hers. She recently legally changed her last name to her step fathers last name. She has always wanted to do it and I supported her. Now I want to have the same last name as her. Can I change it through marriage? Or do I have to go through the courts and get it legally changed as well?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kristen. You should be able to change it through marriage, unless you're in a state that requires the new name be specified on the marriage license.

      Reply
  61. Kc

    My partner was previously married. But they weren't really together as couple. It was just a business proposal. Now both of them has their own partners in life. My partner decided to go back to Uni and finish her degree, she wanted to use her maiden name when she register at this school. Will it be possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kc. She's have to register using her legal name. If her legal name is still her maiden, then that's what she'd use.

      Reply
  62. Neha

    Thanks for your good work.
    I have my married name on passport, Green card, SSN, DL everywhere, now my naturalization certificate is being issued on my Maiden name is this a problem? Should I go through legal name change court procedure?

    Reply
  63. Gisel

    Hi my legal name when I became a permanent resident appears as MyFirst Name_MyMaidenLastName_De_My MarriedLastName . . All my documents have my married last name as my last name, however I got a divorce. I now need to renew my permanent residency card and the questionnaire asks if I have changed my name legally. There is a discrepancy with the name on the permanent residency card vs. All my documents which only lists my married last name.

    Do I need to get a name change through the court legally back to my maiden last name to renew it?

    Can I keep the married last name since all my documents arequired listed with the name and my children have that same last name? Or am I to change it ?

    Will this affect my renewal opportunities with USCIS?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to get a name change through the court legally back to my maiden last name to renew it?

      You say you divorced, but you didn't say if you actually legally changed your name back to your maiden name. If your divorce decree included in an order for you to restore your maiden name, but you didn't actually do so, then your married name is still your legal name. In that case, you don't need to go to court to renew it in your married name. If you want to renew it in your maiden name, then you would have to petition the court for a name change.

      Can I keep the married last name since all my documents arequired listed with the name and my children have that same last name? Or am I to change it ?

      Yes, if that's still your legal name.

      Will this affect my renewal opportunities with USCIS?

      No, it shouldn't. You'll just have to renew in whatever your legal name is.

      Reply
  64. Samiah Barodi

    Hi! I'm from Philippines. I am really thankful to you in advance for answering my query. By the way, I'm Cindymagne Macalam Bagumbaran that is my maiden name. I have a problem exactly like other here in your furom. I'm using this name since I'm in gradeschool and also in high school.

    I was inborn as a muslim but my parents named me with a christian name, that time they are not that type of religious person and second my mother is also a Roman Catholic So maybe in my understanding, that's the main reason why they name me by that name. In 2004, I got married and my husband is a religious one and he changed my name from Cindymagne to Samiah..without any legal documents and legal process. Our main reason is that because in our religion it is not good to have a christian name. And then, in our marriage certificate, they put my muslim name as Samiah.

    So, from there I am using this name in my ID's and Birth Certificate of my children got my Passport, TIN ID and in all of my transactions, bank accounts, etc. with a supporting documents of a fake birth certificate indicating my Samiah name.

    Now, as years passed by in good faith we got a good business me also got my own business but there are times that we always have a fight and always have an argument about money, financial problems always occur, and the main reason is the first family.

    I'm a second wife, legally and I am now the let us say the main source of income..and as this problem arising I decided to separate my business and income as well from His income because I think in the end It is for my children's future everything what property that I've possessed knowing that he also have a first family so better to secure my own finances so I decided to use my Maiden name in applying new ID's , open a bank account with this maiden name and stated to be single instead of married..because I don't want to attached his name in my accounts. then, got a business and registered it in my maiden name also.

    So, Ive been using it for a year and half but the problem interrupt when I apply another Passport without declaring that I have already one because my reason is so that the DFA will not ask so many questions about my spouse so I put my status as a single and use my birth certificate. but after 10 days got the result of my application and got notice od SUSPENDED UNDECLARED PASSPORT. So, they got my old passport also. Can you advice me what's the best thing to do. Can I continue my maiden name or back my files to my married name again? Please enlighten me.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Samiah. Simply registering accounts and businesses in different names doesn't necessarily detach them from your spouse. Your name variations are so heavily tied into your business that I believe you need to seek the counsel of an attorney and accountant.

      Reply
  65. Angel

    Still married but I want to go back to my maiden name. I had moved my maiden name to my middle name on important docs, i.e. DL, SSN. Can I go back to my maiden? My married name seems to be holding me back in advancing in my profession.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Angel. You'd have to get a court petitioned name change to restore your maiden name.

      Reply
  66. wanda santiago

    Hello. I have a question that i was wondering for such a long time. I had got married about 3 years ago and they had send my spouse back to his country to Columbia. He never sign the devious papers. But i never put his last name in the marriage paper , i only change my last name on my ID and on my SS. So ever since i do not know where he is or do not know how to get in contact with him. All i want to do is be divorce and fix my ID and my SS. May you help me with this.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Wanda. The judge in your divorce case may decide the case in your favor as an uncontested divorce. You'll have to take this up with the court and be sure to request that your prior name be restored in the divorce order.

      Reply
  67. eimy

    I got married 3 years ago, and i am still using my madien name but in my marriage license it has my husbands last name. After now thinking it over i rather hyphenate my last name. What would i have to do? is it a long process?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Eimy. You may be able to hyphenated using your marriage certificate as-is. It ultimately depends on how strict the agent you're dealing with is in allowing a slight name variation. You can contact your local DMV and SSA to inquire if they'll accept a hyphenation.

      Reply
  68. Sherry McCormick

    I got married in 1981 but never had my name legally changed with the IRS. In other words, my social security card is still under my maiden name but in all other aspects I use my married name. My drivers license, and all of my bills are under my married name. I divorced in 2000. I didn't state in the divorce petition that I was changing my name back to my maiden name. When I file my tax returns I have to file them under my maiden name because that's how the IRS knows me. I now want to go back to using my maiden name for everything. Do I have to file a petition with the court to legally change my name back to my maiden name or can I just inform my creditors, etc. that I'm using my my maiden name now?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sherry. You wouldn't have to do anything with the SSA, as your name is already current there. You may have to file a petition to satisfy the DMV requirements. Perhaps less so with your creditors, bills, and non-government entities.

      Reply
  69. Lily

    Hi, I got married 6 months ago (second marriage) Had my last name (first husband last name) changed to my current husband last name, on marriage certificate, but have not changed it on ssn, DMV, passport. Anywhere else yet. And now I'm thinking I want to continue using first husband last name legally, do I still need to do a name change with the court even though my ssn, DMV, passport still using first husband last name. And I would like to get a new marriage certificate with first husband last name is it possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      And now I'm thinking I want to continue using first husband last name legally, do I still need to do a name change with the court even though my ssn, DMV, passport still using first husband last name.

      You don't have to go to court, as there's nothing to change. Your preferred name is already your current name. Do nothing and everything remains as-is.

      And I would like to get a new marriage certificate with first husband last name is it possible?

      No, such a modification wouldn't be allowed unless there's a mistake on the part of the clerk who signed off on your marriage license.

      Reply
  70. Edward

    Hi Valera,

    I'm cohabitating with my girlfriend for almost a year now, she's was married with her ex-husband but they were separated for 7 years now, We just wanted to ask if she can still use her old maiden name? But she's using her husband's name on her ID's and documents so we just wanted to change those back to her old name, is it okay?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Edward. If she's divorced and her divorce decree includes an order restoring her prior name, then she can have it legally changed with the necessary institutions. If that's not the case, she's looking at having to petition the court.

      Reply
  71. Rose

    Hi there
    My name is rose , I got married 6 months ago .i have done a change of name to my married name , but as time took place me and my husband has decided to have a divorce. I have not changed my name on my license,bank passport even at work so I'm still using my maiden name.i have not divorced him yet as need to be 1 year.
    I have decided to go overseas but have my name in my maiden name .
    Would there be a problem?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rose. That shouldn't pose a problem. It's important that the name on your passport and travel tickets match, so you're following the proper route.

      Reply
  72. Sarah

    Hello,

    I was married in GA 4 years ago and kept my maiden name at the time. Now we are living in WI with 2 kids (who have a family last name, not my husband's or my maiden name) and I would like to change my name to match the kids. Do I need to do a petition for that? Do I need to change their birth certificates to reflect the change even though they have my maiden name on them? Confusing situation. I just want to all have the same name before they start school.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to do a petition for that?

      Yes.

      Do I need to change their birth certificates to reflect the change even though they have my maiden name on them?

      It's optional, not required.

      Reply
  73. Kinny

    My NY marriage certificate has my new married surname. We were married in July 2015 but I have not updated any of documents (Passport, SSN). Can I get a replacement SSN (I lost it) and ID in my maiden name till I decide to change my name legally later?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I get a replacement SSN (I lost it) and ID in my maiden name till I decide to change my name legally later?

      Yes, you can.

      Reply
  74. Marla

    Hi, thank you in advance for taking the time to read my inquiry. I plan to marry this summer – Is it possible to change my name only on the marriage certificate? I'm really overwhelmed by the whole name change process and am curious if I really need to change it everywhere right away. Are there any legal repercussions to this? We do not have any kids at present; once we do have kids I recognize my name on their birth certificates should match my other paperwork – that being said, could I wait to change my name on everything until we have children?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible to change my name only on the marriage certificate?

      Yes.

      I'm really overwhelmed by the whole name change process and am curious if I really need to change it everywhere right away. Are there any legal repercussions to this?

      No.

      We do not have any kids at present; once we do have kids I recognize my name on their birth certificates should match my other paperwork

      Not necessarily. You can name them with just your last, just your spouse's last, a hyphenated version of both (yours first or spouse's first).

      that being said, could I wait to change my name on everything until we have children?

      Yes.

      Reply
  75. JAM

    Hi Valera! I live in NYC and will be getting legally married at City Hall in March – but we are not having our "wedding" with family and friends until November of this year. I definitely want to change my last name to his, but do not want to do so until after our "Wedding" in November. Should I elect to change my name when we get married in March, or wait and "petition the court" for the name change later this year.

    Essentially, I want to know if I am legally allowed to change my name through marriage in March, but wait until November to actually proceed with going to the SSA and updating with DMV, Passport, work etc.

    Thank you so much!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Should I elect to change my name when we get married in March, or wait and "petition the court" for the name change later this year.

      You wouldn't have to petition the court. You could either change your name in March or wait until November to do it. The process is the same.

      Essentially, I want to know if I am legally allowed to change my name through marriage in March, but wait until November to actually proceed with going to the SSA and updating with DMV, Passport, work etc.

      Specifying a new name during the marriage license process and having it reflected on your eventual marriage certificate does not equate to legally changing your name. Going to the SSA/DMV is when you're actually, legally changing it.

      Bottomline, you can get married in March and opt to legally change your name whenever you choose, be it March, November, or next year.

      Reply
  76. cm

    I live in NYC and have been calling and emailing the City's Clerk for months. they disconnect the phone and do not respond to emails…. My marriage certificate indicates I will take my husband's last name. However after marriage, I decided not to change my last name. I did not change any documents; everything is still in my maiden name. Will this will be an issue with SSA, should I need to apply for my husband's SS Benefits? I believe I will have to produce the marriage certificate to show I am the spouse. will the different last names be an issue? according to the city clerk's website, i need to remarry my husband and note the new last name on the new marriage certificate. (i don't want a new wedding date to remember!). is there any other times when the marriage certificate is need for proof? Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will this will be an issue with SSA, should I need to apply for my husband's SS Benefits?

      No, this won't be an issue. Name change is optional, regardless of what's reflected on your marriage certificate.

      will the different last names be an issue?

      No.

      is there any other times when the marriage certificate is need for proof?

      It's useful anytime you need to provide proof of marriage.

      Reply
  77. Yuri

    Hi Valera,

    I am from Illinois. Me and my wife got married 5 years ago, she kept her maiden name because she knew that I was planning to change my last name during naturalization. My citizenship application and name change was approved this month and I shall receive my name change certificate at the oath ceremony. My wife would like to change her maiden name to my current last name as we planned. Does she needs a court order to do it or can she just do it at Social Security Offices with our marriage certificate and my name change certificate?

    Reply
  78. Michelle

    I have never changed the name on any of my ID's, but marriage certificate shows that I wanted to take my husbands last name. We have been separated for 5 years now, and I am filing for divorce. What would be considered my "legal last name" for divorce papers? Would it be the name on my ID's or that on my marriage certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Would it be the name on my ID's or that on my marriage certificate?

      The name on your ID's.

      Reply
  79. Theo

    Hi years ago I was married and never changed my Id that still have my maidens name. The drivers shows after married the new surname. 22 years i divorced never changed anything yet. But i would like to renew my drivers license that shows ex husbands surname. Like i explained my id shows my maidens name. How do i do this i do not know after years what happen with my divorce papers

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Theo. Are you wanting to renew your license in your ex's name or your maiden? If it's the prior, then that may be problematic as any database lookup with the SS office would reveal a name mismatch. If you're wanting to renew in your maiden, then the DMV may want to have a document presenting another name change incident where you returned to your maiden name. Your divorce decree would be sufficient if it has an order restoring your maiden name. If not, the DMV may require a court order for them to change it.

      Reply
  80. rose

    rcaste39 I got married in 1990 and changed my name to my married name. I got divorced in 1992, never changed my name back but have used my maiden name since then for my driver's license, paying taxes, etc, hasn't been any issue. Will collecting my social security when appropriate be an issue?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rose. It could be, but not something that can't be resolved. Have you contacted the SSA to make sure your record is up-to-date. If your divorce decree has an order restoring your maiden name you can use that to correct the record with the SSA.

      Reply

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