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!

941 Comments

  1. Sabrina

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  2. C

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

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  3. racho

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  4. Samantha

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  5. Lori

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  6. joyce

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  7. Valerie

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  8. Perdita

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Seems perfectly fine and well structured.

      Reply
  9. Lisa

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

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

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

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

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

    Any assistance is apprecoiated

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

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

      Shouldn't be an issue.

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

      No.

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

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

      Reply
  10. Montgomery

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

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

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

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

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

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

      Reply
  11. Amanda

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  12. melinda williams carlos

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  13. Camille

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  14. lisa

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  15. Ann

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

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

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

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

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

      Yes.

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

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

      Reply
      • Ann

        Thanks for the reply.

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

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

        Reply
        • Valera

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

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

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

          No.

          Reply
  16. Nita

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

    Please advice.

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      No, although you can use an alias informally.

      Reply
  17. Faye Scott

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  18. Lei

    Hi,

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

    Reply
  19. Toni

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

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

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

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

      Reply
  20. Anna

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you for your help:).

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      No.

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

      Yes.

      Reply
      • Anna

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

        Reply
  21. Kirsten

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  22. Mechy

    Hello,

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  23. Wendy

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

      Reply
  24. joana

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

    Thank you in AdvAnce

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  25. Kim

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  26. Susan

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  27. hetalbahen

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  28. Rob

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

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

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
      • Rob

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

        Reply
        • Valera

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

          Reply
  29. RL

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  30. Nancy Figueroa

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  31. Alyssa

    I got married at aged 38 after 16 years of establishing my career at a large consulting firm and moving around the world with this firm. I want to legally change my last name to my husband's name, but keep my maiden name at work. Ii already changed my name at the social security office to FirstName MaidenMiddle MarriedLast. However, my firm's HR department says that if I change my name legally I have to change it at work for tax purposes. If I do that, they automatically change all our internal databases / my email so no one would ever find me under my maiden name again.

    My idea is to change my name at the social security office to First name Middle Name Maiden Name Married Name (with the original middle and maiden names both being middle names, not a double last name). Then I can keep my maiden name in databases at work so people can still track me down, and go by it with clients.

    My questions are (1) is if I do that, can I then drop my maiden name from the above on my Colorado Drivers License and Passport? Or do the SSC, drivers license and passport have to match exactly all 4 of the names if that is what is on my SSC? (2) Also, if I do that, what else might I need to use all 4 names on (tax returns, etc)? I'm not sure how big of a deal a middle name is. (3) Can I just go to the SS office again and add my maiden name back in? I just did the original change 2 weeks ago and have been married 6 months. Or do I need to petition the courts? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Valera

      However, my firm's HR department says that if I change my name legally I have to change it at work for tax purposes.

      Would they support the use of an alias?

      My questions are (1) is if I do that, can I then drop my maiden name from the above on my Colorado Drivers License and Passport?

      Unlikely for your driver's license as they can query the SSA database for a name match/mismatch. Possibly for passport, but you must provide acceptable identity documentation.

      Or do the SSC, drivers license and passport have to match exactly all 4 of the names if that is what is on my SSC?

      It's a good idea to have your name properly synced across such documents. SS and DL are often matched, which is a requirement established by the state driver's license offices. Passports operate on a separate track. It's federal, and they'll process name changes when provided proof of name change (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree, court order) and valid identity documentation.

      (2) Also, if I do that, what else might I need to use all 4 names on (tax returns, etc)?

      Yes, for taxes.

      (3) Can I just go to the SS office again and add my maiden name back in? I just did the original change 2 weeks ago and have been married 6 months. Or do I need to petition the courts?

      Court petition.

      Reply
  32. Bob

    Good Morning,

    I got married last week. Since my wife decided to add my last name to hers, our marriage certificate shows her new last name. Does that mean that she is REQUIRED to change her SSN, Passport, etc?
    Can she still have her maiden name and continue to have it in her legal documents until she decides to change it officially sometime in the future, even though the marriage certificate shows her new last name. We both are international students in F-1 visas and it is a hassle to change her name in passport as it takes a long time. She would want to continue her name as it is. Is there going to be a problem in the future if she doesn't change her name?

    Your comments are highly appreciated.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Does that mean that she is REQUIRED to change her SSN, Passport, etc?

      No. She's not required to change her name.

      Can she still have her maiden name and continue to have it in her legal documents until she decides to change it officially sometime in the future, even though the marriage certificate shows her new last name.

      Yes.

      Is there going to be a problem in the future if she doesn't change her name?

      No.

      Reply
  33. Barbara

    My husband passed away several months ago. I want to go back to my maiden name, can I do that legally without going before a judge?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Barbara. It's unlikely you can return to your maiden name without first petitioning the court for a name change.

      Reply
  34. Donald

    Hi, hope you can help. I have been married for 5mths and while I understand her reasoning my wife on our marriage license has my last name. Her SS card has been changed to my last name. We recently filed our 2015 jointly in my last name, yet she recently called to returned to her old and she hasn't informed then that she is now married. She has alot of tax related issuse federal and state, with fraud issues from our state department of social services, and DMV issues that prevent changing her drivers licenes. I have seen documents supporting everything. Now my concern is that if we have filed tax documents jointly yet she has not informed her employer that we are married, and her madian name appears on income tax papers for 2015 and she recieve health insurance in her madian name while under investigation is this fraud? Or can I expect problems from the IRS later

    Reply
    • Valera

      yet she recently called to returned to her old and she hasn't informed then that she is now married.

      Can you clarify this? Called and informed who?

      Now my concern is that if we have filed tax documents jointly yet she has not informed her employer that we are married, and her madian name appears on income tax papers for 2015

      It's not unusual for name changes to bump against tax season, where things are not fully in sync. Her employer can use the W-2C form for name corrections/updates.

      and she recieve health insurance in her madian name while under investigation is this fraud? Or can I expect problems from the IRS later

      It's important for the health insurance company's records to be up-to-date. When someone changes their name, it can take some time to go through the various organizations that need to be notified. It's not unlike changing one's address. Just because someone's taking a leisurely approach to updating their name across various organizations doesn't necessarily mean they're attempting to commit fraud.

      With that said, if someone's deliberately not updating their name on record(s) in order to avoid debts, then that may be a fraudulent act. You may want to consider speaking with a CPA or attorney and laying out your concerns.

      Reply
  35. Alex

    Hi Valera,
    I just recently noticed that my green card expired a few years back (2011 to be exact). I've been at my current job for over 7 years now and never thought to check the expiration date on it since I never really need/use it. Anyways, I'm ready to renew it now and was wondering if I could add my maiden name as my middle name without having to check the box that asks "Has your name legally changed since the issuance of your Permanent Resident Card?"
    Thanks for your help,
    Alex

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Alex. If you've legally changed your middle name, then it would make sense to check it. Is there a reason you wouldn't want to?

      Reply
      • alex

        Hi Valera,
        I have not legally changed it (I did not go through the courts/paid a fee), just thought it would be possible to take my maiden name back as a middle name (first name – maiden name as middle name (no hyphen) – married name as last name) since that used to be my name and I now decided to add it back…is that incorrect? Do I really have to go through all the trouble of legally changing it?
        If I check that box, I will be asked to include documentation but all I would have is my old passport and of course my birth certificate in my maiden name. Oh, and I have my social security card that shows it exactly the way I would like it :) I didn't have any problems adding my maiden name to that.
        Sorry for all the confusion/questions!
        Thanks again,
        Alex

        Reply
        • Valera

          Hi Alex. Such a request is unlikely to go through if you're not able to furnish a certified document detailing your name change event, such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order.

          Reply
  36. Debbie

    Hello – My new SS card has my FirstName MiddleName MarriedName, but my new DL was issued with my FirstName MaidenName MarriedName. Will this be a problem or should those 2 documents match exactly?

    Reply
      • Debbie

        The DL was incorrect. I ended up going back to DMV and having it corrected to match my SS card. What a pain!

        Reply
  37. Mita

    Hi
    I am in an odd trouble. I am married for 10 years and after my marriage, my passport was made. A little bit forcefully I was bound to sign to my new surname. I wanted to keep my maidens name for all my documents are in my maidens name. I went to US and stayed for 7years with my new surname. But after coming back to my country India, I had my 2nd baby and there in the hospital I used my maidens name. I have bank account in my maiden name too. As not so sure about the process, my name in my baby's birth certificate and passport(as a minor) has been my maidens name. But my passport has my nusbands last name.

    I definitely want to change my passport name to my maidens name (i m a family person and not a divorcee) but I also do not want any complication if I need to travel anywhere.
    My question is, what will be the easiest process for coming out of this situation if I need to travel hassle free without any arising of awkward question.
    I will be very much thankfull for quick and correct information.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Mita. Can you clarify which country passport are you looking to change — US or India?

      Reply
  38. Anne

    Hi,

    I currently live in Virginia but will be moving to Texas next month. I changed my name two years ago after getting married to First Middle and His Last Name. I am now wanting to add my Maiden name so that it will say First Middle Maiden Last Name. Will Virginia allow me to add my maiden name back? Once I get the court order, I should be able to move to Texas to change my SSN and DL with no problems, right? And since all my credit cards, checking accounts, etc. have my current First Middle and Last Name, I shouldn't have to change them since my middle will still be in my new name, correct? I will just need to change my SS, DL, and Passport to match my legal name, correct? Just wanting to make sure I have this figured out.

    Reply
    • Valera

      I am now wanting to add my Maiden name so that it will say First Middle Maiden Last Name.

      Will you be adding it to your middle or last name?

      Will Virginia allow me to add my maiden name back?

      Yes, with a court order.

      Once I get the court order, I should be able to move to Texas to change my SSN and DL with no problems, right?

      Yes.

      And since all my credit cards, checking accounts, etc. have my current First Middle and Last Name, I shouldn't have to change them since my middle will still be in my new name, correct?

      It goes back to my original question of whether the maiden name will be part of the middle or last name. If it's the latter, you should change it. It's a good idea to have such accounts synced with your full name, even though you can get by without updating them.

      I will just need to change my SS, DL, and Passport to match my legal name, correct?

      Yes, those are the most significant.

      Reply
  39. RUTH

    Hello

    I have to renew my Alien card is under my maiden name I am married 31 years and my Alien card and passport still under my maiden name, as per law we have to renew the Alien card, I do not want to change my maiden name but my SS I and driver license is under my married name I changed in order to file the taxes as couple married. Can I keep my maiden name in my renewal Alien Card ?
    Please advice

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Ruth. If you've legally changed your name, they'll want to be notified about this upon renewal. The application will ask this. You contact an agent to inquire if you can maintain the use of your maiden name, but it's unlikely to be approved.

      Reply
  40. Vicky

    I first hyphenated my name after marriage, then due to it being cumbersome, changed to just my husband's surname dropping my maiden one. I changed all legal documents over the decades to reflect that. After being widowed, is it possible to go back to my maiden name without a court order? Would I have to change all records (house deed, passport, social security etc. etc.) to reflect that change? And would that require a legal order? Or could some things remain in my married name and I could just use my maiden name for social purposes without getting into trouble?

    Reply
    • Valera

      After being widowed, is it possible to go back to my maiden name without a court order?

      No, you would have to go the court order route.

      Would I have to change all records (house deed, passport, social security etc. etc.) to reflect that change?

      Yes.

      And would that require a legal order?

      The granted court order document would be the "legal order" allowing you to make such changes.

      Or could some things remain in my married name and I could just use my maiden name for social purposes without getting into trouble?

      Yes, that is an option.

      Reply
  41. Nataly

    Hello, Valera.
    I got married in 2005, have changed my last name to a married name.
    I divorced in 10 months. The Divorce Certificate says, I have to keep my married name.
    But after 2 years I changed my driver's license on my maiden name ( because I applied for a Green Card with my Current Foreign Passport, that are on my maiden name; USCIS gave me a proof to get a driver's license) , and still use it now.
    In 2010 I have married again, but have left my maiden name.
    I tried to change my SSN card ( which has a married name), and provided a green card, but they want a legal name change document.

    How can I start a process to change a SSN?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Nataly. Are you trying to change your name with the SSN to your maiden name or to a new married name.

      Reply
        • Valera

          Hi Nataly. Since 1) your divorce decree did not have an instruction to restore your maiden name, and 2) your last name with SSA records is still based on your prior marriage, you'll have to petition the court to restore your maiden name.

          Reply
  42. Ildiko

    Hi I just got married in the states and I am appling for my visa as my husband lives there however I live in Hungary.Can I use my current passport with my maiden name to get my visa as the process is so complicated and I have to register my marrige in Hungary first before I can change my name and it takes months however I have to apply for my visa to the U.S. now.Can I use my maiden name to get the visa or do I have to change my surname before I can do anything?thanks

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Ildiko. You can get in touch with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate for guidance with this.

      Reply
  43. Felicia Richardson

    My license show my married name, and my ss card shows my maiden-married name. Do i have to change my license with maiden name hyphyphenated married name?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Do i have to change my license with maiden name hyphyphenated married name?

      Yes, they should match.

      Reply
  44. Chris Ann

    I am getting married in June and am wondering if I can have 2 last names without hyphenating, so that my name would be First Middle Maiden Married. And if I do that, am I able to sign legal documents using either last name? Or does it have to be both? In other words, if I have 2 last names, do I have to legally change any documents other than my DL and my SSN? I was also told that there are sometimes passport issues if you have 2 last names, so would I have to change that as well? I'm in Texas.

    Reply
    • Valera

      2 last names without hyphenating

      Possibly. You can contact your county clerk office for verification.

      am I able to sign legal documents using either last name?

      You'll have to sign your full name.

      do I have to legally change any documents other than my DL and my SSN? I was also told that there are sometimes passport issues if you have 2 last names, so would I have to change that as well?

      Basically, change everything as you would had you chosen a single surname.

      Reply
  45. Nataly

    Valera,
    I just would like to know, what i should to do, if I use my maiden name for 10 years, but my SSN card 10 years has my married name. How can I change the SSN card, if I never had a legal name change document?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Nataly. They'll need a recognized document (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree, court order) in order to process a name change request.

      Reply
  46. deltajctak

    I have a question about being employed under my maiden name. I changed my last name to my husband's but want to keep using only my maiden name for my professional life. I'm a grad student and instructor at a university right now, and don't want to change my last name with the university because they will change my name on directories, listings of classes I teach, change my email, the name on my degree, etc. My bank is ok with my maiden name being on my payroll paperwork so there's no real reason to let the university know I changed my name except for my W2 forms. How big of a problem is it if my maiden name (rather than my legal, married name) is on my tax forms, or is there a way I can just have my married name on my W2?

    Reply
    • Valera

      How big of a problem is it if my maiden name (rather than my legal, married name) is on my tax forms, or is there a way I can just have my married name on my W2?

      Your legal married name would have to be on your tax forms and W2. Explain your situation to the university and it's probable they'll be able to accommodate your name preference. Perhaps by use of an alias? Make it clear that you'll only want private, internal reference to your married name for tax filing purposes.

      Reply
  47. Aaron

    My fiancee is previously divorced and kept her married name. We are getting married next year and she will be changing her last name to mine…but she wishes to replace her middle name with her MAIDEN name (which she no longer has). Because it was her birth name and is on her birth certificates, would this be an issue without a court order? From what I've read online, she needs to put the name she will go by on our marriage license. Can she simple move her maiden name to the middle? Example: Born Danielle Barbara Black. Married in 2004: Changed name to Danielle Barbara Locke. Divorced in 2011: Kept same name. Married in 2015: Changed name to Danielle Black Williams. Possible without a court? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Can she simple move her maiden name to the middle? … Possible without a court?

      Possibly, depending on the state. Have a look at the maiden to middle name guide, which elaborates on this further.

      Reply
  48. Michaela

    Hi,
    I was married June 2014. I changed my maiden name to my married name shortly after. However, my passport still has my maiden name on it, mainly because I haven't traveled outside of the country since my honeymoon. My passport book is almost full. Can I still use it until it is full even though the rest of my documents and SS card all have my married name?

    Also, my old checks and my husbands old checks each have our respective names on them. Now that we have combined bank accounts and we are each on each other's bank accounts, can I sign my name to his checks and he sign his to mine?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Valera

      My passport book is almost full. Can I still use it until it is full even though the rest of my documents and SS card all have my married name?

      Yes. You can review the maiden name on passport article, which elaborates on this.

      Now that we have combined bank accounts and we are each on each other's bank accounts, can I sign my name to his checks and he sign his to mine?

      Yes, since they're joint accounts.

      Reply
  49. EGrrl

    I have been married for almost 7 years. I hyphenated my name given surname to his surname on our marriage license. On my SS card, my voter registration card, my bank cards, my passport, etc. I put my first and middle names and then both last names without the hyphen. My name is hyphenated on my drivers' license because my state (NM) requires hyphenation for dual surnames.

    I want to go by both surnames. I use the dual surnames on all documents and when introducing myself to others, however, most people seem too confused to handle it and call me Ms. HisLastName or FirstName HisLastName. This irritates me to no end. Especially because I have never in the years we've been married filled out any paperwork or introduced myself to anyone using just his last name. It's funny because when we went on vacation overseas there were no issues with my dual surnames. I have asked family and close friends to use either my given surname or both surnames but they either don't or tease me about it, which hurts me a lot.

    If they have to pick one last name, I'd rather be addressed by my given last name. I don't want to divorce my husband, he's wonderful and I want to be married to him. I've thought about changing everything back to my given surname, or taking out the space between surnames and making it MyGivenSurnameHisSurname (e.g. Anna SmithJones) but I'm unsure how much hassle it will be. Do you have any advice for me?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi EGrrl. It's understandably annoying having to correct people to properly recognize your full last name. There's no easy way to reinforce this. You'll have to continue doing what you have been by clarifying when necessary. If you do ultimately choose to go forward with modifying your last name, you will have to petition the court to get it done. I wouldn't consider it a hassle. It's just another process to get you from A to B. It'll take a little bit of time, but it's a common process that many people go through for a variety of reasons.

      Reply
  50. Nancy Gleason

    I was married almost 11 years ago and here is how I handled the name change:
    I kept my maiden name and added my husband's name to it, no hyphen, just like Julia, the OP, so my name is Nancy X. Y Z, not Nancy X. Y-Z
    Since your legal name is only required on legal documents, that is how I use it: taxes, driver's license, passport. Credit cards, bank accounts, medical records, etc., are just with my husband's name, since those are not considered legal documents.

    I do use both names on facebook, as it makes finding me easier for friends and families, but that's it.
    I have never had a problem doing this.

    Reply
  51. Ethan

    We live in Hawaii and we got married in December 2014. On our marriage certificate we used a hyphenated last name. We have done nothing to change our names since the marriage and we have now reconsidered using this hyphenated last name. Can we still keep all our ID they way they are? We were hoping to fix the marriage certificate, but they said they can't do that. However, they are saying we have to change all our ID's to match our marriage certificate because that was a legal name change, is this correct? Also they want us to fill out a name change form to change it back, but I'm not sure what are they talking about because we haven't changed anything.
    Thanks
    Ethan

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Ethan. I'm not sure what they're referring to. Name change is optional. Some folks change their minds, which result in their names and identification remaining unmodified.

      Reply
  52. Forida

    Hi. I married my husband last June and I hyphenated my maiden name with his last name on the marriage certificate but haven't changed my name on SSC or DL. I'm starting to feel like I just want my husband's last name as my new last name and maybe have my maiden name as my middle name. On my SSC do I have to have the hyphenated name that is on the marriage certificate or can I just use my husband's last name?

    Reply
  53. Nat

    I know after divorce, an ex-spouse can not force someone to using/not using a legally established name. My current husband's ex-wife is still using his last name. Legally, she never had her name changed when they were married. She had a business that she used her maiden name for, some documents she had used my husbands last name, but her legal name on tax returns and SS card is actually her first ex-husband. We read over the final divorce decree but there is no mention of any name use. Since she never legally changed her name to his, can she continue to use it?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Nat. Yes, she can continue using it as long as it's done in the proper context and there's no attempt to commit fraud or evade debts.

      Reply
  54. Ardette

    I am getting married in july. all my documents are still in process (including immigration) if i use my future husband's last name (immigration status also in process) do i need to update everything. Or i can change some, like bank accounts. and keep my maiden name in ssn ? is it going to be a problem later on? or just keep my maiden name and do not declare married
    ?

    Reply
    • Valera

      do i need to update everything

      Yes, if you opt to legally change your name, then it's important for your documents to be updated and in sync.

      Or i can change some, like bank accounts. and keep my maiden name in ssn ?

      If you're planning to keep your maiden name with your SSN, then the status quo would remain.

      or just keep my maiden name and do not declare married

      You can declare being married while keeping your maiden name.

      Reply
  55. Stacy

    Good Day Valera!

    I changed my last name to my husband's in 2013. This year I am launching a new business venture and would like to use my maiden name on business cards and when I introduce myself to clients.

    Do I need to legally add my maiden name to my current last name or could I continue to use my maiden name professionally?

    Thank you!
    Stacy

    Reply
    • Valera

      Do I need to legally add my maiden name to my current last name or could I continue to use my maiden name professionally?

      Yes, you can just use your maiden name professionally.

      Reply
  56. Cindy

    I am a student in FL. we have a question regarding a fellow student. She has been using (presenting) two different drivers licenses, one with her maiden name and another with her new married name. She has real estate properties in her old maiden name and is using her old license to have related docs.(including affidavits of domicile) notarized, and using her new married one (with new married name) to have new mortgage documents notarized. We do not believe that she has citizenship or SS#. Is this possible, to maintain two drivers licenses and to submit either one as valid identity?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Cindy. It's up to the various institutions to determine if they'll accept it (assuming they're aware of it). It could certainly be problematic if the intention is to commit fraud. Based upon your description, that doesn't appear to be the case. It seems she's just using the old driver's license as a way to verify her identity (or matching name) on old paperwork.

      Reply
  57. Ninfa

    I been married for 15 years and I never changed my last name but we bought a house and I had to sign the deed with my married name the thing is that I don't have any I'd with my married name can I get just an I'd with my husbands last name instead of changing it in all the papers ?

    Reply
    • Valera

      can I get just an I'd with my husbands last name instead of changing it in all the papers ?

      If it's to be a validly recognized ID, that's unlikely. If you need to provide verification of your marriage, you can acquire a certified copy of your marriage certificate. You can inquire with whatever entity requires identity verification if such a document would be sufficient.

      Reply
  58. Joseph

    I got married in California last year (where we still live), and I took my husband's name on the marriage certificate and duly updated it with the authorities. I really regret it now—the name just doesn't right to me—and I want to revert to my maiden name, though we're still married.

    Is this possible to do at all without paying $500 for a name change through the court? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Joseph. Unfortunately, you would have to go through the court (fees and all) to complete a follow-up name change.

      Reply
  59. Michaela

    I am getting married in a few months in MN and I would like to change my legal name to MyFirst MyMiddle HisLast. However, I would like to keep my professional name as MyFirst MyMiddle Maiden Name. I will be licensed in my profession next year. Because I have my bachelor and master degrees under my maiden name, can I keep it as my professional name?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Michaela. You would have to contact your state's licensing board. Some states require legal name changes to be reported within X-number of days following a name change.

      Reply
  60. Anitas

    My Birth certificate name says Anita Lilos. My social security card, drivers license, passport, credit cards, marriage license say Anna Lilos. When I got married I thought it would be the best time to go back to using my birth certficate name and use my new married last name so now 'Anita Anna Megos'. I have been able to change my name with the social security card, drivers license, bank accounts. Unfortunately credit card companies are asking for a court order for my first name change. I dont have one because i'm using my first name that was given by birth. Should i close my old credit cards an open new cards in my new name instead of trying to change my first name?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Anitas. Did you tell them your name change was a result of marriage? If so, did you also offer to supply a copy of your marriage certificate as proof of marriage?

      Reply
  61. DD

    I got married hastily and my new husband rushed me to change my last name on my CDL (I live in California) as well as my SS. Now, we are separating (not legally yet, and I don't know how it will end up) and I want to use my previous married name (which I had for over 27 years). Do I have to do a legal name change? If so, how do I do that if there's no divorce document? Will that mess me up at all since we bought a house together that has my new married name on it?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Do I have to do a legal name change? If so, how do I do that if there's no divorce document?

      You can seek a court petitioned name change.

      Will that mess me up at all since we bought a house together that has my new married name on it?

      No, that's shouldn't be an issue.

      Reply
  62. Kylie Wilson

    I got married back in 2009 & divorced in 2012..when we went to court I got my maiden name back but never changed it on my ssc..I am with someone new and we are talking about getting married this summer so does this mean I have to go back to my maiden name before changing it to his? & does this cost anything?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Kylie. No, you do not have to return to your maiden name before changing it to your new husband's.

      Reply
  63. Jacki

    We were married on a cruse ship, so our marriage certificate is filed in a different country. Do I have to notify Social Security?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Do I have to notify Social Security?

      Not unless you're changing your name.

      Reply
  64. Holly Bridges

    I have been divorced since 2006. My social, license, birth certificate and passport all have my maiden name. Do I have to do a name change from surname to maiden since I never used the surname?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Holly. It appears you've never changed any of your documents, therefore your maiden name has always remained your legal name. If that's the case, I don't see what it is you'll need to change.

      Reply
  65. joann

    Hi, I recently got married married and would lime to keep my children from A pprevious marriage as my beneficiaries on my old life insurance policy. Do I have to change my name on the policy?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Joann. Unless you have a valid reason not to, it's generally good practice to make such organizations aware of your new legal name for their records.

      Reply
  66. Brea

    Hi!
    I have a question. So, I got married in October this past year and I agreed to my husband to add his last name onto my last name (no hyphen (he hates those), but just having two last names). I haven't done this process yet, but really I don't want to have to change any documents. Like, I want to keep my maiden name on my SSC, driver's license, passport, credit cards, etc. Is this something that can even be done? I was just hoping there was some way I could file the information and say "well, I also go by this name, but my legal name is my 'maiden name'" sort of thing. Is this a real thing? I live in Washington. Not sure if that matters or not, but I thought I would throw it in. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Brea. Sure, you can choose to go by your dual last name informally. When it comes to filling out governmental forms, legalese, taxes, and so on, you'll have to use your maiden name.

      Reply
  67. karry roark

    I just got a divorce in Illinois and I was granted to go back to my maiden name how long am I allowed to wait to change it on social security and everything else

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Karry. There's no time limit. You can change it back whenever you're ready.

      Reply
  68. Anne

    Hello, I recently got married for the second time. I have a daughter from my previous marriage and her last name is hyphenated with his and mine … first, middle, his last-my last. I also never changed back to my maiden name after divorcing.

    I am wanting to keep my maiden name, plus my new husbands name, so my daughter and I can still share a last name. However my daughter has a hard time just going by her dad's last name since it is hyphenated…I have learned from this, and am wanting to know the best way to go about changing my name for myself.

    Should I do first, middle maiden(together, no hyphen), then his last?

    Or first, middle, maiden his last.

    I am looking for whatever will make it easiest to just go by his last as my official last name (drivers license, etc as my maiden name is long and hard to pronounce.

    I am located in Texas. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Should I do first, middle maiden(together, no hyphen), then his last?

      A dual middle name would probably require petitioning the court. If that's acceptable and you prefer that combination, then there's certainly nothing wrong with that sequence.

      Or first, middle, maiden his last.

      I am looking for whatever will make it easiest to just go by his last as my official last name

      This combination also makes sense, although the official name that will go on your SS and driver's license would still be both last names—your full legal name.

      Reply
  69. Mellanie Semilla Muleta

    hello..Im Mellanie can I ask about my status I apply my sss using my married name Mellanie Muleta but now Im widow, then I change my married name into my single name Mellanie Semilla so now it is possible to change again my family name using my married name? because my company used my married name for the payment of my sss so I have no record using my married name but I used the same sss number, so what shall I do to change it again using my married name ? thanks

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Mellanie. What name are you trying to return to? If you're looking to go from your married name to another last name, then you can petition the court to do so. You may also want to contact your local SSA about this to inquire about your name and how your company has implemented your name.

      Reply
  70. Danielle

    I'm currently 9 months pregnant and married the baby's father last month. I haven't changed any documents yet but would like all of our last names to match on the birth certificate. Will this be a problem? Can I use my husbands last name as mine even if it's not legally changed before baby arrives?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Can I use my husbands last name as mine even if it's not legally changed before baby arrives?

      Yes, you can. Your name change is performed on a separate track.

      Reply
  71. shania

    I have been married almost five years,I took my husbands last name.But now I would like to take my maiden name back,even though we're married. Is that possible through naturalization process? if yes, do I have to pay after it for changing all my documents like (home, tax, DMV etc)

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Shania. You can change your name during naturalization. You can get in touch with USCIS regarding potential fees. Fees for changing your name on other documents (e.g., tax, DMV) is something determined by each agency. Unlikely for home or tax related documents. DMV may possibly charge a reissue fee.

      Reply
  72. Jen

    Hi, When I got married I added my husband's last name (no hyphen), but as yet have only changed my name with the SS office. I have always used just my maiden name professionally and I am now starting a business. I want to continue using my maiden name with my business. To do that, do I need to file a DBA or will it be fine because the bank acct I opened for the business is just under my maiden (they go by DL which I did not change to add hubby's name)? The DBA sounds like a huge pain because it has to be advertised in the paper for a month or something and I would rather not have an extra step to complete. So, clients will write checks just to maiden name, bank is in maiden name, SSN is maidenname husbandname. I just don't want a problem when it comes to tax time. I'm in CA. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Valera

      If and when you eventually renew your license, the DMV may query the SSA database and notice your name change there. Your license will be renewed in your married name. Your tax and SSA name must also match, so you'll file using your legal name.

      Using a DBA is can be a good long-term approach to prevent disruption on the business side of things while making sure your name records are synchronized across your various identity documents (e.g., SS, driver's license).

      Reply
      • Jen

        Thank you, I will go that route then. I don't want any issues down the road. A follow-up question if you don't mind… I have found the whole having two last names thing to be a huge hassle. It takes forever for doctors to find me, I can never remember which name I used where. Despite trying to engage my feminist side, I think I now just want to add my Maiden name to my middle name and use my husbands last name. How can I do this, now without the marriage license to document the name change? Thanks so much for the help. It was great to come across your blog!

        Reply
        • Valera

          Hi Jen. Since you've already changed your name with the SSA, changing it again would entail a new name change event and authorizing document, which would be a court order. So, you'd be looking at petitioning the court to acquire a different name sequence.

          Reply
  73. Bonnie Hanna-Ciccarelli

    i live in Massachusetts and am separated from my husband. I want to go back to my maiden name. Can I change my name on my own?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Bonnie. Yes, you can change it on your own. It would require petitioning the court to have your name changed.

      Reply
  74. Alexis

    Hi. I got married over 10 years ago and I signed my maiden name on the marriage license not knowing that I had to sign my new name. Can I still use my marriage license to change my last name to my husband's last name or do I need to go through the entire name change process? I would like to keep my maiden name and hyphenate his last name.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Alexis. Yes, you can change it still. Order a certified copy of your marriage certificate from your local vital records office.

      Reply
  75. kathy hawk

    If i get married i can just keep my name as it us now without doing anything extra? And what will happen when we file our taxes as married filing jointly and our last names are not the same?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Kathy. Yes, if you do nothing your name will not change. Name changes aren't automatic. They have to be proactively initiated. As for your taxes, nothing good nor bad will happen. You'll just file using your distinct names.

      Reply
  76. Becky

    I just got divorced and had the name change in the divorce decree. We are selling two houses that are in my married name. I haven't changed my name on any documentation yet. Can I sign the closing documents in my married name?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Can I sign the closing documents in my married name?

      Yes, as that's still your current name.

      Reply
  77. mira

    Hi, I got my SSN in my maiden name and haven't able to change when I got married. Now I'm divorced. Do I need to change my last name to married name first then change back to my maiden name?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Mira. If you're asking if you need to change from maiden to married and back to maiden (to fulfill some sort of requirement), then no. You'll just wind up back where you started, and doing nothing results in the same thing—your name remaining static.

      Reply
  78. Kake

    Hi, I have a question. I've been married for 2 years now and have changed my maiden name. Don't really like that choice of mine and I'm actually regretting it. I'm planning to apply for grad school. My question is: Can I apply for school with my maiden name although I have my married name on Social and IDs and stuff? I'd greatly appreciate it if you give me an advice! Thanks.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Kate. Applications typically require your legal name, in order to perform various look-ups.

      Reply
  79. Stefanie

    Hi Valera,
    Thanks for providing this information. I'm interested in changing my last name to my husband's after our marriage. However, I would like to keep using my maiden name professionally. In particular, when I publish research, I would like to keep using my name exactly as is [First name-Middle initial-Maiden last name]. Do you think anyone would have a problem with that, even if my last name is legally changed? Also, what about when going to conferences or something like that–do you think I could register with my maiden name instead of my legal last name? Although keeping my first and middle name as is would be my first choice, I'd also be willing to change my current last name to be my middle name if that would make any of these outcomes easier. I would also consider keeping my current middle name as part of a new combined middle name (resulting in: First(original first name) Middle (original middle name followed by a space and my original last name) Last (husband's last name), but do you think that just makes people confused and causes more problems having so many names? Thanks for any input you can provide.
    Best,
    Stefanie

    Reply
    • Valera

      Do you think anyone would have a problem with that, even if my last name is legally changed?

      Also, what about when going to conferences or something like that–do you think I could register with my maiden name instead of my legal last name?

      That's a common approach, and shouldn't present a problem.

      I'd also be willing to change my current last name to be my middle name if that would make any of these outcomes easier.

      I don't see it as an easier or more complicated choice. I think it makes the most sense to implement the approach you prefer most and make that work rather than contort another scenario to fit what you assume might be better.

      I would also consider keeping my current middle name as part of a new combined middle name

      Depending on the state, that may not be possible without getting a court order.

      but do you think that just makes people confused and causes more problems having so many names?

      I don't believe, over the long term, whatever you choose will be confusing or difficult for others to grasp and remember. Eventually, you and others will get used to whichever name you choose. Of course, there can be the occasional correction to be made, but I believe it's best for you to choose the name you and only you consider to fit best for your personal and professional use, and push to make that work.

      Reply
  80. Amber

    I got married in 2014 in Michigan. After three months, the marriage came to an abrpt end for several reasons.

    My question is: I signed my married name, but never changed any of my documents. Now that I need to file for divorce, how does that affect everything? Do I need to get my name actually changed over to the married name? Do I go to courthouse and get name change? I want to file very soon, and am not going through a lawyer.

    Sorry this is alot. I still use maiden name for EVERYTHING. i dont know if i file for divorce under my maiden name or if i have to go through whole process of changing name to married name, even if its only for 60 days?
    HELP!!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Amber. You don't have to undergo any name change. Since you never changed your name on any documents, your legal name is still your maiden name. Therefore, you'll use your maiden name for everything.

      Reply
      • Amber

        So if I signed my married name on the marriage license, do i file for divorce with maiden name? Just wonder how that will be handled. Instead of Amber W, its signed Amber S. S is married initial. So i file as Amber W? Just trying to get this figured out!

        Reply
        • Valera

          Hi Amber. Disregarding the marriage license. Sign with your maiden name, as that's still your current name.

          Reply

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