1,219 Comments

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

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

1. In professional contexts, particularly specialized professions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1,219 Comments

  1. Antonette

    Hi Valera,
    My husband and I have been married since 2009. On the marriage certificate, I changed my name to include his last name and made my maiden name as part of my middle name. However, I have not updated my driver's license, social security, etc. to my married name and kept using my full maiden name for everything (work, taxes and my children's birth certificate) since my husband was ok with it. Can I continue to use my maiden name even though it is different on the marriage certificate? Or do I eventually need to change and update everything to my married name? Thank you in advance.

    Sincerely,
    Antonette

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Antonette. You're not required to change your name just because you specified a new name on your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  2. Alli

    I am getting married in a month in California. I'm 42 and own multiple properties in on my own and have a long professional history/reputation. I am trying to decide what to put on marriage license to be the least complicated/confusing to maintain professional life and for the previously existing legal stuff and then moving forward together in marriage as unit.
    Choices being: First (Middle, Maiden) HisLast
    First, (Maiden), HisLast
    First, (Middle), MaidenLast HisLast
    First, (Middle), MaidenLast-HisLast

    Please help with the most savvy answer

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Alli. Option #2 (maiden to middle) is a straightforward and common choice. Another option is HisLast-MaidenLast, or even First, Middle-HisLast, MaidenLast. There's several combinations and sequences that could be cooked up.

      Ultimately, I wouldn't put much stock in choosing which is likely to lead to least complications, as you'll be deviating from your maiden name no matter what. The advantage one option has over the other will probably just be in the margins. Choose whichever you prefer, and consider using your professional name as you always have, while using your married name for legal and tax purposes.

      Reply
      1. Alli

        Any thoughts on if a Double Barrel vs Hyphen leads to more problems? I like the idea of adding his name and retaining Maiden as Last name, but I'm not crazy about a hyphen. Is a Double Barrel just ultimately more confusing? Or easier as you can toggle back and forth between previous and new "identity" for anything non-legal?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Alli. Primary difference is hyphenation can easily be done during the marriage name change process, while double barrel may require a court petition.

          As for possible confusion, unless your name is clearly partitioned on a form or the other person knows how it's sectioned, there's really no way of knowing which of the inner names belong to what—first, middle, or last. For instance, Jane Ava Marie Doe. Is Ava part of the first name or middle name? Is Marie part of the middle name or last? What happens if the middle name is omitted?

          Reply
  3. Jessica

    Hi, I have a situation where I haven't got my I.D changed to my married name yet; my social security card shows my married name. My question is can I cash a check in my married name or do I have to change my I.D first.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jessica. It depends on the bank. Yours may allow it if you can provide sufficient proof of identity, such as your social security card and marriage certificate as proof of your name change.

      Reply
  4. LG

    Hi! I am a physician and recently got married. I'd like to take my husband's name legally, Myfirst Mymaidenasmiddle His Last. Can I still practice as Dr. Myfirst Mymaiden? would I be better off using a double last name such, without the hyphen?
    thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi LG. There are doctors who practice under their maiden name, even though they've formally changed their names. You'll want to contact your medical licensing board for further guidance.

      Reply
  5. Anna

    Hi, i live in NJ, I got married in 2010 and changed my drivers license to his last name, but everything else has my maiden name, I got divorced and I want to change my drivers license back to my name. Do I have to go through court? I never changed my name on Sosial security or other documents and my divorce paper has my maiden name on it but no order to change the name from his back to mine

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Anna. Even if you could have your divorce decree amended, after the fact, to order a restoration of your maiden name, it would be redundant considering your maiden name was listed as your current legal name on your decree. Have you tried presenting to the DMV your divorce decree (reflecting your maiden name) as an acceptable document to change your name? It may very well pass muster. If it's not accepted, would they 1) accept a divorce decree restoring your maiden name, even though your current name is your maiden name, or 2) do they require a court petition?

      Reply
  6. Alison

    I am due to be married in a couple of months and I am truly struggling with changing my maiden name. It is unique, reminds me of my heritage, and is deeply intertwined with my professional and personal identity. My fiancé was devastated when we discussed the possibility that I might not take his last name. I want to show him that I love and accept him AND his name– without compromising my numerous academic degrees, training certificates, and agency email address/logins/etc., bearing my maiden name.

    You see, I am a law enforcement officer and wear my maiden name on my uniform every day. I am widely known and respected by that name, and hold a highly visible position where I frequently speak in front of citizens and other public officials who know me by my maiden name. I have spent my career networking with people under my maiden name, and changing my name will certainly cause mass confusion and result in a mountain of paperwork. The thought of starting "from scratch" after all this time has me in tears.

    I suppose my question is this: Can I change my name on all documents yet still go by my maiden name professionally? I am particularly concerned about using an "alias" when working as a law enforcement officer– I don't want to lose anyone's trust because they feel I'm giving them a false name. Moreover, will I have to use my legal name on all documents related to training or certification through local colleges or training centers?

    I would inquire with someone at my agency directly, but we have chosen to keep our engagement and wedding completely private until after the big day. Plus there are very few female officers I could seek out for advice on such matters. My fiancé and I live in NC, USA.

    Please help us!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I change my name on all documents yet still go by my maiden name professionally?

      It's important how your employer handles it, systematically. If your name is changed within their database/records, will those changes be divulged publicly or it kept private? If it's publicly available information that can't be masked, then your concerns have come to fruition.

      Some have gone for an inverse approach—keeping the maiden name unchanged, while using the married name informally. Even to serve as a stop-gag until a final decision is made.

      Moreover, will I have to use my legal name on all documents related to training or certification through local colleges or training centers?

      If there are going to be lookups on your name (think background checks or social security number query), you'll likely have to provide your changed name. Anything that's legal-based would utilize your changed name.

      I would inquire with someone at my agency directly, but we have chosen to keep our engagement and wedding completely private until after the big day.

      Have you considered inquiring anonymously?

      Reply
      1. Alison

        Thank you very much for your insight and suggestions. You bring up some important points I had yet to consider! I am not sure how to inquire anonymously, but may be able to look into it in other ways without raising too much suspicion.

        I had dearly hoped my training certificates and so on could continue to read "Alison MaidenName" instead of "Alison MarriedName" for consistency and such. However, we do register using our SS# which would be linked with my new legal name, likely making that impossible (based on my interpretation of your response).

        However, our tax information, payroll, etc., is handled by our HR office, which is a separate entity serving a number of public agencies. I could share my name change with them for record purposes, but I am not sure if that information would remain confidential or if I would need to divulge it to my employer. My employing agency would have no reason to randomly check for a name change with the HR office, so I may be able to make the change and keep it quiet– which would allow me to continue to function professionally without a fuss. If I can't keep it private, well…

        Officers' email addresses, business cards, uniforms, badges, and so on all feature our names, making a name change not only a hassle, but a costly one. If my agency would not allow me to continue to use my maiden name, all of those items would need to be replaced. Additionally, it would cause a great deal of confusion within my professional network and require me to personally reach out to every individual or agency with my old email address on file in order to provide my new address if I plan to continue receiving correspondence. Not to mention introducing myself to different audiences by different names… The horror!

        It's quite a spot I'm in, for sure. I wish name changes weren't so problematic, but I appreciate your thoughtful response and practical advice on the matter. You've certainly helped me reorganize my thoughts and consider some new options. Thank you!

        Reply
  7. Sandie

    My dilemma is my passport is still in my maiden name and holiday booked in maiden name, all other paperwork is in the married name, which I am now divorced, but I'm getting married in Vegas, but the photo Id is my passport will I be able to get married from the divorced name ie decree absolute cause I assume I can't get married from maiden name as that's not my name anymore, but I have no photo Id in my marriage name. Wedding date only in6 weeks. Confused if it can happen or nit

    Reply
  8. labertante

    Hi!
    When my husband and I got married 8 years ago, I kept my maiden name and haven't changed since. I recently lost my SS and want to apply for a new one – with his last name. Can I still use my marriage certificate which has my maiden name on it to change my last name on my SS? Or do I have to change my last name on my marriage certificate first?

    Thank you!

    Reply
  9. Jess

    Hello,
    I got married in 2010 and immediately changed my ssc and id to my first name and my husband's last name. However signed my marriage certificate with my maiden name. I wasn't too excited to change my maiden name to my husbands last name however were told it was necessary since we were going to petition for my husbands legalization process in the U.S in the future. We were informed it would be best to do that, come to find out after doing research 5 yrs later i could have kept my maiden name. So, my question is since we are currently going through this legalization process currently will it effect the process trying to change back to my maiden name and how can i go about doing this if not? Ive used his last name for 5 yrs and have (bank acct, taxes, Credit cards, DL, SS. Etc in that nsme and Never changed about two CC from maiden name..Please help and thank you in advance..

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jess. You should be fine as long as you go through a proper court petitioned name change. You can then present your eventual court order confirming your name change event.

      Reply
  10. DILIPKUMAR N PANDYA

    my daughter married for the last 8 years and using her name as Kajal Pandya. Now she wants to use her name as Kajal Pandya Pandey. Here Pandey is the surname of her husband whose full name is Mr.Sandeep B. Pandey. she got her documents with her husband name is marrige certificate and she has purhcase a house with joint name of herself and her husband or otherwise everywhere she is using her name as Kajal Pandya and would like to change as Kajal Pandya Pandey. IS THIS OK OR ANY LEGAL CONSEQUENCES ARISE IN DOING SO

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Dilipkumar. I don't see much of an issue that she would be concerned about. The change of name she's seeking is common. Now, if you're asking if there are legal consequences to her using a non-legal or non-exact version of her name, then that depends. For legal documentation, the actual legal name should be used. Are you or your daughter concerned about any particular inconsistencies in her name usage and how it might affect something in particular?

      Reply
  11. Ashleigh

    I live in New York (state) and had planned on marrying my fiancé in 2017 but now that he's switched jobs and lost his health insurance, we're contemplating just doing a courthouse wedding soon and keeping it on the down-low. We would like to still do something in 2017, seeing as we'd already started planning it but what I need to know is if I can wait that long after tying the knot to finally change my name. If so then our "wedding" will be a name changing ceremony. Is there a time frame for changing names after getting married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      what I need to know is if I can wait that long after tying the knot to finally change my name.

      Yes.

      Is there a time frame for changing names after getting married?

      No, there isn't.

      Reply
  12. Patricia

    I was married for the second time on 9/8/2015. I had been using my ex spouse's name for the past 11 years. The divorce decree granted me permission to change my name back to my maiden name I never did. When I filed for this new marriage license/certificate the clerk use my maiden name, base on my divorce decree. Now I need to change my name in the SS office/drivers license, work and nursing license. Do I need to have my name changed to my maiden name, then to my new husbands name? I have my birth certificate and divorce decree, I am concerned that I have a different name on the marriage certificate my maiden name and everywhere else is my ex spouses name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to have my name changed to my maiden name, then to my new husbands name?

      No, that's not necessary. You can just go straight to your new married name.

      Reply
  13. Kari

    Hi. I am in the process of changing my name and just heard about the DBA (double barrel right??) My question is, if I add my husbands last name to my maiden name with social security and then on my drivers license… do I need to notify my bank? All my bills? Student loans? Or can I still go by my maiden name for those and only use both names for legal documents??

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kari. You don't have to immediately, but it's a good idea to eventually get such documents up-to-date. For instance, if you update your driver's license, but not your bank info, you could face difficulty cashing a check as expeditiously as usual, assuming you don't have an alternative form of identification confirming your prior name. While it may not necessarily be much of a problem verifying your identity in such situations, it can get to be a hassle.

      Reply
  14. Charles

    Marrying a Brazil woman.. Will she have to change her name to mine if we get married? After we marry she will get a green card! Will her passport and green card have to have my last name?
    Thanks charles

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will she have to change her name to mine if we get married?

      No, name change is optional.

      Reply
  15. Angela

    Hi
    I got married in 2013, but I have only changed my passport and nothing else, ie not my bank, mortgage, tax office etc-these all remain in my maiden name… can I continue to do so or now passport is changed do I have to change everything else?
    Thanks
    Angela

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Angela. Although it's a good idea to make sure your documents are synchronized, you don't have to update your other credentials. You'll want to make sure the name on your airline tickets matches what's on your passport. It's also a good idea to carry around a certified copy of your marriage certificate when traveling in case there's ever a question about confirming your identity if a name mismatch occurs.

      Reply
  16. Syephanie

    Recently married, added my husband's name and dropped previous married name on marriage certificate. Now I realize I should have hyphened both old married name and new married name. The reason being, I've had the previous married name most of my life ( will , property and stock accounts etc.)The property, will and stocks will be left to my grandchildren who have that same name. Is this the reason I should use to request a petition to change my married name to include the previous married name. My husband is fine with this. In fact he recommended it. I'm just not sure if the courts would agree this is a good reason. What is your opinion

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is this the reason I should use to request a petition to change my married name to include the previous married name. My husband is fine with this. In fact he recommended it. I'm just not sure if the courts would agree this is a good reason. What is your opinion

      That's a perfectly valid reason.

      Reply
  17. Crystal

    Hi,

    I do not want to change my name, but my fiance wants me to. We live in California and there is an option to do a name change when we get our marriage license. If I hyphenate on my marriage license only, do I have to change my name everywhere else? Or can I continue using my own last name on all of my documents, even thought it is hyphenated on the marriage license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Crystal. If you hyphenate on your marriage license, while not changing it elsewhere, then your name wouldn't have really changed. In that circumstance, you'd continue using your own last name on everything.

      Reply
  18. Sara

    I recently got married and the marriage license indicated that I would drop my maiden name and take my husbands last name. I still would like to do this, but I would like to add my maiden name into my middle name. If I have not went through the process of changing my name through SS or DOL, is it still possible for me to add my maiden name as a second middle name without going through a court appeal process?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sara. That's typically not a problem. Some states, such as California, are a bit more stringent about allowing a name change to deviate what's specified on the license.

      Reply
  19. marlyn balangue

    i arrived here in Lenoir on a k1 visa last August 23 and i married my fiance September 23. I haven't applied yet for social security card since my husband told me i could apply after marriage but when we went to SSA they refused my application since i wanted to use my husbands name. SSA advised us to go to the nearest immigration to ask if they could extend the 90 days visa to me which will expire on November 20 then go back SSA for applying social security card. I'm confused with my situation now, i need advise thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Marlyn. Your wording suggests there's a problem with your application that's not specific to name change. If that's the case, then it's a good idea to follow the SSA's recommendation. If that's not the case, did you bring proof of marriage to the SSA, such as a certified marriage certificate?

      Reply
  20. Lorriane

    I have a question. I got married 11 years ago in New York. My marriage certificate has my maiden name and my husband's name hyphenated. Since then I only changed my health insurance coverage from work, life insurance policy and my passport to my hyphenated name. I still use just my maiden name on my driver's license, on my SS card, credit cards, bank accounts and for my professional identity. Is this okay? I have never run into a problem but can I?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lorriane. It's unlikely to be much of an issue, as (I assume) it wouldn't be problematic for you to verify your identity. There may be an issue when it comes time to update or renew your passport, or even request it be reissued due to it being lost or stolen. They'll need various identity documents to process your application.

      Reply
  21. Amanda

    Hi. Getting married in NYC at the courthouse. I live in Minnesota. My fiancée hates a hyphen. Wondering if I could do my First Middle Maiden Name (added to my middle) and then his last name?! Would this be a problem? So on marriage certificate put his last name, then in MN just add my last name to my middle as I want to keep both?!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Amanda. I don't believe NY recognizes appending your maiden name to an existing middle. The county clerk where you plan to acquire your license can verify. Afterward, there may also be an issue with your MN driver's license office not recognizing such a change in your middle name, even if the NY vital records office issues a certified marriage certificate reflecting your preferred change. So, you'll want to get verification from both locations ahead of time.

      Reply
  22. Leigha

    If I'm married and my husband and I are buying a car, well financing a car , and on the paper work it has his last name but my drivers license has my maiden name , but my new name is on my new ss card could I just give them a copy of it if the bank asks questions ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Leigha. That, along with a copy of your marriage certificate, should be sufficient.

      Reply
  23. carolyn

    Hello! I got married in 2010, and when I signed my marriage license I forgot to add my maiden name. I need to get identification in my married name but still need my maiden name, because I married late in life and retired before I married so I need my maiden name on my identification with my new name.
    What do I do, how can I add my maiden name to my already existing marriage license? Need help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Carolyn. How are you looking to add your maiden name to your existing name? As part of your middle name. As part of your last name? Also, you wouldn't be able to alter your marriage license.

      Reply
  24. Ana

    Hi! I have a question. I want to get married and do wanna change my last name and take my husbands last name. I put it down to show on my marriage license but I don't wanna make those changes just yet because I'm a DACA recipient and wanna do that when it's time for me to renew my work permit. My question is would I get in trouble if I keep using my maiden name after I get married? Would it affect the fact that my fiance after getting married wants to add me on his work insurance. Would that be a problem if I stated to change to his but hasn't yet? Would he still be able to do so?
    Thank you in advance!
    Ana

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ana. Not changing your name until later won't pose any problems. Just continue using your current name as you always have.

      Reply
  25. Karen

    Hello,
    I got married in 2010 and I have changed my last name thru the court into my husband's last name but I have never ever changed any documents. I'm still using my maiden name. We are not living in USA anymore but I would like to know how the process may look like if I would like to change all my documents for his last name or during the divorce process. Would I will have a big problems with that? Thank You.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Karen. If you now want to change your name to your husband's, then you can use your court order. If you're asking about changing your name back to your maiden name following divorce, then there's really nothing that needs to be done, as you've never formally changed your name once you were granted the court order. Had you previously gone through the process of changing your documents, you'd request the judge restore your maiden name during the divorce proceedings. Then you'd use your divorce decree to return to your maiden name. But, as previously stated, that's unnecessary in your case.

      Reply
  26. jessica

    hi I'm Jessica and I want to know if I marry but I want to keep my single name would that affect my documents such as medical and ssi because I also get ssi so if I marry but keep my name the same would all that change too?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jessica. If you keep your name unchanged then it won't affect any of your documents.

      Reply
  27. jessica

    hi I'm Jessica and I want to know if I married a guy to fix him papers meaning help him become a us citizen but keep my single name would that count for him to become a us citizen ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jessica. The issues are unrelated. Whether you decide to change your name, or not, doesn't affect the citizenship of your spouse.

      Reply
      1. jessica

        ok what about my medical and ssi would that be affect even if I don't change my name

        Reply
  28. Mika

    I am divorced and still use my married name but I am pregnant and would like to give child my maiden name at birth.. Is that possible?

    Reply
  29. Vero

    Hi, I'm so glad that I stumbled onto this website. I have a couple of questions that I hope you could answer for me. First, my fiance and I are planning to elope to Santa Barbara courthouse on Dec. 17th 2015. We want to keep it a secret from both our families until we can have a grand ceremony 2 years from now. I have decided to sign the marriage certificate using his last name. So here is the predicament; I don't want to change my maiden name yet, but I do worry that come tax season I might have trouble proving that I a married to him specially if we are planning to file jointly. Second, do I have to change any information on my W-4? What do I have to change/ or add to help smooth the transition when I do decide to legally change my maiden name to his? I'm worried that it will create problems legally down the road. please help!
    thanks,
    Vero from California.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I don't want to change my maiden name yet, but I do worry that come tax season I might have trouble proving that I a married to him specially if we are planning to file jointly.

      That won't pose a problem. Changing your name isn't necessary to provide proof of marriage. Your marriage certificate (even if it shows an intention to later change your name) doesn't bind you to that declaration. The document serves as proof of marriage, and that's what the tax office needs.

      Second, do I have to change any information on my W-4?

      No, not if you're not yet changing your name.

      What do I have to change/ or add to help smooth the transition when I do decide to legally change my maiden name to his?

      Primary are social security, driver's license, passport, employer. Then follow-up with the remaining leftover organizations.

      Reply
  30. Erin

    When I got married I hypenated my name and changed it through social security any everything. Now I want to drop my maiden name and only go by my married name. Do I need to file a petition through the court to do that? Also, what things can I expect with a name change through a court order and not by normal way of marriage?

    Reply
  31. Marie

    I married nineteen years ago and a few days before I naturalized, I thought thought that to save time I could change my name to married name and I did. So all my legal documents have my married name only. I got my graduate degree and I had to use my legal last name, my married name. Now I want to have my maiden name back. Is it possible to change my name and even more, can I change my name on professional documents as degrees? I am planning to get a professional license. Can I use my maiden name or will I need to change everything first to maiden? Thank you so much.

    Reply
  32. kaye

    I've been married 20 years & took my husbands last name but never changed my SS name. My drivers license expired & I can't renew till I get a new SS with married name, but SS won't give me new card/married name because I don't have valid photo ID. No other ID in married name. Work ins in maiden since they go by legal SS name. Been to both DL office & SS office, they both state they can't help me. What do I do?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kaye. Did you bring in additional supporting documents, such as a certified copy of your marriage certificate, your driver's license (even though it's expired)? If that doesn't serve as sufficient evidence of your name change, then you may have to get a court order for a name change.

      Reply
  33. miraflor mutia hansen

    Hi my name is Miraflor! i just want to ask regarding my maiden name i got married in denmark me and my husband agreed that i will used maiden instead of my last name, because he told me there is no problem about that. I am from philippines. After i change my passport and all my papers document i used my maiden MIRAFLOR MUTIA HANSEN. when i was single my name is MIRAFLOR MUTIA DUCA. But the problem is when i got my passport My name there MIRAFLOR DUCA HANSEN. is really big problem. IS there any rules about that i cannot used my maiden name? youre reply is higly appriciated! Thank you and more power.

    Miraflor

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Miraflor. Which country is your passport from? And are you saying your passport office made a mistake in processing your renewal?

      Reply
  34. Beario007

    Hi! So I got married a few months ago but I am changing not only my last name but my first and middle names as well…it's a long story. I submitted my fingerprints to the FBI & Colorado bureau of investigation for a background check as required by the courts over 11 weeks ago and still haven't received my background check paperwork back (they say it could take up to 9 weeks). These documents are required by the courts in order to file for a full legal name change. We are planning on going on our honeymoon in Mexico in January. I'm starting to worry about traveling abroad, especially since I booked my plane ticket under my married name figuring the process would surely be completed by now. Any advice? What can I do if the name change isn't completed in time?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Beario,

      You can travel under your current maiden name, then update your passport when you come back. Also, take a look at the following article and jump to the section that talks about changing your name on your plane ticket.

      Reply
  35. Sandra

    I remarried 4 years ago, at that time I elected no name change on marriage certificate. Now I would like to take my husbands last name. How difficult will it be to change my name now?

    Reply
  36. Andrea

    I'm married and have always used my maiden name for filing taxes. I used my married name (husband's name) on my DL and bank information, however, this is getting too confusing. I want to use my maiden name on everything. Can I do that?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to use my maiden name on everything. Can I do that?

      You'll have to file your taxes under the name reflected on your social security card/record. If that's still your maiden, then you'll use your maiden. If it's another name, then you can undergo a court petitioned name change to fully revert to your maiden name for all documents.

      Reply
      1. Andrea

        True! Thank you. That's good to know and I've always done that – it's the DL and the passport and bank accounts etc that I'm interested in having the same as the SSN name. Can I provide my social security card and request the name be changed to match or…?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Andrea. DMV will typically want they name they issue on your license to match what's on your SS record. It's interesting that they issued you a card with a name mismatch. They may be willing to change it, although they may balk at doing so without your providing another document showing a new name change event, such as a court ordered name change.

          Bank accounts are more flexible, so that shouldn't pose as much of a problem. Passport is similar to DMV. What's the name change event you can cite for them to change your name again? Wanting to revert wouldn't really qualify without a supporting document justifying the change.

          Reply
  37. Elizabeth

    Hi, I had a question. The day my husband and I went to get our license to get married at the court they put down my maiden name and never asked me if I was gunna change my last name. Our certificate also has my maiden name but my husband and I never had to sign it or anything. Do I still have to go to SS and change my name or can I not change it? I was planning on keeping my maiden name and just adding his last name with a hypen but can I even do that since the certificate has my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I still have to go to SS and change my name or can I not change it?

      Name change is optional. You can choose not to change it.

      I was planning on keeping my maiden name and just adding his last name with a hypen but can I even do that since the certificate has my maiden name?

      Yes, you can.

      Reply
  38. Petagaye

    I got married 2 years ago. When I signed my name on the marriage certificate I signed using my maiden name. I haven't changes any of my documents, if I do could I use both names for example. Pam Brown-Clarke or do I have to go through some other procedure? Thanks.

    Reply
  39. angie

    I have been married for 18 years. I took my husbands name. But I would like to go back to my madien name. Would I be able to change my drivers license if I had my birth certificate and marriage certificate

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Angie. That wouldn't be enough. You'll need to get a court order to restore your maiden name.

      Reply
  40. Tanya

    I have a 5 professional (IL state and federal) licenses as a nurse practitioner, and am recently married. If I hyphenate my last name, can I keep my professional licenses under my maiden name, and go by my married name outside of my profession/work?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tanya. Yes, it's a common approach. It's still a good idea to contact your state's Board of Nursing to confirm if there any potential complications to be aware of. Also, you'll want to get in touch with HR. Some places of employment will want their nurses' names to be on everything visible (e.g., badges, charts).

      Reply
  41. Giovanna

    Hello,
    I am Italian and married a French citizen last March 2015.
    We both live in New York City and both have a work VISA.

    He is going to apply for a Green Card soon and I will apply with him as well.

    When we first got married, I didn't change my last name.
    Then we talked about it some more and I decided to go back to city hall and change my last name to my husbands name, so my marriage certificate now reads "NAME – LAST NAME – NEW SURNAME (…)

    I am now panicking because I don't want to change anything else like my passport ( In EU it is ok to keep the maiden name on the passport for ever, it is true in USA as well ?) and I definitely don't want to change my SSN card and bank cards. I know I should have thought about it more before going back to change it only 1 week after our wedding but I didn't know there are so many things to take care of when we change name. So basically now I love having my husband's name for a sense of family and it's going to be better later on when kids come, but I am thinking..
    DO I HAVE to change back to my maiden name ? Because in NYC they make it sound like the only option is to remarry ! But I don't want to remarry obviously, our marriage was perfect.
    Can i keep the marriage certificate as is and don't change any other official document ? Can I apply for a GC with my maiden name ? Can we file taxes jointly although my name doesn't match the "new surname"?
    I think this make sense because on the marriage certificate my Maiden name still appears right after my name ?

    Thank you so much for your help !!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      DO I HAVE to change back to my maiden name ?

      No, you do not.

      Because in NYC they make it sound like the only option is to remarry !

      They're likely referring to the easier process of changing your name through marriage as opposed to petitioning the court for a general adult name change.

      Can i keep the marriage certificate as is and don't change any other official document ?

      Yes.

      Can I apply for a GC with my maiden name ?

      Yes.

      Can we file taxes jointly although my name doesn't match the "new surname"?

      Yes.

      I think this make sense because on the marriage certificate my Maiden name still appears right after my name ?

      What's on your marriage certificate isn't binding. If you've changed your mind, then you can ignore what's specified on your certificate.

      Reply
      1. Giovanna

        Valera, THANK YOU SO much for you reply ! This is very helpful and very reassuring ! All the best –

        Reply
  42. Amanda

    I was previously married in 2002, divorced in 2010 and never changed my name back to my maiden name. I am now informally married and I want to change my name (from perry to Kelly). If I change it now and we get formally married in April will my new certificate say that I (using my married name) is getting married or will it say my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Marriage certificates vary from state to state. Some will just list your current name, others will list the name you intend to change to. When you ultimately apply for your marriage license, you can specify the name you intend to change to, assuming the license form has a space to specify it.

      Reply
  43. Karla

    Hi there, ok so 2 years ago I got divorced but never dropped my ex husbands last name. (still use it on SSC, DL, Bank, Car insurance) got re married a year ago (while in the process of obtaining US citizenship) USCIS dropped my ex husband's last name and issued my certificate with my maiden name. My question is, do I need to go to court to start using my now husbands last name? I would also l9ve to drop my first name since I don't go by it, I go by my middle and last name? Thank you in advance…

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Karla. You can change your last name to your new husband's without going to court. Dropping your first name would require a court order.

      Reply
  44. Cindy

    I am considering adding my maiden name as a "second middle name", but the thought of updating all of my information is overwhelming. At a bear minimum, what do I have to change? Can I update Social Security but NOTmy driver's license, banks, medical insurance/records, etc.????

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cindy. The bare minimum would be your SS card, although some states require you to notify the driver's license office of a name change. When it comes time for you to renew your license, you will have to do so in your new name. If you ever lose your license and need it reissued, it'll have to be in your new name. Still, it's a good idea to eventually sync your remaining records over time.

      Reply
  45. Michelle Tucker

    I changed my name after almost 3 yrs of marriage and regretred it immediately. One month later the name change caused a pile a problems professionally so I started using my previous make. I need to change my name back to my previous name. Is there any way to do this without costing a small fortune. It's been 3 months.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michelle. You will have to go through the courts to change it again. It will cost though.

      Reply
  46. kristen

    I was recently married in Costa Rica and want to change my name but my marriage certificate from Costa Rica only has my maiden name (because women on Costa Rica do not change their name). I tried calling SSA but they indicated they are unable to make this change without photo ID with my new name. I don't know what to do!!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kristen. Social security is the primary document that would change, so having ID in your married name prior to that would be difficult. Did you specify to them that you would be able to furnish a certified copy of your marriage certificate to serve as proof of marriage?

      Reply
  47. Delanie C

    Hi,
    My husband and I have been married since 2010 in Massachusetts. On the marriage certificate, I changed my name to his. However, I have not updated my driver's license, social security, etc. to my married name and kept using my full maiden name for everything (work, taxes and my children's birth certificate) since my husband was ok with it. I just applied to get my citizenship and asked them to changed my maiden name from my dad's last name to my mom's. Would that be a problem since I "changed" my name to his on the marriage certificate? USCIS didn't ask me about that. Thank you!!

    Reply
  48. Sarah Mack

    I am getting married in May for the first time. I am 31 years old. When I get married can I keep my middle name, maiden name and add on my married name without using a hyphen? (Therefore 4 names) I like being associated by my maiden name because I am the last one in the family but I also want to be Mrs. Johnson. Is it legally ok to have all four?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sarah. It depends on the state, but it's certainly a viable option. Please keep in mind that your legal last name will be both names, with or without a hyphen.

      Reply
  49. Sarah

    I am remarried 13 years now, but during my first marriage, I established a business under my former husband's last name. Although I legally changed my last name and now have my husbands last name, I still use my former name for the business. I was told by my ex that I needed to stop using his name. I have been using that name for almost 30 years and I am well known with that name. I cannot change it and jeopardize my business. Can he force me to change it? can se sue me? Because I told him that I will not change it. Thanks.

    Reply
  50. Ann

    Is a DBA an option for a straight forward business only or could I also use it as artist e.g. to be employed possibly with health insurance? – or would a maiden name as middle name make more sense? I'm basically looking for a solution to use my maiden name for all business and professional related issues without using my new legal last name. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is a DBA an option for a straight forward business only or could I also use it as artist

      It's legitimate to register a DBA as an artist.

      Reply
      1. Ann

        Thank you for taking the time. I know I can register a DBA as an artist as it is just a business in the end but I am wondering if I can also us the DBA to apply for jobs and be employed under the DBA?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Ann. Your legal name would go on job applications. If a background check were to be run, it would lookup your full legal name and not your DBA. For employer tax filings, they'll use your legal name.

          Reply
  51. Jill

    I am recently divorced. I let him bully me into taking his last name about 8 years ago but I never liked it, in fact I hate the name. This was my second marriage. I'd like to go back to my first husbands last name (not back to the husband, just his name). Professionally I've recently started to get people used to the name change by putting the 2nd husbands name in parenthesis and the first husbands name as my last name. For instance "Jill (SecondHusband) FirstHusband". Is there a better way to work my way back to using that last name? If I'm applying for a new job and I want to go by the FirstHusband name but realize they need the SecondHusband name to check my work history and background, is this an acceptable way to display my name on my resume? Hope that makes sense.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jill. You can use it informally as a sort of transition period, but if you're going to return to your first husband's name permanently, then you'll have to consider going through a court petitioned process to make it official. When it comes to your resume, you'll want to use your legal name, so that background checks can be performed.

      Reply
  52. Shontell Mixon

    I was married on October 10th and changed my last name on my SS card on November 6th. How long does it usually takes for your marital status to update when your social is ran through the database?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Shontell. Marital status isn't really a factor when it comes to changing your name.

      Reply
      1. Shontell Mixon

        Correct me if I'm wrong, so when my social is ran it only shows that my name has been changed not that I'm married?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Shontell. That depends on who's running it and what for. If it's the SSA internally using marital status to determine something such as benefits, then yes, that could be a factor. If it's the DMV running it to see if there's a name match, then no, that won't come up.

          Reply
          1. Shontell Mixon

            It's for wage garnishment so would it be through SSA internally?

  53. MC

    Hi,
    Actually I got married in 2014 Dec and changed by last name to by husband's last name. I recently updated my passport with my husband's last name but I haven't changed any other documents like Social Security, Driver License etc. Now the question I have is I want to keep my maiden name in professional level so is it ok? However, I am planning to change it in all other documents like Social Security, Driver License.

    Thank You,

    MC

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi MC. Sure, that's a common approach taken for business reasons to maintain a professional identity without interruption.

      Reply
      1. MC

        Thank you for your response. So is there any time frame to change the name in other documents? Do I have to change the name before the tax season ends for this year ? How does it work?

        Thank You,

        MC

        Reply
        1. Valera

          So is there any time frame to change the name in other documents?

          Do you mean the window of opportunity you have to complete a name change? If so, there is no time limit. If you're asking about turnaround time, then it varies. A social security card change name can take several weeks through the mail, or faster if you do it in person.

          For your driver's license, you'll usually be provided a temporary, paper license while you wait for your real one to arrive through the mail.

          Passport completion times vary based on the current backlog, and whether you opt for expedited service. Mail vs in-person makes a difference as well.

          Do I have to change the name before the tax season ends for this year ?

          The season isn't central. You'll just want be certain the name you file with the IRS matches the SSA to prevent delays.

          Reply
  54. Xena

    Hi Valera,

    I got married in February 2015. I took my husband's last name and dropped mine, but never really updated this name anywhere ( Bank, Credit cards, work, Social Security office etc). The name is only active on my green card. My maiden name is still on all these entities. While I am very happy in my marriage I regret dropping my last name. I feel alienated from my roots. I am planning on changing my name back, and I know it will take a while to have that updated on my GC.

    1) Can I apply for a CA Drivers licence with my maiden name even though my green card and work authorization states married name.

    2)Do I file a name change with the court, even though I really never updated it anywhere apart from USCIS when filing paperwork.

    3)Do I have to change the name on my green card right away, or can I wait until I file to remove conditions on it?

    In summary, only my GC has my married name. How do I change it back to my maiden name?

    Thank You for all your help. Your blog is very helpful

    Reply
    1. Valera

      1) Can I apply for a CA Drivers licence with my maiden name even though my green card and work authorization states married name.

      The CA DMV uses the social security number/card for identity verification.

      2)Do I file a name change with the court, even though I really never updated it anywhere apart from USCIS when filing paperwork.

      Doubtful, as you're reverting to the name already present on your SSN record. Explain that you regret the name change on your green card, and would like to return to your previous name, which matches all your other documents.

      3)Do I have to change the name on my green card right away, or can I wait until I file to remove conditions on it?

      The name on your green card should match your legal name. It's best to contact USCIS to discuss the immediacy of your particular situation.

      In summary, only my GC has my married name. How do I change it back to my maiden name?

      The following link explains how to replace your green card.

      Reply
  55. R.T.

    Hi Valera,

    My significant other and I have a child but are not married. She has secured all the documentation to file to change her name to my last name legally in the county we reside. The documents require proof of birth certificate as well as ask her to provide her legal name as it appears on birth certificate. The problem is she was married before and changed her name from what her birth certificate says. We are unsure of which name to use when filling out the paper work and back ground checks for the name change. Should she list her maiden name or her married name? She is currently going by her ex-husbands last name but her reasoning for changing the name to the same as mine is as to match our child's last name. Thanks for any help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Should she list her maiden name or her married name?

      When it asks for her current, or legal name, enter the name from her previous marriage. When it asks for birth name, enter the name on the birth certificate. The SSA keeps a history of name change, so they'll be able to map a birth name to any name revisions that took place during a person's lifetime.

      Reply
  56. Kate

    Hello,
    I recently got married and changed my maiden name to my married name on my SSN, but now realized that it will be a big pain at work to change (I'm active duty military and about to move overseas). Is there any way I can keep my maiden name on everything else and/or change my SSN again?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there any way I can keep my maiden name on everything else and/or change my SSN again?

      Well, it'll eventually catch up with you. For instance, your driver's license needs to match what's on your SS card. Even if you don't update it immediately, when it comes time to renew, they'll want the names to sync or else your license won't be reissued. Also, when you update your name with the SSA, the IRS is auto-notified. So when you file taxes, you'll have to use your married name.

      If you want to reverse the change and return to your maiden name, you'll have to petition the court to change your SS card again.

      Reply
  57. Brandii

    Hi Valera,
    I have my DL in my married name from one state & a State ID with my maiden name from a different state that i obtained after marriage. I use my maiden as a stage name & on a situational basis…I've even been employed under my maiden name while married at some point. Is there a problem in doing this?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a problem in doing this?

      Not at all. You use your legal name for government and legal contexts, and your maiden name for everything else.

      Reply
  58. Janis

    January 12, 2016
    Hi Valera

    I need some clarification, I just got my divorce decree and noticed it stipulates that I am " authorized to resume the use of my maiden name". Now I did not want to change my last name – and told my attorney so – because of the simple fact that every single piece of legal document that I own is in my married last name. This is from my naturalization certificate, bank accounts, pp, SS etc.
    My question is..do I have to change all of my documents to my maiden name, or can I leave everything as it is?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My question is..do I have to change all of my documents to my maiden name, or can I leave everything as it is?

      You can leave everything as is.

      Reply
  59. Becky

    Me and husband are to be officially divorced in february. Only thing I ever signed was the marriage license. I never had an urge to do my social security or license. Does that legally mean that I'm still married? I'm glad that I didn't. We was together for almost 11 years and would be married for 4 years in march.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I never had an urge to do my social security or license. Does that legally mean that I'm still married?

      No, when your divorce is finalized, that's the end of your marriage, legally speaking. What name you previously chose to take or not take has no affect on your marital status or divorce proceedings.

      Reply
  60. daniel

    my ex changed her name back to her maiden name after we divorced but she is still using my last name on all documents such as ssi and welfare. Is she allowed to still use my last name once she went back to her maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Daniel. It depends on if she has officially changed it with the various institutions. For instance, if the divorce decree grants an order to restore the maiden name, that doesn't equate to her name legally changing. She could choose to maintain the prior married name indefinitely. She would have to update her record with the SSA for the name to be officially changed. Generally speaking, name usage/misuse can become a problem for an individual if there's an attempt to commit fraud.

      Reply
  61. Erika

    Hi Valera,

    I got married this past October, my husband and I are keeping it secret until we have a large family wedding. My questions is that I hyphened my last name and took his as well. I have yet to change my SSI card, DL, Passport, etc. I have decided that I will continue going by my maiden name for professional purposes, do I have to change all of my government ID's over yet or can I wait?

    Reply
  62. Ashley

    Hi, I got married about 7 months ago, just after graduation from veterinary school. My diploma, licenses, etc for my profession are in my maiden name. I'm considering changing my name to my husband's before renewing my license (and we are moving to a new state in 6 months). Could I make my name First, Middle, Maiden HisLast? Would I always have to sign documents First Maiden HisLast?
    We currently reside in Ohio and I was under the impression I cannot change my name to First, Middle Maiden, HisLast in this state. I'm not keen on hyphenation.
    Would it be more of a headache down the road to have 4 names?
    I'd like to continue using my maiden name professionally, and go by his last name for everything else.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I was under the impression I cannot change my name to First, Middle Maiden, HisLast

      I believe you are correct.

      Would it be more of a headache down the road to have 4 names?

      Would it be trouble for you? That's what ultimately matters.

      I'd like to continue using my maiden name professionally

      You should notify the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board of name changes. You don't have to purchase a new certificate, but you can for a small fee. So, there doesn't appear to be anything preventing you from using your maiden name professional, when it comes to licensing issues, but you may want to contact your state licensing board to confirm.

      Reply
  63. Sharon

    Hello Valera.
    I was searching for information on maintaining both my last names. I am someone who wants to have my own company under my maiden name as the company title, but I also wish to have both names appear on legal stuff.
    For example : Sharon Church Mendoza (make-up new last name).
    If it were possibleven to maintain both names legally, how would the order be?
    Thanks you for your time.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sharon. Is either name meant to serve as your legal name? You may want to look into the use of a DBA for your business name.

      Reply
  64. Cherry

    Hi.When me and my husband got married I used my maiden name and did not opt to use his last name.But now I decided to go and use his last name and we are married now for 2 years.Whats the first thing I should do? And I don't know where to go? Pls help.thanks

    Reply
      1. Cherry

        I already have a copy of our certificate but my last name is what I used..is that ok? Should I still love on with the social security and dMV process right away? Thanks so much!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Cherry. In most cases, that's fine. There are some states (such as California) that require the new name on your marriage certificate equal what you plan to change it to.

          Reply
  65. Jenny Fernandes

    Hi I plan on getting married in a few months and I live In the state of Massachusetts If I keep my current last name and use it as my middle name and take my new husband 's last name do I still have to change my drivers license, SS#, bank accounts or can I keep it the way it is?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jenny. No, you don't have to update any of your documents. If you don't update your documents, then your name wouldn't be legally changed. You'd just be using your new married name informally.

      Reply
  66. Michelle

    I recently got married and changed my name through Social Security. Do i have to change my DL, bank account, retirement and credit cards? I really wanted to keep my own name on my DL due to my profession.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michelle. Some DMV's require your driver's license be updated to sync with your social security card. There's nothing forcing you to update, but when it comes time to renew, they'll require your name match what's on your SS record. So, you'd be delaying the inevitable.

      Reply
  67. Megan

    Hi Valera,

    I married my ex-husband in 2009. I took on his last name and had it changed with the social security office and on all my accounts and bank. However, in California the DMV allowed me to keep my Maiden name on my driver's license and just noted the married name on file.

    My divorce recently finalized after several years and the divorce judgment allows me to revert back to my maiden name.

    However, I plan on remarrying this year.

    I realize I can easily get a new marriage license using my CA driver's license as it shows my maiden name already.

    However, do I need to change it with the social security office back to my Maiden name before I can take on the last name of the person I am planning on marrying? (My social security card is still under by prior married name / Driver's license is under Maiden / Looking to marry and take on new last name.)

    Thank you for all your help :)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      However, do I need to change it with the social security office back to my Maiden name before I can take on the last name of the person I am planning on marrying?

      No, that's not necessary. You can change it directly to that of your new spouse.

      Reply
  68. Tamara

    Hi Valera,

    I am a permanent resident of the USA, I am married for the past six months now , I am going to apply for my citizenship do I need to put my husband last name or my name that's already on my permanent card and then change it to his later ?, please help…

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tamara. You can change your name at the same time you apply for citizenship, which will also save you time and money.

      Reply
  69. Hillary

    I am getting married in March and going to Europe on our honeymoon in late May/early June. Is it okay to change my name on the marriage license and then wait to change all of my documents until after we get back? All of my travel reservations will be in my maiden name, so I just want to make sure it will be ok to wait to change all that until 3 to 4 months after I signed the marriage license taking my Fiances name.

    Thank you,
    Hillary

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it okay to change my name on the marriage license and then wait to change all of my documents until after we get back?

      Yes, and it's sensible. You can consult the maiden name on passport post which elaborates on the matter further.

      Reply
  70. venus

    Hi

    Can i used my maiden name on my Public Id's even im already married? I still wanted to used my maiden name. my other Id's was name under my maiden name, but my sss id was name under my husband name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Venus. It depends on the ID type. If you've already updated your SS card, then you'll ultimately have to update certain IDs, such as your driver's license, to match. Even if you choose not to update that particular ID, when it comes time to renew your ID, it'll have to be done in your maiden name then.

      Reply
  71. Michael

    is it illegal when married and woman takes husbands name and uses her old name to meet people and make social accounts etc? fraud? Living a double life? Sleeping around,?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michael. If someone is using a false identity for the express purpose of financially defrauding someone, that could be criminal. Think identity theft. But that's just fraud, in general. You'd get better insight consulting with an attorney to better understand where lines of criminality may be and if they're being crossed.

      Reply
  72. Elsa

    Hello. When I got married I dropped my middle name, took my maiden name as my middle name and added my spouse's name. At work, I want to use my maiden name as I've done all my work with that name and it has a good reputation attached to it. I'm in NYC. Is a DBA using my maiden name an option for me?

    Many thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Elsa. If you're self-employed, the DBA is a viable option. If you're an employee, you'll want to get in touch with HR (or the equivalent) and let it be known how you prefer to be addressed in your work setting, while making sure their tax filings properly reference your married name.

      Reply
  73. Christina

    Hi,
    Im a physician. So I've made a name for myself, and want all of my insurance contracts to continue. If I change my middle name to my maiden name and then take my husband's last name. Legally would my contracts still have to be honored even though they were signed using my maiden name? Or is that only If I take both last names and do the hyphen thing?

    Reply
  74. Talia

    Hi,

    I found out that my middle name was never put on my official birth certificate. I am now about to get married and would like to add on my original middle name. Am I allowed to do this during the time I am changing my last name to my husbands? Or do I have to do something separate? I am in CA btw.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Talia. If necessary, you can look into submitting a affidavit to amend a birth record to fill in missing info. If you can provide a photo ID showing your middle name, that should be sufficient. Birth certificates typically come into play for folks that don't have sufficient ID.

      Reply
  75. Rachael Trongeau

    Hi,I got married and changed my name with Social Security right away, so my new S.S. card has my married name.I live in Massachusetts.I recently got a new Ma. I.D. but it has my maiden name and the signature is my married name.I'm confused.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rachael. You can try to get your ID reissued with your married name. Bring in your updated social security card along with a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  76. Shanice

    Hi
    I had my drivers license changed to include my married name, but my ss card was never changed. Is it possible.for the dmv to just make my DL match my SS card?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Shanice. It's doubtful they'll do a secondary name change without a court order.

      Reply
  77. Kristy

    I was married and changed my last name I was remarried the same day I divorced than divorced and remarried a few months ago I still have my social security under my name when first married what do i do to get where I need to be so I have been divorced 2 times and haven't changed it was rewarded my maiden name both times.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kristy. I'm not sure what you're asking. If you're looking to change your name, what are you trying to go "from" then "to"?

      Reply
  78. Patty

    i got married 2001 my name on my married certificate says my first name maiden last name and Than husband last name at the end. i haven't changed my name on anything not ss card or anything i don't want to change my name keep my maiden name. Is that ok?. Because i haven't changed my Name i haven yet reported i'm married and im on ssi. We are in and agreement separation on document.between the two of us. . after being so long not reporting it is that a problem?. even if i didn't change my name . what do you suggest. If i report it now there will be a penalty right?.will they find out even though i haven't change my name.? The thing is i don't wanted to lose my ssi. what you think.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Patty. Name change is always optional. The fact that you chose to never change it is a non-issue.

      Reply
      1. Patty

        Hi Valera Thank you for your response, my second issue is i didn't report i was married to ssi fear of loosing my benefits, on my married certificate my name has last name as maiden name than husband last name, as i stated before i'm using my maiden name never change it. Can they find out i'm married? Can they penalty me ?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Can they find out i'm married? Can they penalty me ?

          It's possible that they will find out. There can be penalties if SS applicants or beneficiaries submit incorrect information regarding income, living arrangements, or anything that might impact benefits.

          Reply
  79. Chris

    Hi, I have a quick question. My wife lost her soc sec card with her married name. We found her old one with her maiden name. Can she still use her old one for ID, although she did change it with SS?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Chris. It's not certain if using a name mismatched version of the old card would be acceptable, as that's determined on a case-by-case basis. If an institution you're dealing with (e.g., mortgage company) needs to physically see the card, can the name mismatch be explained to their satisfaction? Maybe yes, maybe no.

      It's rare that a social security card is necessary as a form of ID. Documents such as a driver's license or state/military ID is more useful for such purposes. It's more important for you to know the SS number rather than having it in your possession at all times. Still, if you're certain you'll need it for physical ID, you should just get it replaced. There's no fee, and you're allowed up to 10 lost/stolen replacements in a lifetime.

      Reply
  80. lyn

    good day,
    i am applying to work abroad this year, but I'm thinking to still use my maiden name instead of my marriage name, but in the application for i wrote down that i am already married and also my husband's name. I haven't change my legal Id's (SSS, Passport and so on) would it be ok legaly.

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lyn. It's not so much a question of legality, as you're not trying to commit fraud. There are many people who use their maiden name for work purposes, and their employer is aware of it. It's just important that your employer know about this and properly accommodates your preference when it comes to things like distributing salaries (whether by check or direct deposit) and tax filing. They need to use your proper legal name, even if you're going by a previous name or alias.

      Your situation is the inverse—using your married name as your work name, even though you haven't yet changed it from your maiden name. In this instance, you can present a certified copy of your marriage certificate to document your marriage and serve as intention to change your name. Or, to at least act as a bridge between your maiden and married name. So, your maiden name would still be your legal name, while your married name is more of an alias. At least until you formally change it.

      Reply

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