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!

697 Comments

  1. Sharon

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  2. Victoria

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

      Reply
  3. Patty

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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 Are you saying your middle name should have been replaced by your maiden name, but your middle name was maintained instead?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

      Reply
  4. Breezy

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

    Reply
  5. Lee

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

    Reply
  6. Azalea

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

    Reply
  7. Kim

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

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

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Green.

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

      …snip…

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

      DBA is a sensible option.

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Reply
  8. Sindy

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  9. Anna

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

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

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

    Reply
  10. Ana

    Hi:

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Yes.

      Reply
  11. Mishell

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

      Reply
  12. gaby

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

      Reply
  13. Darya

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

    Reply
  14. dawn

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  15. Elsy

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

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Yes.

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

      No.

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

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

      Reply
  16. Yeng

    Hello,

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

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  17. wrigley

    Hello!

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

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

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

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

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

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

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

      Reply
  18. Melissa

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

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  19. meagan

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      What do you mean by trouble?

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

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

      Reply
  20. Sheros

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

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

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      The name on your drivers license and SSN should match.

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

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

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

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

      Reply
  21. April

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
    • Kelly

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

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

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

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

      Reply
  22. Mili

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

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

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

    Thank you.

    Thank you

    Reply
  23. Nancy

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  24. Carrie

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

      Reply
  25. Belinda

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

    Reply
  26. wrigley

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

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

      Reply
      • wrigley

        Thanks for your answers. I very much appreciate it!

        There is a line in the system for "Legal Name" but they don't use it, so they tell me. So, I think it's possible for them to put an alias name in the first/last name area and legal name in that. But they won't do it – I guess they'd have to change things for everyone, and that's too much of a pain. I did ask HR about it and they basically told me I was stuck with it. All of this is in emails, so, yes, it's in writing.

        Reply
  27. Julia

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

    Thanks.

    (Im from chula vista, california)

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

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

      Reply
  28. Jessica

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  29. Melissa

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      No.

      Reply
  30. Diana

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

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

      Reply
  31. Chloe

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

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

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

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

      Not one that would avoid the expense.

      Reply
  32. oneida mcintosh

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

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

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

      Reply
  33. Mary

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  34. Jing

    Hi Valera,

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

    Reply
  35. Norma

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      It doesn't make a difference.

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

      Same as above—It makes no difference.

      Reply
  36. Nefacio

    My wife recently became a citizen and changed her last name to match mine and the kids; the problem is the kids birth certificates have her maiden last name, how do we change the birth certificates to have her new married name? Do we even need to change them? will that affect them in any way? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Valera

      how do we change the birth certificates to have her new married name?

      Contact your local vital records office regarding amendments.

      Do we even need to change them?

      No.

      will that affect them in any way?

      No.

      Reply
    • Kelly

      Most states do want the mother to record her name as her "maiden" one and will not amend a BC to reflect a changed married name. Now if she changed her name for a reason other than taking a spouse's or other partner's last name* you might be able to do something (and such a name change would most likely change how the name would be listed on subsequent children's BCs). *Examples would be being legally adopted (or going the other way if you were adopted as a child back to your original name), changing part or all of your name for other personal reasons, etc.

      Reply
  37. Heather

    Hi Valera,

    About 6 months ago the court approved our minor child's name change which changed it from his dad's name to hyphenating both our last names. However we did not yet follow through with changing it on anything such as social security or birth certificate. Since then we have reconciled (previously we were apart for years) and now I am hesitant to continue with the process for my son. Since we did not follow through with notifying the various agencies and don't plan on doing so at this point is it basically as if we have not changed anything and legally he should continue to go by his dad's last name? Or is it the case that his name has been officially changed to our hyphenated names and we would have to go back to court if we wanted him to continue to go by his fathers last name?
    Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Heather. An approval from the court to allow a name change provides the necessary authorization to update your various documents, if you so choose. Choosing to do nothing will just maintain the status quo.

      Reply
  38. Holly

    Hi,

    I got married two weeks ago, and I've began trying to figure out how to change my name. I got my marriage certificate from the courts, but it has my maiden name on it. Is my name not officially changed to my husband's till I put it on my Social Security?

    I am concerned because in Georgia they say you must change your name on your driver's license 60 days after you get a name change, but I have no idea if my name change began once I got married or if it doesn't officially until a document like my social security shows it. I called the DMV and the Social Security Office, but I could get no response.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Holly. Name change events typically refer to the SSA, as the DMV performs a cross-database look-up prior to updating the name on a license. It's important that the SSA record be updated first.

      Reply
  39. AV

    Hello,
    I have a bit of a complicated situation. I took my husbands name when I was married in New York three years ago. Now I need to change to a hyphenated last name but I now live overseas. I have been told by the US embassy that changing my name on my passport and SS card will not be a problem. They said bringing my marriage cert which shows my maiden name will be enough. I am wondering if I also need to make some sort of legal name change in New York since that is where I have my marriage cert and drivers license. I'm feeling a bit confused. Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Best,
    AV

    Reply
    • Valera

      I am wondering if I also need to make some sort of legal name change in New York since that is where I have my marriage cert and drivers license.

      No, you don't.

      Reply
  40. Victoria Ashley Leighton

    I'm a real estate lawyer using my maiden name since I graduated. When I got married years ago, I insisted keeping my maiden name professionally but agreed using my married name socially to identify better with my two daughters. I must admit it was my feminist thinking that defied the concept on becoming my husband's woman after being married. In fact, only their teachers called me 'Mrs. Venus Leeds' while all my clients addressed me 'Ms. Venus Adams'.

    It worked fine for the next 22 years until the passing of my now late husband last August, making me the Executrix of his estate and the Trustee of his existing Family trust (in conjunction with 3 other trustees!). Having inherited such relatively complicated estate with extensive family connections, I began to realize the importance of my preceived status (i.e. being one of the Leeds rather than being considered 'outsider') in relation to the control of its operation.

    Despite no longer having needs to associate with my daughters at school (since both of them recently graduated), I decided few months ago to legally append my maiden name to that of my late husband officially and becoming "Mrs. Venus Adam Leeds". To my surprise, it is the very first time that I am actually feel comfortable being addressed "Mrs." as if those feminist sentiments somehow vanished and got out of the way. I suppose it is a reflection of my maturity (I'm alredy 52) and a practical need to accept reality. So when a client of mine received my new calling card and asked if I have recently married, I instead told her I'm recently widowed. And she simply didn't know what to say!

    Reply
    • Valera

      So when a client of mine received my new calling card and asked if I have recently married, I instead told her I'm recently widowed. And she simply didn't know what to say!

      Thanks for sharing your story.

      Reply
  41. Swetha

    Hi,

    I changed my last name to my husband's last name when I renewed my passport last year.

    My bank account, license has my maiden last name. Can I go back to my maiden name if so how? Please help.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Changing your name the second time around (for non-marriage related reasons) would require a court petition process.

      Reply
  42. Gloria

    Hi, my husband and I got married six yrs ago and I was wondering if it is too late to change my last name to his. I already changed my last name on my drivers license a couple yrs ago, but not on my social security card. Can I still do it and if I can what documents do I have to bring? Thanks

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Gloria. It's not too late. Contact your local vital records office to get a certified copy of your marriage certificate. You'll need that and proper I.D. to update your SS card.

      Reply
  43. Pooja Parekh

    Hi,

    I am an Indian. I am going to get married to a Muslim guy in 3-4 months. I will be required to change my name as per my to be in laws and social requirements. But I want that my name appears the same in my old documents like passport, Driving License. Is it possible that I can use the same name in passport and just provide the legal copy of name change in case of verifications for marital status and the new name..??

    My passport will last for atleast 10 years from now, so atleast for that duration I can have my maiden name on that document. Please tell me the possibilities of this considering Indian Legislation in mind.

    Regards
    Pooja

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Pooja. You do not have to change the name on your passport post-marriage.

      Reply
  44. Beth

    I got married 2 yrs ago and originally hyphenated my last name with my husband's on my marriage license but afterwards decided I'd rather keep my maiden name. I never changed any documents (driver's license, SS card, passport, bank accounts, etc.) and can't remember anything where I signed the hyphenated last name…so I only have the hyphenated name on our marriage license. Will this create a legal problem later for anything significant? Because I read that if I wanted to change the name back to my maiden name on my marriage license we would have to show up to court and get remarried listing my maiden name as my requested married name this time which is just a pain and seems unecessary since I have not run into any problems so far. Can't find any info on this online…..thanks.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Beth. Since you've only changed it on your marriage license, it's a non-issue. Many people have second thoughts about going forth with a name change post-marriage. Just doing nothing keeps things as-is, which doesn't impact anything.

      Reply
  45. Lisa Ann

    My husband and I married over 10 years ago. We both hyphenated our last names but never changed it with SSA or DMV. I am considering changing my name to the hyphenated married surname. Once that marriage license becomes a part of the SSA system, will that have any ramifications for him? Will he then be required to change his name as well. He doesn't want to, ever. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Will he then be required to change his name as well. He doesn't want to, ever.

      No, he won't. Your name change would be separate from his.

      Reply
  46. Ali

    Hi,
    I did not change my maiden name when I got married 13 years back. I am applying for US naturalization soon and wanted to know if I will be made to change my last name, same as my husband's as part of the process even though I don’t want to? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Ali. No, you won't be required to change your name.

      Reply
  47. Lin

    I got married about a year ago in Hawaii and initially wanted to hyphenate my last name. I signed the marriage certificate with the hyphenated last name. Now I've changed my mind and want to just keep my spouse's last name. I have not made any changes to my name yet, I still have my maiden name. Can I go to Social Security office and request this (even though the marriage certificate won't match?) or will i have to amend the marriage certificate from Hawaii prior to going to Social Security office? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Lin

      I forgot to mention that I'm from California. I'm not sure if this makes a difference or not.

      Reply
  48. Valerie

    The Judge approved after my divorce to change my name back to my maiden name on May 1st of this year. I'm having surgery in 2 weeks and don't want to start it right now, for medical insurance reasons, do I have a time limit to when I start changing everything back to my maiden name, does it matter if like I wait a month before changing it? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Valera

      do I have a time limit to when I start changing everything back to my maiden name

      No, there's no time limit.

      does it matter if like I wait a month before changing it?

      No, it doesn't matter.

      Reply
  49. Cate

    I am planning on changing my name today. However, I have a doctors appointment next week and will need to show them my insurance card. Will I need to have a new insurance card by then, or will I be fine?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Will I need to have a new insurance card by then, or will I be fine?

      Hi Cate. I doubt that'll present an issue. You could always provide a supplemental document confirming your new name (e.g., mail, social security card, I.D., marriage document). Oftentimes, you can even update your insurance information and print an temporary card through your insurer's website. It also wouldn't hurt to contact your doctor's office regarding your name change so that they may update their records.

      Reply
  50. Marsha

    My sisters married last name is Johnson. However she drew up a Power of Attorney and a Will naming her as that persons POA and executor of the will using her maiden name. Is that legal or should she have used her married name which is her correct legal name?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Is that legal or should she have used her married name which is her correct legal name?

      That may be problematic. Legal names should go on legal documents. I suggest your sister seek legal advice regarding the validity of her name usage and if the Power of Attorney needs to be amended to represent her legal name, while (optionally) specifying her maiden name as an alias.

      Reply
  51. MrsMD

    I got married just after completing my Residency. I never changed my name on my medical license. My husband and I are moving to Illinois & I'm wondering if I'm required to use my new last name on my application for a new medical license even though my degree and other documentation will have my maiden name on them?

    Reply
    • Valera

      I'm wondering if I'm required to use my new last name on my application for a new medical license even though my degree and other documentation will have my maiden name on them?

      Even though it's expected that your legal name goes on your medical license, you can still contact the Illinois licensing board to inquire if an alias is permitted.

      Reply
    • Lisa Ann

      Hello MrsMD:
      In my experience completing medical-related applications, it's best if the name on your Social Security Card, NPI and state medical license, DEA and DPS, malpractice and liability all match.
      If you complete a CAQH, insurance plan enrollments, including Medicare and Medicaid, etc, the applications will ask for any previous names. Your schools may be able to send you an updated or amended diploma if you decide to use your married name on your medical information.

      Reply
  52. Auro

    I have a question I think you all could answer, from reading all the comments. When I got married, I took my ex's name, and changed my SS card. He didn't let me drive, so I never changed my license, and we got divorced some time later, and my divorce papers said I didn't want to change my name. I've kept on using my married last name and left it alone since I have an ID with the married name on it.

    I'm getting remarried (to someone who isn't scary!) and want to change my name again. I know that it will be easy to get it done with SS, but I'm worried about changing my license in NC. Am I going to get hit by an awful fine for never changing it or run into a lot of trouble when I try?

    Reply
    • Valera

      Am I going to get hit by an awful fine for never changing it or run into a lot of trouble when I try?

      No, you won't be facing anything like that. When the time comes, it is recommended that you change your name with the SSA prior to the DMV.

      Reply
  53. Allisen

    Hi, I am hoping you can help with my situation. I did not find any information online. I recently got married (02/18/2014) and I added my middle name to the marriage license. It is my mothers maiden name. The social security office did not let me drop it per my request due to security reasons. I wasn't aware the SSN office would literally go by what the marriage license states regardless to my request. How do I drop my middle name legally in the state of California? Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Allisen. In California, you'll have to petition the court. Take a look at the last few paragraphs of the middle name change article, which elaborates further.

      Reply
  54. Julie

    Hi, I hope you can help me on this…. can I still get a job even if I change my last name to my husband name through marriage on my driver's license, ss card etc, but not on my permanent resident card yet?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Valera

      can I still get a job even if I change my last name to my husband name through marriage on my driver's license, ss card etc, but not on my permanent resident card yet?

      Yes. An employer can accept your permanent resident card with a different name as long as it's understood that the name you've provided is genuine and relates to you.

      Reply
  55. Janet

    I got married 42 years ago and immediately applied for (and got) a new SS card showing my new name. Fast forward 7 years, still married to same man but wish to revert to birth name. I never took any legal steps to make the change, but since 1977 all my documentation (except SS) are in my birth name: driver's license, passport, voting record, all jobs held since then.

    I recently decided to apply for a new SS card with my birth name, but SSA says I need a court decree showing a name change. They referred me to the County Clerk's office and told me to request a form for Resumption of Maiden Name. I contacted the County Clerk's office and was told this form is only for resumption of maiden name following divorce. I am not divorced, I am still married to the same man for 42 years.

    SSA has both names attached to my account. My earnings report shows all my wages going back 42 years, including those jobs held in my married name between 1972 and 1977 and those jobs from 1977 to the present held in my birth name. But they won't change the official name on the account. I seem to be caught in a catch-22 between SSA sending me to County Clerk, and County Clerk saying SSA should accept documentation I've already presented to them (passports going back to 1969, W2's going back to 1972, birth certificate, marriage certificate, driver's license). Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Janet

      I found what I hope is the answer to my situation in RM 10212.155 Subsequent Name Correction Based on Current Marriage, Civil Union and Domestic Partnership, found on the SSA website at ssa.gov.

      Reply
    • Valera

      Hi Janet. The resource you cited may work for you as you've been actively using your maiden name for such a long time. When attempting to update your SSN it's advisable for you to get a certified copy of your marriage document (e.g., marriage certificate) which shows your maiden name. The "new name" you're wanting to shift to (which is still just your maiden name) could be obtained from that document. Also bring in your drivers license (which shows your maiden name) to help establish your identity. Actually, any supporting documents showing your maiden name would be helpful.

      Reply
      • Janet

        Thank you. After 4 hours at SSA this morning I have successfully gotten my name officially changed back to my birth name. I took printed copies of the webiste pages cited above with the relevant paragraphs highlighted and after much debate, they agreed to make the change. I had with me my marriage certificate, an old passport (picture identification with my married name), and my current driver's license (picture identification with my birth name). My new card should arrive in the mail in the next two weeks.

        Reply
  56. Rebecca

    Hi there,

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

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

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

    Thanks very much for your help and guidance!

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

      Reply
  57. Katie

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

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

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

      Reply
  58. Amy

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  59. Liz

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  60. Tere

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  61. florence

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  62. Maria

    Hi,

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

      Reply
  63. Maria M

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

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  64. Leah

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  65. Anna

    Hi Valera,

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

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

    Thank you for your help!
    Warm regards.

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

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

      Your new marriage certificate, once you receive it.

      Reply
  66. Kate

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

    Reply
    • Kate

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

      Reply
      • Valera

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

        Reply
    • Valera

      Which one is my legal last name?

      Maiden name, as SSN record takes precedence.

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

      Nothing, as your name hasn't officially changed.

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

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

      Reply
  67. Maggie

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

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

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

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

    Thanks so much.

    Lost in Resume Hell

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

      Reply
  68. Laura

    Hi there,

    Maybe you could help me out. :)

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

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

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

    Thanks for your help and attention.

    Best Regards,

    Laura.

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  69. Calil

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      No.

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

      Yes.

      Does not changing it effect the legality of the marriage?

      No.

      Reply
  70. Carol

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

      Reply
  71. Sasha

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

    Reply
    • Valera

      Which is considered my official legal spelling?

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

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

      Same as above.

      Reply
  72. Lesley

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  73. Julia

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  74. Sarah

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  75. Jenny

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  76. Cassandra Urzi

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      No.

      Reply
  77. dcoates, uggghhh

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

      Reply
  78. Chantal

    hi hi,

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

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply
  79. Lina

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

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

      Will there be any future problems renewing DL?

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

      Reply
  80. Uma

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

    Reply
    • Valera

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

      Reply

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