43 Comments

If you are thinking about changing your name in the state of Arizona, there are a number of things you need to pay attention to, depending on if your name change is due to marriage, divorce, or petitioning the court.

Marriage name change

In the state of Arizona you can definitely change your name after marriage and you don't need to get a separate adult court ordered name change. The first thing you need to do is apply for a marriage license; it's a must before a couple gets married in the state.

Since there is no waiting period, getting a marriage license in Arizona is one of the easiest across the country. First off, the marriage license filling fee is around $76 and both parties need to be above 18 years old. It's also important for both parties to appear together for the license while carrying the right identification as proof of age, which should be a passport or a photo ID issued in the United States.

The two applicants will then sign and swear to two affidavits that the personal information they have provided is correct. In case one of the parties is 16 or 17 years old, it's important for a legal guardian or parent to accompany them during the signing of the consent form; the minor also needs identification in the form of a birth certificate. If the applicants, or one of them, is 15 years old and below, the law demands the Juvenile Superior Court Judge to sign the order (get more information from the Conciliation Court in your County).

The $76 fee is payable by cash, although some counties may accept a check, money order, or credit card. A blood test is not required to get a marriage license in Arizona. Since there's no waiting period in the state, the applicants can complete the marriage within the same day of receiving the marriage license. The license is valid for a whole year or 12 months and can be used in any place within the State. Marriage is performed by anyone legally authorized for this purpose in the State of Arizona; this includes magistrates, judges, church recognized ministers with authority to officiate weddings, and Arizona justiceS of the peace.

After the marriage has taken place, the marriage license's bottom portion has to be returned to the office of the Clerk of the Superior Court for recording. In a nutshell, you need a fiancee, a fee of $76 and proof of your age to get a marriage license in Arizona.

To change your name after marriage after getting the marriage license and completing the ceremony, simply get a certified copy of your marriage license and use it to change your name with the various governmental bodies and institutions, such as the motor vehicle department, Social Security Administration, and passport office.

While changing your name as a result of marriage there are a number of options to choose from, such as:

Adopting your husband's

Simply drop your last name and take your husband's, as has happened traditionally.

Remain with your name as it is

You can also decide not to change anything and simply continue using your name as it is.

Hyphenate

You can use a hyphen between your last or middle name and that of your husband rather than drop your name completely.

Use without hyphenation

You can also go ahead and use both names (your maiden or last name and that of your husband) without hyphenation by adding it onto yours.

Husband taking wife's name

A husband can still take the wife's name but not via marriage license, but through a legal name change, which includes same sex partners (these laws are always changing and it's always important to check with the laws of the state).

Divorce name change

Due to divorce it's normal for both or one of the couples to show a desire to effect a name change. If the man or woman wants to return to a prior or maiden name the easiest process is requesting the attorney to include the change of name as a part of the process of divorce. However, if you seek to adopt a wholly new name that you have never used before during the process of divorce this is not possible; you'll have to follow another separate procedure.

The Response to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage forms have a section where any of the two parties to the divorce can ask the court to order a return to a prior name.

If the divorce is finalized and completed without any of the parties asking for a prior name restoration, a name change procedure can always be initiated separately as provided by the law of Arizona.

General adult name change

If you intend to change your name separately from the divorce or marriage name change procedure, use the general adult name change process provided by the law. The process is fairy simple through the Arizona Superior Court Clerk.

The first thing is getting the Application for Name Change form as well as the Order Changing Name for an Adult form, which you can either download or collect in person from the court clerk within your county.

Go ahead and fill in the application for a change of name with required details such as date of birth, address, name, reason for the name change, as well as indicating whether you have ever been convicted before.

The Order Changing Name should also be completed, which contains contact details. It's the form that the judicial officer will sign indicating that you can also receive a new/another birth certificate carrying the new name in the State of Arizona.

The original documents, as well as two copies, should be submitted to the court clerk. Pay the filing fee required–remember fees in Arizona are not uniform and those unable to afford them can request deferment/waiver.

Get an Order Changing Name certified copy and ensure the court clerk has issued a hearing notice. The clerk will also let you know the hearing process of your own county. The order's certified copy is only issued if the change of name has been approved. This order is what you need to have around to apply for a change of name with such agencies as the Social Security Administration and motor vehicle division.

Child name changes

To change the name of a child, you might want to ascertain first that you are able to do so. Arizona law allows a legal guardian or the parent of the child to effect a name change for children below the age of 18. Remember the child must be living within the county in the State of Arizona where you are filing the request.

It's important to ascertain if you require an order from the court to complete the process. For instance, if you are just seeking an amendment of the minor's name on his/her birth certificate, a court order is not needed. If the name change is for other reasons, such as adoption, a court order is needed.

Changing the name of the child on a birth certificate can be done easily if the child is not yet above two years of age. After one year you will need a court order to complete the process. Remember the name change must be shown to be in the best interest of the minor.

The right form to fill for a minor in Arizona is the Application for Change of Name for a Minor Child; collect the proper form from the courthouse of your county or visit their website, if any. The form should be properly filled out and shouldn't be folded so that the black ink used to fill it doesn't stain the document. In addition, information about the minor has to be filled, such as the address, relationship with the applicant, full current name, place and date of birth, requested new name, and reasons why the name change is needed.

You need to fill the Civil Cover Sheet properly as well; it will accompany the petition for the name change. It's important since it informs the court of the kind of civil action being requested. Note you have to provide information about yourself as well; your name as the plaintiff, the name of the attorney and if your representation is pro se or yourself, you name has to go in that space.

Ensure you have at least two copies of all the forms except the civil cover sheet, including extra copes for the Application for Change of Name for a Minor. The forms can be filed at any of the courthouses within your county or with the Superior Court Clerk's Office.

The clerk's office will help you with the filing to ensure all is well. This is also the place you need to file your fee through any of the payment options accepted such as cash, MasterCard or Visa, personal check or money order. The fee is not uniform across all the counties within the State of Arizona; for instance $319 is the fee you need to petition for a name change in the County of Maricopa.

Those unable to afford the fees can apply for waiver/fee deferral that comes with a plan of payment; you need two recent paystub copies for this. As you get your forms, ensure the copies have been stamped as required by the clerk as the original application will be retained by the court clerk, including the civil cover sheet.

After the application has been filed, wait for about four business days before approaching the court for a hearing schedule in the location where the application was filed. After the hearing has been scheduled, the form on Notice of Hearing on Application for Change of Name has to be filled with the Court Clerk.

Notify the other parent of the minor on the intention to seek a name change. If you're a legal guardian, both biological parents of the child have to be notified. A child below the age of 18 but 14 years of age or above has to sign consent before a notary public to change his/her name or appear at the hearing for the name change. If the parents/other parent agree with the change of name they need to receive a stamped copy of the Notice of Hearing and the application, as well as filling the Waiver of Notice and Consent of Parent to Name Change of a Minor Child forms in the presence of a notary, which you will avail at the hearing.

A parent who doesn't agree with the change of name needs to receive the application's copy, stamped, including a copy of the application and Notice of Hearing as well as completing a notarized Acceptance of Service document. If you have no idea where the other parent of the child lives, serve a notification legally through a newspaper by having the Notice of Hearing published.

Before appearing at the hearing, collect the Order Changing Name for Minor from your county's website or courthouse. Attend the hearing with all the forms and documents required and receive the order from the court confirming the name of the child can be changed.

Change of name on birth certificate

The birth certificate is amended by sending a certified copy of the court provided order to the Bureau of Vital Records to reflect the new name and pay the right fees. Note in Arizona the birth certificate records are maintained within counties and application should be made to the county where the applicant was born.

Name change on Social Security, DMV, IRS

Approach the Social Security Administration for another Social Security card before heading to the motor vehicles division to effect the name change on your identification/driver's license. Approach the Bureau of Vital Records within your county for the same, in person or via mail.

Non-governmental institutions

Go ahead and approach insurance companies, finance institutions, such as banks, employer and credit card companies, among others, with the order to change your name and request them to adopt the new name.

Documents recognized for the change of name event

  • Certified copy of marriage certificate, for marriage name change
  • Certified copy of divorce decree, for divorce name change
  • Court order, for adult name change
  • State or government issued identification document

43 Comments

  1. Shanita

    I was married in a different state and had my name hyphenated. I now want to drop my maiden name, is this possible in Arizona.?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Shanita. Did you already go to the SSA to update your name?

      If you already underwent the legal name change process, then you'll have to obtain a court order to change it again.

      If you merely specified a new name choice on your marriage license application, but haven't actually followed through with the name change, then you may be able to exclude your maiden name.

      Reply
  2. Coralina

    If I go get married at courthouse and want to change my last name to my husbands how much does that cost?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Coralina. Getting married at the courthouse doesn't have any impact whatsoever on how you'd go about changing your name.

      Reply
  3. Jacob

    Does the marriage certificate need to be changed and have the husbands last name for the wife or does the marriage license show reason/cause for the name change and I just need to proceed with changing the last name on SSN and DMV?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jacob. Your latter interpretation is correct. The license/certificate doesn't have to reflect a new chosen name. The document is used to legally justify a name change.

      Reply
  4. Jennifer E Irvine

    I was married in a courthouse many years ago and now would like to take my husband's last name. I have what appears to be the original marriage certificate stamped with a seal. My husband had taken care of all the legal business and I thought it had been filed with the courts. Can I use this certificate to go to the SS office to apply for my name change or do I still need to request a certified copy?
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jennifer. If the certificate contains a recording date, that's the document you'll need when going into the social security office.

      Reply
  5. Laura

    In the State of Arizona if I want to do business under my maiden name but still want to keep my married name, what do I have to do legally for the IRS?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Laura. It would affect you if you need to obtain a EIN (Employer Identification Number) for your business.

      Reply
  6. Liz

    I went to buy my marriage license but I didn't get asked if I wanted to keep or change my last name to my groom's last name im not sure if I was supposed to. The marriage license has all my maiden name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Liz. Not all states ask for this on their forms. Arizona's marriage license applications are typically designed on the county level and as far as I know they do not ask about new names after marriage.

      Reply
  7. Tye

    From what I have read from previous questions, the marriage license does not reflect a name change. A legal name change application and process would be need to be completed. Are the rules the same for same-sex couples? The reason I ask is because I recently learned that it’s easier for a woman to assume a man’s last name than vise-versus in a heterosexual relationship. What about two women who obtain a marriage license and one spouse wants to change their last name?

    Reply
  8. Catherine Wolfwalker

    I had my name changed with my husband consent in 1995 or 1996 . I have lost all my paperwork and need copies of this paperwork. How would I go about getting this information. Thank You.
    Catherine Wolfwalker

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Catherine. What paperwork do you need? Marriage certificate? Court order? Social security card?

      Reply
  9. Ana

    Hi, I just got married and am now applying for the Adjustment of Status (I came with a K1 fiancee Visa). The marriage license and certificate reflects my maiden name as on the passport, now I am confused because I was told I should fill in my "new" name on the AOS forms, meaning my husband's last name, in order to get the documents on my married name. But on the other hand the form is asking for my current legal name, which would be my maiden name, right?

    So should I go to cityhall and have my last name changed properly before filing the AOS, or is this not necessary? And if I understood well, I can choose having my name with maiden name AND husband's last name, no hyphenating, right? Thank you so much in advance!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ana. You'd use your marriage certificate to complete your name change with USCIS. Obtaining a space-separated surname is not certain. It can depend on the flexibility or rules interpretation of the agent you deal with.

      Reply
  10. Ann

    I be been married before and am getting married in AZ. The lawyer forgot to give me back my maiden name when I was divorced 9 years ago. On the marriage/wedding certificate, for my new name, I'd like to take my fiancé's last name, and also add back in a birth middle name – that got dropped along the way and my maiden name, along with my fiances name. First, middle, maiden, new last name. Can I do that? Right now I just have first, middle, old married name.
    Can someone answer this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ann. You can take your fiance's surname, but the other name changes would require you to petition the court.

      Reply
  11. Astrid Guillen

    I am married but I am in the process of dissolution of marriage, can I change my last name back to my maiden name before the dissolution is completed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I change my last name back to my maiden name before the dissolution is completed?

      You would have to petition the court separately if you didn't want to wait until your marriage was fully dissolved. If you want to avoid that expenditure and exercise, you'll have to wait until the dissolution is done.

      Reply
  12. Jane

    Are there instances when a biological parent doesn't need to be notified of a name change? Never married or paternity established situations?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jane. The Superior Court doesn't distinguish between how a "parent" is classified. It simply says the other parent must be notified. If the other parent's whereabouts are unknown, a publication must be ran in an accepted newspaper about the upcoming name change hearing for four straight weeks.

      Reply
      1. Jane

        After the newspaper, what if no response is made from the other parent

        Reply
        1. Valera

          After the newspaper, what if no response is made from the other parent

          Then the case will move on without their input.

          Reply
  13. Kathy

    I think I made a huge mistake on the Marriage license and certificate. It was filled out with my current name, not the name I want to change it to. The application didn't say anything about new name. It just asks for your info and social security number. Did I do it wrong?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      It was filled out with my current name, not the name I want to change it to. The application didn't say anything about new name. It just asks for your info and social security number. Did I do it wrong?

      You filled out the application correctly.

      Reply
  14. Jo Christelle Aguilar

    I have been married for 3 years but kept my maiden name. I want to change it to my husband's last name. I delayed changing my last name due to school, school applications, moving, etc., and it was just easier to keep my last name at the moment. I'm from TN with a TN license and just moved to AZ a few days ago. How do I go about changing my last name? Do I just do the regular name change application and need a court order?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I just do the regular name change application and need a court order?

      Just do a regular name change without the court order.

      Reply
  15. Michelle

    I just aplied for a marriage license but I only wrote one last name and I have two last names because Im not from USA , the application had only one blank space and I dont know if I did it wrong, please help! Do we have to aply again with my two last names?thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michelle. You can return to the clerk of superior court's office to request a correction. If they're unwilling to make the change, you'll have to apply for a brand new marriage license.

      Reply
  16. Ben

    Hello, me and my fiance want to change both of our names to one new name, when we get married, can that change both of our names or is it for one party only?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ben. A brand new name would require you and your fiance to file separate court petitions for a name change. If you go that route, it doesn't matter if it takes place before or after marriage.

      Reply
  17. Paris

    I have been married since 2012 and i want to know if its too late to change my last name. I was told i can be arrested for not changing my name within a time frame. Is that true? What is the time frame?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I have been married since 2012 and i want to know if its too late to change my last name.

      No, it's not too late to change your name.

      I was told i can be arrested for not changing my name within a time frame. Is that true?

      No, that's not true.

      What is the time frame?

      There is no time frame.

      Reply
  18. Paige Conrad

    I am getting married in November in Idaho and plan to take my husband's last name. I am an AZ resident though.

    I would like to drop my middle name and take my maiden name as my middle name. I believe I need to do a Name Change through the courts for the middle name switch, from what I've been told. If that is correct, should I do it before the wedding, or after?

    I looked at the forms, but I'd be changing my name to Paige MAIDEN NAME MAIDEN NAME, which I'm not sure makes sense, until I have my husbands name and I can just change my middle name.

    Someone suggested it's easier to change name first so it can be correct on my marriage license. Even though I'm getting married in Idaho, all of the name changing would be done through AZ, I assume, except for me assuming his name. Sorry for all the questions! Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I would like to drop my middle name and take my maiden name as my middle name. I believe I need to do a Name Change through the courts for the middle name switch, from what I've been told.

      You don't have to go through the courts. Just use your marriage certificate.

      If that is correct, should I do it before the wedding, or after?

      After, as you'll be using your marriage certificate.

      I looked at the forms, but I'd be changing my name to Paige MAIDEN NAME MAIDEN NAME, which I'm not sure makes sense, until I have my husbands name and I can just change my middle name.

      I don't believe Idaho's marriage license application provides an area for you to cite a new name after marriage. Just your current name.

      Someone suggested it's easier to change name first so it can be correct on my marriage license.

      That's if you're looking to undergo a name change that isn't possible through marriage, such as a first name change or a complicated middle or last name change.

      Even though I'm getting married in Idaho, all of the name changing would be done through AZ, I assume, except for me assuming his name.

      No difference.

      Reply
  19. Jessica

    Can I change my first name after getting married while keeping my last name without having to do the longer process that requires court and a big check?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jessica. You'll have to go to court to change your first name. There's no getting around that.

      Reply
  20. Jennifer A.

    I live in, and got married in, Arizona. Can I change my name after marriage to have two middle names? I want to use both my current middle name AND my maiden name as middle names… is that allowed using the marriage name change process? It doesn't look like one that scenario is one of your options above.

    If I can have two middle names, then can I use both middle initials as part of my official signature? That's what I'd prefer to do. And if I CAN have two middle names, which one of those initials do I use on an electronic form that only has one middle initial space? If I want to keep my maiden name as part of my 'official' signature (which a lot of electronic forms call for), do I have to get rid of my given middle name so that my maiden name is my only middle initial?

    If I CAN'T have two middle names / two middle initials, can I make my middle name hyphenated (to make it: middle name-maiden name) in order to make it one name instead of two? Or do I have to drop my current middle name altogether if I want to keep my maiden name? In my work, I see many Hispanic people's names that have many more than just the three names I have (first, middle, last); are names with more than three just 'unofficial' uses of the multiple names, rather than their official names / signatures?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      First, our marriage license did NOT have a place to list my 'new' name; it only had a space for my given name.

      That's normal for Arizona.

      If I want to add my maiden name to my middle name when I change it, it sounds like I can do that, right?

      No, you can replace your middle name with your maiden name or leave it unchanged. Beyond that, you'll have to go to court.

      after my name change is processed in the SS office, can I change my official signature to have TWO middle initials?

      That's a personal preference. It's generally a good idea to make sure your signature is consistent to match what's on your driver's license and other legal documents.

      Which initial do I use on electronic forms that only have one space for a middle initial?

      It makes sense to use the first name.

      Basically, I'm asking whether I can I choose which middle initial I want to use on electronic forms, or does the middle initial always have to be the one from my FIRST middle name?

      Depends on the form and circumstance. If you're submitting paperwork of a government or legal nature, you'll want your name to match official records if a lookup is performed. If you're switching things around willy-nilly, then it could result in a name mismatch.

      The 'real' ID stuff people are writing in the comments is starting to worry me; I currently don't have a passport, so it sounds like I might have a tougher time changing my driver's license to the Real ID because of that… is that true?

      For Real ID, passport is typically one of the accepted documents, but not the only one. The Arizona Travel ID (a.k.a. Real ID) website details the acceptable forms of ID beyond the passport.

      Reply

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