Maiden Name to Middle Name Change

Woman Considering a Maiden Name to Middle Name Change

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.

If you decide to go forward with your name change, you can make use of our online name change forms to help complete the process.

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.

Do you plan to change your name?

Our online name change kit makes it easy.

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1,040 Comments

  1. B

    Hi Valera,

    just read thru every comment u posted & thought u'd be able to help. We are getting married in July 2019 in California and i am going to take his surname. I am Chinese and hoping to combine my Chinese middle name from 2 words into 1. (eg. it appears on my ID now as XXXX YYY, but i want it to appear as Xxxxyyy) is it possible? should i just write it as one word in the middle name column?

    Thx!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am Chinese and hoping to combine my Chinese middle name from 2 words into 1. (eg. it appears on my ID now as XXXX YYY, but i want it to appear as Xxxxyyy) is it possible?

      California's name change allowances are quite flexible, but are tigher for middle name changes. What you're proposing isn't recognized under California's Name Equality Act.

      should i just write it as one word in the middle name column?

      When you fill out the marriage license application, the county clerk will transcribe your answers onto a blank marriage license form. If you omit the space, they'll notice it doesn't match your ID. Well, they should notice it.

      Even if they allow it through, the agents at the SSA or DMV might notice it and how it doesn't comply with the Name Equality Act.

      Reply
  2. Katie Zolnowski

    Hello,

    State of Ohio marriage name change question. I got married in January of this year 2019) and went to the SSO to change my name. The woman made a mistake in changing my name, as the entire process was done verbally (I would highly not recommend doing that). I had intended to change my name to First Middle Maiden His, and instead she changed it to First Maiden His. I'd like to get it changed AGAIN to what I had originally intended, the First Middle Maiden His format. What is the proper way of going about this? I called the Social Security hotline and they were not helpful and I don't know how to do this! Please help! (note: my wedding license only has my original unmarried name on it, and I haven't changed ANY forms of identification yet nor thrown out my old SS I.D….not sure if any of that info helps)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Katie. Have you tried returning to the SS office to get your record amended? You can cite the clerk's mistake as justification.

      Reply
    2. Suzi

      There is a form that you can download from the SS website. It is the regular basic application form they use for everything, SS-5. Print it out and fill it in the way you want your name to be before you take it into the SS office. Take as many forms of ID that you have as well as your marriage certificate, and birth certificate if you have it handy. Ask for a name correction and tell them they made a mistake. They usually have the forms in the office also.

      Reply
  3. Kate

    Hello – In DC, do you know if I need a court order to make my maiden name my second middle name? Can I do this at SSA and the DMV?

    Reply
  4. Rash Mitchell

    When I got married I took my husbands last name for my New last name and kept my middle name. I now want my maiden name as my middle name. Can I do this in NY or NJ or since my home address is NJ do I have to do it in NJ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rash. If you've already completed a name change, you'll have to go to to court to change it again.

      Reply
  5. Jodie

    I am getting married next month and I live in GA. I found out last year (I am 46 years old) who my biological father is but he is not listed on my birth certificate and I never had his last name. When I complete my marriage license and enter the name I plan to go by can I use his last name as my middle name as I would if it were my maiden name? (First name, dad's last name, new husband's last name)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      When I complete my marriage license and enter the name I plan to go by can I use his last name as my middle name as I would if it were my maiden name?

      No, that wouldn't work. The probate court clerk wouldn't accept it, as it wouldn't match the name on your ID.

      Reply
  6. Colleen

    Hello,
    This question was sort of asked, but I wanted to check in to make sure I understand. I was married in and live in CO. I went to the social security office with the intent to change my last name and was told that only first and last name matters to them, not my middle name.

    The clerk made it seem like I couldn’t change my given middle name to my maiden name or have two middle names. Is that true? Should I have pushed to change my middle name to maiden name? Note, my marriage certificate was signed with my unmarried name, there was no where to indicate new name.

    As of now, the social security office is processing my name as FirstName GivenMiddleName HusbandsLastName but I would like to change my middle to maiden or have two middle names. Would I now have to petition the court? If so, do you have any resources/links with how to do that in Colorado?

    Thank you for your help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      The clerk made it seem like I couldn’t change my given middle name to my maiden name or have two middle names. Is that true?

      You could have added a name or used your maiden name.

      Should I have pushed to change my middle name to maiden name?

      You could have. It's understandable why you didn't, considering the clerk's ambiguity.

      Note, my marriage certificate was signed with my unmarried name, there was no where to indicate new name.

      That's normal in Colorado.

      As of now, the social security office is processing my name as FirstName GivenMiddleName HusbandsLastName but I would like to change my middle to maiden or have two middle names. Would I now have to petition the court?

      You can try to visit a local office to see if they can intercept the change before it goes through, but it's unlikely to work. It may already be finished.

      If so, do you have any resources/links with how to do that in Colorado?

      You can take a look at the Colorado name change or social security name change articles for more information, but you'll probably have to petition the court.

      Reply
      1. Colleen

        Hi Valera, thank you for your response. I went back to the social security office and they were able to intercept the change, fortunately! My maiden name was too long to have both that and my given middle name for their form, but I am very happy that I am now FirstName MaidenName HusbandsLastName. Thank you for this website as a resource—it’s very helpful. Now, onto all the other name change processes!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          I went back to the social security office and they were able to intercept the change, fortunately!

          Thanks for coming back to report your success.

          Reply
    2. Julie

      Go into the SS office in person and request the name format you want. Tell them they made a mistake and you were not given the correct information from their employee.

      They don't "count" the middle name as part of the legal name, only first and last, so you can put anything in the middle name spot provided you have some kind of documented proof of "ownership" of the name, like for instance your maiden name, or a former last name (if you were previously married or widowed), or maybe even an informal document showing another middle name from say a religious event. Take your marriage certificate and any current ID.

      Reply
  7. Lauren

    My husband is military. We were married in NJ in 2006, moved to GA in 2007, and just recently moved to AZ. I’ve been using my maiden name as my middle name since I got married. I changed it with SS and it states my maiden as middle on my passport. My middle initial on my military dependant ID even matches my maiden name. All of my previous licenses also states my maiden as my middle name.

    I went to the DMV in AZ today to switch over my license. They gave me a hard time because my birth certificate and marriage license have my given middle name on them. She said something about needing a name change but ultimately used my passport and issues my license with the maiden as middle.

    I’m very concerned. Do I need to do a legal name change? How do I do one? Do I do it here in AZ? If I knew this was such an issue, I would have left my given middle name instead of trying to honor my family by adopting my maiden name as my middle name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lauren. Since your name change was successfully processed, you needn't worry about it. You're done.

      Reply
    2. Carrie

      A similar issue happened to me in Washington State. I've been married almost 25 years and when I went to renew my license I brought everything with me to get an enhanced license (our state's real id).

      Everything I have is first-maiden-married. The clerk tried to tell me I need to get a court order to change my name to first-birth middle-married. I argued, had a hissy-fit and requested a supervisor, who ultimately sided with me because I had a passport.

      Now I'm paranoid to go back there in a few years, afraid of getting a notice in the mail, etc. lol. It really shouldn't be like this…

      Reply
  8. Cindy Smith Garrison

    I just obtained a California Real ID. My previous driver's license had my first name, middle name, maiden name and married last name. I was told yesterday I could only have one last name.

    My name had to appear exactly as it was on my birth certificate (first and middle name) and my last name could be my maiden name or married last name, but not both.

    Even though my social security card has both last names, he said they had to be compliant and show the name transition on legal documents. He did not answer my question about the social security card, but it appears the Federal Government has it's own set of rules.

    Even though my driver's license had my married name, I had to show my marriage certificate to keep my husband's last name.
    Here are the documents I needed in California to obtain a real ID and change my address:

    Birth Certificate
    Marriage License
    Social Security Card
    W-2 (with correct address)
    Medical Document (with correct address)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I had to show my marriage certificate to keep my husband's last name. Here are the documents I needed in California to obtain a real ID and change my address

      Thanks for detailing which documents worked in your situation.

      Reply
  9. Lidy

    Hi , I am in PA and i got married. I applied for my green card with my maiden name as a middle name. They accepted it and my social security too. However, in the DMV they did not change my middle name because they told me I need a court permission to do so. The process is rather expensive. Do you think the only option I have is to pay for a name change? The only document that is not issued with my maiden name as a middle name is the driver license.

    Reply
  10. Jean Smith

    Is it legal to have four names in Georgia?
    I have a middle name
    Jane Joy Doe and I just want to tack on his last name
    Jane Joy Doe Smith

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jean. This is unlikely, as the state doesn't explicitly allow it in its statutes.

      Reply
  11. Cris Molinari

    Hi,
    I was married in NV as a Ca resident in 1987. I added my maiden name to my husband's name. New SS card shows my existing middle name as an initial, but my DV was issued FirstName MaidenNameLastName, as did my passport. Everything legal and ok. However, now I am back in country of birth and they require proof of name 'change' as my original middle name is missing from my US documents. What kind of proof can I give them for something that is normal, legal and does not require a court order in CA?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What kind of proof can I give them for something that is normal, legal and does not require a court order in CA?

      A certified copy of your Nevada marriage certificate. It would show how you derived part of your name from your spouse's.

      Reply
      1. Cris Molinari

        Well, it does not. Neither does the marriage license. Maybe the law/rules changed since 1987…………

        Reply
  12. Amanda

    Hi!

    I just got married and I want to change my name to have my maiden name be my middle name and my husband's name be my new last name. But, here's the kicker, I currently go by my middle name. Is it possible to make my middle name my first name, then have my maiden name be my middle name, and then my husband's last name be my new last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible to make my middle name my first name

      That's not possible through marriage.

      Reply
        1. Valera

          What would the process be to change that?

          Court petition. Then you could change any aspect of your first, middle, and last name. You could change your name before or after you're married.

          Reply
  13. LJensen

    In September I will get married in Texas and I would like to change my middle name to my maiden name. I am not sure though if this should be done before or after the marriage, seeing as I really only want to have to change all my documents only once.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am not sure though if this should be done before or after the marriage, seeing as I really only want to have to change all my documents only once.

      Do it after you get a certified copy of your marriage certificate, which occurs after marriage.

      Reply
  14. Gabby

    Hi! I am getting married in NY State in a few weeks. I would like to take my maiden name as my second middle name. As well as change my last name to my soon to be husbands last name.

    I’d go from from First name – middle name- maiden name

    To First name – middle name – maiden name (middle #2) – last name.

    Should I change my last name through marriage (and go through all the legal aspects of changing it) and then petition for the middle name addition after?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I would like to take my maiden name as my second middle name.

      Not possible through marriage, as you alude to.

      Should I change my last name through marriage (and go through all the legal aspects of changing it) and then petition for the middle name addition after?

      If you're going to petition, you can change both your middle name and last name at the same time.

      Reply
  15. grace

    Hi, I live in Michigan and would like to take a portion of my last name and make it my middle name. I'm taking my fiance's last name. So essentially creating a new middle name and taking my husband's last name. Is this doable under the normal marriage name change procedure?

    thanks

    Reply
  16. 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. Valera

      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
  17. 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. Valera

      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. Valera

          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.

  18. 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. Valera

      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
  19. 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. Valera

      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
  20. 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. Valera

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

      Reply
  21. 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. Valera

      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
  22. 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. Valera

      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
  23. 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. Valera

          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
  24. 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. Valera

      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
  25. 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. Valera

      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
  26. 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. Valera

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

      Reply
  27. 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. Valera

      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
  28. 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. Valera

      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
  29. 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. Valera

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

      Yes, you can.

      Reply
  30. 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. Valera

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

      Reply
  31. 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. Valera

      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
  32. 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. Valera

      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
  33. 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. Valera

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

      Reply
  34. 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. Valera

      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
  35. 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. Valera

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

      Reply
  36. 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
  37. 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. Valera

      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
  38. 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
  39. 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. Valera

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

      Reply
  40. 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. Valera

      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
  41. 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. Valera

      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
  42. 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. Valera

      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
  43. 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. Valera

      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
  44. 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. Valera

      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
  45. 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. Valera

      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
  46. 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. Valera

      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. Valera

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

          Reply
  47. 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. Valera

      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
  48. 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. Valera

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

      Reply
  49. 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. Valera

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

      Reply
  50. Olga T. Carrubba

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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
  51. 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. Valera

      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
  52. 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
  53. 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. Valera

      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. Valera

          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
  54. 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. Valera

      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
  55. 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. Valera

      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
  56. 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. Valera

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

      Reply
  57. 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. Valera

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

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

      Reply
  58. 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. Valera

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

      Reply
  59. 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
  60. 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. Valera

      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
  61. 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. Valera

      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
  62. 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. Valera

      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
  63. 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. Valera

      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
  64. 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. Valera

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

      Reply
  65. 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. Valera

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

      Reply
  66. 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. Valera

      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
  67. 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. Valera

      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. Valera

          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. Valera

          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
  68. 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. Valera

      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
  69. 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. Valera

      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
  70. 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. Valera

      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
  71. 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. Valera

      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. Valera

          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. Valera

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

  72. 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. Valera

      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. Valera

          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
  73. 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
  74. 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. Valera

      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. Valera

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

          Reply
          1. Valera

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

  75. 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
  76. 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. Valera

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

      Reply
  77. 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. Valera

      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. Valera

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

      Reply
  78. 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. Valera

      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
  79. 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. Valera

      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.

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