How Do I Change My Name After Marriage?

Young married couple at wedding ceremony

Changing your name after marriage is a big decision, whether taking your spouse's last name, hyphenating, or creating a new last name. Yet it need not overwhelm you.

This quick and easy guide will show you how to complete the marriage name change process with precision and in proper order. Get ready to change your last name with confidence.

Authorization to legally change your name

Legally changing your name after your wedding is a hefty legal task. So focus on bite-sized chunks. Begin with a new social security card. Then a new driver's license. Persist.

Quote by Desmond Tutu: There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.
Desmond Tutu quote on perseverance.

There are three prevalent name change events:

  1. Marriage
  2. Divorce
  3. Court order

And each has a related legal name change document:

  1. Marriage certificate
  2. Divorce decree (with restored name order)
  3. Court order (with name change order)

The name change process using your marriage certificate works the same when using a decree of dissolution or judge's order, which decrees or orders your name changed.

Civil union and domestic partnership name changes use the same process as changing your name by marriage—using their comparable certified documents.

Name change through the marriage process

If your marriage certificate says your new last name will be XYZ, you may only shift to that name. Otherwise, pick whichever last name you decide works best, within acceptable limits.

Newlyweds celebrate wedding ceremony

Within acceptable limits refers to default social security rules for surnames:

You may also replace your middle name with your maiden name (or birth last name), alongside changing your last name. Or add another name to your middle name.

Tip: If you want to change your name without reading this detailed (yet well-written 😉) guide, our secure online name change kit is a great time-saver.

Is name change after marriage automatic?

Your last name will not automatically change after you get married. There are legal steps and forms to fill out. You must alert multiple government offices to make it legit.

Man stressed over assumed automatic name change bomb

Likewise, your name will not revert or switch by itself after divorcing or completing a formal name change petition. You must put in the work.

So if you plan to change your name after marriage, get ready to review your name change checklist, sorted by priority.

The name change process begins now…

1. Get your marriage certificate

The first step to changing your last name is to get your marriage certificate. This is one of your most important legal name change documents. You cannot move forward without it.

Woman signing marriage certificate with oversized pen

You can use an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate to change your name after marriage among government agencies.

But you must apply for a marriage license to get a certificate. New England states, NY, and NJ, visit your city or town clerk. Others, see your county clerk's office or county courthouse.

Either you or your officiant must return your completed license to the issuing office for recording after your wedding. Get your certified certificates from the same office.

Marriage license vs. marriage certificate

People often mix up the marriage license and certificate. But there is a key difference:

  • Your marriage license allows you to marry.
  • Your marriage certificate proves your marriage occurred.

Depending on where you live, your marriage license and certificate may be the same document; only the status shifts after your ceremony takes place.

Get your marriage certificate as soon as possible

You can get certified copies of your marriage certificate delivered straight to your mailbox; just preorder copies when you apply to get married. Yet a quicker way exists…

Man crossing finish line

Many couples assume only their officiant may send back their marriage license. Not true. You may return your own marriage license after getting married.

You may obtain your marriage certificate fastest if you:

  1. Return your marriage license in person.
  2. Get certified copies before leaving the clerk's office.

One certified copy of your marriage certificate will cost between $5 and $25. Fees each state levies vary. Yet most hover around $20. (They will often discount extra copies.)

Consider getting no less than three certified copies of your marriage certificate. This saves time when changing your name across multiple entities.

2. Update your social security card

Your name change becomes legal once you update the name on your social security card through the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Woman updating her SSA profile

You can view our extensive social security name change guide, which covers filing options, identity documents, name change possibilities, turnaround times, etc.

In short, submit SS-5 by mail or in person with a certified copy of your marriage certificate, and proof of ID and citizenship (e.g., birth certificate). Your new card will show in 7–14 days.

Your local social security office will mail back any ID, certificate, or personal document included with your paperwork. They will get delivered before your new card.

Your updated social security card will print your new full name, but your social security number (SSN) will not change.

3. Update the IRS

The SSA will alert the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of your name change. File your tax returns in your new last name to avoid delays in processing and refunds.

Businesswoman on computer updating IRS about address and name change for tax return

You must mail IRS Form 8822 if your "home mailing address" changed. Note prior names for both you and your spouse. You need not attach proof of name change or photo ID.

4. Update your driver's license or state ID card

Note: We will use DMV as shorthand for your state's Department of Motor Vehicles office. State acronyms vary—e.g., BMV, RMV, SOS—but their offices are equivalent.

Woman celebrating her updated driver's license

You must first update your name with the Social Security Administration before changing your name on your driver's license, REAL ID, state-issued ID card, or learner's permit.

You cannot change the name on your driver's license by mail or online. Complete this corrective renewal at your local DMV. And factor in potential deadlines.

Come prepared to take a new photo and pay a renewal or reissue fee. Bring cash or a personal check. Offices accepting credit card payments may add a surcharge.

On May 3, 2023, the oft-delayed REAL ID deadline goes into effect, requiring adult air travelers to own a REAL ID compliant driver's license, enhanced driver's license (EDL), or other valid ID to fly within the United States.

Documents needed by the DMV

Bring your current driver's license, a certified copy of your marriage certificate, and proof of residence (e.g., utility bill, bank statement) to change your name with the DMV.

You will need to show proof of your full SSN, such as a:

  • Social security card
  • Pay stub
  • W-2, or
  • 1099 tax form

The DMV will not keep your certificate, but may retain your old license and issue you a temporary ID. Your new license will arrive by mail.

You do not need to bring a social security office receipt of services rendered.

SSA to DMV verification (mind the 24 hour gap)

The DMV will confirm your name change with the SSA Online Verification System (OVS) by querying their database. This search requires your SSN.

Wait at least 24 hours between your social security card and driver's license name change. This gives the SSA database time to propagate new data before getting queried.

Woman asleep while waiting at the DMV

The new name on your new driver's license must agree with your SSA "Numident" record. This explains why your SS name change precedes your DL name change.

You can visit the DMV to update your license without waiting for your new social security card to arrive.

5. Update your car title and registration

You must update your vehicle title and registration when your name or address changes. You can often complete this process online, by mail, or by filling out papers at the DMV.

Man visiting DMV to update car title and registration

The procedure for car title and registration changes varies across states. You should consult your state's DMV website for precise details.

At a minimum, you must hand in your current vehicle title. Both your new title and registration should arrive by mail within a few weeks. Your title should come last.

Revising your vehicle title and registration is not a DMV role in every state. Most states assign this task to an approved license plate agency.

6. Update your passport

You may change the name on your U.S. passport with the U.S. Department of State before, during, or after changing your name with the SSA or DMV.

Man carrying huge passport

There are two feasible passport name change scenarios:

  1. Change the name on your current passport.
  2. Get your first ever passport under your married name.

Choosing the right passport application

There are three core passport forms (DS-5504, DS-82, and DS-11) and one conditional (DS-62). The upcoming three subsections will explain which one you should fill out.

But, first, three vital notes…

If you have a passport, forfeit it with your completed form. You will get your old passport back by mail, albeit voided with a hole punched through or stamped "cancelled" inside.

For all filings, attach a certified copy of your marriage certificate as proof of name change, requisite payments, and a recent 2-by-2-inch color headshot.

Pay by check or money order. Payable to "U.S. Department of State." File at a U.S. embassy or consulate if outside the U.S or Canada; both accept credit cards and exact cash.

Now, onto the forms…

Which date was your passport issued?

A. Issued less than one year ago

Mail DS-5504 with your current passport if it got issued less than a year ago. This application offers filings free of cost. There is no book, card, or processing fee.

B. Issued between one and 15 years ago

Mail DS-82 with your current passport if it got issued between one and 15 years ago. The passport book costs $130. The passport card costs $30. You may get either or both.

C: Issued over 15 years ago, lost, destroyed, or first-time

Submit DS-11 in person—with photo ID and proof of U.S. citizenship—at an acceptance facility, such as the thousands of designated USPS offices, if your passport is:

  • Over 15 years old
  • Lost
  • Stolen
  • Damaged, or
  • Nonexistent, since this will be your first passport

You may get a passport book for $130, passport card for $30, or both for $160. The acceptance facility will charge a $35 execution fee to process your application.

You must attach DS-64 to DS-11 if your passport becomes lost, stolen, or damaged. This combo is required regardless of your passport age.

Passport processing times

Routine passport turnaround time is 7 to 10 weeks (application received to delivery by USPS Priority Mail). Adding $60 expedited processing drops the wait to 4 to 6 weeks.

Woman holding hourglass distressed over application processing time

If you need to travel right away, urgent or emergency travel options exist. Urgent means within 14 calendar days. Emergency means within 72 hours.

Traveling under your maiden or married name

The name on your passport and airline tickets must match when you leave the United States. This detail may get overlooked during the wedding and honeymoon rush.

Mock airline ticket
Honeymoon primed: matching names on passport and reservations.

If you cannot get a new passport before departing, book your plane tickets under your maiden name. You can update the name on your passport when you get back.

If you cannot alter your boarding pass to match your new passport, show the airline your marriage certificate linking your old and new name.

7. Update your bank accounts

Steps to update your legal name differ across financial institutions. Your bank or credit union may let you change your name online, by mail, by phone, or in-person visit.

Woman carrying huge piggy bank

Show proof of name change, such as a marriage certificate, or a new social security card, driver's license, passport, military ID card, or government-issued photo ID card.

It is possible your bank may request both a marriage certificate and updated photo ID showing your married name.

Expect to at least supply your old and updated name, account numbers, and IRS W-9 Tax Identification Number (TIN).

Your TIN is a:

  • Social security number (SSN)
  • Individual tax identification number (ITIN), or
  • Employer identification number (EIN) (for businesses)

When updating your name at a local bank branch, bring certified or original documents. Photocopies or scans are often fine for mailed or uploaded online filings.

Specify if you need new:

  • Checks
  • Deposit slips
  • Credit and debit cards
Mock checkbook and debit card
Order new checkbooks and debit cards in your married name.

You may order new checks any time online from either your bank's website or a third-party check provider. (This could serve as your first official name conversion.)

If you ask, various banks may let you keep cashing, depositing, and writing checks in your old and new name. They may have you sign two signature cards.

8. Update your credit cards

You should update the name on your credit cards to match the name on your social security record. Your marriage certificate can serve as proof of name change.

Woman carrying huge credit card

You may make account changes by calling the customer service number on the back of your credit card or visiting a nearby branch location. (Assuming one exists.)

The process varies per creditor. Some allow you to change your name by phone, mail, fax, online chat, official mobile app, or online account area.

Various credit card issuers may allow the display name on your card to differ from your new legal name. For example, you could continue using your maiden name.

The three credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—will automatically update the name on your credit report once you change your name on one or more credit cards. (No need for you to contact them.)

9. Update your employers and HR

Notify the Human Resources (HR) department where you work that you have legally changed your name. HR must update payroll records to equal what the SSA has on file.

Woman carrying huge paycheck and man holding huge ink pen

The IRS requires your name match between your social security card, W-2, and W-4, for payroll taxes. Your marital status may impact employer-based health insurance and W-4 allowances.

Inform HR if you have opened a new joint bank account with your spouse to ensure direct depositing of your wages proceed without interruption.

Ask your employer for a corrected W-2 if your issued W-2 shows your old name. The IRS may intervene on your behalf if a current or former employer does not comply.

10. Update your name with the USPS

You should alert the United States Postal Service (USPS) if you have changed both your name and mailing address to set up and schedule mail forwarding.

Woman mailing huge envelope

Filing separate requests in your maiden name and married name is key. (Plus every other prior name you have held.) See our USPS name change guide for instructions.

11. Update your voter registration information

You may change the name on your voter registration by mail using the downloadable, federal National Mail Voter Registration Form. (It supports 21 languages.)

Woman updating her voter record

U.S. citizens living in the country (or with a U.S. address) may use this document in four ways:

  1. Register to vote.
  2. Report a name change.
  3. Report an address change.
  4. Register with a political party.

Caveats: This document will neither work in Wyoming nor North Dakota; WY law blocks it, while ND does not register voters.

12. Update or notify everyone else

After you change your last name on legal documents, deal with these key leftovers:

  • Business documents (e.g., DBA, LLC, corporate charter)
  • Business relationships (e.g., attorneys, accountants)
  • Clients, customers, and vendors
  • Doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and therapists
  • Email accounts (name and signature) (e.g., Gmail, Apple Mail, Outlook)
  • Gym memberships
  • Insurance policies (e.g., auto, home, dental, life, health)
  • Mailbox services (e.g., PO Box, PMB)
  • Mobile apps (bio or profile name)
  • Mortgages, deeds, and leases
  • Payment services (e.g., PayPal, Venmo, Zelle)
  • Professional licenses and degrees
  • Retirement and investment accounts (e.g., 401(k), IRA)
  • Ridesharing profiles (drivers and riders) (e.g., Uber, Lyft)
  • Schools (yours and your children's)
  • Social media accounts (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, TikTok)
  • Streaming profiles (e.g., Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+)
  • Trusted Traveler Programs (e.g., Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, SENTRI, NEXUS)
  • Utility companies (e.g., gas, electric, water, phone, cable, Internet)
  • Wholesale retailers (e.g., Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's)
  • Wills and powers of attorney (POA)

Create a list of who else to update about your new last name by reviewing your email inbox and sent folder, phone contacts, and postal mail pile.

Conclusion

After getting married, many couples want to change their name. It is not as hard as you may think. Your marriage certificate is your name change checklist starting point.

Couple reviewing wedding checklist

If you want an easy way to make these changes, consider using our name change kit. It can streamline the time-consuming process of changing your name after marriage.

We hope this article helped you understand the steps needed to make your name change possible. If you have questions, ask us in the comments section below.

We've helped thousands change their names, both before and after marriage.

Get Started

981 Comments

  1. Rachel

    Hello!
    I got married in January of 2018 and did not change my name but wrote my maiden name on the wedding certificate. We got married in Georgia. I now want to change my maiden last name to match my husbands but am in the military stationed in Germany. Will I be able to mail in a certified marriage certificate and change my name that way?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Will I be able to mail in a certified marriage certificate and change my name that way?

      Yes, that's a usual procedure for SS cards. Driver's license will have to be done in person. Were you referring to some other form of ID?

      Reply
  2. Gina

    Hello!

    I'm currently in the process of changing my last name to my husbands, but I had a question about signing the documents. When I sign, should I sign using the new last name or my maiden name? The documents that I am working on are the ss-5 for social security and the passport application. Help!

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      When I sign, should I sign using the new last name or my maiden name?

      Sign with your new name.

      Reply
  3. Draga

    I got married last week in Paris. My husband and I are both US citizen. I took my husband last name. What I need to do to change my last name in New York State?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Draga. Use your marriage certificate. New York will accept foreign marriage certificates.

      Reply
  4. Nancy

    Hi I got married 7 years ago in California and on my marriage license added my husbands last name to mine without hyphenating it. I was told I would be able to use either one legally this way and not necessarily both but when I went to change it at the dmv they made me use both. It’s way too long how can I change it to just my husbands last name now?

    Reply
  5. Meggan Jackson

    Hi, I just got married for the second time in SC and too my husbands last name. I have changed my SS card to my new last name and now need to go to get my SC license ( I currently have a maine license). In order to get a real id do I need both marriage licenses to prove names changes scence birth or just the most recent one?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Meggan. You just need to bring the most recent one.

      Reply
  6. Alisha

    I was married in August. On the marriage certificate I did change my last name to my husbands. Do I have to use his last name and change it with Social Security and DMV or can I continue to use my Maiden name and change nothing? I live in Minnesota.
    It would just be easier for work purpose if I was able to keep my Maiden name the same.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Do I have to use his last name and change it with Social Security and DMV or can I continue to use my Maiden name and change nothing?

      You don't have to change anything.

      Reply
  7. Mia

    Hi There, I got married in VA in 2015 and kept my maiden name on my marriage certificate, I wasn't aware that I should have changed to my husband's name then.

    Now, in California, I'm interested in finally changing my name and I thought I could just take my marriage certificate & license to the SSA and start with a new social security card. Do I have to go to the superior court and apply for a name change there before everything else? I was just told about this from a friend yesterday.

    It seems like such a long and arduous process and if I do have to do this I might just stick with my maiden name. Thanks for the help!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I wasn't aware that I should have changed to my husband's name then.

      Virginia's marriage application, license, and certificate don't provide spots to show a new name, so you didn't miss an opportunity there.

      Now, in California, I'm interested in finally changing my name and I thought I could just take my marriage certificate & license to the SSA and start with a new social security card.

      You can. Just take your Virginia marriage certificate as-is to change your name. You may want to review the dedicated Virginia name change article.

      Reply
  8. Nikki

    Hi! I’m getting married but I want to change my first name and take his last name can I do the on the certificate?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I want to change my first name

      You cannot change your first name through marriage. You'll have to get it done in court.

      Reply
  9. Kathryn

    My husband an I married 2 years ago, but I chose not to take his last name at first because I was undecided (I'm a writer and already had recognition under my maiden name). Now I am ready to take his last name, but the process seems muddy! I don't have any formal documents of my new name. I live in Ohio. Any instructions?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Kathryn. You just need to use a certified copy of your marriage certificate from two years back to change your name. That document authorizes various federal and state institutions to process your name change request.

      Reply
  10. Nina Templeton

    I want to change my first name when I get married. But they say I need to apply for a legal name change through the court. Why can’t I change it through marriage like I could through divorce

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I want to change my first name when I get married.

      Why can’t I change it through marriage like I could through divorce

      You can't change your first name through marriage or divorce. It's just the ways the laws are set up.

      Reply
  11. Diane Descalso

    I change my name on my marriage certificate and now I don’t want to change my name legally….
    Can I go back and change my marriage certificate to my original name?
    I live in California.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I change my name on my marriage certificate and now I don’t want to change my name legally

      You don't have to change your name to match your marriage certificate. Changing your name is voluntary.

      Can I go back and change my marriage certificate to my original name?

      You cannot change the name on your marriage certificate unless it's a clerical error, which this is not.

      Reply
  12. Torri

    I'm in Florida. We are both wanting to hyphenate after marriage. For example, me:first middle his last-my last and
    Him first middle his last-my last. Is this able to be done without a petition to the court?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Torri. You may both change your names without going to court.

      Reply
  13. Rebecca Stoddard

    I recently got married but I am going out of the country in a couple of months. I was going to wait to get my name changed so I don't get caught up in customs with one name on my passport and my new name on my driver's license ect… I was then told to change my name as soon as I can because if I wait too long it will cost $$$. Is there a short window in which I can change my name after getting married? If I do change my name, will it cause me trouble at the airport?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Is there a short window in which I can change my name after getting married?

      No, there is no time frame to abide by.

      If I do change my name, will it cause me trouble at the airport?

      Book your tickets to match the name on your passport. Keep a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you to explain any name difference.

      Reply
  14. Victoria flores

    I got married in April of 2019. My marriage certificate does not have my new last name…I wanted it on there. Do I got to get a new certificate with my new last name? Also am I able to change all my important cards (dl & bank card) with the current certificate with my maiden name? I live in PA.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      My marriage certificate does not have my new last name?

      That's normal for Pennsylvania and most other states.

      Also am I able to change all my important cards (dl & bank card) with the current certificate with my maiden name? I live in PA.

      You'll be able to change your name fine using your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  15. Vanshita

    Hello, I have change my name in each document Vanshita. But in my school certificate my name is Vanshita nee basanti Devi School board say's nee means alias.

    Now I'm married I want in my marriage certificate only Vanshita basnet Basnet in my husband sir name. Is this effect in my future document Is this legal also?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Now I'm married I want in my marriage certificate only Vanshita basnet Basnet in my husband sir name.

      Depending on what state your marriage took place, your marriage certificate may or not show a new married name. Most states will show your pre-marriage name on the certificate.

      If your marriage license application didn't provide an opportunity to choose a new name after marriage, then your certificate wouldn't either.

      You can't modify your certificate in such instances, but you can still use it to change your name.

      Reply
  16. Lex

    Hello, I live in IL and was married two years ago. I am now planning in changing my last name. Instead of taking my husbands last name or hyphenating it I would like to make a new last name that is a combination of the two (Smith+Jones=Smone). Would I still be able to do this with just my marriage license or should I go through a legal hearing to have it changed?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Instead of taking my husbands last name or hyphenating it I would like to make a new last name that is a combination of the two

      Illinois is not one of the few states that allow combination names. You'll have to go to court. You can review the Illinois name change page for what to expect when changing your name by court order.

      Reply
  17. Nohea

    Hi there,

    I live in Oregon and got married in Oregon in May 2019. On the marriage license/certificate I had put that I wanted my husband’s last name after we were to be married: First Middle Hisname. We are now married and our license/certificate was filed by the judge that married us… my questions are:

    1. Did my name automatically change when the license/certificate was filed or do I still have to take proactive measures to change my name legally? (ie. driver’s license, social sec., etc)

    2. I haven’t updated my driver’s license, social security card, or anything else and don’t want to change my last name anymore. Do I still have to because I had put it down on the marriage license/certificate that I was going to change my name after marriage?

    3. My husband left the “name taken after marriage” box blank on our marriage license/certificate when it was filed and now wants to change his last name to my name: First Middle Myname. How can he change his last name to my (maiden) name when our certificate has already been filed?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Did my name automatically change when the license/certificate was filed or do I still have to take proactive measures to change my name legally? (ie. driver’s license, social sec., etc)

      Name change isn't automatic. You have to file the paperwork.

      I haven’t updated my driver’s license, social security card, or anything else and don’t want to change my last name anymore.

      You're not obligated to follow through.

      How can he change his last name to my (maiden) name when our certificate has already been filed?

      Short of requesting a marriage certificate amendment (which is unlikely to be approved), he'd have to petition the court.

      Reply
  18. Tram Le

    Hi,

    I am Vietnamese, living in VN, my husband is US, how to change my last name to his ?
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Tram. Is there a specific document you're looking to update?

      Reply
  19. Gwen

    Hello-Question-was married a few months ago in NYS which indicated that I could not add my husband's surname to mine unless I hyphenated it. I went to SSA who said since they are federal I could make it what ever I wanted. So I took my maiden name as a middle name and husbands surname. This does not match the nys marriage certificate and I am attempting to establish my new primary residence in NH, but have current residency in MD. I prefer the SSA name but am not sure how I make this change given the marriage certificate says something else. Does the name on SSA require a court order name change in either MD or NH?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Does the name on SSA require a court order name change in either MD or NH?

      If you've already changed your name with the SSA in New York, you're done. There's no need to go to an SSA office in Maryland or New Hampshire. If you're referring to something else, please do clarify.

      Reply
  20. Angela

    Recently I have been getting mixed information about this whole name change and I've never been so confused! I have been married for 6 years and never used my marriage name. I have continued to use my maiden name. Is that ok? Everything is under my maiden name. I'm from Boston, MA.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I have been married for 6 years and never used my marriage name. I have continued to use my maiden name. Is that ok?

      You're fine. It's a nonissue.

      Reply
  21. Anne

    Hello,
    My wife and I got married in 2017. We were married and reside in California. At the time we filled out the marriage certificate/license she was not ready to change her last name to mine. She now wishes to change it to mine. Is there a simpler way for her to do that in CA or does she have to go through the traditional long name-change process?

    She is contemplating moving her maiden last name to be her middle name and dropping her middle name, would that make a difference? Also, we are same-sex couple (I don't think that makes a difference but just wanted to mention it in case it does).

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Is there a simpler way for her to do that in CA or does she have to go through the traditional long name-change process?

      No, since she didn't choose a new name when applying for a marriage license, she'll now have to go to court to change it.

      She is contemplating moving her maiden last name to be her middle name and dropping her middle name, would that make a difference?

      Unfortunately, it wouldn't make a difference.

      Also, we are same-sex couple (I don't think that makes a difference but just wanted to mention it in case it does).

      It wouldn't make a difference. California is interesting because it provides a great deal of name change flexibility. However, the downside that catches many people off guard is when they choose to not specify a name change on the marriage license application and that non-choice is reflected on the marriage certificate.

      This causes a great deal of confusion and ambiguity. Does not choosing a new name leave room to maneuver or does it close all doors? In California, it closes all doors. You're left with having to petition the court.

      Reply
  22. Pat

    When I got married I kept for divorced husband's last name. It was fine with my new husband and I did it for professional, personal, and family reasons. It has created some issues.

    My biggest problem is societies reaction. Although I never used my new husband's last name nor "hyphenated" my name, I started seeing companies I do business with hyphenating my name. I told my husband maybe I should just change my name and "hyphenate" it, but after reading the problems and hassle of making a name change, I am totally disgusted with the outside pressures.

    Everywhere I turn people have my name listed with my current husband's last name or with my deceased husband's name and current husband's name hyphenated. What the heck to do? I am who I am and I dearly adore my current husband and was considering changing my last name by hyphenating, but do not want to go through the hassle, if it is just going to create more problems.

    I reside in California. Have you come across this scenario? Society is just not willing to accept that my last name differs from my current husband. Help!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Have you come across this scenario?

      I don't recall a situation quite like this garnering much commentary in the comments section of these pages. It's odd that people would hyphenate your and your husband's names unprompted.

      Let's cover the business aspect of it. If you're having trouble managing incorrect use by others of your hyphenated name, you could register a DBA of that hyphenated name.

      Going through the process of hyphenating your name to satisfy the mistaken interpretation of others does seem to be a great use of your time.

      However, if you like the hyphenated name, there's nothing stopping you from making the transition. It wouldn't be as straightforward as a regular marriage name change, as you'd have to go to court, pay the fees, publish your name in the newspaper, and attend a court hearing.

      If that's the road you're looking to go down, you can review the name change in California page that explains the court process.

      Reply
  23. Tangie

    Hi I got married back in 2011 is it to late for me to change my name? I was a teenager when I got married I thought the certificate was all that I needed.😩

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I got married back in 2011 is it to late for me to change my name?

      It's not too late. You'd still use your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  24. Krista

    Hi. I am going to be getting married in Ohio in December, but live in NY. I want to take the last name of my fiancee. Will that be an issue in Ohio? Does Ohio's form have a place to indicate what I would like my surname to be after marriage?
    Many thanks

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Will that be an issue in Ohio?

      No. But, on an unrelated note… If neither you nor your soon-to-be spouse live in Ohio, you'll have to apply for your marriage license in the county where your marriage will take place.

      Does Ohio's form have a place to indicate what I would like my surname to be after marriage?

      No, it only asks for your current name. You can't specify a new name after marriage.

      Reply
  25. Joyanne

    Hi there, my fiancé and I live in Tennessee, but we will be getting married in Las Vegas next month. There is a form on Nevada's marriage application to indicate if I will take a new last name. At this point in time, I'm not sure that I want to change my name, but I may change it down the road. If I do decide to change my name in a few months, will I need to initiate that in NV, or TN? Will it be a problem if i indicate that I *don't* plan on changing my name, but then do so anyways at a later date?

    Any guidance is appreciated!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      If I do decide to change my name in a few months, will I need to initiate that in NV, or TN?

      In your state of residence, Tennessee.

      Will it be a problem if i indicate that I *don't* plan on changing my name, but then do so anyways at a later date?

      No, you'll still be able to change it if left unspecified.

      Reply
  26. Austin Lauritzen

    I want to change my last name. My dad had an affair and got divorced and it has all been nasty and I no longer want to be associated with him at all.

    I am also getting married in 1 month and realized I don’t want my wife to have to change her last name to my current last name then change it again whenever I finally decide to change my name.

    If possible I would like to either just both change our last names at the same time when we sign everything and are about to get married or to do it before the wedding so when we are married she can just change hers to my new last name.

    Where do I begin and what do I need to do? How soon after we changed our names would we need to get a new passport and ID and everything. What are the steps I need to take to change my last name before we get married that way we will just have my new name after the wedding?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Where do I begin and what do I need to do?

      Petition the court for a name change.

      How soon after we changed our names would we need to get a new passport and ID and everything.

      There's no deadline.

      What are the steps I need to take to change my last name before we get married that way we will just have my new name after the wedding?

      Court petition, but you'll have to time it properly. You'll have to file the paperwork, get your case scheduled, likely publish your new name in the newspaper for a set period of time, etc.

      You may want to look over the court ordered name change page that delves into this further.

      Reply
  27. Emily

    Hi I am recently engaged. My future husband is in the military. Shortly after getting married in Ga ( Wheres he’s from and I currently live .) I will be moving to where he’s currently stationed for secondary schooling ( He lives off base. )

    Before , I go through the process to get a Military ID I would like my name to be changed . Do I have to do this process in GA 1st then move to where he is and do it all over for Drivers license etc. ? Or can I move then start said process where he is with just the marriage license from Ga ?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Emily. You can initiate your name change before after moving, as long as you are married and you can present a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  28. Mj

    Hi, Is it normal that my marriage certificate is still my maiden name? Or should have change that when I apply for my marriage license

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Is it normal that my marriage certificate is still my maiden name?

      It depends on the state. It's normal for most states. If you specify where your marriage took place I can tell you for certain.

      Reply
  29. Christina

    Hello! My husband and I were married in MI in 2016 and I did not take his last name. Now that we are expecting a son we want to combine our last names to create a new one to carry both last names on by our son. Just to be clear we do not want to hyphenate but rather put the two names together back to back. Can we both use our marriage certificate to do this kind of change?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Christina. What you're seeking is possible with the Social Security Administration, but you're likely to face problems with other institutions, such as the SOS. The first problem is using a space instead of a hyphen. The next is your husband is likely to hit a roadblock trying to change his name through marriage in any way.

      Reply
      1. Christina

        We weren't planning on using a space either. It would just be our current last names combined into one whole new name. Does this change anything? From Lumm and Mueller to LumMueller.

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          It would just be our current last names combined into one whole new name. Does this change anything?

          This wouldn't make a difference.

          Reply
  30. Magda

    Hi,

    We got married in 2013 and I never changed my name. Now, my husband changed his name legally and now I would like to change my name to his new legal name. How do we proceed to make that change on the original marriage certificate so then I can change my name. I also need to make the same change on our daughters birth certificate, his new legal name needs to be recorded there. Any ideas? I have been searching and can not get far….we are in Illinois.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      How do we proceed to make that change on the original marriage certificate so then I can change my name.

      It's unlikely you'll be able to make such an amendment. You can contact the county clerk's office that recorded your marriage record if such a modification would be allowed, but it's unlikely.

      I also need to make the same change on our daughters birth certificate, his new legal name needs to be recorded there.

      That's handled by the Illinois Department of Health.

      Reply
  31. Gabriel

    Hello! Me and my wife we got married in Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, last Saturday. When we applied for the marriage license, I told them, that my wife wants to take my last name, but from there said that will be on the marriage certificate.

    On the wedding day, at the court I told the judge to put on her last name mine; she said, she is not the one who is doing this, but on the certificate will be changed. I called the Vital Bureau Records, and from there they said it’s not possible to change it; that I have to go to the consulate for that ( I’m a US citizen, my wife is Romanian); right now I’m confused. We didn’t get the marriage certificate yet; it’s not ready, maybe just next week.

    I would like when I will apply for her immigration status, everywhere in the documents to appear my name. So actually, where is the 1st place where they suppose to change it?! Thank you

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      When we applied for the marriage license, I told them, that my wife wants to take my last name, but from there said that will be on the marriage certificate.

      This appears to be a minor misunderstanding between you and the Cook County clerk. Illinois marriage license applications, licenses, and certificates don't ask for a new name after marriage. Your wife's new last name will be derived from your last name as shown on the eventual marriage certificate.

      So actually, where is the 1st place where they suppose to change it?!

      The certificate won't need changing. Your wife will be able to change her name just fine using the marriage certificate as it will appear.

      Reply
  32. Jenifer

    Hi. My fiancé and I are getting married in MA. I really want to get his last name but I cant afford the name change in all documents for now. Just for change my name in my Green Card will be $540. My question is, if I decide keep my maiden for now, can I take my husband’s last name 2 years from now?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      My question is, if I decide keep my maiden for now, can I take my husband’s last name 2 years from now?

      Yes, there's no time limit.

      Reply
  33. Gabriela

    I got married last month and planning to change my last name to my husband's last name, but here in Texas they hyphenated his both last names (Dad & Mom's last name) Last-Last I don't want to use his mom's last name only his first one. Is that possible?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Gabriela. The SSA would allow it, but TxDPS might give you some trouble. If your husband's legal last name isn't really isn't hyphenated, you can seek a correction of your marriage record.

      Reply
  34. Tonya

    I was married for 24 years and then we went through divorce and I kept his last name because I have full custody of my then, minor children. I got married again 2.5 years ago and now that my youngest is almost 17, so I would like to add my husband’s last name and keep my previous married name too, professionally speaking. If I do that without a hyphen can I choose when to use each name or do I need to use both names always?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      so I would like to add my husband’s last name and keep my previous married name too, professionally speaking.

      For business purposes, you may want to look into filing a DBA in your preferred name.

      If I do that without a hyphen can I choose when to use each name or do I need to use both names always?

      You could use either name informally and in social settings. You must use both names for official purposes, such as taxes, filling out a job application (for background checks), or a loan, bank, or credit card application.

      Anything that might query the legal name attached to your social security number should use your full name.

      Reply
  35. Glorianne

    Is there a time frame for changing your license (I'm in NJ) after going to the Social Security office for my new name? I'd like to get the process started, and was hoping that the Real ID would be available by now. Since the Real ID is being tested in certain locations, can I just change it for Social Security and wait until the Real ID is available to get my new license?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Is there a time frame for changing your license (I'm in NJ) after going to the Social Security office for my new name?

      It's generally a good idea to space out your SSA and MVC name change by at least 24 hours. If the MVC electronically queries the SSA for your new legal name, the 24-hour wait could provide enough time for updates to propagate.

      Reply
  36. Jessica

    Hello,
    i just got married in Arizona and have an Arizona marriage license. i am moving to Colorado in a week and was wondering can i change my last name in Colorado at their social security office?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      was wondering can i change my last name in Colorado at their social security office?

      Yes, you can change your name at any social security office.

      Reply
  37. lulu

    hi,

    I added my husband's last name on the marriage certificate but i dont want to change it in real life (I don't want to change any of my IDs or SSN, or literally nothing) Would I have any problems? especially when travelling internationally?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I added my husband's last name on the marriage certificate but i dont want to change it in real life

      You don't have to change it.

      Would I have any problems?

      No.

      especially when travelling internationally?

      Your fine as long as the name on your ticket matches the name on your passport.

      Reply
  38. Leann

    Hello! I'm getting married in 3 weeks. My fiance and I live in Florida. We both want to change our last names to his maternal grandfather's last name as he didnt really know his father.

    Can we both just change our last names once we receive our marriage certificate? Or does he need to file for a name change with the court first?

    If he needs to file a name change and it isnt complete before our wedding date, will there be an issue in changing my name to his new last name?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Can we both just change our last names once we receive our marriage certificate?

      No, that wouldn't work.

      Or does he need to file for a name change with the court first?

      Correct.

      If he needs to file a name change and it isnt complete before our wedding date, will there be an issue in changing my name to his new last name?

      If his court-petitioned name change isn't complete before you're married, he wouldn't be able to show ID in his new name when applying for a marriage license. In that instance, you'd have to petition the court for your own name change.

      Reply
  39. Anne

    Hi! I got married in August in VA. I went to change my name at SSA and did First Name, Middle Name, Maiden Name, His Last Name. I have now decided I want to drop my Maiden Name and just have First Name, Middle Name, His Last Name. Can I do this at SSA with my marriage certificate?

    Reply
  40. Krystin

    I got married Oct 5th. When we filled out the marriage license I chose to hyphenate (maiden name – husbands name). I haven’t updated any of my IDs yet with my new name. My question is this, do I legally have to go by my married name now? I’m due to leave the country in February, am I able to book my ticket in my maiden name and use my passport with my maiden name in it??

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      do I legally have to go by my married name now?

      You can stick with your maiden name for as long as you prefer. You're under no obligation to change.

      am I able to book my ticket in my maiden name and use my passport with my maiden name in it?

      Yes, that would be most appropriate.

      Reply
      1. Krystin

        Ok so I was just filling out paperwork to register to vote by proxy back home in England. One of the questions was “has your name changed since leaving the UK”? I selected “No” as technically I haven’t completed any of the processes to update my name since getting married. Currently the only document that has my new name on it is my marriage certificate. Am I correct in looking at it like that document gives me the right to legally change my name but until I do, I haven’t changed my name and my legal name is still my maiden name… or am I totally wrong 😂

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          Am I correct in looking at it like that document gives me the right to legally change my name but until I do, I haven’t changed my name and my legal name is still my maiden name

          That's right.

          Reply
  41. Rose

    Hi, i got married 2, almost 3, years ago in Texas, but i signed with my maiden name. How can i change it my last name to my husband's ? Do i just take the marriage certificate to the dmv ? Would it be valid to change it, since i signed with my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      but i signed with my maiden name. How can i change it my last name to my husband's ?

      You can't, and it's not necessary.

      Do i just take the marriage certificate to the dmv ?

      Yes.

      Would it be valid to change it, since i signed with my maiden name?

      Yes.

      Reply
  42. Paulina

    Hi,

    I got married in California few months ago and when we were filling out the marriage certificate I said I don’t want to change my last name however now I changed my mind and would like to take my husband’s last name.
    Do I have to go through court to change my last name to his?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Do I have to go through court to change my last name to his?

      You do if you live in California.

      Reply
  43. C.S.C.S.

    Hello Valera,
    Thanks for all the information you provide.

    I recently got married a few days ago – the license and certificate both have my maiden name.
    I’ve since decided to tack on my husband’s last name with a hyphen. Ex: MaidenName-HisSurname. Do I need to request a new marriage certificate that reflects my desired hyphenated name or will the DMV/SSA just put two and two together and realize the hyphenated name I want to add belongs to my husband?

    We reside in Maryland. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Do I need to request a new marriage certificate that reflects my desired hyphenated name

      You don't need to request anything extra. The SSA and DMV will derive your hyphenated name from your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  44. Andy Chen

    Hi, we just got went to San Francisco City to get our marriage license and we also the the ceremony there. My wife hyphenated her last name and my last name at the end. We made a mistake and both decide to use her last name as the middle name instead. For example Betty Chow-Chen.

    Is it possible to drop the hypenated and just have Betty Chow Chen. So Her original last name would be the middle name instead. So we won't have two last name. Today is the day two. We went on December 27, 2019. Today is December 28, 2019. Is it too late to change it?

    Reply
    1. Andy Chen

      Thank you much for your advise. Hopefully, its not too late and its easy process? thanks again and greatly appreciate it. Happy holidays.

      Reply
    2. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Andy. Unfortunately, it's not possible to amend the marriage certificate because you prefer another name choice.

      Reply
      1. Andy Chen

        Hi Valera,

        So we have to request the name change/can we request to correct the marriage certificate? We can't change it back? what would you recommend if we want to change to just one last name? please advise, thanks again Valera, greatly appreciate it. I didn't have a chance to call the City Hall today. It has been 3 days now.

        Reply
        1. Andy Chen

          Will i have to file a petition with the courts to do so, to correct and drop the hyphenate last name? haven't gone to get her change her SSI or driver license yet, one again its day 3 now. Hopefully, its an easy process to correct it back? please advise, thanks Valera. :) Happy New Year!

          Reply
          1. Tyrone Jones

            Will i have to file a petition with the courts to do so, to correct and drop the hyphenate last name?

            A court petition wouldn't be used to modify the certificate, but to initiate a brand new name change, independent of marriage.

        2. Tyrone Jones

          Hi Andy. While California is quite generous with what you can change your name to after marriage, it's equally strict on altering your marriage certificate after marriage. It's not possible to amend it the way that you think. At best, you can contact the county clerk and plead for a modification and reissued certificate, but it's unlikely.

          Reply
          1. Andy Chen

            Thank you so much Valera for the quick respond. Greatly appreciate it. I see, so the only possible way is to petition the court right? We should get her new SSI change first? I thought we can modified it since its still fresh? When you mean reissued certificate, meaning we have to change the marriage date? They did the ceremony on December 27 also.

          2. Tyrone Jones

            I see, so the only possible way is to petition the court right?

            True, if she wants to change her name to something other than what's on the marriage certificate.

            We should get her new SSI change first?

            If she's already changed her name on her SS card, they'll want another document showing a new name change event. Such as a court order. She could request a name reversal, but that wouldn't achieve the ultimate end goal.

            I thought we can modified it since its still fresh?

            The certificate? You could request a modification for clerical errors. Unless you can convince the clerk that it's an error and not a regretful choice, the certificate can't be changed. It doesn't hurt to ask, as long as you understand that the odds are not in your favor.

            When you mean reissued certificate, meaning we have to change the marriage date?

            If you can get the certificate amended (unlikely), then they'll issue you a new certified copy with the amendment attached.

            They did the ceremony on December 27 also.

            The likelihood of an amendment being approved or denied doesn't depend on how soon the marriage took place. A valid modification would be honored for a marriage that took occurred yesterday or a decade ago.

          3. Andy Chen

            Sorry about that, so its too late to change it now? There is no way to change it huh? My wife will stuck on two last name with the hepend? We really regret it. Having two last name is really not a good idea. Does it mean my wife, Betty will stuck with the two last name right? Betty Chow-Chen forever?

          4. Tyrone Jones

            Sorry about that, so its too late to change it now?

            If she wants to change her name to differ from what's on the certificate, she'd have to petition the court for a new, separate name change. Once approved, the court order would supersede the certificate.

            Does it mean my wife, Betty will stuck with the two last name right

            If she's already (and only) updated her social security card, there are procedures in place to request a name correction or name reversal using the marriage certificate. It's like an undo. Beyond that, she's not stuck. She'll just have to file a court petition and go through the motions.

          5. Andy Chen

            Hi Valera,

            Thank you so so much for your quick respond, and very helpful advise. I will try to see tomorrow. or maybe after new year. By the way, do you think the City Hall of San Francisco will automaticlly send us the official marriage license? or do we have to request for it? They only gave us like a survior one at the ceremony. By the way, I just wanted to take this quick opportunity to thank from the bottom of my heart for your advise. You're the best in this post, God bleed you!

          6. Tyrone Jones

            do you think the City Hall of San Francisco will automaticlly send us the official marriage license?

            You have to contact them and order a copy for $15. It's typically available to order 10 business days after they receive your returned marriage license.

            I just wanted to take this quick opportunity to thank from the bottom of my heart for your advise.

            You're very welcome.

          7. Andy Chen

            Hi Valera,

            Happy New Year! We contacted the San Francisco Country Clerk Office and spoke with Deputy County Clerk. She told us that once we are married and we can't not take out the hyphenated last time. Once again, my name is Andy Chen

            My wife name is Betty Chow-Chen. We got mixed information, a person from http://www.cdph.ca.gov said we can amendment and correct the error and can take out the hyphenate. On the other hand, the lady from SF County Clerk said that we have to go throw the declaration of name change throw the superior court which will cost us about $900. Please advise, thank you.

          8. Tyrone Jones

            Hi Andy. The county clerk can sign off on amending a clerical error. The San Francisco clerk is refusing because what you're requesting isn't fixing a clerical error, but a change of heart.

  45. Jessica

    I got married in nevada , my husband is from mexico and has both his parents last name Hernandez , dads last name and Chairez from his mom maiden last name they told me i have to take both last names . So im stuck with both how can i just leave his last name Hernandez Only

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Jessica. It's all or nothing with the last name. The alternative is to petition the court.

      Reply
  46. jasmine

    hi i got married in 2017 in qld.
    im now trying to change my last name to my husbands last name.
    we applied for a marriage certificate and it just came in the mail and it has my maiden name on it still in the name section. can i still use this to change my name im so confused we wrote his last name on the certificate on line and now its arrived in the mail still my maiden name :( soo stressfull! im trying to change all my id. will this marriage certificate still work

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Jasmine. Could you clarify what you're referring to with "qld"? Queensland, Australia?

      Reply
  47. Aneta

    hello, my husband and i got married 8 years ago in IL and now with 2 kids i finally want to change my last name and take his. Do i go through a normal last name process or do i need to go through the court?

    Reply
      1. Aneta

        Thank you for confirming. "name to be shown on card" on the SS application is my new (husband's) last name, correct? what about signature? also sign with a new one or previous maiden name?

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          Hi Aneta. Name to be shown on card would be your new name. Sign your new name as well.

          Reply
          1. Aneta

            Thank you – that's very helpful. One last question, Since i've never specified my husband's last name on the marriage license when getting married, is there any proof of name change docs i need to include with the SS application? or is application itself enough along with the other docs (current SS card, proof of identity & citizenship)?

          2. Tyrone Jones

            Hi Aneta. The certified copy of your marriage certificate is proof of your name change event. It doesn't have to explicitly say your "new name is" because they'll be able to derive it from your husband's last name.

  48. Macy

    Hi, I got married back in 2019. I've been meaning to change my last name to my husbands but I haven't done so yet. We got married in Kentucky. Is it too late to change my last name? I'm scared it will be.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Is it too late to change my last name? I'm scared it will be.

      It's not too late. There is no name change time limit.

      Reply
  49. Vanessa

    I recently got married in Florida. When filling out the license in the courthouse, I asked the clerk what name I should put on the license and she specifically told me to put my current name that matches my ID. I’m now worried she gave me incorrect information and will have trouble changing my last name to my husbands.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Vanessa. The clerk gave you the correct information. You won't face a problem changing your name.

      Reply
  50. Lizeth Villafuerte

    Hi! I got married on December 2019 in Connecticut. I wasn’t aware that I could use my new name on my marriage certificate so it still has my maiden name on it. What’s the process now for me to change my name? Thank you for your help!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I wasn’t aware that I could use my new name on my marriage certificate so it still has my maiden name on it.

      Are you certain? I'm not aware of this option or such a change in marriage license or certificate paperwork.

      Reply
      1. Lizeth Villafuerte

        The name on my marriage certificate is still my old name not my new married name. Can I still change my name through the social security administration or do I have to get a court order to change my name?

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          Hi Lizeth. You should be able to change your name using just your marriage certificate. No need for court.

          Reply
  51. Nattaly

    Hi ,
    I got recently married in Chicago . We applied online for license and just went to pick it up and signed later . We did not see option there for new last name after marriage .
    Would I be able to still change my last name even I didn’t fill it out in my marriage license aplication?
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Nattaly. You didn't miss anything. The option doesn't exist. It won't stop you from changing your name the regular way though.

      Reply
  52. Jennifer

    I got married to my husband in 2006, and on the marriage certificate it has my maiden name. I would like to officially take his last name now. Will I have to go to court to have my name changed?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Jennifer. Assuming you weren't given the option to choose a new name when you applied to get married, then you can use your marriage certificate to effect a name change. No need for court.

      Reply
  53. Tiffani Jayne

    I got married in Florida but live in Kansas. I didn't put my new last name on the marriage license, therefore it isn't on the certificate, am I still able to change my last name to my husband's even though it isn't on the certificate? Or do I need to have Florida amend the certificate?

    Reply
  54. Rachel

    Hello I livening Colorado and we got married several days ago. Our certificate has my maiden name only. I don't see a space where I could have indicated my preferred new name. I'm concerned that I may run into a problem when I attempt to change my maiden name to my married name, since my marriage license only has my pre – marriage name. What do you think? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I don't see a space where I could have indicated my preferred new name. I'm concerned that I may run into a problem…

      You didn't miss anything. Colorado has no such space. You'll be fine to change your name the usual way.

      Reply
  55. Andreea

    Hello,
    My husband is Brazilian and has two last names so after the marriage I decided to take only one of his last names. Long story short, I am trying to register our marriage abroad and I am not allowed since I didn't take both his last names. Would I have to go to court to add the second last name?

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Andreea. What country are you trying to register your marriage in?

      Reply
      1. Andreea

        Hi Valera, I'm trying to register my marriage in Romania and I went to the Romanian consulate after putting together all the paperwork, but they informed me that I need to add both last names from my husband.

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          Hi Andreea. In this case, you would have to take both last names. What works in Brazil isn't valid in Romania.

          Reply
          1. Andreea

            Thanks! I was just wondering if in that case, since I only took one last name 3 years ago, in order to add the second last name do I need to go to court?

          2. Andreea

            Hi Valera,

            So any idea if I would have to go to court to have this thing solved or is there another way. This was my initial question.

            Thank you

          3. Tyrone Jones

            Hi Andreea. You'll have to contact the consulate to ask if they require a court order and in which jurisdiction.

          4. Andreea

            Hi Valera, I live in the US, so this is all happening here. In order to add a second last name from my husband, do I need to go to court?

          5. Tyrone Jones

            Hi Andreea. You may have to go to court. You'll have to contact the consulate to determine if they'll accept a U.S. court order.

  56. Bonnie

    Can i change my name at the dmv first or do I absolutely have to do the social security office first? I reside in illinois. Thank you in advance

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Bonnie. You must update your social security card first. This is confirmed on the Illinois SOS Cyber Drive:

      The Secretary of State's office verifies Social Security numbers with the Social Security Administration prior to issuance or renewal of a driver's license or state ID card to verify name, date of birth and Social Security number. If records cannot be verified, the driver's license or state ID card will not be issued.

      Reply
  57. Tasha

    Hi,
    I got married in Las Vegas in 2010 and there was no section to change my name to my husbands name so it just shows up as my maiden name. Do I have to change my name officially through court before going to DMV and all the other places. I live in NYC.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Do I have to change my name officially through court before going to DMV and all the other places. I live in NYC.

      No, you'll use your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  58. Anouk PS

    My husband change his last name since we've gotten married in Florida. I never changed my last name to his former last name, and I now want to change my last name to his new last name. How can i go about doing so?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Anouk. You'd have to apply for a court ordered name change. You wouldn't be able to do it using your marriage certificate, as it doesn't list his updated name.

      Reply
  59. Nikki

    I live in California. I have two first names, one middle, and one last (A B C D). When I marry, I would like to drop my second first name and middle name, and then hyphen my last name with my spouse (A D-E). Is this possible?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Nikki. Changing your first name isn't possible through marriage using your marriage certificate. In California, such a name change will have to take place by petitioning the Superior Court.

      Reply
  60. Liz

    Hi,
    I think I've read too many articles and have confused myself… My husband and I got married in Arizona five years ago. We now reside in Ohio and I'd like to change my last name. Do I need to petition to the court for a name change since it's been so long and because I signed our marriage license with my maiden name? Thanks for any help!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Liz. You don't need to petition any court. Just because you waited a few years to change your name, doesn't mean you've run out of time. You can change your name through marriage the regular way. You can review the Ohio name change page for more specifics.

      Reply
  61. Victoria

    My husband and I got married at the courthouse in California in July of this year. We’ll still be living in California for a few years because he’s in the Marines. I didn’t change my last name at the time and kept my maiden name, now I regret it, is there a way I can change it now? We still plan on have a wedding later in the future. Is there a way to do it with having to go to court? Please help.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I didn’t change my last name at the time and kept my maiden name, now I regret it, is there a way I can change it now?

      Realistically, there's no name change through marriage option available. You had to make your choice when you applied for your California marriage license.

      We still plan on have a wedding later in the future. Is there a way to do it with having to go to court?

      Unfortunately, no.

      Reply
  62. Shellie

    I live in Pa. Getting married. does it matter how I fill out my marriage application in regards to how I sign my new name after I am married? example i use my first name, middle inital,last name.

    We got the license and it has my middle initial which I dont want. I want my middle name spelled out on my marriage cert because it is actually my maiden name. They told me i cannot do that and have to fill out the app exactly how my state license reads which does not have my middle name spelled out.

    I did call a clerk back and she said i could go back and she would change it hersefl and update the records to reflect. Will this cause any issues with my ss by me wanting my middle name spelled out? Would really appreciate your help

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Will this cause any issues with my ss by me wanting my middle name spelled out?

      It's a nonissue. The SSA doesn't even consider your middle name as part of your legal name, but they're still perfectly willing to add it to your social security card.

      Reply
  63. Shitaye S Sam

    I live in Michigan i got married last year and i putted my husband's last name on the marriage certificate. After thinking about it I decided that i want to keep my unmarried last name
    What should i do now?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      What should i do now?

      Nothing, then your name will remain the same.

      Reply
  64. Maria

    Hi, my question is similar to a prior question. I live in NYS. I have been divorced for 20 years but kept my married name. Everything has that name on it including my mortgage. I will be getting remarried. Can I put his name as my new surname on the license but not change anything else? He will be putting me on his health insurance at work, what name do I use? No matter how much I read on it, it is confusing to me.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Can I put his name as my new surname on the license but not change anything else?

      Yes, the change will be isolated to that document and won't spread beyond that point.

      He will be putting me on his health insurance at work, what name do I use?

      Your current legal name, not whatever new intended name will be shown on your marriage certificate. If you decide to change your name later, update your health insurance record then.

      Reply
  65. Tram

    I've been married for 7yrs now and now decided to change my last name to my husband's. We got married in Texas but now relocating to OK. Can I change my name and update my driver license there at the same time?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Tram. Rule of thumb: wait 24-48 hours between updating your name with SSA and the DMV to allow the prior's database to refresh in time for DMV's query action.

      Reply
  66. cecilia

    Hello, i recently got married in Nevada but currently live in California. The clerk had told us that because my husband has 2 last names that i had to take both of them and since it's tradition for my family to take on our husband's last name, i agreed.

    After talking to several family members, they have informed me that i did not have to take both last names and that i could have kept my last name along with one of his last names. I have not changed any documents to my new last name but was wondering if i could still fix this issue. I got married on November 15th.

    Reply
  67. Tissue

    Hi: I have been using my fiancé last name for over 40 years all of my important documents including SS i went to get my Real ID but the BMV said my birth certificate did not match my marriage license and I needed a name change. How do i go about that. Are do i have too since everything is already in my married name.

    Reply
  68. Mona

    I recently applied for the application to get married in Nevada (and reside in NY) and chose the option of having my name hyphenated, i.e. maiden name – his last name; but my question is when I do a legal name change, does it have to reflect how it appears on the marriage certificate or can I just change documents and things to just his last name, without the hyphen

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Mona. If your marriage certificate shows this new name, you're locked into this choice when it comes time to update your social security card. If you haven't gotten married yet, you can either apply for a new marriage license or ask if the county clerk is able to amend and reissue your existing license.

      Reply
  69. Katie

    Hello We got married in New York city but have moved to North Carolina since. My marriage certificate has my maiden name ( last name) but I would like to take my husband's last name now. How do I go about that in North carolina?

    Will my marriage certificate work for last name change purpose or do I have to petition in the court for name change. All my documents, SSN, DL has my maiden name on it.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Will my marriage certificate work for last name change purpose or do I have to petition in the court for name change.

      Your New York marriage certificate will work fine in North Carolina as-is.

      Reply
  70. Kimberly Nunez

    My husbands birth name was recently changed so is now incorrect in our marriage license. My maiden name is also on it. How can we both update our names?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Kimberly. You can request an amendment, but it may not be accepted for this circumstance. Your certificate is meant to be a snapshot in time. Name changes after the fact isn't likely a justified reason to grant an amendment.

      Reply
  71. Natalie

    Hello, I have received my marriage license last week, however, there is an error in my first name. That error is caused by an original error on my birth certificate which is additional spacing between the letters of my first name. I have never had any issues with it up until this point. All of my documents including my social security card, ID, passport, diplomas have my correct name (without any spacing).

    If I can get my birth certificate amended after my marriage, will I be able to make that first name correction on my marriage certificate? I currently live in NY. My documents are all from here.

    Reply
  72. Ariel

    Hello! I got married in California 7 years ago and did not take my husbands Last Name. I now live in Texas and want to change my last name to his. What would I need to do?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Ariel. You can use your California marriage certificate as proof of name change to make the transition in Texas.

      Reply
  73. Tiffany H

    I am getting married this month and have a trip planned in February to use my passport. Can I change my name on everything except my tickets and passport until after the trip?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Can I change my name on everything except my tickets and passport until after the trip?

      Yes, but bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you to tie your old and new ID together.

      Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          Hi Tiffany. If you update your social security card, you'll likely have to update your ID (e.g., driver's license, state-issued ID card) to match when it comes time to renew. So it's delaying the inevitable.

          Reply
  74. Kathy

    I live in MA and the marriage license asks if I want a new last name. I'm wanting to wait to change my last name until after honeymoon or closer to having kids. Can I keep maiden name on marriage certificate and easily change my last name later? Or if I put my new last name on the certificate do I have to change all documents right away?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Kathy. You don't have to change your name right away. You can schedule it when it's most convenient for you.

      Reply
  75. Zari

    I changed my first name 2 decades ago but never corrected my birth certificate. In order to get my marriage license I needed a birth certificate as proof of ID so I showed my birth certificate and name change paperwork. When I got my marriage license there was a line for "birthname if different" and the city clerk's office put my birth name down- which is no longer my legal name. I changed my name for a reason so it is VERY annoying that it is now reappearing on this document. Does this line HAVE to be filled out or can I file to amend the certificate?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Zari. You'd have to supply a corrected birth certificate to amend an existing marriage record. However, if you haven't gotten married yet, you'll have to first update your birth certificate, then return to the marriage licensing office to get a new marriage license. You'll either apply for a new one or ask that they reissue a corrected copy.

      If you're already married or don't have to time to go through vital records to correct your birth certificate, you'll have to request an amendment to your marriage certificate after the fact. This isn't guaranteed to work. And even if it did work, it wouldn't necessarily wipe out your prior name on file. They may attach a corrected notation or document to your flawed marriage record. So both documents would exist, with the newer meant to set the record straight.

      Reply
  76. Erin

    I got married last week in WI. I received the copy of my marriage certificate in the mail today and realized it still had my maiden name on it. Am I still able to use it to change my name since it shows we are married or does the certificate have to have his name listed? It was an accident as I had all intentions of taking his last name, was just misguided at the county clerks office.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Erin. Your marriage certificate is fine. Wisconsin marriage certificates will only show your current name at the time. In your case, it's your maiden name. The SSA and other federal and state entities will derive your name from you spouse's last name. That's standard operating procedure.

      Reply
  77. Mel

    I live in Florida and got married 5 years ago and kept my maiden name. Now I would like to change to my husband's last name as that we are planning a family. Do I have to go through the court to petition a name change or can I just start with my marriage certificate at the SSA?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Mel. You can just get started with your marriage certificate. No need to petition.

      Reply
  78. Madilyn

    I didn't see anything like that on my Missouri marriage certificate application, how can I go about changing my name after my wedding next week?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I didn't see anything like that on my Missouri marriage certificate application

      Don't see what? I'm not sure what you're referring to. In Missouri, all you need to effect a name change after marriage is your marriage certificate as-is.

      Reply
  79. Nita

    I got married in May 2022 in Illinois and was wondering is there a time frame on changing my name to my husband's name? Is there a fee after so much time has passed?

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *