87 Comments

If you are in Texas and seeking a name change there are a number of things you need to have in mind. It's always important to know everything you need to effect a name change for whatever reason in the State of Texas. Here are a number of things you might want to know.

Marriage Name Change and Options Available

Firstly, remember the marriage certificate will be the main legal document you need to change your name after getting married. Once the ceremony is over, file your marriage license as soon as possible in the county court house. This gives you a marriage certificate's certified copy that will be sent to you via mail in about 14 days.

For those who might not have a marriage certificate copy, but want to effect a name change, the Marriage Certificate Request Letter can be used. You might also not have your birth certificate with you and the Birth Certificate Request Letter can be used as well.

Know that the marriage certificate might give you the right legal document to effect a name change, but the right government agencies must be notified thereafter. This includes the department of motor vehicles, IRS, Social Security office and other non-governmental institutions such as credit card companies, loyalty clubs and banks.

To apply for a marriage license in Texas the couple should apply in person using a proof of a social security number and photo ID issued by the government at the office of the court clerk. After it has been issued, the license remains valid for about three months, 72 hours after it has been issued. For couples who have gone through the Twogether course on premarital education, lots of counties within the state will have the license fees reduced with zero waiting time. Military personnel who are active also have their waiting time eliminated including Department of Defense employees and those who have received a judge's waiver.

Fees for a marriage license vary from one county to the other but fall within $30 and $75. A marriage license issued in Texas is valid across the state. After marriage, the license is completed by the officiant before it's returned for filing to the county. A certified copy of the marriage license can then be requested from the court clerk to use in name change processes.

Those married in the state of Texas can include the change of name on the marriage license while making the application. The wife or husband can seek a number of changes to their name.

Husband's surname

Through the certified marriage license you can request to take the surname of the husband, which is the most common name change in the state.

Maiden name usage

You are also allowed to go with the surname of your husband on all records and identifications but continue using the maiden name in your professional circles such as the workplace.

Hyphenation

It's also possible to request a name change by taking the surname of the husband and adding it into your own with a hyphen or simply add without a hyphen.

Continue using your name as it is

Another option in Texas is to just continue with your marriage life without seeking a name change.

Divorce Name Change

For a legal name change to be done in Texas after divorce you need to gather a number of documents, the most important being a certified copy of a Texas divorce decree as well as a proof of your age and identification. The Divorce Records Request Letter can be used by those who might not have a divorce degree copy yet. The Birth Certificate Request Letter can also be used if a birth certificate copy is not easily accessible.

After getting the divorce decree copy, read through to ascertain if there's a provision granting a name change. In case it's there, the document remains the best name change legal proof you need. Sometimes the provision for a name change might be left out from the divorce decree and you should communicate with the court that finalized the divorce to request for an amendment of the document. Remember amendments can sometimes be denied by different courts in the state; you need to change tact and continue with a normal adult name change petition in Texas.

Together with the name change petition, you are also requested to provide fingerprints, a legible set of them on a fingerprint card approved by the state. The verification of the petition needs to be done, where you must swear and sign that the information provided with the petition is accurate before a notary. Remember to have the order for name change prepared for the judge to sign. Apart from containing similar information as that in the petition, Texas requires the order to also clearly state the change of name is in public interest and beneficial to you. A hearing is then scheduled by the court. It's possible that the judge will request a repeat of the information you have provided in the petition prior to the signing of the order declaring your change of name.

Once the name change has been effected, ensure you have approached all the right government agencies to update your name, from the Social Security Office, IRS to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Nonetheless, you might want to know that changing your name with the Social Security Office comes first and once this has been approved, simply take the certificate you will receive to the Texas Department of Public Safety to have your driver's license name changed.

General Adult Name Change

If you don't have a divorce decree or marriage certificate, it's still possible to effect a name change in Texas. This requires a change of name of an adult petition be filed including an order that grants name change of an adult. It means you must prepare a Name Change Petition and Order for Texas without signing any document. Take the petition to be signed by a notary, who will have your identity verified and allow you to sign it before the he has signed the document again to verify that you signed the petition in his presence. The Texas Name Change Order should not be signed at this time.

The next process requires you arrange with the local law enforcement for your fingerprints to be taken on either an approved FBI fingerprint card or DPS. After receiving the fingerprint card, the Order and Petition, make two copies of each. Take them to the local county courthouse to file with the county's court clerk in your local jurisdiction. Filing the paperwork comes at a cost and once you have paid it a case number is assigned. A Texas Name Change Petition stamped copy will then be returned to you. Ensure you have the Texas Name Change Order's original copy to await the court hearing. You must know the court date assigned by the office of the clerk; to be on the safe side call a couple of days before the hearing to know everything is as scheduled.

On the material court date, have the Texas Name Change Petition's copy the clerk gave you including the original order of the Texas Name Change with you for the hearing. Expect the judge to ask a couple of questions; be as brief and honest as possible in your answers. Once the legal change of name has been granted by the judge, the Texas Name Change Order will be signed and you must file it with the office of the court clerk. Request a name change certificate after tendering to the court clerk the Texas Name Change Order in the same manner you filed the petition for the name change. At a small fee, the Texas Name Change Order certified copy, dully signed, can be provided.

Child Name Changes

Within the Texas Family Code are all the regulations needed to effect a name change of a child within the state. The name change can be requested due to custody proceedings, adoptions, among others, by managing conservators, legal guardians or parents. It's important for parents to file the name change petition within the county court where the minor lives before parting with some filing fees.

The first thing is requesting the petition for the name change of a child, including the order to change the name of a child and consent to change the name of a child. All these are found at the local county's district court and can also be downloaded online. The petition has to be filled with the signature of the guardians and parents of the child, has to show how they relate to the minor, child's legal status, case numbers to previous judgments relating to the minor, name change details, the reason for the name change, and the vital statistics of the child.

In case the minor is a sex offender already registered, the Sex Offender Update form needs to be filled out and a copy attached to the petition. The petition should then be signed before a notary public who also signs on the form before officially stamping it. The reason for the Consent to Change the Name of the minor has to be explained clearly to the child if above ten years of age, who then must add his/her current name and the name proposed before the signing of the form.

The document should be taken to the office of the district court clerk for filing. You'll be updated about a court date assigned to you including a corresponding case number. You must appear on the court as scheduled and if the judge is convinced the change of name is for the child's best interest, it will be approved. The name change order will then be completed by the court.

Request the court clerk for a certified copy of the name change order to use to change the name of the minor with the Social Security Administration.

Change of Name on Birth Certificate

Amendments on birth certificate are done by the Department of State Health Services in Texas with each application clearly reviewed by a professional if the name change can be done. In case the birth took place in the last 180 days, you should expect the name change to be effected within 20-30 days. Amendments cost $15 with an additional $5 if you want an expedited service. Estimated normal processing time for the birth certificate amendment takes 10-15 business days.

Name change on Social Security, DMV, Passport, IRS

After changing the name for whatever reason, you must notify the various relevant government bodies. In case of any name change, notify the Social Security Administration, whether you are newly weds, lately divorced or simply changed your name legally. Even those who have reverted to their previous names need to let the Social Security Administration know. File the Application for a Social Security Card Form SS-5, at the Social Security office in your locality and include the legal proof of the name change.

Once you have changed the name with the Social Security Administration only then can you request a name change with the Department of Motor Vehicles. 30 days after the name change visit the office of Texas Department of Public Safety with the current ID card and driver's license, including the proof of name change. Changing your name with the Social Security Administration is free, but a new driver's license after a name change will cost you $11.

Name Change on Non-governmental Institutions

Once you have a legal proof of name change you can change your name with just about anyone, including non-governmental institutions such as financial institutions, insurance providers, employers and other professional documents such as passports, credit cards and loyalty club membership.

Name Change Documents

To make the name change process easier you need all the documents required. These includes:

  • Certified copy of Texas marriage certificate for marriage name change
  • Certified copy of Texas divorce decree for divorce name change
  • Court order for general adult name change
  • Proof of identification (passport, driver's license or state ID)
  • Proof of age (decree of adoption, birth certificate or hospital record)

87 Comments

  1. John G

    I got married and my wife still had her ex last name on her id when we applied for marriage license in texas but the clerk didn't ask us if we wanted to change names after marriage. We haven't mailed the signed marriage license to get a certified copy and I wonder if she can change her last name to mine without getting married again (read that in NY you have to remarry)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi John. She should be able to change her last name using the marriage certificate as-is.

      Reply
  2. Mickey

    Am I able to change my middle name to my maiden name after marriage in TX? I am finding conflicting information online. Who should I call to verify the laws? We have already obtained the license in my maiden name. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mickey. Yes, you can do a maiden to middle name change in Texas.

      Reply
      1. Katrina Brown

        Do you have to file for a name change petition, or can you do this through the marriage certificate?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Katrina. If you're referring to maiden to middle, then the marriage certificate will suffice.

          Reply
          1. Nicole

            I want to get married to my fiancée but I don't want my last name and she don't want hers. I want to take my mother maiden name is that possible through marriage

          2. Valera

            Hi Nicole. No, that wouldn't be possible for a marriage-related name change. You'd have to go to court, as that would be considered a general adult name change.

  3. Karin

    In Colorado, I signed my marriage license with my husband's surname making the first step to legally change my name. My friend was married in Texas over a year ago and there is no signature line or indication of her changing her name to her husband's surname. I understand that the marriage license is the document she needs to change her name with gov't agencies etc but if her name is not changed on her marriage license, couldn't she continue using her maiden name? Could she change her name later in their marriage should she decide to take his name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      but if her name is not changed on her marriage license, couldn't she continue using her maiden name? Could she change her name later in their marriage should she decide to take his name?

      Correct on both counts.

      Reply
  4. kayce lesperance

    Creative piece – I am thankful for the insight , Does anyone know where I could get access to a template IRS W-2 copy to use ?

    Reply
  5. Joseph

    If my wife did not take my last name when we got married 10 years ago, (her maiden name is on the marriage certificate) how do we change her name now? do we need a new marriage certificate or do we just start changing it in the respective government agencies with the same certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Joseph. Change it using the same certificate the regular way.

      Reply
  6. Edna

    I want to drop my first name and keep my middle name as my first name after marriage as well as take my future husband's last name. Is this possible? Can I change this all at once when I take my husbands last name? What is the process?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Edna. First name changes would have to go through a court petitioned name change.

      Reply
  7. Emi

    This may be a little tricky, but I want to know if I can change my middle name to another name with my maiden name added or hyphenated and take my husband's last name as my new last name.

    Reply
    1. Emi

      So… I want to see if I can do the following without filing a court petition:
      First, Middle which I currently don't have, Last
      to
      First, New Middle + Maiden, Husband's Last Name

      Sorry for being difficult; just want to see what my options are.

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Emi. Adding another name along with your maiden wouldn't be recognized as part of the married name change process through use of your marriage certificate. That kind of name change would require you to petition the court. Once you get a court order you can change your name however you prefer.

      Reply
  8. Annie

    How do I petition the court for a first/middle/last name change after marriage in Texas? I have
    First Middle Maiden I want to change to First+Middle as first, Maiden to middle, and take my husbands last name. We have our marriage license.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Annie. You can read more detail about what a name change petition entails. The process is similar in each state. In Texas, you'll have to visit the court and file a petition to get a judge to grant a name change order. See the "general adult name change" section in this article that discusses it further.

      Reply
  9. Andrea

    Hi! I have two questions:
    1) I got married in a legal destination wedding but am a resident of Texas. Will the official marriage certificate still work the same as the Texas marriage certificate listed above?
    2) Is it possible to drop your middle name and use your maiden name as your middle name and husbands name as surname? So it would be FirstName MaidenName(now middle) HusbandsName(now last)

    Thanks!
    –Andrea

    Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Bren. Get a certified copy of your marriage certificate. If you got married abroad and your certificate is not written in English, you may need to get it translated to English and notarized. Take your certificate to the SSA, DMV, and other government/non-government institutions to complete your name change.

          Reply
  10. Macy

    My wife and I got married about a month ago and want to combine our last names to make a new last name. Is that possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Macy. While a few states do provide the option to combine (or segment) last names, Texas does not appear to be one of them.

      Reply
  11. Elle Gee

    Hi,
    My wife and I(same sex) got married in NYC in 2012. On the marriage license she did not take my last name. We now live in Texas and would like to have her last name changed to mine. Do we have to file a petition with the court, since the marriage license doesn't show her name to be changed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Elle. The marriage certificate as-is should suffice, preventing you from having to go to court.

      Reply
  12. Kyrie Ous

    Husband/wife would like to have the same middle (wife's maiden) and last (husband's last) names. Can both spouses file for a Marriage Name Change?
    Also, can a license be obtained in TX but the wedding performed/officiated in a different state?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Husband/wife would like to have the same middle (wife's maiden) and last (husband's last) names. Can both spouses file for a Marriage Name Change?

      The husband would need to get a court order.

      Also, can a license be obtained in TX but the wedding performed/officiated in a different state?

      No, a marriage license obtained from Texas can only be used in Texas.

      Reply
  13. Frank Burciaga

    Hi..

    So my wife has had an expired Mexican Passport for awhile. We have been married for some time. Now she went to get a new PP, but has MY last name on it. It seems that Mexican law has changed. Our marriage certificate has her old married last name on it, not her maiden name, which is required now by Mexico (I think that's dumb, oh well). So now we have to get her name changed on our marrage certif. Couple of questions:

    We go married in one Texas county, but now live in another, do we have to do all this naming changing at the county we were married at???

    Thank you for taking time to help. :-)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Frank. Getting a name modified on a marriage certificate is difficult, unless there's a mistake on the clerk's part. If you were going to try to change it, you'll go to the county where's it's been filed, which is typically the same county where the license was acquired.

      Reply
  14. J

    Hi. Im from Texas but currently living in Nevada. I got married and wanted to change my name. I want to use my maiden name as my middle name and take my husbands last name. In the state of Nevada this is possible with the social security card. When it comes to my drivers license i was told they would have to hyphenate my maiden name with my husbands last name. I do not want that. Is this the same in Texas? Would they have to hyphenate my maiden with my husbands last name on my license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is this the same in Texas? Would they have to hyphenate my maiden with my husbands last name on my license?

      No, I don't believe that's required.

      Reply
  15. T

    Can I take my husbands maiden name and last name as my married name(As our last pre-married surname is the same)?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi T. I don't believe that's an option. While state statues don't appear to explicitly prohibit it, that doesn't mean it's a supported and recognized option.

      Reply
  16. Erica

    Hello,
    I wanted to ask if there would be any way to have my 3 daughters' last names changed. I got divorced from my ex in 2015, part of the final decree has name changes listed for my daughters. He is incarcerated for sexual crimes. I already went to the social security office and changed their social security cards to my last name but I need to have their birth certificates changed for new school enrollment purposes. Can this be done? I live in Texas.

    Reply
  17. Rachelle Davila

    My fiance and I are getting married in November. We are both Texas residents. He would like to take on my maden name instead of me taking his. Is that possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rachelle. That would require getting a name change by petitioning the court.

      Reply
  18. Jeffrey

    My wife and I were married and still live in Texas in 2009. We kept our last names as they were for the time. I would now like to my last name to my wife's. Do I have to do the name change petition or is the fact that we're married and trying to have the same last name enough? If not, would I have still had to do a name change petition were I the female in the marriage in this situation?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to do the name change petition or is the fact that we're married and trying to have the same last name enough?

      You'll have to do a petition.

      If not, would I have still had to do a name change petition were I the female in the marriage in this situation?

      If the roles were reversed, a petition would be unnecessary.

      Reply
  19. Ksmith

    I am married and chose to hyphenate my name. My husband expressed a year later that he was hurt by my decision. What is the procedure in changing my last name again?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What is the procedure in changing my last name again?

      Since you've already undergone a legal name change due to marriage, you'll have to petition the court to do it a second time.

      Reply
  20. Alyssa D

    Hello!
    I got married earlier this month my home state of WI, although we currently live in TX. I was planning on changing my name to FirstName MiddleName Maiden Name (as an addition to my middle) HusbandsName. On our WI Marriage Certificate, I'm listed as FirstName Middle Name Maiden Name. Will I have any issues getting my name changed in Texas, since my married name is not on the certificate?

    Reply
  21. Sharon

    Is there a statute of limitations regarding sending in the documents to change your name after getting married? My niece got married several years ago in TX and never sent the paperwork in. She's legally married but never took care of it afterward

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a statute of limitations regarding sending in the documents to change your name after getting married?

      No, there is none.

      Reply
  22. NICHOLE S FLINT

    Per my husband's culture (originally from Kenya, now US citozen) his MIDDLE name is our children's last name and is suppose to be mine as well. We did marry but I've yet to change my name from previous marriage. I want to carry the same name as OUR children and abide to his culture as well. Will the state of Texas allow this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nichole. It would have to be the last name, either hyphenated or not hyphenated.

      Reply
  23. Paul

    Hi,
    I live in Texas and got married back in May. I want to change my last name but I hear that men don't have the same process as women in Texas. Is this true and I'm originally from Massachusetts and have lived most of my life there, could that in any way make it easier? I was married in Texas. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to change my last name but I hear that men don't have the same process as women in Texas. Is this true and I'm originally from Massachusetts and have lived most of my life there, could that in any way make it easier?

      It is true. In Texas, you'd have to get a court petitioned name change. If you were changing your name in Massachusetts, you could just use your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  24. Judith Ivane Villarreal

    I have a question.

    My fiance and I live in Texas and would like to change both of our names to an old family name, it is not either of our surnames.

    What will the process be for both of us? Adult name changes?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Judity. Neither of you could accomplish this through a marriage-based name change. It would require going through a court-petitioned name change, which can be done before or after marriage.

      Reply
  25. Cindy

    If my father in law and my husband are changing there last name to the biological families names, do I need to do a legal change of name also or does mine change when my husbands does?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do I need to do a legal change of name also or does mine change when my husbands does?

      No, you are not required to change your name also. Your name does not and will not change automatically just because your husband changes his name. If you want to change your name to match, you'd have to do it separately.

      Reply
  26. Evelynn Moore

    Me and my husband were just married in Texas. Is it possible for us to change our last name to his mother and step dads (who he considers his real dad) last name instead of his legal last name? He has always gone by their last name on everything except legal documents.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Evelynn. No, that sort of name change wouldn't be possible through marriage. You'd have to get a court order.

      Reply
  27. Isaac

    Can a man change his surname with a marriage certificate to drop his mother's maiden name (this was done by a traditional Mexican mother who named her son the way she would have in Mexico but is beginning to cause problems now that he is an adult)?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can a man change his surname with a marriage certificate to drop his mother's maiden name

      Not in Texas. Not with a marriage certificate. He'd have to petition the court.

      Reply
  28. Carrie

    I got married 23 years ago and kept my maiden name. I would now like to change my last bame to my husband's. Since it has been so long will I need to go through the court process or can I just send in my marriage certificate?

    Thanks

    Reply
  29. Nancy

    I'm getting conflicting information in my inquiries, so I'm hoping you can help clarify. In 1990, I changed my last name from my maiden name to my husband's last name. We divorced in 2005, but I kept his last name as we have a child together. I'm soon to remarry. I would like to drop my middle name and use my original maiden name and my current last name as a hyphenated middle name, then take my new husband's last name. So it would be First Name, Maiden Name-Current last name, New Last Name. The Knot states you cannot change your middle name with a marriage certificate name change in Texas though it seems in reading above that you state one can. And I'm not sure I can add my maiden name back into my name at all since it's currently not part of my name. Can you please confirm? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      So it would be First Name, Maiden Name-Current last name, New Last Name.

      This would require a court petitioned name change.

      Reply
  30. Jessica

    my husband found is father and is now changing his last name to his real fathers last name. will I have to petition to get his new last name or can we revise the marriage license? We also need to change my daughters last name. Help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      will I have to petition to get his new last name or can we revise the marriage license?

      Amending your marriage record that way wouldn't be accepted, so you will have to petition.

      We also need to change my daughters last name. Help!

      Petition as well.

      Reply
  31. Carol

    I am in Texas with children from my first marriage. Being divorced from a second marriage for over 10 years, I want to take back name from first marriage to identify with my children.

    What do I need to do this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Carol. If your divorce decree contained an order restoring your previous, first marriage name, then you could use that document to change your name. Short of that, you'll have to get a court order by petitioning the court.

      Reply
  32. Lisa

    I was married in 2015 and changed my last name to my husband's last name using the marriage certificate. I've decided I would like to hyphenate my maiden name with my husband's last name. Can I still do this with the marriage certificate or would I have to file with the court?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I still do this with the marriage certificate or would I have to file with the court?

      You'd have to go to court.

      Reply
  33. Elena

    Can my mother keep her married name, to maintain same last name as kids as she will be getting married in a few months time ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can my mother keep her married name, to maintain same last name as kids as she will be getting married in a few months time ?

      Yes, she can.

      Reply
  34. Belinda Mace

    How should my name be listed on my divorce decree? Divorce is in Texas. On my decree it has my maiden name as my middle name. Is that correct?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Belinda. You'd put your legal name as-is. If the judge is restoring your maiden/previous name, it'll be specified separately. The court clerk can advise you on this.

      Reply
  35. M.T

    I am about to entering into an informal marriage in Texas. What is the procedure for name change?

    Also, is it unlawful to use his last name (without legal name change) in informal situations (i.e. church, introductions, etc)?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am about to entering into an informal marriage in Texas. What is the procedure for name change?

      You'd have to petition the court.

      Also, is it unlawful to use his last name (without legal name change) in informal situations (i.e. church, introductions, etc)?

      As long as there's no attempt to defraud, it's fine.

      Reply
  36. Brandi

    My husband added his ex wife's maiden name to his last name without a hyphen. For example his last name on legal documents is first name jones smith. They are divorced but no name change order was included and the decree is only in his last name first name smith. Can he legally just drop the jones name without having to petition the court? If we get married and the license has both last names, am I able to just take one since it isn't hyphenated?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Brandi. He'd have to petition the court to drop it. You would have to take the full name.

      Reply
  37. Heather Timmons-Lipari

    After marriage, I hyphenated my last name to contain my maiden and my husbands last name,

    Do I have to go to court to drop the hyphen and just keep my husband's name? We are not divorced or anything. I would like to add my maiden as a middle name and just have my husbands name as my last.

    Just for clarification purposes:

    Current name: First, Middle, Maiden-Husbands surname as last

    What I want: First, Middle, Maiden as 2nd middle, husbands surname as last

    Reply
  38. chris wesson

    My wife and I got married in Las Vegas about 4 months ago but we live in Texas. Do we simply need to take our Nevada marriage license to the local county clerk here in Texas in order to get my wife's last name changed to mine? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Chris. You'll just need to get a certified copy of the NV marriage certificate to change her name.

      Reply

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