Maiden Name to Middle Name Change

Woman Considering a Maiden Name to Middle Name Change

When you're considering ways to change your name after marriage while honoring your maiden name, one of the best options to consider is adopting your spouse's last name and making your maiden name your new middle name.

For those that aren't aware, your maiden name is your last name at birth. For men, your maiden name is your birth name too. But the term "maiden" applies only to women.

Since many people choose to adopt a new name after getting married, losing your old name can feel like a tremendous loss and some people even grieve it.

If you're an only child or don't have children, you might worry how your parents will feel when your surname is lost. Who will they expect to carry on the family name now?

People strike, waving banners, picketing, protesting for and against name change

Making your maiden name your middle name is a great way to keep it in your life while still following marriage conventions, as far as changing your name goes.

How do you change your middle name after marriage?

You can use a certified copy of your marriage certificate to legally change your maiden name to your middle name. Do it at the same time you change your last name. No extra step.

When you apply for a marriage license, assign your new middle name if they offer a spot to do so. If the application didn't ask, your marriage certificate won't show your new name.

Such an omission isn't a problem. Your new name will get derived from you and your spouse's current and birth names, as shown on your marriage certificate.

Pros of maiden middle names

If you change your maiden name to your middle name, you'll achieve useful, long-term plusses beyond just its sentimental value.

For instance, if your maiden name were Avery, you could tell folks, "Call me Avery." They wouldn't know if it was your first, middle, or last name.

You could go by your maiden middle name informally or socially, while maintaining the veneer of legality. It is part of your legal name, after all.

What happens when you come across unexpected little name changes at non-government institutions and need a quick way to prove that you've changed your name?

Whip out your marriage certificate? That's a hassle. Yet having your maiden name as your middle makes it easy to verify you've "added a name" and you're the same person.

Hands holding big paper maiden to middle name change sign

It has an added benefit if you plan to continue using your maiden name in business for professional reasons, as using just part of your name is still common.

If you were born without a middle name, inserting your maiden name presents a great opportunity to fill that void. This may help make your decision even easier.

If you decide to go forward with your name change, you can save time by using our online name change kit to help complete the transition.

Satisfies your relatives

Your parents and relatives might begrudge you for dropping your birth name. Pride in family and heritage can run deep. Giving up your name may feel like abandoning your legacy.

You may feel yourself shrinking to a child, explaining to your parent why you're changing your name. Perhaps they won't mind, but thinking of the conversation may breed anxiety.

Mother and daughter quarreling

If your name is famous, prestigious, or linked to relatives you admire, making your maiden name into your middle name is a solid way to honor your past while honoring your commitment to your partner and future with them.

If you're trying to show that you aren't forgetting where you came from, keeping your heritage as a part of your name is a wonderful gesture and sure to heal rifts that might develop over adopting a brand new name.

Happy family spending lunchtime together

The decision to change your name is yours alone. But there's no shame in pursuing a win-win solution that keeps you, your spouse, your family, and your mean in-laws happy.

It's not just women who face the name change question. Some states allow men to take their wife's name. Even pursue a birth name to middle name switch.

Can you have a second middle name?

Today, three out of four people have a middle name. And many of them use it on a regular basis. If you have a middle name, you have a dilemma:

  1. Do you replace your middle name?
  2. Do you use your maiden name as a second middle name?

The answer depends on what you think of having two middle names after marriage.

Woman expressing doubts

Some use two initials, or one initial and one middle name. And others use just one middle name on a regular basis while keeping the other as a formal middle name.

If your middle names clash, consider replacing your old middle name with the new one. But doing this after undergoing one change might require a court petition.

Just remember: having two middle names can prove unwieldy, especially with forms and documents that only have space for one middle name on them.

Double middle names are uncommon and demand juggling, making sure people don't confuse your dual middle as part of your first or last name.

Usually easier than hyphenation

When you have your maiden name as a middle name, it's easier than hyphenating your name. It keeps your identity clear and compartmentalized.

You'll be able to more easily prove your connection to people on both sides of your family as necessary. This is important for childcare issues, such as flying with children.

You won't struggle with an overly long last name and you don't have to use your middle name on a regular basis—but you won't get penalized if you don't.

Before considering a hyphenated name, assess how well it complements your partner's name. Does it sound good or does it roll off the tongue like an auditory cacophony?

Woman holding big megaphone

The maiden to middle path may edge out a jarring hyphenated surname. Plus, it means your last name won't be such a mouthful.

Helps ease you through the transition

If you aren't hyphenating your last name because you just want a single last name, perhaps you're choosing your partner's name for convenience or because you prefer it.

In doing so, you might experience a sense of loss. Although there may be ways to reverse your name change, it's best to choose well at the outset instead of backtracking.

Woman weeping with hands cusped over her face

It isn't always about keeping your spouse, relatives, and in-laws satisfied. You should inhabit your new name when updating ID and renewing your professional details.

By keeping your maiden name active and relevant it won't seem as scary because you won't feel as though you need to abandon what you've been familiar with your entire life.

Your name change should be an act of triumph and celebration. Not of doubt and anguish. Keeping your maiden name alive can help make that a reality.

Smiling, confident woman superhero in costume

You get to embrace your new name while keeping the old. This is like having your cake and eating it, too. Sometimes the simplest choice is the best pick.

Disadvantages of maiden middle names

There are a few downsides when executing a maiden to middle name switch. Various states make the process trickier than average (see next section), though most don't.

If you have a middle name, you must choose one or feel like "one of those people" by listing more than one middle name whenever you give your full name.

Getting used to having a middle name is also a process, as you'll need to add this new name to numerous documents. It's time to practice your new signature too.

Happy woman holding large pencil

Everything from your social security card and driver's license to passport should match and reflect your new middle name. You don't want your credentials to drift out of sync.

Some states make this tricky

Only three states don't allow you to replace your middle name with your maiden name after getting married: New Jersey, Ohio, and Washington State.

In these states, you need to petition the court to alter your middle name. The steps can be easy or stressful, depending on how much you enjoy bureaucracy and the court system.

It may be tough since it takes more time, when name changes can already be time-consuming. If you live in one of these states, hyphenation may be the easiest option.

Finding the right balance

Changing your maiden name to your middle name is becoming ever more popular as people try to find a balance between tradition and more practical, modern alternatives.

No matter whether you're leaning towards hyphenating, creating a new last name, or keeping your maiden name, it's worth considering your middle name as a fungible placeholder.

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

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1,081 Comments

  1. Dani

    Hello! I live in California and wish to make my maiden name my second middle name with a space between the two names. How does this work legally with government paperwork when it asks for a single middle initial? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      How does this work legally with government paperwork when it asks for a single middle initial?

      You'd use the first letter of the first part of your two-part middle name.

      Reply
  2. Sherry

    Soooo I've been married 25 years and have now decided to take on my husband's name. We just moved to another state so it makes sense since I have to get a new driver's licence in this state.

    My intention is to take my maiden name as my middle name – Sue Smith Jones. But from all the comments I'm reading it appears that there is an issue with changing your passport name.

    I'm not interested in hyphenating my name so wanted to understand the problem. Not interested in having a super long name Sue Marie Smith -Jones. Any advice. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      But from all the comments I'm reading it appears that there is an issue with changing your passport name.

      What problem are you referring to?

      Reply
      1. Sherry

        This comment from someone who posted this last month:

        I just got a notification from the passport office that they needed more documentation. I called and the first lady I spoke to said that my marriage certificate only provides documentation for changing your last name on your passport. She said I would need to get a court order to validate the middle name change, even though it was directly related to my marriage.

        It's a bit confusing to me.

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          Hi Sherry. The person who placed that comment didn't reply back clarifying her situation. It's possible her marriage certificate had a space for a new middle name which was left blank.

          Reply
          1. Sherry

            I see – makes sense. Thanks for your help.

  3. Erin Sando

    Hello! I recently got married, and want different name change then the norm. I want to either drop my middle name or add to my middle name with my husbands last name because I plan to keep my maiden name as my last name. I live In Utah and am moving to Nevada (military move).

    I see on the DMV website NV does not recognize a new "maiden name" as a middle name however I just want to either add or drop my current middle name. So In order for this to happen will I really have to file for a name change and get my birth certificate amended?

    PS I got married in Las Vegas and the marriage certificate shows my legal first, middle, and last, then clerk told me to leave indented new middle name blank because it would not matter because NV allows multiple name combinations, which I am quickly finding out to not be true.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I want to either drop my middle name or add to my middle name with my husbands last name because I plan to keep my maiden name as my last name.

      You can hyphenate your middle name with your spouse's last name in Nevada.

      I see on the DMV website NV does not recognize a new "maiden name" as a middle name however I just want to either add or drop my current middle name.

      You can't drop your middle name and leave it empty. However, you can add to your middle name. But it must be hyphenated. There is no space or double-barreled option.

      So In order for this to happen will I really have to file for a name change and get my birth certificate amended?

      If you're willing to hyphenate your middle name, you won't have to go to court.

      NV allows multiple name combinations, which I am quickly finding out to not be true.

      Nevada does allow many different name combinations. More than some realize. But there are still limits.

      Reply
  4. Jessica

    I live in Colorado and am considering what to do about my name change since getting married in June (I just signed the marriage certificate with first, married last). I know I want to keep my maiden name in some way but I am also having trouble with the thought of dropping my middle name.

    Is it possible to change my name to First, Middle, Middle#2 (maiden), Last (married) so Jane Marie Johnson Smith? Essentially this would allow me to keep my birth names while having my husband's name be my legal last name. Also, professionally if my maiden name is part of my legal middle name can I still go by that as a teacher? Thanks for your help! This stuff is so stressful…

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Is it possible to change my name to First, Middle, Middle#2 (maiden), Last (married)

      Although you can replace your middle with your maiden, you can't add it. You'll have to go to court for that.

      Also, professionally if my maiden name is part of my legal middle name can I still go by that as a teacher?

      That's up to your employer to accommodate. They'd still have to have your legal name on file that matches what the SSA and IRS has.

      Reply
  5. nandu patel

    I changed my name when I am a citizen. so now my kids and wife use my new name as a middle name? right now they use my old name as a middle name.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Nandu. If your wife and children want to change their middle names again, they'll have to do so in court.

      Reply
  6. Maria

    I just got married in N.Y. state. I wanted to keep my maiden name as my middle name and replace my previous middle name with my maiden name. They would not allow me to do that on my marriage license and said thay the new lawsnonly allow a last name change not a middle.

    They even called Albany to verify. So on my marriage license the only change is my last name change. My question is if I go to the Social Security Administration, can I ask them to change my middle name to my maiden name and take on my husband's last name as my new last name even though it is different on the marriage certificate?

    I have not filed for name changes on any legal documents as of yet. Everywhere I ask they say it is not possible to change my middle name but only through a court order. Can you please help me figure out if this is possible in my case without a court order? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      if I go to the Social Security Administration, can I ask them to change my middle name to my maiden name and take on my husband's last name as my new last name

      Yes. The SSA doesn't really consider the middle name as part of your full legal name. You could even omit it if you'd like. They'll still process middle name changes.

      When you fill out the SSA application, you'll have to list your current name, which is your maiden name. The SSA will have your maiden name on file, so when they switch around your names there's a history linking everything together.

      Reply
  7. Amelie

    I just changed my last name to my husbands, and then put my maiden as middle name just to please my folks, not my primary preference, but hey they raised me and put me through school so wanted to do this for them.

    But for driver's license, other documentation etc could I just provide First name New Last Name, and just either initial middle or leave out middle. Because hubby is touchy on the topic too, and would prefer just his name.
    So I am stuck. Please help.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      But for driver's license, other documentation etc could I just provide First name New Last Name, and just either initial middle or leave out middle.

      Without knowing the state, it's ultimately up to your DMV to allow an omission.

      Reply
  8. Chandller Scott

    Hi, my sons name is Dominique Karl Eugene Scott how much would it be to change the last three letter in his first name to ic at the end and how much would it be to change his two middle name to one… what I really want to know is how much would it cost all together.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Chandller. Which state or country would your son's name change take place?

      Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          Hi Chandller. Child name changes in Indiana is handled by the county circuit court. Fees aren't standardized across courts, so you'll have to contact them directly. There typically isn't one fee either.

          You'll also have to factor in the cost of newspaper publication and getting the birth certificated updated with vital records.

          Reply
  9. Tasha

    Hello, I have seen questions from people living in Texas but wanted to see if I can get a link to rules and regulations about name changing in the state of Texas. To avoid a bunch of Googling. Ultimately, I was interested in either doing First name, Birth middle name, and Husband's last name, (when we eventually get married), OR First name, birth middle name, maiden name, husband's last name but not aware if 4 names are legal in Texas. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      but wanted to see if I can get a link to rules and regulations about name changing in the state of Texas

      First, go to Texas Constitution and Statutes and review the Family Code articles/chapters. Also see Texas Attorney General opinions H-432 (1974) and MW-225 (1980).

      Your marriage certificate/license is a valid name change document. Texas statutes do not spell out specific name change allowances, but the AG opinions do reference taking the spouse's name or hyphenating. The TxDPS change of information page also refers to using the marriage license as a valid name change document.

      In the absence of statutes specifying specific name change combinations, the SSA allows hyphenated and space-separated last names. The TxDPS will allow a hyphen, but not necessarily a space, as they're a state institution while the SSA is federal. They operate on different guidelines and interpretations.

      Reply
  10. name disaster

    I'm in Utah.
    At birth, I was given a first name (I never used), no middle name, and my surname. In 2013, after marriage, I legally changed my name to the first name I used my whole life, my maiden surname as a middle name, and my married name as my new married surname.

    I successfully changed my name with all the necessary departments but did not on my birth certificate (as I believed it to be optional). Now six years later I'm having difficutly obtaining a birth certificate for my newborn. They say I am required to change my own birth certificate to match the 2013 court order before they will issue a birth certificate for my child. But they will not accept the court order as I cannot have a shared middle name and maiden name.

    They requested I get an amended court order. The court says too much time has passed since the court order was issued and I am required to now submit a new name change petition. I'm not sure how I am supposed to keep my current legal name and request a legal name change on my maiden name. Advice?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      But they will not accept the court order as I cannot have a shared middle name and maiden name.

      Could you please clarify who is "they"? Jumping ahead, would they accept multiple name change documents that links one name change to another, such as birth certificate, marriage certificate, and court order?

      Reply
  11. Stephen Valencia

    My wife n I have been married for 3 years with her using her birth middle name, her Maiden name and hyphenated mine. (TENCIA MARIE GARCIA-VALENCIA) WE HAVE Decided that it is too long. She wants to replace her middle name with her maiden name and use my last name. Is this something that can be done in California?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Stephen. She'd have to get a court order to switch and trim her name like that.

      Reply
  12. Megan

    Hello,

    I am from Texas and I got married in June. I have already changed my last name to my husbands last name in all capacities (DMV (with real id and everything) social security, teaching, etc). So my current name is First Middle HusbandsLast. I would like to add my old maiden name back to my name would become First Middle Maiden Husbands last. Would I need a court order to do that? Thanks

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I would like to add my old maiden name back to my name would become First Middle Maiden Husbands last. Would I need a court order to do that?

      Yes, since you've already gone all in, you'll need a court order.

      Reply
  13. Anne

    I live in NYC and married in July. On marriage license and all updated IDs my legal name is currently: First (a double first name, like Mary Kate), Middle, Maiden Name-Husband's last.

    Would it be possible to change my name so that my legal name is only the first part of my original first name (so "Mary" instead of "Mary Kate") and then to have 3 middle names "Kate, Original Middle, Maiden Name," and then husband's last name?

    So if currently I were Mary Kate (first) Anne (original middle) Smith(surname)-Jones(husband's last), can I legally change to Mary (new first name) Kate Anne Smith (3 middle names) Jones (new last name)? If so, how?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Anne. You must obtain a court order to change your first name in New York. Such a change can't be done through a marriage name change. Same thing goes for your triple middle name.

      Reply
  14. Arielle

    Hi, I'm getting married and I would like to have my First name, Middle name, His last name and my maiden name. All separated, no hyphen. I'm from Puerto Rico but I would be doing this process in Pennsylvania since my fiancé is from there. Is it possible to add his last name first than mine without hyphenating? Thanks

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Is it possible to add his last name first than mine without hyphenating?

      Yes, you can.

      Reply
  15. Inna

    Hi!

    I would like if someone can help me. I am originally from Ukraine.

    I’ve got married in US (Oklahoma state), I don’t have middle name, so after marriage I took my maiden name as a middle name and husband’s last name as my new last name.

    When I returned to Ukraine to change my passport according to marriage license they issued for me ID with last name which consists of two words: my «middle» name and new last name, because in Ukraine they can’t drop my “middle” name from marriage license.

    But in US I already have permanent resident card with my name and only one last name- husband’s last name.

    Would I have any problems to cross the border Ukraine-USA and update my permanent resident card ( PRC, for example, has name Inna, last name – Parry; and Ukraine passport has name -Inna, last name- Syto Parry)?

    Will be so thankful for any help!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Inna. You should be fine if you keep a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you during travels.

      Reply
  16. Mia

    I just changed my last name after getting married 2 years ago in the US. The problem was I’m using my same middle name (from my maiden name) and my husband’s last name for my green card/US drivers license.

    When I applied for my Philippine passport in the US, they told me I cannot use my middle name and instead use my maiden name’s last name which is my father’s last name as my middle name according to the Philippine law.

    So the problem was that I have 2 different middle names on my passport and green card/US drivers license. Will they still allow me entry in the US when I get back even if they have 2 different middle names on those documents. What can I bring? I just brought my marriage certificate just in case they ask

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      What can I bring? I just brought my marriage certificate just in case they ask

      That's good. Make sure it's a certified copy. Other corroborating ID in both names also wouldn't hurt. Even if expired.

      Reply
  17. Sarah

    I live in Washington State.
    I was able to change my middle and last name for my social security card with just my marriage license. Then I used my new SS card to change it on my drivers license. But when I went to apply for a new passport they only changed my last name and told me I needed
    1. court ordered document or
    2. marriage license with my name change on it (Washington state does not do).

    Is there any other way I can change my middle name without a court order?
    I wouldn't have change my middle name if it was going to be this difficult with the passport…

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Sarah. You're in a difficult spot since you've already changed your name. You can attempt to go for a name correction in person (try a different agent) or change it by mail.

      Reply
    2. Melissa

      Passports are issued in the applicant's legal name, which is usually the name on the driver's license. Your marriage certificate is "proof" of an event that occurred that allows you to change your name. The bride and groom both have their names listed on the document, so the new name is then derived from this. The document doesn't have to specify the bride's chosen new name (many states don't have this feature).

      Reply
      1. Tank

        Thank you Melissa. That's what I wanted to know.

        My California marriage certificate in 2003 doesn't have a space for new name. There is my current last name (which is my maiden name) as a bride.

        My SS card and Washington DL are Given name, Maiden name as a middle name, Husband's last name. My Naturalization certificate and passport are Given name and Husband's last name.

        This time I would like to add my maiden name as a middle name to my passport. So I want my passport to appear exact the same as my SS card and DL.

        Do I need a court order to add my maiden name (as a middle name) to my current passport? What kind of documents do I need to submit with DS-82 (or DS-11)?

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          Hi Tank. You would need a court order. And the form type depends on the age of your passport. If it was issued less than 15 years ago, use form DS-82. More than 15 years, then use form DS-11.

          Reply
  18. Gregg

    I'm in the Entertainment Business here in TX, wanting to add a second middle name to my middle name, to use as a stage name ( being the two middle names ) what all would that involve? Will I still have to file all the paperwork with drivers lic., Social Security, an etc… or can I keep everything the same on my name, an have a legal document just for a stage name, so when I'm doing legal documents an etc… not effecting my legal name, just a legal document for my stage name when I'm on stage? Can u tell my a guesstimation of cost?Thanks

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Gregg. Perhaps look into registering a DBA or assumed name with the TX Secretary of State's office.

      Reply
  19. Elaine

    When I was married over 36 years ago, I used my middle name, my maiden last name and my husband's last name as my name. Every document (except social security) had this name on it, including my passport.

    Now, today, after receiving a medicare card with my first name, middle initial and husband's last name, I decided I should get SS to change my name to what all my other documentation has on it. NOT — was told that I would have to have a court order. Now I'm just hoping that when I see a doctor under Medicare next year that I'm not going to have a problem.

    Would appreciate it if anyone has ever faced this issue. I always went by my middle name growing up and that is why I used it on my documents.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Elaine. Assuming you haven't changed your name before, have you tried using a certified copy of your marriage certificate to change it first? Also which state is this name change taking place in?

      Reply
    2. Debbie

      Your medicare name is directly linked to your social security name. Social security uses the legal first name and surname (middle name(s) or initial(s) are optional for social security). To drop your first name you will need a court order, in any state. However, social security may allow you to add your maiden name back in as a second middle name. That would keep you "covered," so to speak, as all four of your names would be displayed.

      Go in person and take your birth certificate, marriage certificate, and ID. You will run into issues when renewing your driver's license, if you haven't already, because technically your first name is still your legal name and so there will be a name mismatch. If you never use your first name and have no attachment to it, opt for the court order to have exactly what you want/go by.

      Reply
  20. socorro rodriguez

    hello
    my name is Socorro rodriguez from san Bernardino ca and I just recently went to change my last name at social security office my husbands last name is cruz and I wanted to keep my last maiden name and use it for my middle name and my husbands as my last her response was no? is that right ?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Socorro. The response would be no if your new name isn't listed on your California marriage certificate.

      Reply
  21. lauren miller

    i was just married in July and while my SS card says first-maiden-new last name, the RMV would not allow this so my ID still lists my previous middle name- they would not allow me to "change" my middle name without lagal name change forms. Now i have two different names and have no clue what steps to take to fix this…. any ideas?

    Reply
  22. Elizabeth

    Good Morning!

    I got married in NY in August 2019 and signed my marriage certificate as First Name – Middle Name – Married Last Name.

    I live in Rhode Island and would prefer my First Name – Maiden Name – Married Last Name.

    Is this change easy and acceptable? If a Name change petition is needed, would I file in NY or RI?

    Many thanks!!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Is this change easy and acceptable? If a Name change petition is needed, would I file in NY or RI?

      That'll work in Rhode Island. No need to petition.

      Reply
  23. V

    Hi there,

    I live in North Carolina and I am getting married in Hawaii. She is taking my last name as her new last name and I am considering taking her current last name in place of my current middle name. Would me changing my middle name be allowed via a marriage certificate or would I need to do a court order change?

    Thank you,
    V

    Reply
  24. Quin

    Hi i just need your opinion about my case. When i got married here in Virginia I used my name as
    (First Name) (Maiden last name) (Husband last name)

    But when i had a interview with the uscia officer for my green card application she said that my middle name when i was single should stay the same as my middle now that im married. She said thats the legal here in virginia usa. I just dont know why she wants us to change my middle name

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Quin. I'm not sure what the official was referring to since maiden to middle is permitted in Virginia.

      Reply
  25. Nikki Howard

    Hi Ms. Valera. Sure you’ve had many similar questions but hoping to get some advice. I’m an engaged mom to a child of a previous relationship. I have never been married so this would be my first.

    My son’s father is in his life but we were unmarried so kiddo has my maiden name as his last. His dad would not approve changing his last name to my married name nor do I want to give him his dad’s last name.

    I plan to leave my son’s name alone but what will be the easiest, least problematic way to take on my married name while keeping my maiden? If I drop my middle and replace it with my maiden then that won’t technically be my last name anymore would it?

    I’m leaning towards hyphenating but it seems like a forever hassle. And just adding a last name seems to not be considered legit for some purposes and one name would usually be left off.

    What would you advise? We live in Virginia. Thanks in advance, and Happy New Year!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      what will be the easiest, least problematic way to take on my married name while keeping my maiden?

      1) Replace your middle name with your maiden name. 2) Keep your name unchanged, while using your married name informally/socially.

      If I drop my middle and replace it with my maiden then that won’t technically be my last name anymore would it?

      Correct.

      I’m leaning towards hyphenating but it seems like a forever hassle.

      How so? You could hyphenate with your maiden name first or last.

      What would you advise?

      Until you're certain, maybe don't change. Consider using your married name informally and see how that fits. When you're sure, then make your move. Or you may ultimately decide not to change and let that be the end of it.

      Reply
  26. Lindsey

    I’m going on a cruise in February (it was a surprise and short notice). When I got married I changed my middle name to my maiden name and my last name to my husbands. My question is I was told I could for go getting a passport and just use my ID, birth certificate and marriage license to get on cruise. To make this even more confusing this is my second marriage so my marriage license has my previous married name. We are going in and out of the same port. Not sure if this is the right forum to ask this question.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Lindsey. Bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate and ID in your old and new name and you should be fine. If you can sufficiently link up your name transition you can verify your identity if asked.

      Reply
  27. Nicole Seago

    My name is Nicole Seago, and I’ve always gone by my middle name Nicole. I’m getting married next weekend and want to change my last name.

    How difficult would it be to drop my first legal name and replace with Nicole, move my maiden name to my middle name and add my husband’s name as my last name? I live in Texas.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      How difficult would it be to drop my first legal name and replace with Nicole

      Gotta petition the county court for a first name change.

      move my maiden name to my middle name and add my husband’s name as my last name? I live in Texas.

      These you can do through marriage.

      Reply
  28. Laney

    Hello,
    I got married in California a few years ago. I took my husband's last name. But I regret dropping my maiden name for sentimental reasons. So I want to drop my current middle name and make my maiden name my new middle name. Would I need to petition in court for this name change? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Would I need to petition in court for this name change?

      Yes, because you'll need a new name change event documented that supersedes your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  29. Jen

    I actually have a couple of questions.. I was married about a year and a half ago. Initially, I did not plan to change my name but now I want to. I want to add my maiden name to my middle name and use my husband's name for surname but I also want to keep the middle name given to me at birth. Is a double middle name like this permissible in Virginia?

    Also, since I didn't plan to take my husband's name, I didn't put any thing other than my maiden name on the marriage license, does this matter? From your other pages that I've read it sounds like no, My SSA – 5 application is sufficient proof for the new name?

    Finally, I can't discern if I need to provide my driver's license or not? I prefer to mail in this application and a photocopy/printed cell phone picture of my driver's license is not admissible so does that really mean I need to go to a SSA office rather than mailing my application?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Is a double middle name like this permissible in Virginia?

      Not through marriage.

      I didn't put any thing other than my maiden name on the marriage license, does this matter?

      Not in Virginia. You're fine.

      I can't discern if I need to provide my driver's license or not?

      If your marriage was in the last two years (it was) and your marriage certificate can identify you in current records (it should) and your new name can be derived (it should, referencing your husband's name), you just need to mail the form and certificate.

      Reply
  30. Jacqueline

    Hi,

    I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I will be getting married in a about a month and will do the name change. My thought was to traditionally do the last name rotation, take my Fiance's last name and make my maiden last name my middle name.

    My problem is that the last name I'd like to use would be my mother's husbands (a.k.a Step Father) last name. However, he is not legally or by form of adoption, my legal Father. Will I be able to make his last name my middle name when marrying here in California even though he is not my legal father?

    If marrying, would I have to file a separate court order for middle name change after? Or should could it be done during marriage process? Would I have to have legal adoption first, as an adult, to be able to get his last name as my middle name?

    I hope you can answer my question. I have done a ton of research for weeks now and I'm resulting in giving up.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Will I be able to make his last name my middle name when marrying here in California even though he is not my legal father?

      You'd have to go to court to take your stepfather's name as your middle name.

      If marrying, would I have to file a separate court order for middle name change after? Or should could it be done during marriage process?

      1. You could go to court to change your middle name, then get married to change your last name. But, you'll have to make sure your ID is updated to reflect your new middle name before applying for a marriage license.

      2. Or you could go to court to change your middle name and last name, thereby skipping the eventual name change through marriage. This can be done before or after marriage.

      Would I have to have legal adoption first

      That's not necessary.

      Reply
  31. Kathy

    If my birth name is Kathy Lao-Chhat and my new married last name is Le, am I able to change my name to Kathy Lao Le and leave off the Chhat? Or will I have to go through legal name change process first?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Kathy. Possibly. It depends on the state. Where will the marriage take place and where will you reside afterward.

      Reply
      1. Kathy

        The marriage has already taken place in 2017 in Texas. We are currently residing in Texas.

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          Hi Kathy. You wouldn't be able to modify your name in that way through marriage.

          Reply
  32. Anonymous

    Hello —
    I will be taking his surname and am planning to change my maiden name to a second middle name, would this be through court or marriage certificate? (In California)
    First, Current Middle, Maiden, His Surname

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Anonymous. Yes, you can add your maiden name to your middle name with a hyphen or space. It wouldn't count as two middle names, as there's no such thing. Your dual names will still count as one.

      Reply
  33. Olga T. Carrubba

    Can I add my maiden name before my married name w/o consequences…. or do I have to apply for documents to add or change my name on license, social security, passport., or any government ID.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Olga. The document you'd use to complete your name change would be a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  34. Laurie Robicheau

    Getting married and not sure if I should add my maiden name to my middle name which will give me 2 middle names. Is there a conflict in Massachusetts if I do this?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Laurie. I don't believe that's a supported name change option.

      Reply
  35. Olga T. Carrubba

    I am widowed and would like to add my maiden name legally without consequences. What is the procedure?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Olga. Could you clarify what you mean when you say "add?" Are you looking to append it to your existing name or do you mean to replace something?

      Reply
  36. Hellen

    Hi Valera!

    Firstly, I’d like to thank you in advance for your time and all helpful advices you give us here!

    Now my case: I’m Brazilian, no SSN, live and married in Florida (January 2020), where I’m not sure I had the option to change my name on the marriage certificate, which shows my maiden name (Firstname and TwoLastNames).

    I started my immigration process informing the new name I chose which was Firstname, one of my last maiden names as middle name, and my husband last as my last name.

    After submitted the forms, I’ve read and heard many people saying I couldn’t have a middle name and should have hyphenated them as my new last name. I still don’t have answer from immigration but I think they might reject it, so I wanted to check this information ASAP so I can contact them before they do it.

    I know you might not answer for immigration rules, but do you think it is a problem to create a new middle name with my maiden last name in Florida?

    Also, do you know if marriage certificates in Florida show only the maiden name and you change it on SSN and etc; or you think I missed the opportunity to change my name back then when I got married (January 2020)?

    Thanks you so much for your attention and help!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      live and married in Florida (January 2020), where I’m not sure I had the option to change my name on the marriage certificate

      You didn't.

      I’ve read and heard many people saying I couldn’t have a middle name and should have hyphenated them as my new last name.

      Not sure what they're going on about.

      do you think it is a problem to create a new middle name with my maiden last name in Florida?

      You shouldn't. It's a common practice.

      do you know if marriage certificates in Florida show only the maiden name and you change it on SSN and etc

      It only shows your current legal name, which I assume was still your maiden name at the time.

      or you think I missed the opportunity to change my name back then when I got married (January 2020)?

      You didnt' miss anything. You don't choose a new name on the marriage application, license, or certificate in Florida.

      Reply
  37. Yaa

    I have been married but never changed my name. I now want to change my name. I have a very long maiden name which is hyphenated. So this is how my new full name will look like including my husbands name at the end:
    XXXXXX XXXX-XXXXXXXXX XXXXXX.

    Eventually, my maiden name will be my middle name because I never had a middle name. is this something possible or I have to drop my maiden name? I'm in MA.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  38. M.

    Sorry if you have covered elsewhere — I read as many posts as I can. But, I am writing out of time, so here goes my question:

    Upon marriage in the state of California is it legal to change your maiden name to a second middle name without hyphenating? For example:

    Middle_Name1 Middle_Name2 (formerly maiden name)
    vs.
    Middle_Name1-Middle_Name2 (formerly maiden name).

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Upon marriage in the state of California is it legal to change your maiden name to a second middle name without hyphenating?

      Yes, but this name choice must be specified when you apply for your marriage license. Space, no space, or hyphen is fine. Sequence also doesn't matter, meaning you can reverse it to "Middle_Name2 Middle_Name1" as well.

      Reply
      1. L

        Hi Valera,

        I have the same question along the lines of this and tried reading through the rest of the comments to see if it was covered. But what if my middle name already has a hyphen and I would like to keep it and add my maiden name as a second middle name with a space in between, would this be allowed in California? (Through marriage)

        Example:
        FirstName, Middle-Name MaidenName, LastName

        Thank you for your time.

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          I would like to keep it and add my maiden name as a second middle name with a space in between, would this be allowed in California? (Through marriage)

          Yes, that would work. You can use a space or hyphen as separator.

          Reply
  39. Jeannie

    When I got married 9 years ago, I took my husband's last name and made my maiden name my middle name. Now I'm divorced and I have moved to Nevada. I am changing my name back to my maiden name and am going to start with social security card and then the DMV, but do I have to go back to my original middle name? Or can I just omit a middle name and go back to my maiden name and just have no middle name?

    I don't like my given middle name. Just wondering before I fill out the application for a new social security card. I wish I'd never taken his name! Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Or can I just omit a middle name and go back to my maiden name and just have no middle name?

      No, you wouldn't be able to drop your middle name.

      Reply
  40. C

    Hello! I recently got married in Indiana and want to know if I could change my maiden name as a second middle name then take my husband's last name as a marriage name change or if that would have to go through the courts at any point? First Middle Maiden(as second middle) Last.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      want to know if I could change my maiden name as a second middle name then take my husband's last name as a marriage name change

      You can do that through marriage.

      Reply
  41. Leslie

    Widow remarrying here. My current name is my first, maiden as middle, and deceased husband's surname. I would like to move my deceased husband's surname to my middle (dropping my maiden) and add my new husband's surname.
    Example: Mary Ann Smith, birth
    Mary Smith Jones, current
    Mary Jones Doe, what I want

    Is this possible? I live in Vermont.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Leslie. You wouldn't be able to do such a shift using your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  42. Sammy W

    I got married in NY in August 2018 and signed my marriage certificate as First Name – Middle Name – Married Last Name. I have no changed any legal documents yet.

    I would like my ssn/passport/id to be First Name – Maiden Name – Married Last Name.

    Is this change easy and acceptable? Is a change petition needed? I read that a legislation in NY posed for maiden names can be middle names even if your marriage Certificate doesnt say so.

    Sorry just confused and hearing many stories

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Is this change easy and acceptable? Is a change petition needed?

      It is easy. Just use your marriage certificate. No need to petition.

      Reply
  43. Sam

    I got married out of the country in Scotland –the marriage certificate just lists my given name at birth and did not have a place to enter my new name after marriage. I live in Connecticut. Do you know if they will allow me to make my middle name as follows– given middle name & maiden name –with just the use of my marriage certificate?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Sam. You should be able to swap out your middle name with your maiden name without a problem.

      Reply
  44. Meg

    I am divorced and am getting re-married in Colorado. I currently still have my ex-husbands last name. Is it possible to use the marriage license to add my maiden name as a second middle name and then take on my soon to be husbands last name?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Meg. No, I don't believe that's possible using your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  45. Kar

    Hello, my partner and I are planning to get married soon. We are from LA California.

    My birth name is Karen Shelby Lopez Gonzales and I want to drop my middle name and take my partners last name Garcia.

    New name: Karen Lopez-Garcia
    Would this be possible?
    If so, would I leave the last name section blank (to drop it)?

    My partners birth name is Karol Fernanda Garcia
    She wants to take my last name
    New name: Karol Fernanda Lopez-Garcia
    Would this be possible?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I want to drop my middle name

      You can't drop your middle name through marriage in California.

      She wants to take my last name… Would this be possible?

      Yes, that would work.

      Reply
  46. Kate

    I am getting married in California later this year and want to take my partner's last name and make my maiden name my middle name:
    Current name: Kate middle name, last name
    New Name: Kate Maiden name, partner's last name.

    Can I do this on the paperwork or would I need to go to court to do this?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Can I do this on the paperwork or would I need to go to court to do this?

      Yes, spell this out on your marriage license application.

      Reply
      1. Kate

        I can drop my middle name completely on the marriage license application?

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          Hi Kate. You can't omit your middle name on the application.

          Reply
  47. Melissa

    I was recently married in AZ- there is no place on the marriage license to write the desired name that results from the marriage.

    I wanted to go from First, middle name, maiden name
    to First, maiden name, husband's last name. (basically swap my maiden name for my middle name)

    I called the social security office to make sure this was possible, and they assured me that the federal government only recognizes the first and last name as legal, and it doesn't matter what you do with your middle name when you get married.

    So they gave me a card that has first, maiden, husband's last name.

    Next, I went to the DMV, and the person helping me stubbornly insisted that my marriage license wasn't enough proof of my name change and that the government needed to know what happened to my middle name, even though I think it's a logical leap between the two names.

    They didn't care that my social security card reflected the change, and told me I could either go back to the SS office and change my middle name back with them, or go to a court to get my middle name changed.

    I've seen a few news articles of women bumping into the same problem since making the move to REAL ID (even women who've been married for 40 years), and it all comes down to the individual DMV or employee making the call on whether or not a connection can be made between the birth certificate and the marriage license.

    Sometimes the employees let it happen, sometimes they don't. Seems unfair and entirely arbitrary (and inconsistent). In one article, the lady called all the way up the chain of command until she got to someone in charge of the bureau in her state, and he said that it comes down to inconsistent training and unclear information between individual DMVs.

    There's got to be a way to fix this, because it seems unreasonable to make me go pay $400 at a court just to make what I think is a really obvious change.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      there is no place on the marriage license to write the desired name that results from the marriage.

      That's normal in Arizona.

      I wanted to go from First, middle name, maiden name
      to First, maiden name, husband's last name

      You can.

      the federal government only recognizes the first and last name as legal, and it doesn't matter what you do with your middle name when you get married.

      Correct, which is a non-issue.

      it comes down to inconsistent training and unclear information between invidual DMVs.

      It does appear you got an agent who wasn't aware that it was possible. Arizona statutes don't forbid middle name changes.

      When encountering such an agent, you can ask if they can provide written documentation that explains their position. And, if not, why not?

      At worst, you can try a different DMV. And even call in advance to pose this question. And if you get an affirmative reply, get the agent's name and make an appointmet to see them directly. Or at least arrive on a day they're working so that you can appeal to them if necessary.

      Reply
    2. Carly S.

      Go to a different dmv. Do not settle for what some clerk wants. They don't get to decide that, you do.

      Dmvs require the Social Security name to match the driver's license name. Social Security is the place to start the name change process. Technically, your new legal name is now your first, maiden, and hubby's surname. The dmv shouldn't be asking you to "go back and change it, nor 'fix' it," that IS your legal name!

      The birth certificate name should match your marriage certificate name. The marriage certificate is the required name change document,; that is the "proof" that an event occurred that allows you to change your name. You don't need anything else. It needs to show your name as well as your husband's name, listed somewhere on the document, but not necessarily specify what you want to change it to (many states are like this, with no spot to show what you want it to be).

      We shouldn't have to struggle with this, it's so unfortunate. Good luck!

      Reply
    3. Treena

      Melissa! This is my same identical problem! DMV lady, or shrew was making life hell for me that day. I had my social, Drives License already changed, bank etc.. still not enough. Said I had to appeal to the courts, get in front of a judge, pay huge few… then I was about to give up and just change my middle name back at social security and they won't see people in person still and I can't get an appointment but it says must be in person to do this.. IM SO LOST!!

      Reply
  48. MB

    Hi! I recently got married in IL. There was nowhere on the marriage certificate to indicate my preferred name post-marriage. I would like to change my name from First Middle Maiden to First Maiden Married.

    I submitted my social security paperwork accordingly and confirmed with my local social security office that I completed the paperwork correctly. I just received my new card with the name First Middle Married.

    When I’ve called the social security office to request clarification and a correction, I’ve been told that changing to First Maiden Married isn’t an option without a petition to the court (which would require changing my birth certificate to read first maiden maiden!).

    They have told me that everyone who changes their name to First Maiden Married actually has two last names (maiden married) because it isn’t possible to change your middle name. Is this accurate?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      There was nowhere on the marriage certificate to indicate my preferred name post-marriage.

      That's normal for Illinois.

      confirmed with my local social security office that I completed the paperwork correctly.

      That should be possible. Our Illinois name change article touches on this.

      I’ve been told that changing to First Maiden Married isn’t an option without a petition to the court (which would require changing my birth certificate to read first maiden maiden!).

      This shouldn't require a court petition. Was your maiden name on file with the SSA? If not, that could be the problem.

      They have told me that everyone who changes their name to First Maiden Married actually has two last names (maiden married)

      There can be only one last name. There are separate record blocks for your first, middle, and last name. Only your first and last name is considered part of your legal name, not your middle. However, your middle name will still be shown on your social security card.

      What you're describing sounds like inside baseball technicalities. Your middle name exists in a state of limbo. It's there, but has no legal significance. The SSA sections off your name in halves: given name and family name.

      Your "given name" is your first and middle name. Your "family name" is your last name and suffix (if any). All four sections are stored in your social security record, but your middle and suffix are second-class citizens. They may not even make it onto your social security card if space is limited. They're considered expendable. But that doesn't meant they can't be changed.

      because it isn’t possible to change your middle name.

      The SSA's operating manual provides examples of middle name changes.

      You can try to resubmit to the same or different office, requesting a name correction. You'd use your marriage certificate again.

      But, jumping back to what I mentioned earlier, if your maiden name wasn't actually established with the SSA, you'll have to supply a document that proves it, such as a certified copy of your birth certificate.

      Reply
  49. Morgan

    Hi Valera – I have a question on changing my name in Nebraska. I am trying to change it to First, Maiden, His last name, essentially dropping my middle name. I have already changed in on my social security card to this. Will I have any trouble at the DMV or should I change my passport name as well first before trying to go into the DMV? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Morgan. You won't have any trouble. Maiden to middle works fine in Nebraska.

      Reply
  50. Shawn Phillips

    My step daughter just got married this past weekend and would like to change her name to use her given birth first name, my last name as her new middle name and her new husband's last name.

    She has no ties to her birth father anymore, and since I raised her as my own she would like to drop his name (her Maiden) altogether, but honor my last name in her new name.

    Her father would never consent to me adopting her. So she would change her name from Ashley Leigh Jones to Ashley Phillips Moore. Would she have to petition the court to do this or could she do this without going to court. We are in North Carolina.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Shawn. Yes, she would have to petition the court, as that would be considered an entirely new name.

      Reply
  51. Lacey Robinson

    Hi Valera! Firstly, thank you for taking the time to read and respond to everyone's comments! It's crazy how confusing this whole process is with differing standard practices across the board.

    My question is: I recently married in GA and added my maiden name as my second middle name (e.i. First Name – Middle Name – Maiden Name – Married Surname). As a performer, my name is established as my First Name – Maiden Name. Can I still sign legal (tax and otherwise) documents as my performer name (First Name – Maiden Name) if it is my second middle name or do I have to now sign using my new surname?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      an I still sign legal (tax and otherwise) documents as my performer name

      No. Contracts and taxes need to go under your legal name. However, just because you specified a new name on your marriage license doesn't make it official. You'll have to correct your social security card for it to be legal.

      Reply
  52. Barbara

    Hi Valera,

    I got married in 2019 but started the process of changing my name this year. I live in California and got married here. At birth, my name was First _ Middle _ My mom's maiden _ Last.

    On marriage certificate, I indicated a name change to First _ Middle _ My maiden _ Spouse's last. I submitted the SS5 form with the same desired name from the marriage certificate, but SSA sent me back a new card with my first and middle name as one name with no space _ mother's maiden name _ my maiden name _ spouses last.

    I called the office and they claim my first name isn't actually changed and they only took out the space because they have limited space in their fields.

    They also said in order to drop my mother's maiden name and change my middle name as I would like, then I need to change my birth certificate. I don't understand how that would work because I want my maiden name as part of my middle name and if I did that on my birth certificate, then I'd have no last name to put at birth.

    Ultimately, how do I go about getting the name I indicated on my marriage certificate? Do I have to get a court order?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      On marriage certificate, I indicated a name change to First _ Middle _ My maiden _ Spouse's last.

      Should work as shown by the California Name Equality Act.

      I submitted the SS5 form with the same desired name from the marriage certificate, but SSA sent me back a new card with my first and middle name as one name with no space

      What's the format of your card? First line and last line? I ask, because there should be 26 characters available on line one for your first and middle name. Then 26 spaces for your last name.

      they claim my first name isn't actually changed and they only took out the space because they have limited space in their fields

      They will clip names for lack of space. However, it should be stored correctly in their system. This is what allows you to have a funky looking card, but your driver's license renewed correctly when the DMV goes to query the SSA database for the full, non-truncated name.

      how do I go about getting the name I indicated on my marriage certificate? Do I have to get a court order?

      Something about this doesn't sound right. The California Name Equality Act allows you to join your middle name with your maiden name through marriage, with a space, hyphen, or flush. The SSA's own Programs Operations Manual for California Name Changes allows this:

      Each party to the marriage may adopt any of the following middle names: A combination of the current middle name and the birth last name of the person or spouse.

      So it's allowed through California law and SSA's internal guidelines.

      Ultimately, how do I go about getting the name I indicated on my marriage certificate? Do I have to get a court order?

      You shouldn't have to go to court. You may have gotten an agent that was mistaken and unaware of what's allowed. You can print the pertinent section of the PDF linked above and the POMS page (highlighting the middle name section) and ask for a correction and reissue.

      Reply
      1. Barbara

        Thank you so much for such a detailed (and quick) response.

        Now that I've had time to think more about the situation, a more specific question is: At birth my middle name was two parts — Middle name1 _ mother's maiden name.

        At marriage, I wanted to only drop the mother's maiden name half of my middle name and replace it with my now maiden name, making my middle name now Middle name1 _ my maiden name.

        Is this a legal change that doesn't require going to court or changing my birth certificate? Or is that what is meant by "segments" that aren't allowed according to the Name Equality Act?

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          At birth my middle name was two parts — Middle name1 _ mother's maiden name.

          Thanks for clarifying. Now I see the structure clearly. I read your original comment to mean your last name was your mother's maiden name. However, your mother's maiden is part of your middle name.

          At marriage, I wanted to only drop the mother's maiden name half of my middle name and replace it with my now maiden name, making my middle name now Middle name1 _ my maiden name.

          That's not possible through marriage. In California, you can't drop a portion of your middle name. You can add to it or replace it, but you can slice it up.

          Is this a legal change that doesn't require going to court or changing my birth certificate?

          You would have to go to court.

          Or is that what is meant by "segments" that aren't allowed according to the Name Equality Act?

          Correct. Segments are allowed for your last name, but not your middle name.

          Reply
      2. Barbara

        Oh sorry, and to answer your question, yes my SS card has two lines. It is formatted as ( First name and middle name 1 with no space, Mother's maiden initial ) on the first line, and ( Spouses last name ) on the second line.

        They could have fit my first name + middle name + mothers maiden + my maiden all on the first line if they had clipped the space between my mother's and my maiden name as well.

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          They could have fit my first name + middle name + mothers maiden + my maiden all on the first line

          There should be 26 characters allocated for line one and another 26 for line two.

          Reply
  53. Melissa

    Hi, I was married in IL in 2010, I live in Florida now. I took my husbands last name in 2010. First, Middle, Husbands surname. I would now like to change to First, maiden, husbands surname which is also my current surname. Do I need a court order?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Melissa. Yes, you'd need a court order at this point. If you only changed it on your social security card, you can pursue a name reversal (internally it's called a "correction") using your marriage certificate. But since your name change was over a decade ago, I assume you've changed your name on an array of documents, including your driver's license or non-driver ID card. You would need to file a court petition.

      Reply
  54. MyKieu

    Hello! I got married in 2017 in California. On my marriage certificate, I changed my last name to my husband's and kept my middle name the same. Now I would like to change my middle name to my maiden name instead.

    I haven't changed my name with any government entity since being married, but would like to do that now. Will Social Security, DMV, etc. only accept the new name indicated on my marriage certificate? Will I need a Court order? Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi MyKieu. Yes, you're locked into the name shown on your marriage certificate. The SSA and DMV will only accept that name. You'll have to get a court order to deviate.

      Reply
  55. J

    I’m in WA state and my name on my marriage license reads given First, given Middle, Husband’s last name. When I got my SSN/passport/driver’s license, I used my Maiden name for my middle. So, all my ID forms show First Name, Maiden for middle name, husband’s last name.

    My question is: what is my legal name and is a middle name a part of the legal name? Is it what is listed on my ID’s or marriage license?? I am wanting to update my maiden name to my legal name on my Canadian citizenship paperwork, but I’m worried it will cause issues with my marriage license not matching my ID’s. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      My question is: what is my legal name and is a middle name a part of the legal name? Is it what is listed on my ID’s or marriage license?

      Your ID. The new name on your marriage certificate gives you the option to change. It's not mandatory.

      Reply
  56. Kristina

    Thanks in advance for the help! I'm a resident of California but am getting married in Illinois where it does not allow you to list your new name on the marriage license.

    I want to keep my current middle name, move my maiden name to a second middle name, and take my partner's last name as my new last name. Is this possible in California if my marriage license from Illinois does not allow me to indicate this?

    From what I understand I can do this with my SSN/passport but may have trouble with the DMV.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      move my maiden name to a second middle name

      Yes, you can add your maiden name to your middle name, separated by a hyphen or space.

      Reply
      1. Kristina

        Thanks! So even though my marriage license will not list my new names, California will still allow me to add a middle name? I thought this could only be done if it was indicated on the marriage license?

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          Hi Kristina. You're correct. Since it's not listed in Illinois, at best you can replace your middle with your maiden.

          Reply
          1. Kristina

            Thanks! Just to clarify – Can I add my maiden name to my existing middle (separated with a space), or can I only replace my current middle with my maiden?

          2. Tyrone Jones

            Hi Kristina. You can only replace your entire middle with your maiden.

  57. Jane

    Hello, I live in NJ. When I got married in 2014, I took my husband’s last name. I’ve always felt disconnected though by losing my maiden name (it has so much meaning to me). I recently discovered though I could have my maiden name as my middle. I think I would have a hard time parting with my current middle name though. Is it possible in NJ to have two middle names?

    Current: (First) Jane (Middle) Ann (Last) Smith
    Change: (First) Jane (Middle) Ann Jones (Last) Smith

    I understand petitioning to the court would be necessary, but wanted to see if two names would be possible before I start the process.

    Thanks for the feedback!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Is it possible in NJ to have two middle names?

      Yes, it's possible.

      I understand petitioning to the court would be necessary, but wanted to see if two names would be possible before I start the process.

      The court would allow such a name change.

      Reply
      1. Jane

        Thanks for the response Valera! I appreciate the feedback. Another thing I’ve read about NJ is about publishing the change request in the newspaper, but I can’t seem to find information about that. Do you know if it’s like a local newspaper or something else? Or would the court let me know?

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          Do you know if it’s like a local newspaper or something else?

          It's a local newspaper. Please see the court section of the NJ name change page for further details.

          Reply
  58. Paulina

    Hello from NC,
    I just got my Naturalization certificate last week with my First and Last husband's name on it. Everywhere else I use my first name and last maiden name, no middle name. I will be applying for a U.S. passport and would like to add a maiden name as my middle name and keep my husband's last name. Do I need to go through the court to do that or notify USCIS to make this change for me ?

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Paulina. You'll use your naturalization certificate.

      Reply
  59. Elizabeth Henning

    1. Can you make your husband's name your legal middle name?
    2. Or, could I take my husband's last name, but use my maiden name for writing publications?

    I have a common first and last name. I want to take my future husband's last name. However, I'm a writer in process of publishing books. I want to use my abbreviated first name (less common) and maiden last name as an author, as it's not as common and sounds more writerly, if you will….

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Can you make your husband's name your legal middle name?

      You might be able to do this. It depends on the state. Could you specify? And did your marriage already take place?

      Or, could I take my husband's last name, but use my maiden name for writing publications?

      You can write under a pseudonym or pen name, but it wouldn't be your legal name. For instance, it wouldn't be the name you'd use when signing contracts or filing taxes.

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth

        Not yet, next month! I think what I really want to do is have two middle names. The idea is to have my regular middle name plus my maiden name as my middle names. Then just take his last name….

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          Hi Elizabeth. The double middle name may be possible, but I'd have to know your state to drill down further.

          Reply
          1. Tyrone Jones

            Hi Elizabeth. Two middles aren't possible in Texas through marriage.

  60. Chrissy

    Hi
    I am trying to figure out if I need to petition the court to add my middle name to my current middle name and change my last name to my husbands. We just got married a month ago in MT, and I wrote my maiden name on the marriage certificate. So I am wanting my name to be xxx, xxx-xxx, xxx. The social security office made it sound like I could just write it how I want but I wasn't sure if this covered me.
    Thanks.

    Reply
  61. Sara

    I live in Indiana and was married 4 years ago and I have yet to change my name.

    I'd now like to change my name to First Name, Maiden Name, Married Name. I called SSA and they said they can only change the last name for marriage, and I'd have to go to the court for middle name change. Is that correct?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Sara. You can change your middle name using your marriage certificate. You're limited by to your maiden name replacing your middle.

      Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          Hi Carole. No, there are states that provide greater flexibility with middle name changes, such as California and Nevada. There aren't any states that would allow a first name change through marriage.

          Reply
  62. Jan

    Hi, I'm getting married soon in California and I don't want to mess up my paperwork. Is there a way I keep both my middle and maiden name and just add my future spouse's last name to it without hyphenating it? If so how would I do it?

    Reply
    1. jan

      would i just add a space on the paperwork when entering new last name? maiden name *space* married name?

      Reply
    2. Tyrone Jones

      Is there a way I keep both my middle and maiden name and just add my future spouse's last name to it without hyphenating it?

      Yes, you must write that precisely on the new name after marriage block on your marriage license application.

      Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi CC. You should change your name where you live, which is New Jersey.

      Reply
  63. Pat

    Yes getting married in Texas but want to keep my Madian name. Can this be done. Might move to Louisiana after married awhile will I run into a problem if I’m drawing disability. Do I need to report getting married in Texas

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      getting married in Texas but want to keep my Madian name. Can this be done.

      You can keep your maiden name after marriage. That's the default if you don't pursue a name change post-marriage.

      Do I need to report getting married in Texas

      Your marriage is reported once your marriage license is returned for recording to the county clerk who issued it.

      Reply
  64. Jody

    I am getting married for the second time, currently my last name and my children's last names are the same, and I really don't want to give up that name completely.

    I would really like my name to be First, Middle-Maiden-Kidslastname, Newlastname. Is it possible to hyphenate my middle name like that, so that i can keep all of the names?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Jody. It depends on the state. Can you share which state your marriage will take place as well as your state of residence?

      Reply
          1. Jody

            Thank you so much for the information.
            I really appreciate you taking the time, to help me.

  65. Treena

    HI, I changed my name when married in 2016 in CA. I kept my First name, changed my middle name to my maiden name and changed my last name to his last name. I changed my social, drivers license, bank etc… I went to get a Live ID at DMV and she said with changing my middle name I have all these issues now and can't get it. Saying I have to appeal to the court, get in front of a judge, pay a huge fee..etc.. is this correct?? Thank you

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Treena. Assuming 1) your marriage license was issued on or after January 1, 2009, and 2) your new middle name was shown on your marriage license, you shouldn't face a problem changing your name across federal and state entities.

      Such name changes are covered under California's Name Equality Act. You can read further on the California name change page.

      Reply
      1. Treena

        Thank you Valera! Yes my birth Cert says Treena Danielle Digrazia , I got married 2016 says that on marriage cert. Then after I changed name on social and all other docs to Treena Digrazia (Then my new last name from my husband).. DMV rejected my docs.. So weird. Thanks for all the info!

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          my birth Cert says Treena Danielle Digrazia , I got married 2016 says that on marriage cert.

          Your marriage certificate would have to show your new full name when going to the DMV. Your name transitions aren't clear to me. You're saying your birth certificate shows your birth name as Treena Danielle Digrazia, but your marriage certificate shows that as your legal name? What does it say for your new name, if any?

          Then after I changed name on social and all other docs to Treena Digrazia

          I'm assuming you didn't drop your middle name?

          Then my new last name from my husband

          As stated at the beginning, I'm not sure about your name sequence. I'm wondering if your earlier reference to "birth Cert" was a typo for marriage cert? Please clarify.

          Reply
  66. Jenny

    I got married last year in August and just recently filed paperwork to change my name. I filled out the paperwork, made my maiden name my middle name, and took my husband's last name. I successfully received my new social security card.

    In looking into correcting my professional work license and driver's license is when I found out that I was not allowed to do this. I truly wasn't aware that the state of NJ did not allow my maiden name to become my middle name.

    Will I be able to change my professional work license and driver's license with my new social security card and marriage license?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Jenny. Unfortunately, you won't be able to effect those name changes at the state-level.

      If necessary, you may want to consider reversing your name change and starting again with a clean slate that'll satisfy the SSA and DMV/MVC.

      The alternative is to pursue a name change through court.

      Reply
  67. MM

    I need to renew my passport which already has my married name and I would like to add my maiden name as a middle name. Possible to do?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi MM. That would require a second name change through court petition.

      Reply
  68. Jacquelyn Nano

    Hello,
    I've married, but my marriage license didn't have the option for middle name. I live in Massachusetts. I'd like to add my maiden name to my middle name, or maybe even replace my middle name with my maiden name. Is this possible?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Jacquelyn. You can replace your middle name with your maiden name using your marriage certificate as-is.

      Reply
  69. Emma Courtney

    Hi! I was recently married and want to make my maiden name part of my middle name, so I’d have two middle names, then my husbands last name. Should I go to SS office first to do this, then petition the NJ courts, then get my license updated?

    Reply
  70. Kali

    I wanted to add my maiden name to my middle name and SSA allowed me but I didn't petition to change it and the DMV wouldn't let me put my full name on my id. Do I have to petition to have my middle name updated or does my social security card suffice for that name change? The worker kept saying my social security card isn't a "legal document."

    I know that my id and passport doesn't require a middle name but I'm just concerned that with my name not being the same across all my legal documents, including my social security card, that I will run into trouble…? Or would it matter if my social security card includes my middle name + maiden name but not my id and passport?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      the DMV wouldn't let me put my full name on my id.

      The SSA operates on federal law and rules, while the DMV operates on state statutes. You're experiencing an area where the SSA is more lenient than the DMV.

      Do I have to petition to have my middle name updated or does my social security card suffice for that name change?

      You do if you want your driver's license to match your social security record character-by-character.

      The worker kept saying my social security card isn't a "legal document."

      True.

      I'm just concerned that with my name not being the same across all my legal documents, including my social security card, that I will run into trouble…?

      Although your documents don't have to match. You can get issued a SS card, driver's license, and passport with slight variations. However, it's more common for social security and driver's license to match. Many DMVs (or equivalents) will not permit a mismatch.

      Where it could get you into "trouble" is unpredictable. If you faced a situation where a minor omission of part of your middle name becomes a problem, you can 1) explain it away, 2) present a copy of your marriage certificate to reconcile the name differences, or 3) consider if it's worthwhile to petition the court for a name change to force your driver's license to match your social security record/card.

      Or would it matter if my social security card includes my middle name + maiden name but not my id and passport?

      See prior response.

      Reply
  71. Amy

    I live in Washington state, where middle name changes at marriage aren’t allowed, but I’m getting married in Nevada. Ideally I’d go from First Middle Maiden to First Middle Middle/Maiden Married. Will Washington recognize this change?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Will Washington recognize this change?

      Unfortunately, no, they will not.

      Reply
  72. Sara

    Hi! I live in CA and I just got married this year. My marriage certificate has First Name and husbands last name only. However I changed my mind and want to do first name (maiden name as middle name) then husbands last name. I haven't changed any other documents. Is it still possible to do that? I've heard I'm stuck with what’s on my marriage certificate.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I haven't changed any other documents. Is it still possible to do that?

      You do not have to change any other documents.

      I've heard I'm stuck with what’s on my marriage certificate.

      You are stuck in the sense that you can't modify your marriage certificate, but that doesn't obligate you to change your name to match what's on the certificate. You can ignore your certificate and move on.

      Reply
  73. Jana

    Hi! I'm just starting this process and I'm not sure which state laws to check. I was married in TN & that's where my driver's license is currently, but we are now living in IL, so I am planning on processing my state name change here, so I can get a new license at the same time.

    I want to do a name change that's: FirstName MiddleName MaidenName HisLastname, but I want to make sure that TN or IL allow this before I submit this new name to SS. Our marriage license did not have a place for a new name yet, so I am free to figure it out now. Do you know which states resources I need to check to see if they allow for 2 middle names?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Jana. Neither IL nor TN will ask for your new name on your marriage application. AFAIK, both states are unlikely to approve anything beyond replacing your middle name with your maiden name.

      Reply
  74. Lauren

    Hi! I was married in Iowa in May 2022. We currently live in Minnesota. When filling out the marriage application, I was not aware that it would be my legal document for a name change. So now our marriage certificate says my maiden first and middle name with my husbands last name.

    However, I wanted my maiden last name as my middle name. I have tried to figure out how to amend our certificate but continue to get the run around. I understand I will have to petition the court — however, when I spoke with a person at the court offices in MN they were indicating I needed an attorney, etc. This did not seem to be the case when I spoke with the registrar office in IA (however, I haven't been able to get a hold of the actual IA court office).

    I would love some insight on if one state seems to be more streamlined, do I need an attorney, etc. (I'm not even sure what "petition the court" truly means.) I have not moved forward with any name change with SS office. I feel dumb for not realizing this right from the start. Thank you!!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      now our marriage certificate says my maiden first and middle name with my husbands last name

      I'm not sure what the placement and sequence is here. Could you please clarify?

      when I spoke with a person at the court offices in MN they were indicating I needed an attorney

      You can file the Minnesota court petition yourself. An attorney is optional.

      I haven't been able to get a hold of the actual IA court office

      Since you live in Minnesota, that's where your name change will take place. The action at this point wouldn't be in Iowa.

      Reply
  75. D

    Hi,
    I am getting married soon and am applying for a marriage license in CA. On the CA online application, is it mandatory to include the middle name and do I just leave it blank? If I leave the middle name section blank, will that drop my middle name with my new last name (husband's last name)?

    Thank you.

    Reply
      1. D

        Thank you for your response.

        Is it mandatory to include the middle name in the application? I do not wish to change or drop my middle name. I just don't ever use my middle name on anything I apply for. Thank you.

        Reply
        1. Tyrone Jones

          Is it mandatory to include the middle name in the application?

          Yes, you must include your middle name on the application. The county clerk should alert you if you omit it.

          Reply
  76. Lisa

    I was born in NJ, but married in PA. I will be moving to PA. Will I still face an issue when trying to change my middle name?

    Reply
  77. Lisa

    Hi there. I have 2 questions regarding name changes. I was married 11 months ago in Florida, and legally changed my last name to a hyphenated name of my maiden last name and husband's. Now I think it's too long. Would I have to get a court petition and pay to change it again? I would like to make my middle name my maiden name and my husband's name as my last name.

    The second question is that I am also toying with the idea of changing my first name to a combination of my first name and my birth given middle name with no spaces or hyphens.

    If you can please let me know if either or both option can be done with only my marriage certificate at the SSA and the DMV without a court petition since I already changed my name via marriage. Thank you in advance for your help.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Would I have to get a court petition and pay to change it again? I would like to make my middle name my maiden name and my husband's name as my last name.

      There's an undo option for social security, but you may face resistance with the DMV.

      The second question is that I am also toying with the idea of changing my first name

      That requires petitioning your Florida circuit court. If you're going this route, you can complete your full name change altogether, rather than piecing it together here and there.

      Reply
  78. Mahira

    Hi can I put my husband's middle name on my surname because his full name Raja Shahrukh Sabir? So I want to add his middle name Mahira Shahrukh. Is that right to change my husband name like that? Please let me know so confused.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Mahira. Could you specify where your marriage took place and if it's the same place where you live?

      Reply
  79. Denise

    If I go and drop my middle name and put my maiden name, will I have to change it on my license? Could I still use my first and my new middle name or do I have to change all my documents? My banks, my insurance with my new name?

    My husband has four names on his SSA when I asked to add my maiden name with my married name they said no that I have to have only three names on my SSA which made no sense.

    But what I'm trying to say is I drop my middle name and put my maiden name. Can I go by my first and my maiden name or do I have to go by my first and maiden name and my married last name.

    It sounds confusing I'm sorry if I confused you but I'm trying to get the right answers before I do this.

    😊 Thanks

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      If I go and drop my middle name and put my maiden name, will I have to change it on my license?

      The driver licensing authority in most states expect you to notify them once you change the name on your social security card. The time frames varies. You can review the name change deadline article for specifics on your state.

      Could I still use my first and my new middle name or do I have to change all my documents? My banks, my insurance with my new name?

      I'm not sure what you're asking here. Once you change your name with social security, it's a good idea to complete it with other entities.

      My husband has four names on his SSA when I asked to add my maiden name with my married name they said no that I have to have only three names on my SSA which made no sense.

      The SSA allows spaces on your SS card. But if there's a new name cited on your marriage certificate, they'll only honor that name.

      The remaining rationale is that you've hit a character limit. Social security cards have two lines. The top line for your first and middle name. The bottom line for your last name. They allow 26 characters per line. Would your two last names exceeded 26 characters?

      But what I'm trying to say is I drop my middle name and put my maiden name.

      You can if you're not in a state that limits such changes.

      Can I go by my first and my maiden name or do I have to go by my first and maiden name and my married last name.

      Go by it how? Informally? On official ID? You can always opt to use your maiden name in non-legal contexts. But if you want to do something such as apply for a job in your maiden name, that would be a problem when it comes to background checks and social security.

      It sounds confusing I'm sorry if I confused you but I'm trying to get the right answers before I do this.

      If I'm not catching your angle, please reply back with an example, such as going from name ABC to DEF?

      Reply

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