242 Comments

Changing your name for whatever reason in Florida is not as straightforward as many might think. Here are a number of things you might want to know.

Marriage Name Change Options

In Florida, around 80% of all married women change their names, although it is not the simplest process. However, after marriage you have a number of options to consider when it comes to name change, particularly if you are not interested in maintaining your maiden name after going down the aisle.

Take husband's last name

About 85 percent of married women in Florida simply drop their maiden names and take up the last name of their husband's. It's still the most clear-cut, common and traditional choice, even in Florida.

Hyphen or space

Rather than drop your maiden name, in Florida, you can also add the name of your partner onto yours. You have the choice to use a space or simply hyphenate between both surnames. Name change in this case can be done in any order, but traditionally the wife's name appears first.

Both spouse names

For professional women who have been busy publishing academic papers, creating and running business, building strong reputations and names in diverse industries, dropping a name might not be that easy. If your name is associated with an important part of your professional life, in Florida, you are allowed to use both the name of your husband and your maiden name in various places. Name change is not obligatory after marriage and remaining with a maiden name hardly means your feelings for your spouse have waned.

Surname combinations

Another popular way of approaching name change in Florida is combining both the surname of the man and woman after marriage. Nonetheless, this requires undergoing a legal process to have the changes accepted. The most common practice is merging two surnames into a single name shared among the two of you. For example, if the husband's last name is 'Bond' and the wife's 'Iron', the merged surnames would create something like 'Ironbond.' The legal process might be clear but takes a bit of time and it's always important to start earlier; perhaps before you get married.

Maiden to middle

A married woman in Florida also has the option of taking the surname of the husband and moving her name to the middle. This does not require a legal process, but only a marriage certificate to be effected. In fact, in this State, the only time you need a legal name change is when you are not taking the last name of your husband.

Husband taking wife's

In Florida, a man can also take the last name of the wife, but this has not always been the case. Back in 2013, Lazaro Sopena married Hanh Dinh and took her surname "Dinh", using the original marriage certificate. Over a year later he was accused of fraud for changing his name to his wife's. Nonetheless, this was overturned after a legal process and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in Florida has been training its employees to realize name change after marriage works either way.

Name Change after Divorce in Florida

In Florida, a legal name change after divorce requires that you collect a number of documents that includes proof of identity, such as a passport, state ID and driver's license, a birth certificate, hospital record or adoption decree as a proof of age, and a Florida divorce decree's certified copy. In case the divorce decree copy is not there, the Divorce Records Request Letter comes in handy. The Birth Certificate Request Letter can also help if you don't have a birth certificate copy.

Does your divorce decree actually restore your previous name?

Look at the divorce decree and identify whether a name change provision is included. In case there is not a provision for that, you only need to call the court that dealt with the case and request for an amendment of the document. However, amendments are not allowed in all Florida courts. If the request for amendment is denied, simply go ahead with a name change petition.

With divorce decree in hand, commence changing your name

Once the legal documentation has been granted by the divorce decree for a name change, you should go ahead and let government agencies know the new name you are using. Government offices that must be notified include the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Social Security Office. Start by seeking approval of the new name on your Social Security card before taking the certificate to the DMV office for name change on your driver's license.

Return to a previous name

In Florida, you can also return to a previous name you were using before marriage, during divorce proceedings. On the divorce forms you can also indicate you would like a restoration of a former name. In case you would like a former name restored, the Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage order has to be written by a judge using the full legal name that has been restored. With the order, approach the social security office for a quick name change.

The social security administration might request a birth certificate, official document or passport that indicates you are citizen of the United States, and an identification that still bears the name before divorce. The process of name change is usually free while the divorce process is ongoing.

However, after the divorce has been finalized, name change requires a petition for a name to be changed after the fact. Generally, Florida law hardly distinguishes between name restoration after divorce and changing to a wholly new name; you might need to part with $400 to file the petition for a name change.

General Adult Name Change

Florida courts only accept change of names for very legitimate reasons. The process of adult name change in the State begins with petition filing within the circuit court in your jurisdiction. You must also file your fingerprints officially with the petition unless you are restoring a previous name. Once the petition has been filed it's possible for a hearing to commence immediately.

Requirements the name change petitioner must fulfill

For the adult name change petition to go through, you need to meet a number of requirements. This includes being a resident of Florida and living in the County where the filing of the name change petition is being done. The petitioner need to be 18 years of age minimum and should have no illegal ulterior motive for seeking a name change; the action should not be infringing on the privacy, patent, partnership, property rights or good will of others. Your civil right should not have been suspended. If so, they should at least have been restored fully before going ahead with the petition.

Fees for the adult name change petition could be $400 or more.

What to do once your court order is granted

The court issues an order or Final Judgement once it finds every legal requirement has been satisfied. This means you can take up the new name. File the Florida Name Change Judgment that has been signed by the judge and, for a little fee, ask for certified copies. With the certified copies approach the Social Security Office for a name change of your social security card before doing the same for the Department of Motor Vehicles so that the name on the driver's license can be changed.

Child Name Changes

In Florida, obtaining a child's name change starts by filing a petition with the Superior Court within the locality where the child resides.

Conditions to meet for changing your child's name

To change the name of a minor you need a number of requirements to be satisfied, such as the minor being a resident of Florida and living within the County where the petition is filed. The minor must also be younger than 17 years of old and both the petitioner and minor should not have an illegal or ulterior purpose, and that the granting of the name change will not infringe on the rights of anyone. A written consent is required for the name change from the adults who are legally the minor's guardians.

Who decides for the child? One parent, both parents, or guardian?

Guardian ad litem, legal guardian or parent can file the petition. If it's just a single parent who has filed for the name change and the other parent has not signed the Change of Name of Consent form, the other parent needs to be served with the details.

In case the other parent is a non-resident, the court can authorize through publication a constructive notice. It's possible for the hearing to be immediate after filing, and if the court is certified about the name change for the minor the court issues an order and the child can assume the new name.

Change of Name on Birth Certificate

In case you have gone through legal name change through a court in Florida, a legal name change report is forwarded to the court clerk office within a month where the birth record is amended. The original record of birth or birth certificate must be attached to the name change report from the court. However a $20 non-refundable fee is necessary for the record's amendment. This applies both for death, birth and paternity amendments.

It means that once you have petitioned a court for a name change legally and it has gone through, you can request a birth certificate's certified copy just like you would order a normal birth certificate.

Social Security, DMV, Passport, IRS Name Changes

Update your social security card first

Once you have a new name, legally changed, request your documents to reflect this. The first process involves getting a new social security card. What you need together with the court order that legally changed your name is a State identification, passport, driver's license-photo IDs-together with a birth certificate. You can then apply for a fresh Social Security card.

You don't have to appear there physically since mailing a certified court order copy is acceptable, including other required copies. The new Social Security card should arrive in about 10 days once the request has been processed. Usually the Social Security Administration will update records in about 72 hours after your request has been received.

Next, change your name on your driver's license

It's also important to update your driver's license in Florida within 10 days, but you must wait for the Social Security Administration to process your request for a change of name first.

Follow through with remaining governmental/non-governmental institutions

After changing the name on the main governmental requirements such as Social Security and DMV, other documentation should also follow. These includes changing the name you have used in bank accounts, IRS, voter registration, mortgages and leases, credit cards, passport, PO boxes, medical offices, car title, among many others.

After these have been done and your name has been changed on all important documents, continue the use of the new name everywhere, including signing checks.

Additional fees to change your name

Remember that name change in Florida comes at a fee, where a driver's license costs $25, $2.50 for a vehicle registration card, $75.25 for an electronic vehicle title and $2.50 for a printed vehicle title. Tax collector offices in Counties will also ask for another $6.25 fee.

Using a Chancery Court to facilitate your name change

According to the 2015 Florida statutes on name changes, Chancery courts can now complete a name change for an individual in Florida for a petition filed in the petitioner's county of residency. Before a Florida court hears a name change petition it's now required for petitioners to have submitted their fingerprints for a nation and state check on criminal history unless the process is a restoration of a previous name. The court will use the results of the check from the FBI through the Department of Law Enforcement in determining whether the petition should be granted. Criminal history checks and processing fingerprints fees are the responsibility of the petitioner.

Recognized Name Change Documents

There are different types of documents required for a name change in Florida. These includes a certified copy of marriage certificate for marriage name change, certified copy of divorce decree for divorce name change, court order for general adult name change, United States resident identification such as driver's license, state IDs and passport, criminal history and finger print checks (done by the court through the Law Enforcement Department but paid by the petitioner), signed consent from the parents of a minor or legal guardian among others that a Florida court might request.

242 Comments

  1. Niki

    Hello and thank you for your time..
    I have a question of : when being in court order done finals in divorce as returning back to maiden name as requested and was told I have a year to get it all correct back to my maiden name.
    What happen if I do not do not change back to my maiden name before year up?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Niki. I don't know you're referring to. Are you saying your divorce is final and your decree suggested you had a year to revert?

      Reply
  2. Ally

    If I have two last names no hyphen on my social would I be able to do the same on my driving license?

    Reply
  3. Melissa

    Hi – I was married last month, and I changed my last name to my husband's name on my social security card, no problem. I also wanted to drop my middle name (so I have no middle name), and they did that for me. When I went to get my driver's license, they said they couldn't drop my middle name – that I would have to have a passport that shows this. I showed them the social security card, but they said that wasn't enough. I'm so confused. If you can move your maiden name to your middle name, couldn't you also drop your middle name when you get married? And how do you officially do this? Thanks for any advice.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Melissa. One's federal, while the other's state. The regulations are different. Dropping your middle name isn't an option with the DMV. You'd have to get a court order to compel them to follow through.

      Reply
  4. Sarah

    Hello – I would like to add my maiden name as a second middle. When getting married in 2014 I changed my last name and kept my middle name. I would still like to keep my birth middle name but add my maiden name as my second middle. Is this possible in Florida? I believe my marriage certificate has my maiden name on it as when I got married I was not sure if I was going to change my name or not. If two middle names are possible, would this require a legal name change or because I am not changing my last name and my marriage certificate still has my maiden, could I do a standard name change through SS, etc. ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If two middle names are possible, would this require a legal name change or because I am not changing my last name and my marriage certificate still has my maiden, could I do a standard name change through SS, etc. ?

      You'd have to do a legal name change through the courts.

      Reply
      1. Sarah

        Thank you for your response. Does the hearing for a legal name change require you to be present in front of a judge? There is absolutely no way around a legal name change with this situation? Just adding a maiden to middle.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Sarah. Yes, you would have to show up to your hearing in person. You do have to go to court, as there's no workaround.

          Reply
  5. Carolina Vargas

    Hello. Nice blog!!!

    I getting married soon. and I want to use my husband name and my name.
    My name is Carolina Vargas my husband full name is Anderson Petrucci Taboada

    Can I change my name to Carolina Vargas-Taboada?? or Carolina Petrucci Taboada, Carolina Taboada, Carolina Vargas Petrucci Taboada … to many options .. wich one is the easiest and economic to get?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Carolina. Those options are possible, except for taking your spouse's last name as your middle name.

      Reply
  6. King

    Hi. I would just like info about two things.

    1. Im going to marry my fiance, but i want to adopt her child. The biological sees her once a week but I've pretty much been her primary care for 2 years along with my fiance. How do i go about this?
    2. I would like to know about process to change or hyphonate the child last name to mine. (child is currently 3) thank very much.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi King. Check out the adoption guide on the Florida Department of Children and Families website. Generally, child name changes are done as Superior Court petitions. You can inquire about this process during the adoption process.

      Reply
  7. Monica Deel

    Hi!

    I have been married since 2003 and never changed my maiden name to my husband's last name. I would like to legally change my name now that we have children. Am I able to bring in my marriage license now…14 years later and go through the procedures…or will I need to pay $400 to legally change my name after all these years later. If so, what office do I contact to pay and proceed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Monica. You should be able to change it the regular way without going to court.

      Reply
  8. Nati

    Do I have to be legally divorced to have my maiden name restored?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to be legally divorced to have my maiden name restored?

      Being divorced along isn't enough. Your divorce decree must contain an order restoring your maiden name.

      Reply
  9. Betty Woolever

    If I do NOT take my husband's last name, what must i do legally if anything? Thank you for you time.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I do NOT take my husband's last name, what must i do legally if anything?

      Nothing.

      Reply
  10. Philip Penrod

    When my wife and I got married she dropped her middle name and used her maiden name as her middle name and took my last name. She has applied for a state job and this has confused them. They are telling her she must do a court name change but can't tell her why. What law or policy covers this? The department for the marriage, licence, the DMV, and Social Security all recognized it as legal. Why isn't the State of Florida DOC doing so?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Philip. Unless they can site the statute that says they're in the right, I don't know what they're basing this on other than their own internal rules.

      Reply
  11. Pamela Gunter

    How long after you get married do you have to change your name. I'm unsure what I want to do.

    Reply
  12. Linds

    I am adding my maiden name to my daughters last name prior to the 1 year mark as an amendment to birth certificate. We have chosen to double barrel (maiden married).

    I have already changed my last name to my married name post marriage, however I will also be adding my maiden to my last name as a double barrel with no hyphen (first, middle, maiden married). Could you please confirm that this is possible in Florida. (Child's last name as a double barrel and mine)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Linds. Yes, both are possible. You'd have to go to court to change your last name.

      Reply
  13. joesy Joiner

    I wasn't to add another language with a hyper does this take the same court steps as a full name change?

    Reply
  14. Aloma

    Hello,

    I am about to go completely nuts with this whole name thing. I am from Spain and we have no middle names there. I, however, have a double first name and a double surname (dad's and mom's). To accommodate for the USA, I do not mind to put the second part of my first name as a middle name, I spell it out all the time anyway. So my name is First, Middle, 1st last name, 2nd last name.

    Almost 7 years ago, I moved under a fiancé visa and my hubby and I thought it could help for me to have his last name. So with all the pressure I did the mistake to change it in the greencard papers so now I have First, Middle, Hubby's last name.

    All these years I have regret the situation and I thought that I could change it back to my birth name doing the citizenship. On the other hand, I do not know if it is very socially accepted to have two surnames separated by a space, no hyphen. I have read all sorts of horror stories of people with either space or hyphen how they have around 40 versions of their name, or that put one as a middle name, or some systems may not recognize the space or the hyphen.

    However, other people report having no issues except some occasional explanation that their 1st last name is not a middle name. We live in Florida now. I know the laws allow it for me to have two surnames but will I go crazy by doing the change and have issues all the time the rest of my life? Thanks for the input

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Aloma. I doubt you'll go insane with the name change and handling it. If you're having to go to court, they're not concerned about what you're changing it to and how you'll format it. Like you said, you'll have to just correct people if they mistake one part of your name for another.

      Reply
  15. Diana

    Hello,

    I married in 1986, I took his husband's last name; he died in 1989; but only until now I'm interested in changing back to my maiden name. Also, I'd filed for bankruptcy-Chapter 7 in 2015, there was a judgement in 2016, but the case had to be re-open right after I got the judgement because the lawyer did not entered in the case 2 liens pending on my house; as of now I have not received judgement.
    What do I need to change to my maiden name and do I have to wait until the court completes the bankruptcy judgement ?
    Thanks,
    Diana

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Diana. You'll have to change your names through the court. Consult with your attorney to determine if you should wait to process your name change until after your bankruptcy judgment has completed.

      Reply
  16. marie

    hello
    me and my fiancé will be getting married soon in Jacksonville, he wants to take my last name, is there anything special that we need to do, other then going to the dmv with our marriage license and changing his florida ID? or does he have to file for a name change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Marie. There's nothing special to do. Just change it using the normal procedure.

      Reply
  17. TANYA

    Hello

    Me and my husband recently got married and my husband wants to change his last name to mine. However, both of us want to change are middle name to commemorate the occasion. He has two middle names he would like to delete and replace it the one new name. I would just like to add the new name. How would I go about this? Do I have to go to court and how much would something like that would cost?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tanya. You and your husband would have to go to court. The cost could hover around $400 apiece.

      Reply
  18. Julia

    Hello, I can't find any information about how to change my last name to my husbands last name here in Florida if i'm not a resident yet and want to make the change before I start the filling process for my residency. I ask about it in the court when we where getting the marriage license,if I should just put my fiance last name as mine as well on the marriage license and was told that the change done after I get the certificate as a proof then change it at the DMV, and then I ask again when we were filling for the marriage certificate and was told that with the certificate I just need to go to the DMV and change it, but the DMV have no records on me as I haven't start the residency process yet. so my question is how do I change my last name as a non resident so i'll start the process for residency with my new last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      hi Julia. You may be overthinking it a tad. Once you obtain a certified copy of your marriage license, take it to the various institutions to register or change your name.

      Reply
  19. Lola

    I am getting married in 1 month and I am a bit confused.we live in Florida. At what giving moment is it that we tell them what name we want to have? When you get your marriage license or when you get your marriage certificate ? I want to take on my fiancée last name but my marriage license has my maiden name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lola. If the marriage license application had a spot to specify a new name, that's where you'd place it. It wouldn't be done on he marriage certificate. If no new name space was provided, then you'd use your eventual marriage certificate as-is to effect a name change.

      Reply
  20. Brittany Collins

    I got married back in April in Florida. My husband and I both would like to change our last names to his father's last name (he does not have his father's last name as of now). Because we are both essentially adopting a completely new last name would we both have to petition the court to change our last names, or would he only have to petition the court? I could I simply use our marriage certificate to change my last name at the DMV?

    Reply
  21. Blair

    Hi

    I live in Miami Florida and I’m getting married feb 2018. I currently go by my middle name and never use my first name. – which has always been a hassle because everything legal says my first name , Barbara. But I use Blair.

    What is the best thing to do about a name change? I’d like to change my name to this order: middle name, first name, husbands last name.

    So can I do all at the same time ? Or should I do one before the other? I can’t do a name change before feb because I need my current passport for my honeymoon.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Blair. You'd have to petition the court to change your first name. You can flip your first and middle name using the same court petition. Once you get the court order you could change your name on your passport and other documents before or after your travels.

      Reply
  22. Angela Sims

    i've been married for 24 years and would like to use both my married name and maiden name. My maiden name is not on my marriage certificate. legally I would like to have all of my documents to reflect both names. What is the process to make the name change and how much woul it cost? Will the request need to be submitted in the same city that I got married in?
    How long will I have to wait for a reply on this site? this will be the second time that i've posted on this site.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What is the process to make the name change and how much woul it cost?

      If you haven't changed your name after marriage, you can do so by obtaining a certified copy of your marriage certificate and using that when visiting the various govenment institutions.

      If you have changed your name after marriage, you'll have to petition the court to change it again. It'll cost around $400.

      Will the request need to be submitted in the same city that I got married in?

      No.

      How long will I have to wait for a reply on this site? this will be the second time that i've posted on this site.

      You can see the reply to your previous question on the maiden name article.

      Reply
  23. Crystal Rodrigues

    Hello, How can I change my Last name (Rodrigues) back to my Maiden name (Dancu) and my Husband last name (Rodrigues) to my maiden name (Dancu) Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Crystal. Are you looking to undergo a second name change? If so, you'll have to get a court order.

      Reply
  24. Sherry

    Getting married for a second time. I did not change back to maiden name after divorce. I want to keep divorced name and new last name for the purpose of important documents and children. Is this possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sherry. You can hyphenate your current last name and new spouse's surname.

      Reply
  25. Brittany colson

    So I'm getting married in three weeks. I was wondering if I could adopt my grandmother's maiden name as my middle name and take my fiancé last name.

    Reply
  26. Lexi

    I live in orlando I changed my middle name to my maiden name and took on his last name as mine when I got married, since then I have had a baby girl and gave her my previous middle name as her middle name. I would like change my middle name back to the previous middle name. Do I have to have a court ordered name change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I would like change my middle name back to the previous middle name. Do I have to have a court ordered name change?

      Yes, you would have to go to court.

      Reply
  27. Michelle

    I currently live in Louisiana and my fiancée and I want to combine our surnames to make a new last name. Is this possible to do if we get married in Florida and go back to Louisiana to have our SS card, drivers license, ect. changed? Or would it be simpler to go to Georgia for this process? Or California for this process. We are open to the state we get married in as long as we can combine our surnames in a relatively simple way. Thank you in advance, this website has been the best resource on the web!!

    Reply
      1. Michelle

        We want to take a portion of her last name and a portion of my last name and combine them to a new last name. Example: Her 'Stonehurst' + me 'Finbridge' = new 'Stonebridge' as are last name.

        Reply
          1. Valera

            It is in CA

            That's true, if she were planning to change her name in California. However, she lives in Louisiana.

  28. Jules

    my husband and I just got married and would like to combine two names as our middle name and for me to adopt his last name.

    i.e. ME: first name, change middle name (maiden + his family name), his last name
    HIM: first name, change middle name (my maiden + his family name), keep last name

    Do we need a court order or is this covered by our marriage license?
    Social Security Said okay, but DMV is giving us problems.

    Reply
  29. Shauline

    Hi, I just got married, and I didn’t know I could have written on the marriage license application my husbands name that I had planned to take. I want to take his surname. How do I go about doing this and do I have to pay a fee?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I didn’t know I could have written on the marriage license application my husbands name that I had planned to take

      Are you certain of this? I do not believe Florida's marriage license applications actually provides a spot to specify a new last name.

      Reply
      1. Shauline

        It doesn’t. But based on information received by third parties, I was told to do so. But how do I get my husband last name? The license was filed by my wedding planner.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Shauline. It doesn't matter that the license or certificate doesn't reflect your new name choice. You can still change your name as you'd prefer.

          Obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the clerk of the circuit record that issued and recorded your license. It'll cost you about $7. You can also order a copy from the Florida vital statistics office for about $5.

          Use that document to change your name with the necessary government institutions.

          Reply
  30. Lynn

    Hi. I'm very confused and I've received a few different answers on how to change my last name to my husbands name after marriage. We were married back in 2008 and I didn't know to sign his last name and drop my maiden at the time. And on top of that my husband has two last names on his birth certificate but he only signed the marriage paper with one of them. Of course I want to use the name he didn't use. We recently had a child and I'd like my name to reflect the same. Some say to just start using my husbands last name. I went to the court house and they said it's a 400 fee to name change. I can't get my point across to them with it being a marriage related name change… what can I do?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lynn. Today's Florida marriage license application doesn't provide a spot to specify a new last name. It's probable your 2008 application was the same, which would result in only your legal names being reflected on the license and certificate.

      If you want to change your name to just a portion of your husband's, you'll have to go to court. If you want to take his entire last name, your husband should contact the circuit court to have the marriage certificate amended to reflect his correct and complete name. You can then use the reissued certificate to push through a regular marriage name change.

      Reply
  31. Tanisha

    Hi. My wife and I got married in Florida in 2015. However we did not know that we would have to get a court order to change our last name to our mothers' maiden names hyphenated. (Ex: henry-smith). Applying for a name change is pricey. My question is 'do we have to both apply for it or can just one of us apply? And once approved the other takes the new last name. Is this possible? Thanks for your time!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My question is 'do we have to both apply for it or can just one of us apply? And once approved the other takes the new last name. Is this possible?

      Unfortunately, that wouldn't work. You'll both have to file separate petitions.

      Reply
  32. Karoline Johnson

    My husband and I got married Dec 30th 2017 in FL… He lives there and I live in GA still due to money. However on our marriage license it only shows my maiden last name. There was no spot for us to sign after we were married. Is that correct or did we not do it right? Please let me know how it should work.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      There was no spot for us to sign after we were married. Is that correct or did we not do it right? Please let me know how it should work.

      You filled it out correctly. Florida marriage license applications don't provide a spot to specify a new name after marriage, therefore the issued license and certificate wouldn't specify it either.

      Reply
  33. Ashleigh

    Question. My husband was born in PR and has a hyphenated last name. Our marriage license states that because that is his official name. However, social security said I only had to take one and allowed me to take the paternal one. I don’t want a hyphenated name. Social security said it was fine because our marriage license doesn’t specify new married name.

    I have been to three DMVs who are telling me I need to go back to social security and get a new one because it doesn’t match his last name on our marriage license. OR for him to go through and change his name to one last name – not going to be easy.

    I have my temporary social security card with my new name – DMV won’t give me a new license with this name.

    I’m in Florida.
    Suggestions?
    I don’t feel it is correct that I need to go back to social security when it was already approved.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ashleigh. The DMV can do this because they're state and the SSA is federal. They both operate on a different set of rules.

      Reply
      1. Aliza

        I am going through the same thing. I have changed my name in my SSN and have had it like that for 2 years. Everything I have filed federally has been with that name.

        Can the DMV still deny me a drivers license?

        Also They already gave me a drivers license with just my husbands first last name but are now saying that I need to change my name or he needs to change his. If not, they will suspend my license.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Can the DMV still deny me a drivers license?

          They can. They're sometimes in sync with what the SSA allows, but it's not guaranteed.

          Reply
  34. Andrew

    I'm not seeing anything in here about same sex couples regarding name changes, I've heard the process is slightly different for us here in Florida.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Andrew. It shouldn't be different. There were problems reported several years ago, but since then the DMV instituted policy changes to deal with it. Have you heard about this being a problem recently?

      Reply
  35. Ana Gonzalez

    I got married 3 years ago, how do I changed my last name to my husband's last name? is there a form I need to fill out? I want to change my name on my SSN as well on my driver's license. Which one should I change first?

    Reply
  36. Roxas

    Hi, I am transgender, and I want to legally change my first and middle name to be correct, but I am getting married in October and will be taking on my fiancé's last name. Would it be easier/cheaper to change it all at once when we get married, or should I change my first and middle name now, then my last name when we get married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Roxas. You wouldn't be able to change your first name as a result of marriage. You'd have to go to court for that. If you were to go to court, you could change any aspect of your name, including last.

      Reply
  37. Allison

    I got married in December in Florida, and on the marriage license I wrote just my maiden name. I would like to hyphenate my last name with my husband's. I'm still confused about how to do this. Do I apply for an amended marriage certificate with the new hyphenated last name on it? Or can I just take in the marriage certificate (with my maiden name) to the SS office and have my name changed there? Or do I have to go into court?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I apply for an amended marriage certificate with the new hyphenated last name on it?

      Florida marriage certificates simply reflect what was specified on the marriage license and the marriage application before that. Since the application doesn't provide a spot to specify a new name, the maiden name or current legal name is what would be shown.

      Or can I just take in the marriage certificate (with my maiden name) to the SS office and have my name changed there? Or do I have to go into court?

      Yes, just take your certificate as-is.

      Reply
  38. Ryan Marpman

    I'm in Orlando, and taking my wife's last name in October. I would like to change my middle name while I'm at it, but I'm not sure of extra steps or circumstances. As my father was adopted, and my name reflects nothing about my genetics, which i have since discovered, I would like to change my name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I would like to change my middle name while I'm at it

      The only available middle name change option is to replace it with your birth surname.

      Reply
  39. Katie

    I'm getting married in New York in March but I live in Florida and that's where I would do the name change. I want to add my maiden name as a second middle name and take my spouse's last name. So I want to go from "Katie [Middle] [Maiden]" to "Katie [Middle] [Maiden as 2nd Middle] [His last name]". Is this possible without petitioning the court?

    Reply
  40. Codie Lee Shamp

    I'm wanting to change my first and last name when I get married in few months, was lead to believe I could with out having to pay anything extra but after everything I've been able to find I'm a bit confused. Can I change my first name right along with my last name?

    Reply
  41. Julia C

    Hey. I got married to my spouse who is a US citizen. I’m from Germany and I’m still waiting on my greencard. My application is still pending. I would like to change my name now before getting the greencard so we can save all those extra costs. USCIS said I can do that.
    My questions are: Can I change my name without having a greencard yet? What documents except for my passport and marriage certificate do I have to present ? Where do I have to go to ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Julia. You'd have to go to court, but it's no guarantee a court will change it before you obtain legal residency.

      Reply
  42. Tina

    Wondering how much it would be to add a apostrophe to a name. Daughter was young and didn't think about till she got her permit. The hospital forgot the apostrophe. They have catlin instead of ca'tlin.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tina. Your daughter would have to pay whatever the court fees are to file a name change petition, which is roughly $400 plus a few extra fees.

      Reply
  43. Cristy

    Hi, I dropped my maiden name and took my husband’s name 18 years ago when we married. I would like to bring my maiden name back and hyphenate my maiden name-married name. Is this the same name change form? I wouldn’t need fingerprints, right? No biggie if I do but just checking.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cristy. This would be considered a general adult name change. You'll have to go through the court system and same procedures as anyone else, including fingerprints and court fees.

      Reply
  44. Jenna

    Hi, I got married 3 months ago but i haven't yet changed my last name. My husband has two last names. However, I have no desire to have TWO last names. Am I able to take only his first last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Am I able to take only his first last name?

      No, that's unlikely.

      Reply
  45. Joseph O.

    I got married over two years ago, and I took my wife's last name. However, it was not her maiden name but her former married last name. All has been fine until an angry family member contacted the X husband. He has threatened criminal and civil action. We live in Florida. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Joseph. He or the other family member may not like that your name change took place, but I don't see what recourse they have at their disposal beyond irritation.

      Reply
  46. Deborah G Brewer

    I am recently divorced, (didn't get my final papers yet) anyway it says in my papers to go back to my maiden name. I have no desire at this point to do that. Does it really matter if i dont go back to my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Does it really matter if i dont go back to my maiden name?

      No, it does not matter.

      Reply
  47. Cynthia Long

    I was divorced in 2008 and then re-married in 2015. I chose at that time not to change my former married name (pre- 2008) due to not wanting to have a different last name from my children. However, my children are adults now and I no longer want to have my ex-husband's name. If I go back to my maiden name will this affect my current marriage license? Would there need to be any changes to it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I go back to my maiden name will this affect my current marriage license?

      No, it wouldn't affect your marriage license. Since the marriage we're discussing already occurred in 2015, at this point the pertinent document would be the marriage certificate.

      Would there need to be any changes to it?

      No, you needn't change your license/certificate. Unless you were wanting to make a correction to either document, you couldn't change them even if you wanted to. Both documents are archived and aren't meant to be modified.

      Reply
  48. Michelle

    I was just recently Married in April. My legal name is Dawn Michelle (last name). I just went to the Social Security Office and filled out the name change form to Michelle (maiden name) (husbands last name) and dropped the Dawn. However they sent me the card with Dawn Michelle (new last name). Do i have to go to court to drop my first name (Dawn) and have Michelle as my first name in FL? Thank you for your help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do i have to go to court to drop my first name (Dawn) and have Michelle as my first name in FL?

      Yes, changing your first name requires a court order.

      Reply
  49. Adriana Muknicka

    I got divorced two years ago to get married to my actual husband. However, I did not know that the change of the name would be made when we fill out the form online, so I kept me ex-husband's last name. I want to change my last name to my husband's name. What should I do?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Adriana. Your name isn't changed when you fill out the application, whether online or in office. AFAIK, Florida's marriage license application doesn't even provide spaces to specify a new name post-marriage.

      You'll need to obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate to complete your name change with the proper government and nongovernmental institutions.

      Reply
  50. Stevie Porrata

    Hello. I am getting divorced and I filed the papers and the one question was about going back to my maiden name and I marked yes and wrote my maiden name. I have decided that I do not want to go back to my maiden name. Even if the divorce papers state to go back to my maiden name, do I really have to do that? Or does that just give me the option to change it in the future if I decide that?
    I live in Florida.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Even if the divorce papers state to go back to my maiden name, do I really have to do that? Or does that just give me the option to change it in the future if I decide that?

      It just gives you the option to go back to your maiden name. It's not mandated.

      Reply
  51. Arvill

    Hi Valera, I'm in Broward County (Florida) area and my fiancee is from Brazil. Is it possible to get her name changed or add my last name to hers when we go take the marriage license/certificate? That is not clear to me.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Arvill. Your fiance's name change would be governed by the rules of her country. You can take your fiance's name or hyphenate.

      Reply
  52. Jean Howey

    My fiancé inherited his last name from his father, after he inherited it from his stepfather who was an awful man. My fiancé’s father has since passed and his mom has remarried. Now he is the only one caring on his step grandfather‘s last name and it doesn’t sit well with him. He would like to change his name to his mothers maiden name and use that as our family name moving forward. Is it possible for him to do this when we submit our marriage license or does this need to be filed as a court order and changed before we are married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible for him to do this when we submit our marriage license or does this need to be filed as a court order and changed before we are married?

      He'd have to complete the court ordered name change before getting married. To be clear, this includes him actually changing his name with the necessary government institutions using the court order.

      Reply
  53. Precious

    Hi!

    My husband and I got married a year ago but I never changed my last name to his last name because I have so many things that I would need to update with my new last name. Do I have to request my last name be change through the court since I've waited so long? Was there a form I needed to file out when we filed for the marriage certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to request my last name be change through the court since I've waited so long?

      No, you don't have to go to court. Your marriage certificate can still be used.

      Was there a form I needed to file out when we filed for the marriage certificate?

      No, there was nothing extra that you needed to fill out.

      Reply
  54. Eva J Terranella

    Do I have to change my new married name, or is it ok to stay the same for my health insurance and SS

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to change my new married name

      No, you don't have to change anything.

      Reply
  55. Jessica Hirschinger

    Hello. I changed my name in social security taking my husbands last name. He has 2 last names since he’s hispanic and I took the first one. When I went to the DMV today, they told me I had to take both. They told me I had no other option and that I have to go back to get my social security card fixed also. I did get my license that way since I believed them. Can I still go to another office and see if they will do it with just the one last name? I understand I might have to pay for another license. Have both last names makes it seem like I’m his sister not his wife.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I still go to another office and see if they will do it with just the one last name? I understand I might have to pay for another license.

      It's unlikely they'll process another name change without a court order. They'll see you've already changed your name at another office.

      Reply
  56. Michele Eveland-Laws

    I live in FL, and was married in 2015. At the time I hyphenated my last name using my children's last name (Eveland) and my new spouse's last name (Laws). My kid's are now grown and I'd like to drop the first part (Eveland) of the hyphen and just keep my husband's last name (Laws). Do I have to file a petition with a judge, or can I just use my marriage certificate and go to the Social Security office and start the process?

    Thank you,
    Michele

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My kid's are now grown and I'd like to drop the first part (Eveland) of the hyphen and just keep my husband's last name (Laws). Do I have to file a petition with a judge, or can I just use my marriage certificate

      You would have to submit a petition.

      Reply
  57. Armando

    Hello,

    My fiance and I are getting married in the state of Florida where we are currently residents. She wants to take both my last names and drop both her last names completely. is this possible? I typically hear the bride taking the grooms first last name and not both. Although I'm not oppose to this idea, I wanted to know if it was possible and if there extra steps.

    In addition, she wants to change her first name. Will this be a whole separate transaction? should she do this prior to the wedding or after?

    Thank you in advanced for your feedback and the article.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      She wants to take both my last names and drop both her last names completely. is this possible?

      Yes, it's possible.

      In addition, she wants to change her first name. Will this be a whole separate transaction?

      She'd have to get a court order.

      should she do this prior to the wedding or after?

      It wouldn't matter.

      Reply
  58. Hally

    Hello!

    My fiancé and I live in Orlando and are choosing a brand new last name to take when we get married. It’s not a combination of our current last names. Would we both need to petition the court? Could one of us do it before we get married and the other take the new last name then? Thank you so much!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Hally. You would both need to petition the court separately to choose an entirely new last name.

      Reply
  59. Sara

    Hi,
    My Husband and I were married in Florida 1 year ago. He was adopted by his stepfather at the age of 10 and given his current last name. We have always wanted our family last name to be his birth name of Bovee. We gave our son that name at birth and thought I would just change after our marriage and then petition for his name change. Everything I read says that I can change my name to any last name he has ever carried. When I went to the ssi I was told I could not change to Bovee as it is not listed on our marriage certificate. Do I have to petition the court as well?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sara. You would have to petition to change to something other than his current last name.

      Reply
  60. Shannon

    I didn’t ask for my maiden name in my divorce decree, but I’ve been waiting to change it back to such. What is the process I should take?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Shannon. You can try contacting the court clerk to get your divorce decree amended to include a provision restoring your maiden name. Short of that, you'll have to petition your circuit court for a name change.

      Reply
  61. Rana Obeid

    Hello, I am a US citizen living in Florida, my husband is not a US citizen.
    We are planning to get married in FLorida but I dont want to change my name till a few months after the marriage is that acceptable?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I dont want to change my name till a few months after the marriage is that acceptable?

      That's fine. There isn't a time limitation for name change.

      Reply
  62. Carol

    Question.
    I got divorced and requested that my maiden be restored at the court. How long do I have before I go to the SS and other place to have documentation changes? I have been divorced for 11 months now and have not change documentation with SS and other governmental places. My current document has my maiden name but ex-husband last name is on there as well.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I got divorced and requested that my maiden be restored at the court. How long do I have before I go to the SS and other place to have documentation changes?

      There is no deadline. Take as little or as much time as you need.

      Reply
  63. Lauren

    I live in Florida and My divorce was final in Def 2018. I asked for a name change in the divorce. But I’m having a hard time wanting to change it due to my kids having the same last name. Since it’s in the finally judgement, do I have to legally change back to my maiden name? my ex-husband is throwing a fit because I haven’t changed it yet. But nobody even told me a timeframe that it had to be done in.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Since it’s in the finally judgement, do I have to legally change back to my maiden name? my ex-husband is throwing a fit because I haven’t changed it yet.

      It gives you the option to change your name. It's not mandatory.

      But nobody even told me a timeframe that it had to be done in.

      There's no time frame, as it isn't required.

      Reply
  64. Debra

    Hello, I was divorced in Michigan back in 2002. I did not ask that my maiden name be restored, so I've been known as my ex-husbands last name for a very long time.
    I'm getting married in Florida in a couple of weeks, and instead of taking my new husbands last name I'd like to revert to my maiden name.
    Is this possible to do in conjunction with the new marriage license?

    Thank You!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Debra. You could try to get your Michigan divorce decree amended, but it's a long shot. If that's unsuccessful, you'll have to pursue a name change through the Florida Chancery Court, as your maiden name can't be derived from your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  65. Caity

    My fiancé has TWO last names hyphenated and I just want to take one. Ex: Ray-Little

    If I want to take the “Little” part, and drop my maiden name to that, can I?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Caity. You'll have to take the full last name if changing your name through marriage.

      Reply
  66. Maria

    I was married in 2016 in Florida. I did not want to change my last name after the marriage. But my husband is now in the process of adopting my daughter and she will have both my husband’s last name and mine. I want us to all have the same last names. Can I add his name to mine without requesting a petition for a name change? Can he also change his name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I add his name to mine without requesting a petition for a name change? Can he also change his name?

      Yes, to both.

      Reply
  67. Cindy

    Getting married in January. We are both Florida residents. I want to keep my Maiden name and add his, either with or without a hyphen. Do I need to petition the court for either?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to petition the court for either?

      Petitioning isn't necessary.

      Reply
  68. Daisy

    I never changed my last name back to my maiden name after I got divorce. Because it wasn't written on the divorce decree. Now I'm planning to remarry in CT at the end of the year. When I returned back to FL to change all my documents. Can i change my last name to take back only my maiden name and not take his last name? Or can I go back to my maiden name and add his last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can i change my last name to take back only my maiden name and not take his last name? Or can I go back to my maiden name and add his last name?

      You'd have to go to court.

      Reply
  69. Catherine Wade-Babyak

    Do you have to get fingerprints and background? I divorced and took back my maiden name and then got remarried and hyphenated my name (maiden name – hyphen new married last name) … can I just file a name change petition to remove the maiden name and hyphen or do I have to get the fingerprints, etc.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Catherine. You'll still have to go through the whole cycle of fingerprinting. You can get your fingerprints done at the courthouse or possibly your local sheriff's office.

      Reply
  70. Jack

    My wife and I got married in 2013 and she did not take my name. I would now like to take her last name. Can I do this using the certified copy of our marriage certificate?

    Reply
  71. paul

    good day!!!
    my wife and i got married here in the Philippines, as of now her status in US florida is permanent resident(green card) (single).before we got married she already petition by her mother in US Florida.she just came back here in PH for our married.

    now the question is she want to change her status for she could petition me and our kids. also changing her sur name. to all her document(SS, driver's, green card. etc…) whats the first step. thank you and God bless..

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Paul. If your wife changes her name on her green card, she can then change it on your social security record.

      Reply
  72. Barbara

    When I divorced I kept my married last name because we have a special needs son, of whom I am now the legal guardian. I just got remarried and would like to take my new husband's last name, but wonder if I should retain my former last name (ex's) for the sake of taking care of my son.

    I am leaning towards fname middle name ex last name nh last name without hyphenating. Or dropping ex last name, if that does not complicate legal guardianship. I do not believe moving ex last name to middle name addresses my concern; however I would love some advice. Many thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Barbara. Changing your last name isn't going to negatively affect guardianship. You can simply choose whichever you prefer most.

      Reply
  73. Renee

    I was legally divorced in Orange County but had decided to keep my married name, now a few years later I would like my maiden name back. How can I do this and is there a fee?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Renee. If your divorce decree had explicitly restored your maiden name, changing your name across federal and state institutions would be simple. That document would be universally accepted to complete your name change.

      Now, since your divorce decree doesn't mention your maiden name, the SSA would still be able to change it by referencing your maiden name on file. They keep a history of your name changes.

      If your divorce was more than two years ago, you'll have to provide an identity document in your new name that shows your date of birth so that they can link up your current non-maiden name with your maiden name.

      The problem you'll likely face afterward is with the DMV and other institutions. The SSA is quite flexible where others are more rigid. The FL DMV is not likely to accept your divorce decree as-is. This is why it's key to have the restored name on the decree to assure consistent acceptance.

      You could try contacting the court to get your divorce decree amended to restore your maiden name.

      Reply
  74. Albert

    Hello, My Wife of 5 years abandoned me 1 year ago I have no I idea where she is zero contact, I will be filing divorce soon one year to the date my Question is in Florida can I request on the petition to order the courts to have her remove my last name on the divorce decree ? Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I request on the petition to order the courts to have her remove my last name on the divorce decree

      No, you wouldn't be able to do that.

      Reply
  75. Michelle

    Hi there! I have a weird situation I’m hoping to get some help with!

    I did NOT change my last name to my husbands after marriage, about five years ago. I am interested in doing so now.

    However, I was legally adopted by my stepfather after our marriage, and my last name was changed to his/my family’s name.

    So now my last name doesn’t match what is on my marriage license. Will I need to go through the court to change my last name now? Or can I still just take my marriage license to the SS office, with my previous name, and go through the normal process?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michelle. When you go to change your name, bring your marriage certificate, adoption papers, court papers, and supporting ID to link the name transitions.

      Reply
  76. Doni L Gerace

    Thank you for your article. I really appreciate the information!

    I would like to add my new husband's last name to the end of my name so it will be First, Middle, Maiden, Married sans hyphen. I believe after reading all this that I have to change my social security card and driver's license. Do I have to change anything else like bank accounts, auto registrations, bills, or can I use either last names interchangeably pretty much anywhere? I know that is a pretty general question but an idea of where I need to change it and where I don't need to would be wonderful!

    Also, I just applied for a passport prior to the marriage (for our honeymoon). Do you know if I have to change the passport or can I use it without adding his name to the end since my driver's license will have both?

    Thank you so much for your time!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to change anything else like bank accounts, auto registrations, bills, or can I use either last names interchangeably pretty much anywhere?

      After you change your name on your social security card and driver's license, it makes sense to follow through with what's remaining. Your credit bureaus will be notified of your new name. Taxes will have to be filed in your new name. Your legal name would be what the SSA has on file.

      Keeping your bank accounts, credit cards, auto registration, etc, out of sync can give you hassles down the line.

      Reply
  77. Penny

    Is it possible in Florida to put your Husbands last name in front of your maiden name with a space no hyphen?

    Thanks for your help!

    Reply
  78. Noelle

    Me and my husband just got married in Florida but were told that I should use my maiden name to sign the documents at the court. Will the marriage certificate be mailed back with my maiden name?

    We were not asked if I wanted to change my name and told that we should proceed with the name change at SSA and DMV.

    Will I have to go to the court in the state of Georgia where we live to change my last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will the marriage certificate be mailed back with my maiden name?

      Yes.

      We were not asked if I wanted to change my name

      That's normal in Florida. It's a nonissue.

      Will I have to go to the court in the state of Georgia where we live to change my last name?

      No.

      Reply
  79. Sonia

    I got married on August in Florida and I kept my last name but I want my husband last name.. what I need to do?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sonia. Florida doesn't provide spaces to choose a new last name after marriage when applying for a marriage license, so you're good to go. Just use your marriage certificate as-is to take your husband's name.

      Reply
  80. Liz

    I’m planning on getting married at the end of May and my license expires 2 weeks after we get married. We will then move out of state. Would I be able to get my last name changed to his last name before my license expires or do I just renew the license and get the name changed in the other state later? What is the beat way to handle this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Would I be able to get my last name changed to his last name before my license expires or do I just renew the license and get the name changed in the other state later?

      Maybe. You must update your social security record before your driver's license.

      It takes up to two weeks to receive your updated social security card in the mail, but you don't necessary have to wait to get it before updating your name at the DMV.

      What is the beat way to handle this?

      Even if you were able to update your current driver's license, you'll have to get another one when you move to wherever you're going.

      You could wait to start your name change until after you move. If you decide otherwise, at least make sure your social security application mailing address points to where you're moving or have USPS mail forwarding set up.

      Reply

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