859 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.

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.

859 Comments

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
      1. Lisa

        Hello! The same thing is happening to me right now applying for a passport and I'm not sure what to do. I just got married for the first time, and changed my name on my social security card and drivers license from Lisa Marie Keller, to Lisa Keller MacCurdy.

        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.

        I was kind of stunned by this. I have requested a call back from someone who has more information, but am wondering if anyone else has had this problem?

        I live in Louisiana. I'm not sure if I was just speaking to someone who was uninformed or if I'm going to have to go through several hoops to get it correct on my passport.

        My name is officially changed with the social security office, so I'm not sure how to even get a court order allowing me to change my middle name when I don't have valid documents in my old name anymore.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Lisa. Did your marriage certificate explicitly specify your new married name or just your full maiden name?

          Reply
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. Maddie

    I recently got married in Massachusetts. I was planning to keep my maiden name as my middle name and change my last name to my husband's. I was told that MA does not allow this anymore so I ended up adding my husband's last name to mine (not hyphenated, just 2 last names). I can't find anything about this online in MA law and have not heard of this happening to anybody else in MA. Is this a new law? I'm feeling like now it will be too complicated to have two last names and considering if I made the right choice for me or not. Any help about this would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I can't find anything about this online in MA law and have not heard of this happening to anybody else in MA. Is this a new law?

      I've not heard of maiden to middle being disallowed in Massachusetts, nor am I aware of space-separated last names being supported. Did you already change your last name with the SSA and DMV or is it just your intention to?

      Reply
  32. Jeanne

    I want to change my marriage certificate. It currently says:
    First Name — Middle — New Last Name

    I was able to update my NY License and Social Security Number to:
    First Name — Maiden — New Last Name

    However, the Passport will only let me change it to
    First Name — Middle — New Last Name (b/c that's what my marriage certificate says)

    I want to change my marriage certificate to
    First Name — Maiden — New Last Name

    I called the Brooklyn Civil Court for Name Changes (they never responded). I emailed and they were not helpful. I read the NY name change article and it only talks about changing my passport and other identification WITH a marriage certificate. But it's the marriage certificate I want to change.

    Can someone help me figure out the next steps?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jeanne. NY marriage certificates can only be changed to correct errors, but that shouldn't be necessary in your case. You should have been able to change your maiden name to your middle name on your passport. It's possible the agent you dealt with was unaware that NY allows this. You may have to go in person and deal with another agent.

      Reply
  33. Regina Riches

    Hi! I’m originally from PA but have been living in the U.K. and got married here in 2015. I updated my passport and SSC to reflect my maiden name as part of my middle name and have taken my husband’s name as my last name.
    I’m moving back to PA in the next few months. When I go to update my driver’s license, will my passport and SSC be enough to make my maiden name a part of my middle name and marriage certificate to update my last name?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Regina. If you were just swapping out your middle with your maiden, then it should work, but adding to an existing middle may not be supported.

      Reply
  34. Molly

    I read all the comments, but I’m still unsure about Ohio.
    I’m getting married in September and want to drop my current middle name and replace it with my maiden name. Every website says this can’t be done in Ohio, but I’ve had several friends tell me they did it with no problem (and without petitioning the court). So I’m really confused! Many sites also add the caveat, just for Ohio (none of the other restrictive states), that it would have to be changed on the marriage license first. But wouldn’t I have to use my current legal name on the marriage license? Any help would be appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Molly. There's been anecdotal reports of people being able to make the change without going to probate court, but I'm not aware of a revision in Ohio's statutes reflecting this.

      Ohio marriage licenses applications aren't standardized. Every county's probate court designs their own, and most are pretty slipshod. As far as I know, they don't provide spaces to specify a new middle or last name, so it's not as though you have to commit to a name choice before you apply.

      Once you obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate there's nothing preventing you from attempting a middle to maiden switch. If you face resistance from a particular clerk, it'll likely be from the BMV.

      Reply
  35. Graham

    Hi there,

    My wife and I got married in 2014 in NC. She dropped her middle and last name and took my middle and last name. It was recorded as such on our marriage license, and it is recoded as such on her new S.S. card. Now that the government is requiring everyone to get these REAL ID's with the little gold star on your drivers license she went in and took all these form of ID and they told her that what she did was illegal.

    I don't believe them. I don't see how taking my middle name is any different than if she made her maiden name into her middle name. She is petrified that she is going to have to change her name to something that she doesn't want after using this name for so many years. We are working on going to a different DMV to get a different opinion and try again but trying to get anything done there is like pulling teeth. Any advice? Should we be worried or was that person completely wrong?

    Thank you
    Graham

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Graham. The NC DMV doesn't permit a person to change their middle name to their spouse's middle name or surname. Although it's interesting and odd the SSA permitted it four years ago, it would be surprising if they did so today.

      Sometimes you come across a clerk that's elastic, but that flexibility can trip you up down the road.

      You can certainly try another DMV and bring plentiful supporting documentation, including the social security card and marriage certificate. If all else fails, your wife could pursue a court-ordered name change to satisfy DMV's requirements.

      Reply
  36. M

    Hi,

    Really struggling with the decision to drop my maiden name and am thinking of taking it on as a new middle name. In addition, I have always loved my original middle name and sometimes go by it.
    Does anyone know if it’s possible to take on middle name as part of your first? Getting married in Michigan.

    So go from FirstName MiddleName MaidenName to [FirstName MiddleName] MaidenName HisSurname

    If not, how easy is it to pull in the maiden name as a second middle name in Michigan?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi M. Appending to your first name or middle name requires you to petition a circuit court. It's not hard to do. The article that discusses changing your name in Michigan has a general adult name change subsection that summarizes the court procedure.

      Reply
  37. Michele Gore

    Hi,
    I live in NH and have been married for 30+ years. Tried to get a Real ID today and DMV wouldn't allow me to use maiden name as middle name and say that I have to pay money and go to probate court to get it changed. I have been using my maiden name as middle name and middle initial on ALL of my documents, legal and otherwise since I have been married. It's hard to believe all the women in my position have to go to court to get a legal name change. (I brought my birth certificate and marriage certificate for documentation)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michele. The New Hampshire's Real ID requirements (PDF link) references marriage certificate to prove a name change.

      On January 1, 2015 the New Hampshire marriage application worksheet was modified to include spaces to specify a new middle name and new last name after marriage. The certificate would have reflected this change as well.

      Since your marriage took place 30 years ago, the format of the marriage certificate is different from what it is today.

      This could be what's tripping you up and causing noncompliance. Did they specify your marriage certificate as the problem?

      Reply
      1. Michele Gore

        Yes they said that the marriage certificate would only change my last name not allow me to use my maiden as my middle name but there were no provisions for that at the time. So now they are saying I have to do a legal name change (pay money and make a court appearance) when I have been using the same name for thirty three years. Wonder how many other women are falling into this predicament. Thank you

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Yes they said that the marriage certificate would only change my last name not allow me to use my maiden as my middle name but there were no provisions for that at the time.

          It's an unfortunate situation, but many of these changes aren't retroactive.

          Californians have a similar situation when the Name Equality Act was passed a decade ago allowing greater name change choices, but marriages that took place beforehand were excluded from participating.

          Reply
          1. Kerry

            Why does she have to follow today's new rule if her name change in that state was approved thirty years ago? I'm assuming her SS card, driver's license, and any other ID is in the name she's used all these years. Why is NH punishing her now when she followed their current rule at the time of her marriage?

            It's not her fault the state had no spot on the old marriage certificate to fill in her new name back then, and now decided to change the format. Why is the rule retroactive?

          2. Valera

            It's not her fault the state had no spot on the old marriage certificate to fill in her new name back then, and now decided to change the format.

            Real ID requirements are more stringent. Also, the clerk she dealt with may have been finicky, whereas another clerk might have been more forgiving.

  38. K

    Hello,

    I'm getting married in CA. My name is as follows on my Birth Certificate, Passport and Soc. Sec. Card.

    First, Middle, Mom's Last Names (2 of them), Dad's Last Name

    I only use my First and Dad's Last Name for taxes, for banks, professionally, etc. I don't use all 3 of my current last names. BUT – when I travel the hyphen between my mom's last names is causing trouble. I would like to remove her 2 last names. Now that I'm getting married, my plan is to put this as my new last name on Marriage License Application:

    First, Middle, Dad's Last Name, Spouses Last Name

    Is this possible? I would be adding his and stop using Mom's 2 last names.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi K. California allows segmented name changes. If you can incorporate a portion of your spouse's name into yours, you can drop a portion of your last name. Even if you're only including a letter that doesn't actually change the spelling of your name.

      Reply
  39. M

    Getting Married in Illinois. Would like to my change middle name to current last name from a previous marriage, due to my child, then take my new husbands last name. Can I put First Name, Current last name as my Middle Name, New Last Name on the marriage certificate? Would putting my name this way on the marriage certificate be enough to legally change my name or would I need to do a "Changing Names by Court Petition" after getting married? Or would I have to change my middle prior to getting married, so I could put it on the marriage certificate with my new last name?

    Reply
  40. Kim

    I married (14 yrs) ago and changed my middle name to my maiden name… and over the years had regretted it mainly for heritage reasons and would like to add it back to my name making two middle names (given middle name along with maiden name), Can I do this when I renew my drivers license in California or do I need a court order? Also is having two middle names with a space cumbersome with legal documents or is one middle name (two middle names combined without a space) recommended?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I do this when I renew my drivers license in California or do I need a court order?

      You will need a court order.

      Also is having two middle names with a space cumbersome with legal documents or is one middle name (two middle names combined without a space) recommended?

      Space-separated names may cause confusion and errors, but that doesn't necessarily mean you should avoid it. If a space is what you prefer, choose it. You'll just have to be diligent in catching mistakes and be proactive in making sure others understand there's a space in your name.

      Reply
  41. Shiela

    Hi, on the application it asked for the last name ill use after marriage so I put my fiance's last name. However it didnt ask for what middle name am I going to use nor what will be my full name after marriage. Now, I am married already and I am confused which is going to be my middle name since that it wasnt really asked. I also wanted to ask if it automatically changes my name or i would still need to file a name change? Please help me. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      However it didnt ask for what middle name am I going to use nor what will be my full name after marriage. Now, I am married already and I am confused which is going to be my middle name since that it wasnt really asked.

      A few states will ask it, but most won't. Most states allow the middle name to be replaced with the maiden. The end of this article lists which states block it.

      If you don't plan to change your middle name, it'll stay the same.

      I also wanted to ask if it automatically changes my name or i would still need to file a name change?

      It's not automatic. You have to initiate the name change.

      Reply
  42. Danielle

    Hi!
    I would like to just address something you mentioned about the tricky states in which you are adding your maiden name to be your middle name. I am from New Jersey and there is no court involved I literally JUST did it this morning, at social security. Nothing tricky or difficult about it. Filled out the application added my maiden name to my middle name and then my new last name.
    I am just curious as to whether or not I can sign most legal documents with just the initial of my middle names instead of writing them all out.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am just curious as to whether or not I can sign most legal documents with just the initial of my middle names instead of writing them all out.

      Go by the document's instructions. If it asks for your full legal name, then spell out your first, middle, and last. If it just asks for your legal name, first and last is typically fine, although you can throw in your middle initial if you'd like.

      If you're unsure, just spell it out. In the grand scheme of things, it probably doesn't make much difference. You're the same person, even if there are minor variations in how you spell out your middle name.

      Reply
    2. Lauren

      Hi Danielle,

      I just got married about a month ago in NJ (I also live in NJ) and I have read and been told my multiple ppl that you do need to petition the court, but not for SS, but for the DMV.

      Have you been to the DMV to change your name at this point? If so, did you have any issues?

      Thanks and congrats to you!

      Reply
  43. rachel

    Hi, I got married 3 years ago and now that I am pregnant I want to change my name to be my first, maiden, married name. I live in NY and I understand it is a bit easier to do that here now, as opposed to going to court do it. Does it matter if I got married 3 years ago? I assume it should be okay as I will have my marriage certificate but do you anticipate any problems with this? If not, I think the first step is social security and then the DMV and then passport, right? I dont need to feel rushed to change credit cards and other things yet as my maiden name will become my middle name and will still be on those items. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Does it matter if I got married 3 years ago? I assume it should be okay as I will have my marriage certificate but do you anticipate any problems with this?

      Did your marriage application at the time have a spot to specify a new last name? If it did and you didn't specify your spouse's, you may have to head to court for a name change. If it had no such space, you're ok.

      If not, I think the first step is social security and then the DMV and then passport, right?

      Yes.

      Reply
  44. Lynn

    I live in Georgia and I was wanting to change my last name to my future spouse's. I already have a middle name, but I hate it, would it be possible to keep my first name, add in my future mother in law's maiden name, and then my future spouse's last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      add in my future mother in law's maiden name

      This part would require a court order.

      Reply
  45. Chas

    I will be getting married in a few months. I live in Indiana. I want to keep my late husbands Surname but I also want to take my soon to be husbands surname. I do not want to use one as a middle name and I really do not want to have to hyphenate the Surnames. Can I have both last names legally in Indiana?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Chas. Anything beyond taking your spouse's surname as-is or hyphenating would require a court petitioned name change.

      Reply
  46. TeTe

    Hello! Thanks for the article! I tried searching the comments for this answer but couldn't find it. Could you help?

    I want to take my (now) Middle Name and join it with my First Name, make my Maiden Name my new Middle Name & take his Last Name as my own.

    So, my new full, legal name would read: FirstMiddle Maiden Last

    Can I do that in FLA or Missouri? If so, how difficult would this be?

    Thank you in advance!! :)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to take my (now) Middle Name and join it with my First Name

      This requires a court order.

      make my Maiden Name my new Middle Name & take his Last Name as my own.

      This can be done through marriage using your marriage certificate.

      Can I do that in FLA or Missouri? If so, how difficult would this be?

      Same applies for both states. It's not hard to get your name changed through the court system. You can read the court petition article that'll explain what to expect.

      If you go the court route, you could change all aspects of your name simultaneously: first, middle, and last.

      Reply
  47. Vanessa

    Hello,

    I feel so bad about this, I’m not sure if it was the excitement, but I forgot to fill out the “new name” section. So I’m stuck with my birth name. I already received my marriage certificate. I would like to add his last name. Btw, I married in California. Would I be able to amend this or would I have to petition? Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Would I be able to amend this or would I have to petition?

      You can't amend it after the fact. You'll have to petition.

      Reply
  48. Kimberley Owen Fletcher

    I married in New York and live in South Carolina. They put my surname as: Owen Fletcher because I want to use my surname (Owen) as my middle name and Fletcher as my last name. Can I do that?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kimberley. South Carolina does allow middle to maiden name to middle name changes through marriage. You may have to explain why your maiden name is shown as part of your surname on the certificate though. Supporting identity documentation (e.g., birth certificate, prior ID) should alleviate any concerns, if raised.

      Reply
      1. Kimberley Owen Fletcher

        Thank you. In NY where I got married the form does not have a place to change the middle name. That is why she put it beside the new last name where it says new surname. Now will the new middle name replace the old middle name?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Now will the new middle name replace the old middle name?

          Yes, it would be replaced.

          Reply
  49. JR

    Hi

    I recently got married in NY. My drivers license is still NJ one as I am from there. If I wanted to change my name to have two middle names so it would be: first name middle name maiden name husbands last name is that going to be an issue. We are currently living in NY.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I wanted to change my name to have two middle names so it would be: first name middle name maiden name husbands last name is that going to be an issue. We are currently living in NY.

      That's not possible in New York, unless you go to court.

      Reply
  50. AmberLee

    Hello
    I live in CA and was previously married with my first daughters father and kept his last name so it would be the same as my daughters. I am thinking about getting remarried because I am having another child with someone else but also want his last name. I am complete okay with getting rid of my middle name and using my ex's last name as my middle and new last name as my last. Can I do that in the marriage process or does a separate court hearing/paperwork have to happen? Also is the paperwork process extra long or about the same with getting married?

    For Example…
    AmberLee Marie Jones (First, middle, divorced name)
    What I want…
    AmberLee Jones Baker (first, divorced name, new married name)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am complete okay with getting rid of my middle name and using my ex's last name as my middle and new last name as my last. Can I do that in the marriage process or does a separate court hearing/paperwork have to happen?

      You can do this through the marriage process. You do not need to go to court. On the California marriage license application, enter your preferred middle and last name choices where you're directed to. Use the marriage certificate you'll receive after marriage to change your name with the necessary institutions.

      Reply
  51. Melissa

    Hi I recently got married in MA. There was no spot on the marriage license to change my middle name and the clerk said I should be able to do that on the social security form. However, I don't want to change my middle name my maiden name, I just want to change my middle name to a different middle name. If I fill out the paperwork this way will social security accept it? Or do I need to take additional steps? I can't find an answer to this anywhere as most people just change their middle name to their maiden name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I just want to change my middle name to a different middle name. If I fill out the paperwork this way will social security accept it? Or do I need to take additional steps?

      No, this wouldn't be accepted. You'll need to go to court to change your middle name to something entirely new.

      Reply
  52. Perla

    Hello,

    My fiance and I are getting married this weekend in California and have a name predicament.

    Our current legal names are Perla Smith and Kevin Roe. We do not have a middle name. We want to honor the name "bobby" by adding it to our middle or last name. However, neither of us have "bobby" in any current documents.

    Is it possible for both of us to change our name as part of the marriage process to
    Perla Bobby Roe & Kevin Bobby Roe? Will the state ask for the origin of bobby?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible for both of us to change our name as part of the marriage process to Perla Bobby Roe & Kevin Bobby Roe? Will the state ask for the origin of bobby?

      No, that's not going to be possible through the marriage name changing process. You'll have to go through the court system instead.

      Reply
  53. La La

    Hi! I couldn't find my specific dilemma in the comments. I live in PA and recently got married in PA. I want my legal name to be First-Maiden-Husband's Last Name, ultimately removing my Middle name given at birth.

    SS office updated my legal name to First-Maiden-Husband's Last Name, no problem. Then DMV said I could not make that change without the additional proof i.e. bank statements (but they won't change it without updated license), passport, and/or voter registration.

    My question is: will they issue an updated passport listing my proposed name (First-Maiden-Husband's Last Name) if I send my certified marriage license (lists my name as First-Middle-Maiden) or am I wasting my time and should petition the court?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      will they issue an updated passport listing my proposed name (First-Maiden-Husband's Last Name) if I send my certified marriage license

      Yes, the passport office operates on a separate track from the DMV.

      Reply
  54. Jennifer A.

    hi, I'm in AZ: First, our marriage license did NOT have a place to list my 'new' name; it only had a space for my given name. If I want to add my maiden name to my middle name when I change it, it sounds like I can do that, right? So then I would have two middle names. Currently I typically use my middle initial anyplace I have to use my 'official' signature; after my name change is processed in the SS office, can I change my official signature to have TWO middle initials? (like on a check, on any legal documents, etc.)

    Which initial do I use on electronic forms that only have one space for a middle initial? If I want to honor my original surname by using THAT first letter as my middle initial on electronic forms, do I have to actually give up my original middle name so that my maiden name would be my only middle name? Basically, I'm asking whether I can I choose which middle initial I want to use on electronic forms, or does the middle initial always have to be the one from my FIRST middle name?

    The 'real' ID stuff people are writing in the comments is starting to worry me; I currently don't have a passport, so it sounds like I might have a tougher time changing my driver's license to the Real ID because of that… is that true?

    Reply
    1. Kelly

      I think in Arizona you can make your maiden name a middle name, but if you want two middles, i.e. birth and maiden, you would need a court order. If that is the option you choose, you can use either middle name's initial on forms, but I personally would choose one and be consistent about it. Most people choose the first middle name initial. For a Real ID driver's license, I think all four names would be required. A passport may allow you to choose one, or use initial(s), or simply first and last names.

      Reply
  55. JR

    In NY if I changed my name on my social security card to first name, middle name, husbands last name but I want to now change it to first name, middle name, maiden last name, husnfads last name can I easily just go back to the social security office and change it? This was done in the last year.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi JR. Since you've already changed your name with the social security office, you'll have to present a court order to complete a follow-up name change.

      Reply
  56. Emily

    I recently changed my last name to my married last name on my social it’s first middle maiden married names so two last names. My question is on my license can I just put my first given middle and married last name leaving out my maiden name all together?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My question is on my license can I just put my first given middle and married last name leaving out my maiden name all together?

      Maybe, maybe not. If the DMV performs a lookup against the SSA database and discovers your proposed name doesn't match, that's a problem. Even if no lookup is performed, if you're in a state where a new name choice is shown on the certificate, deviating from that could be a problem. Finally, just because the SSA permitted a space-separated surname doesn't guarantee the DMV will.

      Reply
  57. Emily

    I recently got married in Washington (Washington marriage license) and I live in California. I want to have my name changed so that I will have my maiden name be my middle name and then I will take my husband's last name (i.e. First name Maiden name Husband's last name). Basically, I am dropping my previous middle name and taking my husband's last name. I filled out my marriage license with my original name (because that is what the office in Washington told me to do). Will I need to get a court order to change my name in California or will i be able to make those changes without filing a court order?

    Reply
  58. Ms. Rocky

    I live and am getting married soon in the state of Indiana. If they put his last name on our marriage certificate do I have to legally change my last name to his last name or can I still legally use my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If they put his last name on our marriage certificate do I have to legally change my last name to his last name or can I still legally use my maiden name?

      You're not required to change your last name, regardless of what appears on the marriage certificate.

      Reply
  59. Roberta

    I have been using my maiden name as my middle name since I got married 45 years ago. I went to the DMV in NY today to renew my drivers license and they told me that the rules for the enhanced license that complies with federal law only allows me to use the middle name that is on my birth certificate! They told me that the name I have been using is not my legal name – even though it has been my signature on every single thing for 45 years!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Roberta. These stories aren't new, especially with Real ID requirements. This is an instance where the name on your driver's license deviates from the name on your other records due to current day regulations.

      Reply
    2. Sarah

      Don't use your birth certificate for proof of citizenship, use a passport (if you have one; if not, get one) with your maiden name as your middle name. A passport is proof of citizenship, even after it expires. It's also proof of ID, of course. The Real ID requirement of citizenship often means showing a birth certificate, which is fine if you've kept your original middle name after marriage. The citizenship document must match the ID document (driver's license). If not, you need a name change document such as a marriage certificate. However, many states will only allow the marriage certificate to change the last name. A passport eliminates the need for a name change document.

      Reply
  60. Lisa

    When i got married 28 years ago, I changed my last name to my husband’s, but i kept my previous last name as my middle name. I had been widowed for several years and that’s why i chose to keep the name to match her last name. But now… i want my birth middle name back, it’s too confusing & of course daughter is an adult now so unnecessary . Do i just file a regular name change petition? Do i need a legal service? Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do i just file a regular name change petition?

      Yes, you just file a regular name change petition in the proper courthouse.

      Reply
    2. Erin

      Some states may allow you to revert to your full maiden name if you show them your husband's death certificate, your birth certificate, and marriage certificate. It's worth a try to avoid a court petition, which, of course, is not free.

      Reply
  61. Veronica

    Hello,

    I am recently married and when I went to the Social Security Office, to update my new name they asked if I wanted to Hyphenate or add my husbands name to my name. I did not want to hyphenate, so I added his last name to mine. I'm curious if dropping your maiden name is not an option anymore without having to petition the court. I live in NM. I really didn't want to have 2 last names, but that was the only option given to me at the Social Security Office. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank You.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I did not want to hyphenate, so I added his last name to mine. I'm curious if dropping your maiden name is not an option anymore without having to petition the court.

      You'd have to go to court since you've already formally went through a name change.

      Reply
  62. Kate C

    Hello,
    I got married in 2017. I changed my last name to my husbands name and kept my middle name the same. Now as time has gone by, I would like to change my middle name to my maiden name. Is the only way to do this in Texas through a court order?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now as time has gone by, I would like to change my middle name to my maiden name. Is the only way to do this in Texas through a court order?

      Yes, you'll have to go to court. When you change your name due to marriage, it's done as a complete set: first (which doesn't change), middle, and last.

      Reply
  63. Julie

    Hi. When I divorced years ago, I kept my married name because we have a child together. Now I am getting remarried and would like my new name to be First Name, 1st Married Name (changing middle name to former married name), New Married Last Name. I am a legal resident of Michigan, getting married in California.

    Do I need to get a Court Order to change my middle name? If so, should I do before or after the wedding (which is April 27th – today is February 3rd)? Also, should I assume I would need to do in Michigan?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Julie. As far as I know, this isn't addressed in Michigan's statutes. Maiden to middle is possible, but prior married surname to middle is unanswered. You can try and then resort to a court order if it fails.

      Reply
  64. Ally L H

    Hello! I have found this website's information and comments so helpful! (And the blog posts have great character.) My husband and I went to the Social Security Administration office today to change our names. We decided we would both change our names in this fashion: First_name My_maiden His_last. We both have our certified Certificate of Marriage (Louisiana, don't think it has a spot for desired new names, we just signed our birth names). I was given no trouble at all changing my middle name to my maiden name and taking his last name.

    However, when my husband went to change his middle name to my maiden name (same office, same day), keeping his last name as is, he was told he had to petition the court. Is this correct? Or should he be able to change his middle name to my maiden name using our Certificate of Marriage in Louisiana? Thank you so much.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      as is, he was told he had to petition the court. Is this correct?

      Yes, it's correct. He must petition.

      Reply
      1. Ally L H

        Hey, Valera. Thank you so much for your expedient reply. I am not looking forward to the court process. Why is it that he has to wait for weeks, maybe months, and spend upwards of $400 when I could change mine immediately and at no cost?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Ally. Historically, husbands changing their surnames to their wives' isn't considered a marriage-related name change, but a general adult name change that requires a court order.

          Reply
  65. Donna D M

    I live in Texas and have had my maiden name as my middle name on my drivers license only. For personal reasons I would like to put my middle name back on my license instead. On all other legal documents its first, middle and married name. How can I get my licence changed back.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How can I get my licence changed back.

      You could try, but it's unlikely to be approved unless you have a document (e.g., court order, amended birth certificate) that justifies the name change.

      Reply
  66. 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
  67. 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
  68. 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
  69. 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
  70. 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
  71. 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
  72. 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
  73. 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
  74. 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
  75. 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
  76. 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
  77. 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
  78. 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
  79. 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
  80. 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

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