731 Comments

When you're considering ways to change your name while honoring your maiden name, one of the best options to consider is adopting your new spouse's name and making your maiden name your new middle name. Since many people choose to adopt a new name, losing your old name can feel like a loss and some people even grieve it. If you are an only child or don't have children, you might worry how your parents will feel when your surname is lost. Making it a middle name is a great way to keep it in your life while still following marriage conventions as far as changing your name.

Pros of Maiden Middle Names

This option is particularly attractive not just for the sake of sentimentality. If you change your maiden name to your middle name, when you're dealing with unexpected little name changes at non-government institutions and need to quickly provide proof that you have just changed your name, having your maiden name as your middle name makes it easy to verify that you "added a name" and you're the same person. It's also great if you plan to continue using your maiden name in business for professional reasons, as using just part of your name is still common.

Satisfies Your Relatives

Your parents and other relatives might have a problem with you completely giving up your maiden name. Pride in your family and heritage can run deep, and giving up your name can feel like abandoning that heritage. If your name is particularly famous or linked to relatives you admire, choosing to make your maiden name into your middle name is a great 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 an entirely new name.

More Than One Middle Name?

About three in four people have a middle name now—and ten percent use it on a regular basis. If you already have a middle name, you have a dilemma: do you choose your new middle name instead of the old one, or do you have more than one middle name? The answer depends on how you feel about having more than one middle name. Some use two initials, or one initial and one middle name, and others use just one middle name on a regular basis and keep the other as strictly an official name. If the middle names clash, you might want to consider replacing your old middle name with the new one. Just remember: having more than one middle name can prove unwieldy, especially when it comes to forms and documents that only have space for one middle name on them.

Usually Easier Than Hyphenation

When you have your maiden name as a middle name, it's still easier than hyphenating your name. You won't struggle with an overly long 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. For someone who has a maiden name that just wouldn't sound good when hyphenated with their partner's name, a middle name may be a much better option. You will be able to more easily prove your connection to people in both sides of your family as necessary (which is especially important when it comes to childcare issues, such as flying with children). Plus, it means your last name won't be such a mouthful.

Helps Ease You Through the Transition

If you aren't thinking about hyphenating your last name because you just want a single last name, you're probably choosing your partner's name for convenience or because you like it. In doing so, you might feel a sense of loss. It isn't always about just keeping your relatives happy—you have to feel like you're inhabiting your new name as you go through changing all your paperwork and possibly updating your professional details. By keeping your middle name, it won't feel as scary because you won't feel like you need to abandon what you are familiar with. You get to take on your new name while keeping the old, which is definitely like having your cake and eating it, too!

Disadvantages of Maiden Middle Names

There are a few disadvantages to this option, of course. Certain states (see below) make the process trickier than average, though most don't. If you already have a middle name, you have to 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, and you may need to add this middle name to a lot of documents. Everything from your driver's license to passport must be in the exact same name with the same middle name, especially if your first and last names are both fairly common.

Some States Make This Tricky

Our site can help facilitate this name change in most states, but five states make the process trickier. These states are: New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington State. In these states, you need to petition the court to change your name from your maiden to middle name. The process can be relatively easy or stressful, depending on how much you like bureaucracy and the court system! For many people, it's stressful just because it takes more time and name changes can already be a time-consuming process. If you live in one of these states, hyphenation may well be the easiest option.

Changing your maiden name to your middle name is becoming increasingly popular as people try to find a balance between tradition and more practical modern alternatives. No matter whether you're leaning towards hyphenating, changing your name, creating a new last name, or keeping your maiden name, it's worth considering this as an option.

731 Comments

  1. Andrea

    I am reading so many conflicting things on the internet and wanted to see if you could help to clarify.
    I live in NYC. Got married in NY state. Marriage license says I am taking my husband's surname and I would like to change my middle name to my maiden name. Some things I have read say I need to get a court order to do this legally, and others say that if you just go to SSA and change on passport by showing marriage license for both (and both of those actually work- seems to be at discretion of SSA clerk) then you're good. But is this the case in NY? And is this considered a legal name change? Or do I need to get a court order? When I went to get copies of my marriage certificate from Brooklyn Marriage Bureau yesterday, I asked about changing my middle to maiden and they gave me the number of Brooklyn Civil Court for Name Changes. This number just rings and rings if you call it, so I wasn't able to get any information. Please help! I am traveling soon and need to sort out my passport! Thanks so much!

    Reply
  2. Bethany

    I'm getting married in a few months. When filling out the marriage license should I write the full name I want it to be changed to or should I write my given name on the license? Then when filling out the certificate I put the name I want it to be changed to right?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Bethany. If your marriage license application has a change to new name block, then you'd put it there. You wouldn't write anything on your certificate. The certificate will just mirror what you originally put on your license.

      Keep in mind, not all states/applications have a change to new name block. If yours doesn't, then your marriage certificate won't reflect a new, change to name. In that case, it wouldn't matter, you could still use that marriage certificate (showing your current/maiden name) to change your name.

      Reply
  3. Emma

    Hi,

    I got married last month and am trying to change my name. I live in Maine. I would like to make my new full legal name to have 2 middle names as opposed to one:

    First Name Middle Name Maiden Name Husbands Last Name.

    Is this possible to add a legal middle name so my middle name is now my current middle name and maiden name? I am not trying to hyphenate my maiden name with my new last name. I have yet to legally change my name.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Emma. You're looking at having to petition the court to append to your middle name.

      Reply
  4. Gabby

    I live in Texas and I'm getting married in March. I have a middle name but would like to drop it completely and make my current last name my middle name.

    My mother in law told me it wasn't possible. Can it be done??

    Reply
  5. ACP

    Hi, I got married in PA 12 years back. My marriage license and certificate shows my 'first name-maiden last name'. Now settled in CT. Till now all my official papers (GC, foreign passport, DMV, job, mortgage, credit card, etc) have my 'first name-maiden last name' listed. Now applying for citizenship through naturalization (N400) and also considering legal name change to my husband's last name using the same form. Can I use my maiden name as my new middle name? I do not have any middle name currently. I do not want to hyphenate the last name and make it very lengthy. All I want is 'my first name-maiden last name(as middle)-husband's last name'. Is that legally possible in CT? Please suggest. Thanks.

    Reply
  6. Lynette McColl

    I don't have a middle name. My parents couldn't figure one out one that sounded good. I am not looking to use my maiden name, but my nickname is Lynn (Lynette is full name). Some documents are in one or the other name. Would it be a good idea to use my nickname as a middle name and make it legal?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lynette. It's neither good nor bad. It's just a personal preference. You wouldn't be able to make a change like that through a marriage name change. You'd have to petition the court for that.

      Reply
  7. Kimi D

    How can this be done? What is the process? What document will suffice to show this change, the marriage certificate? Similar to the post above, I am a resident of Texas and when I get married, my maiden name will be become my new middle name and my last name will be my fiance's last name.

    Reply
  8. Michelle Rickey

    I'm not sure what to do with my last name since I do feel a sense of loss when thinking about ditching it. Although I imagine documents will be annoying, I'm thinking of hyphenating my middle name with my maiden name. Is that a thing?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michelle. It's an option, but not something that's guaranteed to be supported in all states.

      Reply
  9. Aly

    Hi there!

    My husband and I got married in Minnesota in August. On the marriage certificate it states my new name after marriage will be With my current middle name and New last name. I now want to add my maiden name as a middle name. We are currently living in Washington but I am not sure how long we will be here. I have not switched anything over yet. can I go through Minnesota since that's where we got married and will eventually move back to? Or do I have to go through Washington since we are currently living here?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Aly. You'll likely face resistance from the Department of Licensing. You may have to consider going with a court petitioned name change.

      Reply
  10. Jenna

    I live in CT and will be getting married next month. I do not want a long hyphenated last name, so I would like to take my maiden name as a second middle name.

    FirstName MiddleName MaidenName HusbandsLastName

    Can this be done?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jenna. I don't believe this is possible without a court order.

      Reply
  11. Rachel

    Can I make my maiden name my middle name in NYS through marriage?

    If not, what office takes care of this? Do I first change last name to husbands name and then separately petition to change my middle name?

    How much time do you typically have to update liscense, passport, etc.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rachel. Yes, you can change it in one process using your marriage certificate. There's no time limit to changing your name.

      Reply
      1. Irene

        Hi Valera,

        If you could take a moment to clarify this- I'm also getting married in New York, and I would like to use my maiden name as my middle name and my husbands name as my new legal last name. On the marriage license, there's a field for "new surname, if changing". Therefore, do I indicate the "new surname" as his last name? Where then do I state my maiden name as my new middle name?

        Thanks!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Therefore, do I indicate the "new surname" as his last name?

          Yes.

          Where then do I state my maiden name as my new middle name?

          You wouldn't have to. Your marriage certificate would be sufficient to change your middle name. Take a look at the NY middle to maiden and the general NY name change articles which explains this further.

          Reply
  12. EILEEN

    I am puertorrican currently living in KY. I am getting marries this July in Boston, so my marriagr license would be from Massachusetts. My question is as puertorrican we have two last names(name- fathers last name- mothers maiden name). I don't have a middle name and I would like to have my mothers maiden name as my middle name and take my future husbands last name. Would I have to go to court for this or am I able to just change it on my marriage license? Also how would this change work in PR?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Eileen. You'd likely have to go to court as you're looking to use just a portion of your last name.

      Reply
  13. Nicole

    Hi,

    I'm American but of South American descent, so my middle name is my mom's last name, and my last name is my dad's last name. I'd like to add my fiance's last name without dropping my last names, and without hyphen-ating. Is that possible? We are residents of New York city, but we have the option have being legally married in the state of Maryland as well if I'm not allowed to change my name the way I'd like to in NY. Do you know if this is at all possible? I know I have the option of moving my maiden names to my middle name, but I'd have 2 names as my middle name in that case..

    Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nicole. I don't believe using a space is an option. You could hyphenate, or combine the names without a space, but that's about it.

      Reply
  14. Melissa

    Hi, I kept my middle name and now decided I would really like to have my maiden name as my middle. Is this an easy process to do? Thank you for your advice.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Melissa. It depends on the state. A few won't do it at all. For states that require a new name be specified on the marriage license, not specifying it could prevent such a name change as well. So, it depends on the state. If none of these impediments exist, the process is easy. You'd just need a certified copy of your marriage record. Otherwise, the alternative is to go to court.

      Reply
  15. Susan Graham

    When I file my taxes I sign them my first name, middle initial then maiden and married name. My drivers license has just my first, middle and married. Can I add my maiden name on my DL so it matches what the IRS has?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Susan. Since you've already changed your name once with the DMV, you wouldn't be able to do it again without some other document (not your marriage record) signifying a new name change.

      Reply
  16. Trixie S.

    I would like to make my maiden name my middle name. Do I have to go through the courts to do that? Or can I simply do that through the process where I would change my last name to my married name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Trixie. In most states you can. Take a look at the last two paragraphs of the article for a list of states where it's not possible without going to court.

      Reply
  17. Abby

    Just went to pick up a marriage license and was wondering if I was suppose to sign it with my husbands last name or my legal name in the state of north Carolina

    Reply
  18. Kathy Skillern

    I was widowed and recently remarried in Texas. I would like to change my middle name to my deceased husbands last name due to my children and legal accounts etc…, but would like to take my new husbands last name. From what I am reading here, that can be done ar the Social Security office with just the marriage license. Is that correct? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kathy. That would work for your last name, but unlikely for the middle.

      Reply
  19. Ramona

    I live in New York, getting married this Nov 2017.I've been reading up on whether I can drop my middle name and make my maiden name my middle name. So my name would read First Maiden Husband Lastname. There so many conflicting stories where some people have been successful, while others were not successful in making such change.

    I noticed that on the NY marriage license form, writing your middle name is optional. If I do not list my middle name anywhere on the license form, would this make it easier to change my name with SSI to First Maiden Husbands Lastname?

    FYI : my current SSI card and passport reads First, Middle, Maiden.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I do not list my middle name anywhere on the license form, would this make it easier to change my name with SSI to First Maiden Husbands Lastname?

      Omitting it wouldn't do much as those organizations already have reference to your middle name in their records.

      Reply
  20. Jay

    We got married 4 years ago and I used my last name (Lopez) as my middle name and took his last name(Garcia). I never changed my last name in any documents because I didn't want to go through the stress while I was in school. My husband and I talked about it and he suggested I should just drop his last name and keep my maiden name. Is there any consequences to not changing my last name in all these years?? What would be the process to changing my surname in the marriage certificate??? Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there any consequences to not changing my last name in all these years?

      No.

      What would be the process to changing my surname in the marriage certificate?

      You'd have to file an amendment request, but those are typically reserved for errors.

      Reply
  21. Elinor

    I already have 2 middle names and would like to drop 1 middle name. Can I do this at the same time as changing my last name? (With the marriage certificate) Or do I have to change my middle name through the court and then change my last name with my marriage certificate? This is for Oregon, and we're not yet married. I just don't want to have to go through 2 name changes in a very short period of time. If I do have to go through 2 name changes, is it better to change my middle name before or after getting married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I already have 2 middle names and would like to drop 1 middle name. Can I do this at the same time as changing my last name? (With the marriage certificate) Or do I have to change my middle name through the court and then change my last name with my marriage certificate? This is for Oregon, and we're not yet married.

      You can modify your middle name a variety of ways in Oregon using your marriage certificate, but dropping a part of it is only possible by petitioning the court.

      I just don't want to have to go through 2 name changes in a very short period of time.

      If you go the court route, you can do the middle and last name change simultaneously.

      If I do have to go through 2 name changes, is it better to change my middle name before or after getting married?

      It doesn't matter.

      Reply
  22. Alissa

    Hi! Do you know if you make your maiden name your middle name on your SSI card first if you have to wait until the new card comes in to go to the DMV to get new driver's license or you can go the same day? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Alissa. You don't have to wait for your new card to arrive. Just space out your SSA and DMV visit at least one day.

      Reply
  23. Travis

    Hello,
    My wife and I just got married in Michigan and as part went through the name change process. My wife took my last name but also changed the spelling of her middle name on the marriage license. Social security already changed her SS card to reflect both the middle and last name change. We went today to the Florida DMV to update her drivers license as well and they would not update her middle name and only her last name, even though Social Security changed it. They told us we would need a court order to do this. So now she has two different ID cards with different spellings. Michigan told us this wouldn't be an issue, if we knew this would of been a problem she wouldn't of changed the spelling of it. Any help and information you could give us would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for your time.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Travis. You can try and get an amendment of your marriage certificate from the Michigan county clerk's office. Explain you were given faulty information and perhaps they'll accommodate. Option two is to get a court ordered name change, as suggested by the Florida DMV.

      Reply
  24. Sara

    This was probably answered above but wanted to confirm. I will changing my name from "FirstName MiddleName LastName" to "FirstName MaidenName HisSurname" and wanted to know if I need to go to the court for this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sara. Check the last two paragraphs of the article which discusses the states where this isn't possible.

      Reply
  25. sarah

    I recently got a divorce and in the documents it allows for me to take back my maiden name as my surname. I live in Alabama. If I want to change my middle name when I go back to my maiden name, do I have to go to court? Thanks!

    Reply
  26. Sarah Zwart

    Hello,
    I just got married in NY, where my parents live. Only a few weeks before then did I move to PA.
    In NY, they would not let me change my middle name to my maiden name, so on the marriage certificate it says first-middle-husbands name instead of first-maiden-husbands name. Would PA accept the change on my social security card in this scenario, with the incorrect name on my marriage certificate?

    Reply
  27. Christina Ensor

    I am getting married in MD this November. When I do to SSA, can I just add his last name to my existing name, keeping my maiden name? Ex: from Christina Mae Smith to Christina Mae Smith Jones

    Reply
  28. Carla

    I live in PA and I would like to change my maiden name to my last name. I was able to do this at the social security office with no problem. The DMV said I have to bring supporting documentation (social security card + 2 forms of other identification ie bank statement and voter registration) with this new name change to then change my driver license. Is this true? I have also read of people being able make this change at the DMV and others saying it did not work. Additionally, those who were able to make this change at the DMV, they said they then had trouble changing their passport.

    Is there a final consensus of what the rule is in PA?? I can't find consistent language anywhere on the web :(

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I would like to change my maiden name to my last name.

      Could you please clarify this change. Are you trying to restore your maiden name as your surname? Is this the result of a divorce?

      Reply
  29. Diana

    Hi, I don't have a middle name and I planned on keeping it that way when I married my husband. I went to go get my last name changed on my driver license and the lady told me I have to make my last name my middle name since I don't have a middle name. That Texas requires 3 names.Is this true?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Diana. You're not the first person to report this in Texas, which appears to be an internal system specific to the DMV.

      Reply
  30. Lisa

    I recently got married in Maryland. This is my second marriage. When I got married the first time, I officially changed my name to my first husband's last name. So I became: First Name/Given Middle Name/1st Husband Last Name. I never changed my name after divorce because I didn't need the hassle. Now, many years later, I'm remarried and changing my name. This time, I'm changing my Middle and Last Names. It's now: First Name/Maiden Name as Middle Name/2nd Husband Last Name. I successfully managed to make this change with the SS office and DMV. However, I got tripped up on my passport. They said that they could only process the passport as First Name/Given Middle Name/2nd Husband Last Name. I'm annoyed because now the middle names on my IDs don't match. Is there a process to get my passport to match? How do I "prove" the new middle name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lisa. Assuming you've provided multiple forms of documentation showing all your prior name variations (e.g., prior passports, birth certificates, and driver's license), you may want to try another office or agent.

      Reply
      1. Lisa

        I called the Passport office and they said that I'd need to get a court order to change my middle name. They said the new SSA card doesn't serve as legal documentation.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Lisa. The legal documentation would typically be a certified copy of your marriage certificate and not the SS card.

          Reply
  31. Laria

    Hi. I am struggling with a name dilemma that I don't think is addressed above. Maybe you can help. I live in California and am thinking of adding another middle name: First, Middle, Middle, Last. The name would be that of my stepfather. He is not adopting me, but as a symbol of who he is in my life, I would like to take his surname. My understanding is that it is fairly simple in terms of adding the name. What I am worried about is all of the other documents that would need to be changed: ss#, passport, licenses, mortgage, work, credit, etc. Do you know, if I am just adding a middle name, do I need to change everything? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Laria. If you're just going to petition the court to obtain an order reflecting your new name choice, then your name doesn't actually change until you update those institutions you cited. Just because you get a court order doesn't mean you have to follow through with the change.

      Reply
      1. Laria

        Thanks Valelra. To clarify, I thought in CA I just needed to submit a form, not get a court order. If I complete the form then I can choose to use the name or not even thought I am some how registered in the state with the new name?

        Reply
        1. Laria

          Sorry, adding to the thought…The form is an affidavit to change a vital record. However, because it would be a middle name and my middle name does not appear on all of the said institutional forms perhaps I still don't need to make the changes to those records?

          Reply
          1. Valera

            Hi Laria. Once you're granted a court order, you can use it to change the name on your vital records.

  32. Xie

    Thank you for this informative site. At first I was not thinking about any conflicts when it comes to changing names after marriage. My fiance is from PA and after reading this article I feel sad because I feel like i will lose my identity. 😢

    Reply
  33. Andriana niepes gonzales

    Hello! A pleasant day to you. I just want to ask something. I am widowed since 5months ago my husband pass away.. I just thinking remarrying later if time permits. I just thinking what would be my middle name is it if happens? I am andriana niepes-gonzales this gonzales is my husband's name.. However i get married again what would be my middle name, is it niepes or gonzales? Please help me answers my questions. Thank you!

    Reply
  34. Mary Katherine

    Hi Valera,

    Thank you for answering all of these questions. I too, am about to get married. I go by my first and middle name, as a double name. I want to take my husband's last name, but I would love to keep my last name as well, without hyphening. So would it be First Middle Maiden Husband…would that be appropriate? For example, if my name now is Mary Katherine Smith and I go by Mary Katherine. If I used all of my names it would be Mary Katherine Smith Johnson. I definitely don't want to drop the Katherine and just be Mary Smith Johnson because that leaves out part of the name I go by. I could be Mary Katherine Johnson but that would leave off my maiden name and I'm sentimental about it. What would you do?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mary Katherine. Spaces-separated, double-barrelled surnames aren't very well supported when changing your name using your marriage record. If you can change it, then it's a nonissue. If you can't do it through the marriage, you can do it by petitioning the court. The alternative to either of those routes is to use your preferred name choice informally, in social situations.

      Reply
    2. Chrisrina

      If it were my name, I would make "Mary Katherine" a space separated FIRST name, take my maiden as my new middle, and then take husband's surname. Court order, but solves the problem!

      Reply
  35. Patsy

    Hi, I recently got married in California and added my Husband's last name to the end of mine. Now I have my first, middle, maiden, and his last name. Someone told me that since my last name comes first, I'm still legally a "Smith" and not legal my Husband's last name. I worked so hard to get this name and it means so much to me. What is the correct legal way to go? I'm struggling with emotions, and I am thinking of doing the whole thing over and doing first, maiden, his last name. Please help. :0(

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Someone told me that since my last name comes first, I'm still legally a "Smith" and not legal my Husband's last name.

      I don't know what this person is referring to.

      I worked so hard to get this name and it means so much to me. What is the correct legal way to go?

      Obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate, then use it to change your name with the various institutions.

      Reply
  36. Doris

    Hi there,

    I live in MD and I am getting married soon. I am planning to change my FirsName MiddleName FirstLastName MaidenLastName TO MyNickname HusbandLastName.
    I want to know if that's possible. If it is not I can change it to FirstName HusbanLastName.

    I am Hispanic and this is the way normally families do when they put the names to their kids, 2 names and 2 last names (dad first and mom second) Just giving you an idea of how it works so you can understant.

    Thanks in advance,

    Reply
    1. Valera

      MyNickname HusbandLastName. I want to know if that's possible. If it is not I can change it to FirstName HusbanLastName.

      You can't change to your nickname. That would require a court order. You can make the latter change though.

      Reply
  37. Kim

    Hi,
    I recently just got married in Massachusetts. On the marriage license, there was no space for me to put my name change other than what my surname would be after marriage. I would like to change my middle name to my maiden name. Is this still possible when applying for my new social security card or would this involve a court order? I haven't done any of the paper work yet for it.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  38. Jen

    Thank you for all of your advice. I've read a lot, but I'm still unsure if I can make my preferred changes without a court order here in MI.

    When I was previously married, I dropped my maiden surname for my then husbands, making it first/givenmiddle/husbands last. I kept it as such after divorce (did not petition for maiden restoration). Now I'm getting married again, and would like to change it to first/givenmiddle maidenas2ndmiddle/newhusbandslast, dropping my ex-husbands surname entirely. Is that possible with just the marriage certificate in MI, or does it require court intervention since my maiden name is not currently a part of my legal name?

    Reply
  39. Jena Rutan

    I recently had an issue similar to the first one listed. I live in North Carolina and was married last year. I changed my middle name to my maiden name and my last name to my husband’s via the Social Security office. Now, I recently tried to change my middle name with The ‘US department of the interior office of the special trustee for American Indians’ — Since my marriage license has my maiden name, they will only change the last name on my account and not my middle name. In North Carolina, you do not have to get a court order to change your middle name to your maiden last name… you only have to go to the Social Security office. But the US department of the interior only allows marriage certificate and/or court orders for my middle name to be changed on my trustee account. I spoke with them earlier today as well as a supervisor, and they absolutely refuse to change my middle name. They said it doesn’t matter how long ago I got married and how long ago my name was changed, I have to go back to the court and try to get an order. I am so frustrated with this process… Do you have any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jena. NC marriage licenses and certificates don't provide spaces to provide a new name, so only your maiden would be reflected anyway. Can you get the rep to print the internal rule that disallows the change? It's possible you've interacted with someone who's mistaken.

      Reply
  40. Lynn

    Hi,

    I got married in 2013 and put my real middle name with my husband's last name on my marriage certificate. I haven't legally changed my name yet (procrastination:)) and I have now decided that I would like to change my middle name to my maiden name, and then have my husband's last name as my new last name. I live in California. Do I have to change my marriage certificate?? What do I need to do? Please help because I can't find this info anywhere and I'd like to get this name change process rolling (finally!). Thank you!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lynn. California requires that you specify your new name on your marriage license application, which will be reflected on your certificate. If you didn't do this, you'd have to petition the court for a name change.

      Reply
      1. Lynn

        Thanks for the response! My marriage certificate shows that I was going to change my name and keep my original middle name. I haven't ACTUALLY changed my name legally yet though. I've decided that I'd rather use my maiden name as my middle name. So, I need to change it on the marriage certificate. But how do I do that? Thanks!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Lynn. Although California does provide a way to amend a marriage certificate, it does not allow it for name changes.

          Reply
  41. Shauna

    How do I go about changing my name? I was just married in MA and on the marriage license I hyphenated my last name. I now think I prefer to not hyphenate and have 2 middle names, my current and maiden, together.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Shauna. Two middle names wouldn't be possible without obtaining a court order.

      Reply
  42. Ashley

    I live in Indiana and was recently married. I would like to add my maiden name as a second middle name and take my husband's last name.

    Is this possible through the normal marriage name change process in Indiana?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ashley. A second middle name would require petition the court. You could take your husband's last name without petitioning the court.

      Reply
  43. Maria

    In Texas: Changed name with SS to First Name, SurName, Maiden lastname but the DMV said it was wrong. Any info on this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Maria. Taking your spouse's surname as your middle name wouldn't be accepted for a marriage name change.

      Reply
  44. Jules

    I live in Arkansas & am about to be married in 2 weeks. I want to take my madien name as my middle name, then my husband’s name as my last name. How do I do that? Is the specific way we fill out the marriage certificate?

    Reply
    1. Jules

      Also, when I change my Social Security card, do you know if that automatically changes your Medicare card too? Thanks!

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Jules. If the application has a spot to specify a new name (which I don't believe Arkansas does), enter it. If it doesn't provide such a spot, just enter your current legal name. When you obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate you can use it to change your name as you'd prefer.

      Reply
      1. Jules

        So my marriage certificate & my Social Security card/DMV info won’t be the same in my case? Thanks for the info too, by the way. I appreciate it. 🙏🏻

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Jules. Your marriage certificate will show your current legal name, which wouldn't prevent you from changing it.

          Reply
  45. Megan

    Hey Valera, thank you for answering everyone's questions. I'm in a bit of a pinch myself at the moment, and maybe you can help.

    I went to the SSO back in 2013 after my wedding to change my name from FirstName MiddleName MaidenName to FirstName MaidenName HisName. The lady who processed my application in NM said that she "couldn't" move my maiden name to be my new middle name and instead listed "MaidenName HisName" as my full last name (deleting my middle name entirely) with a space in the middle. I didn't find out until I had to file taxes the next year since the name on the SS card that I received "looks" correct. It is listed correctly on all of my other documentation (DL, etc.), but I need to renew my passport and I'm worried that they will insist on the "full" last name that the SS lady gave me instead of my actual name.

    I really would like to have the maiden name in it's proper spot (as the middle name, not a double last name), but I'm not sure if this will just be a correction or if it will need a court order to fix? (We are in CO now.)
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Megan. You may want to consider returning to the social security office and having a correction processed. It's quite possible the agent you dealt with several years ago was mistaken.

      Reply
    2. Annie

      Definitely go to a Social Security office in person asap with as many documents as possible in your preferred name format, and tell them it was their mistake; request a name correction (not "change"). Your passport renewal/name change form should have a spot for first/middle/surname, so fill it in accordingly along with whatever else they require (marriage certificate, ID, etc.). They only need proof of a SS number. And note to future brides: do NOT let some clerk/dmv worker/et al pressure you to change your name to a format you're not happy with because of their "rules." Ask for a supervisor, etc. You can always renew a license in your maiden/current name temporarily until you can go back with the correct document(s) needed to change your name the way you wish. But once it's done, it's done, and it's virtually impossible to change it afterward, even if it was their mistake. You don't want an alias/mismatching documents. Proofread before you leave the counter, and don't settle for a name that some misinformed bureaucrat thinks you're "supposed" to have.

      Reply
  46. Sandy Dureja

    Hi Valera,
    I would really appreciate if you could answer my question.

    I was married in the state of New York. In the marriage certificate my maiden name shows as middle name hyphenated and my husband’s last name. Now my parents are in the process of making a living trust and they wrote my name with no hyphenation ie. my first name, middle name and last name.

    Can you please tell me if there will be any legal complications after their death.

    Thanks a lot.

    Thanks a lot.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sandy. There shouldn't be any legal problems as long as you're able to verify your identity.

      Reply
  47. Agnes DeRaad

    When I married in Illinois 47 years ago, I changed to First-Maiden-His Name (but no place on marriage certificate to to indicate this). Every official and financial document lists it this way, including my passport. When I moved to Nevada 3 years ago, DMV insisted on First-Middle-His Name, so now my DL doesn't match my passport, and airline tickets don't match DL, so I always have to travel with passport, even domestically. I am ready to renew DL and will be requesting Real ID. What if I take passport instead of birth certificate as proof of identity? NAC 483.050 lists passport FIRST as "proof of legal identity," but not later as "proof of name change." Do you think they will honor my passport name rather than the name they insisted upon for my original DL?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Agnes. They may accept it as an identity document, but still maintain the current name in their system. When you go in, bring supporting documentation including a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
    2. Brit girl

      A valid US passport is proof of citizenship, which could be used in place of a birth certificate. It is also valid ID, so you could use it in place of your license. I would bring as many documents as possible showing your name the way you prefer, as well as your marriage certificate. Make sure your social security reflects the name you desire. It is unfortunate that your license was issued in the wrong name in the first place, especially since you had ID from another state for years. Nevada tries to make everyone use their birth middle name, and without a court order it's nearly impossible to use your maiden as a middle name, and since you've already been forced on your license to take another name, you now have an alias. A court order may be the route to take, and well worth the hassle/price. Nevada law is designed to prevent identity theft while simultaneously preventing people from their using their true identities.

      Reply
  48. Danielle Rose

    I'm trying to fill out the marriage license application for CA and want to add his last name and make my current last name a second middle name without hyphens or mashing together any names. The form looks like it only accepts one middle name though. Can I have two middle names in CA and use the marriage name change option?

    Basically, I want to be able to have my id issued with all 4 names showing.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Danielle. You should be able to. The California Name Equality Act of 2007 was modified in early 2017 to remove reference to hyphenated middle names, allowing applicants greater flexibility.

      Reply
  49. Sheryl

    When I got married in MA in 1981, I went to SSA for a new card and to the DMV both changing the records to my new name – "FirstName MaidenName MarriedName". That's been my name on EVERYTHING ever since. Now I am trying to get a Real ID in NH (I have lived here for more than 30 years) but the people at the DMV looked at my birthcertificate and my marriage certificate, SS card and license then told me I need to go back to SSA to get a corrected card showing my legal name "FirstName GivenMiddleName MarriedName" and change everything accordingly or petition Probate Court for a name change to my name that I have been using all this time. Is that correct? How could I have a SS card with my name on it and several driver's licenses over 3-1/2 decades in that name if my name on those documents is wrong? I'm confused.

    Reply
      1. Sheryl

        Thank you. I didn't try to force them to document why I'm not in compliance after they insisted that I was only authorized to adopt my married name when I married and should not have also changed my middle name from givenmiddlename to maidenname at the same time.

        Reply
    1. Christie

      Anyone upgrading to REAL ID: Take along a passport reflecting your maiden name as a middle name instead of your birth certificate (which shows birth middle name). That fulfills the citizenship requirement, equally as valid as a birth certificate would. If your current license matches passport, you don't need proof of a name change. Take a marriage certificate only if you need to show a link between birth and married name, for example if you're a new bride wishing to change your name and your license needs changing. Don't renew in a name you don't want; go back with a court order if need be; tell them it's illegal to ask you to go back to SS to change your name again (since you've already changed it!); make the dmv clerk get a supervisor to provide proof of the law if you get flack. REAL ID was mandated by the federal government anyway, so federal ID (SS, passport) trumps state implementation of the law. The problem is getting dmv workers to see beyond their policy, as they are not trained to use common sense.

      Reply
      1. Sheryl

        Thanks but I haven't needed a passport since I got married so I don't have one. Apparently that was another mistake.

        Reply
        1. Christie

          You didn't make any mistake, but a passport would avoid a hassle. I'm originally from New England and most everyone I know uses maiden as middle with no problem. Before real ID there was more of an acceptance of "common usage" name changes whereby actual documents weren't always necessary. That being said, NH has no law against maiden as middle as far as I know. I fail to see how today's policy can be applied retroactively, and if it was illegal then, they wouldn't have issued a license in the first place. Maybe try a different dmv. Realistically, a court order would take care of it but you're not going by your old name, so what would you change it from/to? It's silly. The state wants to make money.

          Reply
          1. Karen

            She also married in MA, not NH. Does this mean that whenever people have already changed their name and then move to another state they have to go by a name that complies with that state's rules? That makes no sense. If that's the case we're all going to have multiple names over the course of our lives. It doesn't seem right that in trying to sync all your documents you keep getting roadblocks.

  50. Veronica

    Hi Valera,
    I got married last year in CT and changed my last name to my husband's name. Now, I'd like to drop my current middle name and make my maiden name my middle name. Can I just go through SSA to do this since my marriage license shows my maiden name or do I need a court order since I'm dropping my current middle?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Veronica. If you've already changed your name once, you'll have to head to court to change it again.

      Reply
    2. Polly

      Sometimes social security will allow you to swap out a middle name. After all, many dmvs encourage women to go back to SS to "fix" it when they have a name mismatch. That is because SS currently defines the legal name as first and last only, and disregards the middle name. Starting with SS, try getting a passport next with maiden as middle, or try to change it if you already have one. They are not as rigid as so many dmvs are. Change as much as you can (bank cards, insurance, voter registration, etc.). Ultimately, though, unless you can "arm twist" a dmv clerk, or argue that your current license was issued incorrectly, a court order will save time and hassle (but often not cheap).

      Reply
  51. Erin

    I got married in Denver and changed my social security card, my passport and drivers license to drop my middle name and took my husband’s last name. I moved to Florida years later and because I had my marriage certificate with me, they made me put in my original middle name on my new Florida drivers license even though none of my Federal IDs show it. I’m about to move to AZ. How can I just have my first and last married name without a middle one reflected on all Federal documents? Will I have to keep the middle name because Florida made me put it on my DL or because there was one on my marriage certificate or is there a way around it without having to retake the drivers test?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Erin. State and federal rules differ. It appears you've already changed your name on federal documents (e.g., SS card, passport). Is there an outstanding federal document you're concerned about? It's possible the AZ DMV will also require your middle name be restored.

      Reply
  52. Kate

    Hello. I noticed New York has been crossed out. Was there a recent change in the state? My husband and I would both like to go through the process of using my maiden name as our middle names in the new year. Thank you.

    Reply
      1. Maritza

        I am from New York and was married in November. I went to the SS office and they told me I was unable to swap out my middle name for my maiden name without involving the courts. Your answer has now put me in a tail spin because I now have four names with a hyphenated last name that I hate when it's time to sign forms!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Maritza. I don't see what the basis of their denial could be. Did they provide documentation explaining their decision?

          Reply
  53. Nikki

    Hello, I have a question that I did not see here. I am a widow who hyphenated my last name. I have no middle name.
    I will be getting remarried soon. What I would like to do is take my maiden name as my middle name, and keep my late husband's name and my new husband's name as my last name. Do you think they would let me do that? Or would I need to have three last names (yikes lol) I live in NH if that makes a difference. Thank you in advance for your help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What I would like to do is take my maiden name as my middle name

      You can do this.

      and keep my late husband's name and my new husband's name as my last name. Do you think they would let me do that? Or would I need to have three last names

      You'd either have to take all three, or just your husband's surname alone. You can't drop a portion of your current last name.

      Reply
  54. Megan

    I just got married in NV. They did not have an option for Maiden to Middle name since the form was drop down only but I was able to change it to First Middle-Maiden Last. I do not want to have a hyphenated Middle name and want to use my Maiden only. Will I be able to change my SS and Passport to First Maiden Last even though that is inconsistent with the marriage certificate? I need these changed first to legally change my middle name in PA either way.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Megan. Deviating from a new name that's on the certificate is uncertain. Oftentimes it comes down to leniency or interpretation of the rules of the agent you deal with. Before moving forward you may want to contact the DMV to determine acceptance, as they're typically stricter in standards than federal institutions.

      Reply
  55. Lacey

    I was previously married, and then remarried in 2013. I changed my driver’s license and SS card at that time to my first name, maiden name and New last name. I am in the process of updating my passport now, and they are asking for documentation changing my name with my given middle name to my former name, first name, maiden name, former last name which is the current name on my passport. My marriage license has my given middle name. I am not sure what to do.

    Reply
      1. Lacey

        No, they sent me a letter asking for documentation showing my name change from the one currently on my passport to my first name, given middle name, former married name, which I do not have.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Lacey. From your description, it appears that you're not providing sufficient identity documentation for your name change to be properly processed.

          And just to make sure I understand what you're trying to achieve name-wise, could you please clarify the name you're trying to change to and from? Your last comment was a bit confusing in that area. You can use Jane Doe to explain the before and after.

          Reply
    1. Janice

      You need to show a link as to how you got from one name to another. Example: Mary Ann Smith to Mary Smith Jones. Now you've remarried and wish to be Mary Smith Turner. Show your first marriage certificate, divorce decree or death certificate (if you took back your full maiden name after your marriage ended). In addition to your second marriage certificate you may also need to show your birth certificate to prove your original middle name of Ann. Currently, they have no idea where Ann or Smith OR Jones came from in a step-by-step link, because your second marriage certificate doesn't match the current passport name. Just show them the progression to prove you are who you are.

      Reply
  56. Larry Nicholson

    In California, can a person use their maiden name as their middle name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      In California, can a person use their maiden name as their middle name?

      Yes.

      Reply
  57. Larry Nicholson

    How does a Filipino get divorced. We live in California, her husband lives in California and we want to get married but she needs to get legally divorced. How do we do it and what do we need?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Larry. If her marriage was established in the Philippines, it would have to be dissolved in the Philippines' court system. If her marriage was established in California, the Family Law portion of the Superior Court handles such cases.

      Reply
  58. Cat

    Hi! I am a Filipino Citizen with a GC living in NJ and planning to apply for Us Citizenship as soon. We are married both NJ and Philippines. In the Philippines, our middle name is always our mother's maiden name( in my case it's DELA CRUZ ) and automatically dropped it when we get married. We then change it to First name Maiden Name Husbands Last Name. Will SS and DMV accept this reasons when I name changed?

    Your answer is greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  59. Amy-Beth Palladino

    Hi!
    I’m actually getting divorced. I don’t have a middle name and was fine losing my maiden name when I got married. I’ve since lost my father and would like to make it my middle name. I want to keep my married last name because it’s the name my children have. I live in Nevada, is this an option and how would I go about making this change?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I live in Nevada, is this an option and how would I go about making this change?

      You'd have to petition the court for such a name change. It can be done at any time.

      Reply
  60. Suzanne

    Hello, I was married back in 2007 in NJ. Following the wedding, I went to social security to have my name changed to use my maiden name as my middle. I don't recall anyone saying at anytime that I would need to petition the court for the name change. Currently, my social security card, driver's license and passport all reflect my first, maiden middle, married last names. Currently i am trying to make a correction to my child's birth certificate because the registrar mistakenly used my birth middle name, even though my signature clearly did not have it. She was saying that my name is not legal, but how can that be if I was able to obtain my social, driver's license and passport changed all while only providing my marriage certificate as proof of the change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Suzanne. I don't know what the rationale for her statement was. You can ask that she provide supporting documentation for her position or seek out a different clerk.

      Reply
  61. A.

    Hello! Thank you for writing this post.

    I'll use a random example to convey my situation…Let's say my name was Jane Carol Doe…I decided I want to keep all of that name since that's how I'm known professionally, but my husband ("John Smith") was a bit offended….I finally went to social security & added his name. The lady said I could add my middle to my first (i.e. Jane Carol Doe Smith). So that's what I thought I did. BUT when I went to update my driver license, the lady told me "Jane Carol" is not my first name. Instead, she said I have 2 middle names (i.e. "Carol Doe"). So long story short…idk what name goes where or whether I should just go back and drop my maiden name to make things more simple or just go with it since I already have both my social security card & DL showing those names, just not specifying which ones are my first and middle. What are your thoughts?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I finally went to social security & added his name. The lady said I could add my middle to my first (i.e. Jane Carol Doe Smith). So that's what I thought I did.

      I believe whoever processed this for you at the social security office made a mistake. First name changes require a court order and cannot be completed using a marriage certificate. The driver's license office wouldn't process a first name change without a court order, regardless of what the SSA did.

      Reply
  62. Morgan

    Hi! Thank you for this post, and replying to all the comments it has been so helpful and informative to read through this.

    I'm about to get married in Texas and I currently have two middle names. When I take my husband's name I would like to drop both my second middle name AND my maiden name (my 2nd middle name is my mother's maiden name, so I'd rather give up both my "maiden" names than just one). So my name would go from:

    FirstName MiddleName1 MiddleName2 MaidenLastName
    to:
    FirstName MiddleName1 MarriedLastName

    I wasn't sure if this counts as a normal marriage-based name change that I can do with a marriage license or if I'd need to go through a longer name change process since it involves a middle name. Do you know the rule on how to approach this?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I wasn't sure if this counts as a normal marriage-based name change that I can do with a marriage license or if I'd need to go through a longer name change process since it involves a middle name. Do you know the rule on how to approach this?

      Dropping half your middle name like this couldn't be done using the marriage name change procedure. You'd have to obtain a court order instead.

      Reply
  63. Trisha

    Hi I was wondering can I use my maiden name after I got married since I never changed my social security card on my license or I'd. I had my married name before but iI was to drop it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Trisha. If you never changed your maiden name on any documents, then your maiden name is still your legal name. You'd use it as you always have.

      Reply
  64. Renee Polverari

    Hello, I recently got married in Ct. I would like to drop my middle name and use my maiden name as my new middle name and take my husbands last name. So I was Renee Theresa Polverari, and now would like to make it Renee Polverari Rushka. Will I be able to do this at the social security office or do I have to go to court to officially change it first?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I be able to do this at the social security office or do I have to go to court to officially change it first?

      You can change your name using just your marriage certificate. You don't have to go to court.

      Reply
  65. Elizabeth Zayden

    I plan to marry my fiancé in Maryland in September. I had read somewhere that you can change your whole name with marriage. I want to change my whole name with our marriage. I want to change my first name, make my original first name my middle name, and take his last name. Is this something I can do(seems confusing)? I’ve been married before and with that marriage we had made up our own last name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Elizabeth. You can change your last name. In most states you can change your middle name. First name changes require going to court.

      Reply
  66. Lacey

    Hi there!

    I currently have two middle names (not married yet) and will be getting married in Colorado in July. I will be dropping my two middle names, moving my maiden name to my middle name, and taking my husband's name. Will your forms help me do all of that? What's the best route to take?

    Thanks!!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lacey. Yes, Colorado does permit you to drop your middle names while replacing it with your maiden.

      Reply
  67. Jackie Fleischer

    Hi Valera,

    I'm struggling to gather information about name change options in Michigan. A friend who lives in MA told me she wasn't legally allowed to have two last names and it made me wonder what my choices are here. I have a middle name now and am considering how best to keep my maiden name and adopt my married name. I'm getting married next week and would like to know if I can legally change my name to any of the following options:
    1. first, maiden name, husband's surname.
    2. first, *no middle name*, maiden name and husband's surname (2 last names, unhyphenated)
    3. first, *no middle name*, maiden name – hyphen – husband's surname (2 last names, hyphenated)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jackie. You can swap your middle name with your maiden name. I don't believe Michigan permits space-separated surnames, but hyphens are supported. You can't drop your middle name.

      Reply
  68. Nadia

    Hi,

    I'm Filling my form I-751 to remove conditions from my green card, I want my new green card to come with my last name as middle name and my husband last name as my last name, Can I go ahead and fill the form with the name I want and then change it on SSN and DOL? I am in WA State.

    Thanks
    Nadia

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nadia. When filling out the form, you can specify your new married name. You can also put your maiden name as one of your other names used.

      Reply
  69. Jane Brewer

    I signed my maiden name on my marriage certificate and i wish to keep my maiden name, add hyphen & take on the first 5 letters of my husband's name. I have 6 letters in my last name and his last name has 13 letters in it. It would be much too long to combine both. Example: Smithe-Brick???

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jane. Some states allow segmented names, but it typically has to be specified on the marriage application/license and subsequently reflected on the certificate. Otherwise, a court-petitioned name change may be necessary.

      Reply
  70. Kahley

    Hello,
    I was married last year in Michigan, and changed my name through social security to add my maiden name to my : First Middle-Maiden HusbandLast

    Michigan gave me a drivers license like this, but when I moved to Tennessee they are telling me that my name was never legally changed. The new drivers license they gave me is First Middle Maiden-HusbandLast and the clerk told me I have to get a court order. Is this true? Your site didn’t list Tennessee as a court order state.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kahley. DMVs are state-level entities, so one state doesn't have to abide by the flexibility of another's. If your name was changed by the SSA as well, that would be another story.

      Correction: I see that your name was in fact changed by the Michigan DMV. In that case I don't see what the rationale is for Tennessee to deny your name change. You may want to return and bring all available identity documents: social security card, Michigan driver's license, and marriage certificate. If it's denied, request in writing as to why.

      Reply
      1. Kim

        Aren't states required to recognize legal documents as such? A driver's license is a valid ID, and social security is national, so why is it rejected? Names shouldn't change when you move to another state. I don't get it.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Aren't states required to recognize legal documents as such?

          If a person changes their name in a state through the SSA and DMV, another state would most certainly recognize it. But Kahley's remarks didn't mention the SSA. Only the DMV. In that case, her name not having been changed with the SSA doesn't provide another state DMV a sufficient primary identity document to permit a name change that's not within their allowed limits.

          Reply
          1. Amanda

            I'm confused. Kahley starts out by saying "I was married last year in Michigan, and changed my name through social security…." Doesn't this imply that the SSA did change her name as well as the DMV? And if both the SSA and DMV have recognized the name change, why doesn't the new state?

          2. Valera

            Hi Amanda. You're correct. I missed the portion where Kahley said her name was changed was changed on her driver's license. I've added a correction to the original reply.

      2. Jenifer

        I think this is happening to a lot of women who are trying to upgrade to Real ID. The state will ask for documents to prove their identity and citizenship, and the "citizenship" document is usually a birth certificate, which obviously doesn't match the driver's license after you're married.

        So, you need a marriage certificate to prove your new name, but many states, such as Nevada, refuse to honor another state's marriage certificate if it doesn't explicitly say/have a space for you to declare you want the maiden name as your middle name (but they will accept it to change just your surname).

        They also seem to disregard Social Security names, and tell people to go back and change their SS card. I think it's unconstitutional, because, like Kahley (and some other previous posters), they've already changed their names federally and with their state, and have been issued IDs, yet are, in effect, having their valid, legal id's rejected when they move to another state!

        The solution is to use a current, valid passport for proof of citizenship with your maiden as middle, which should match your driver's license. Then there's no need to prove a name change from the birth certificate name to current name (unless you're a newlywed).

        Don't accept an incorrect name. Press the dmv to show you the supposed rule in writing. Enlist your state representative's help.

        Reply
  71. jemppaleena

    I'm born in europe so I have two middle names. I got married in tennessee and I'd like to add my maiden name as my third middle name and take my husband's last name. Do you think I would be allowed to have 3 middle names? And if that's possible can I make the name change without court?

    Also are there some official naming rules or laws in tennessee or usa in general? Where can I find them? Is there some official source?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do you think I would be allowed to have 3 middle names? And if that's possible can I make the name change without court?

      You'll likely have to go to court.

      Also are there some official naming rules or laws in tennessee or usa in general? Where can I find them? Is there some official source?

      You can search the Tennessee Code.

      Reply
  72. Jacey

    I live in Florida and I would like to change my last name to my husband's but also keep my maiden name. I was thinking of having 2 middle names so it would go like this:
    my first name, then my given middle name and then my maiden name, followed by my husbands last name.
    Is this possible?

    Reply
  73. Allie

    Hi there,

    I live in New Mexico and would be more interested in keeping my maiden name as my last name, then adding my husband's last name as a second middle name. Is this odd or difficult?

    Thank you-

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Allie. You'll need to obtain a court order to add your husband's name to your middle.

      Reply
  74. Joana

    Hi I live in Texas and when I got married, I went to change my last name on my license. I don’t have a middle name so they put my madden name as my middle name. I really don’t like this I only want my name and my husbands middle name. Is it possible to drop the middle name (maiden name)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Joana. You can return to the Texas DMV to request a revision, assuming you didn't request the change be made.

      Reply
  75. Janel

    I was married in NY were you can make your maiden name your middle name but I think I missed filling out those forms when I filed for out marriage lisence. Now I live in another state (one of the ones that require court papers). Can I just go back to NY to request this? My current lisence is in my new state now.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I just go back to NY to request this?

      No, such modifications wouldn't be permitted.

      Reply
  76. Lexi

    Hi! We’re residents of Ohio but we’re getting married in Hawaii. Would I still have a hard time changing my maiden name to my middle name when we get back to Ohio?

    Reply
  77. Rebecca

    I married my husband 9 years ago and didn't change my name. Now we have a child and I would like to replace my existing middle name with my maiden name and take his last name. We live in Florida. Would I need to get a court petition in this case?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      We live in Florida. Would I need to get a court petition in this case?

      No, you do not have to petition the court to switch out your middle name with your maiden name.

      Reply
  78. Nathalia

    Hi,

    I live in Florida and got married in January. I would like to make my new full legal name to have 2 middle names as opposed to one:

    First Name Middle Name Maiden Name Husbands Last Name.

    Is this possible to add a legal middle name so my middle name is now my current middle name and maiden name? I have yet to legally change my name.

    Also, when I signed my marriage application, there was not place to write my new name, but I'm reading that there should be a section on it for the new name…

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is this possible to add a legal middle name so my middle name is now my current middle name and maiden name? I have yet to legally change my name.

      No, you'll have to go to court.

      Also, when I signed my marriage application, there was not place to write my new name, but I'm reading that there should be a section on it for the new name

      No, there is no such section. Florida marriage license applications do not provide a spot for you to specify a name change after marriage.

      Reply
  79. Lucy Vlahakis

    I live in California and am marrying for the second time. When I divorced, I kept my married name in order to have the same last name as my kids.

    For my new marriage I want to revert to my maiden name, which should be easy via marriage license application. However, my birth name has no middle name — just first and last.

    When I took my first husband's name, my maiden name became my middle name, so I gained a middle name. My fiance and I went to apply for our marriage license yesterday and I was told that I could not go from having a middle name to not having a middle name, so I can't revert to my maiden name. (ex: if my birth name was Jane Smith and I became Jane Smith Jones in my first marriage, I can't revert to Jane Smith.

    If my name at birth had been Jane Lee Smith and I became Jane Smith Jones in my first marriage, I COULD revert to Jane Lee Smith.) I asked if I could take my new husband's last name as my middle name and have my maiden name as my last name and was told no.

    I produced my birth certificate to prove that my request was to simply go back to my maiden name. Based on that, the clerk filled out the marriage license using my maiden name instead of my current legal name and indicated that I was not requesting a name change.

    At that point my fiance and I were so confused we just signed the license. But I now have a marriage license that's not under my current legal name. Is that going to be an issue when we send it in after the ceremony? If the marriage certificate is issued in that name, will I be able to use that in order to change my vital records? I'm so confused.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I live in California and am marrying for the second time…

      …snip…

      My fiance and I went to apply for our marriage license yesterday and I was told that I could not go from having a middle name to not having a middle name,

      That's correct. In California, you can't drop your middle name altogether.

      so I can't revert to my maiden name. (ex: if my birth name was Jane Smith and I became Jane Smith Jones in my first marriage, I can't revert to Jane Smith.

      Right. You can't go from having a middle name to having no middle name.

      If my name at birth had been Jane Lee Smith and I became Jane Smith Jones in my first marriage, I COULD revert to Jane Lee Smith.)

      That's correct. You could switch back to your birth middle name and birth last name through marriage.

      I asked if I could take my new husband's last name as my middle name and have my maiden name as my last name and was told no.

      That is incorrect. You are allowed to take your spouse's last name as your middle name. You are also allowed to take your maiden name as your middle name.

      Based on that, the clerk filled out the marriage license using my maiden name instead of my current legal name and indicated that I was not requesting a name change.

      The clerk is only meant to copy over what's specified on your application. Your signature is what finalizes it.

      At that point my fiance and I were so confused we just signed the license.

      That closed out the application.

      But I now have a marriage license that's not under my current legal name.

      You can seek a correction and have it modified or reissued.

      Is that going to be an issue when we send it in after the ceremony?

      If you get married with it as-is, you'll very likely lock yourself out of your name change preference. You can get an issued license reissued. You can even go to the same clerk's office or another county clerk's office and get a brand new license.

      If the marriage certificate is issued in that name, will I be able to use that in order to change my vital records? I'm so confused.

      You'll only be able to change your name with what's specified on the certificate.

      Reply
  80. Jane Doe Holiday / Jane D. Holiday

    My First name is Jane my middle name is Doe but everyone in my family calls me JaneDoe but my (examples) schools and important documents Drs. they call me Jane without the Doe

    my maiden name is Holiday and my husbands name is Pumpkin-Spice in Pennsylvania would I be able to Put in my Social security card and drivers license my First name as Jane Doe middle name Holiday and pick up my husbands double name Pumpkin-Spice

    or can I put First name: Jane, middle name & Maiden: Doe Holiday, married name Pumpkin-Spice

    I always sign my name since a child Jane D. Holiday because my Birth certificate says Jane Doe Holiday So now I would have to sign my name as Jane D. Holiday Pumpkin-Spice

    am I able to carry 3 last name and only use my married names or because I would rather use First: Jane, Middle Doe: Last-names Maiden: Holiday +Pumpkin-Spice How would I sign my names if accepted like this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      in Pennsylvania would I be able to Put in my Social security card and drivers license my First name as Jane Doe

      No.

      middle name Holiday

      Yes.

      and pick up my husbands double name Pumpkin-Spice

      Yes, you can take your husband's name.

      You can take a look at the Pennsylvania name change page which dives into this further.

      or can I put First name: Jane, middle name & Maiden: Doe Holiday, married name Pumpkin-Spice

      No double middle names.

      am I able to carry 3 last name and only use my married names or because I would rather use First: Jane, Middle Doe: Last-names Maiden: Holiday +Pumpkin-Spice How would I sign my names if accepted like this?

      You can hyphenate. For legal documents/purposes, you'll sign your full name. For other instances, ommitting a portion of your surname or using initials is just personal preference.

      Reply

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