2,640 Comments

Whether you have decided to change your name in order to match your new spouse's and kids' names or because you like the new name better, there are still some situations in which you may be required to continue using your maiden name. A name change is final in certain situations—if you get your name changed on your passport, for example, you will not typically need to explain what your maiden name is—but it may still come up in other situations.

Note: If you do intend to change your name, our online name change forms can help you to complete the process.

There are a few specific situations in which you may continue to use your maiden name. Here are some of them:

1. In professional contexts, particularly specialized professions

If you have spent the last decade building up a professional identity and reputation, you will not want to quickly cast that off! Some people change their legal name, but continue to use their maiden name after marriage. This can be tricky when people make out checks to you, for instance, but you often just need to talk to your bank and establish that checks may be deposited in your maiden name. You also may be able to obtain authorization to do business as your new name without changing documents—this is called a “doing business as” approval, or DBA.

Licensing and legal documents may reflect your new name, but some people get around this by adding a last name: for instance, if your maiden name was Lesley Hastings, you could adopt the last name Smith by becoming Lesley Hastings Smith. This means you can often change legal documents but keep letterhead the same. In any case, there are many ways to get around the differences between legal name and the name your professional contacts know you by.

2. When you aren't ready for the name change in social situations

Many people aren't quite ready to change their name—after all, you have had the same name for your whole life until now! Yet, you want to have an easier time with insurance or paperwork, or want to conform to tradition and adopt your spouse's name. You don't have to go by your legal name in every situation. If you're meeting new people who don't know your spouse and refer to you by your maiden name, you don't necessarily need to correct them.

Meeting with old friends is another situation in which most people will continue to use their maiden name. Friends can have trouble adjusting to the new name if they have known you under one name for a long time! Since most of these situations are purely social, there are no legal ramifications. You may also revert to using your maiden name at any time if you just prefer it!

3. When you are legally obliged to disclose your maiden name

In many types of security and background paperwork, you are required to give any previous names you have gone under so that they can do a more thorough background check. This may include your passport, background checks for jobs or volunteer positions, or credit checks. In these kinds of situations, you are usually legally obligated to provide your maiden name.

How do you know if this is a requirement? Check the form—if there is a space for you to list other names you have gone under, there is usually a prompt that says “such as maiden names” in the instructions. It's usually better to be safe than sorry unless you're truly trying to escape your maiden name, in which case you can ask whoever you would submit the paperwork to whether it is a requirement to list your maiden name.

4. If you haven't yet updated all your paperwork

When you get your name changed, there are many steps to take in order to get every name updated! Your name is on everything from your credit card to your bank account, so you may not have updated all of your paperwork yet. Keep careful track of who you have gotten a name change approval from so far, so that you'll never be at a loss as to which name to supply.

Before you get official approval to use your new name, you can introduce yourself or identify yourself with your maiden name, then let them know that you are in the process of changing your name. This is often enough to satisfy requirements at places such as banks, as they understand that the name change process can be a hassle. It can certainly be more annoying when it comes to passports, since government officials tend to be more strict about names.

5. While deciding whether to go through with a name change

Some people just aren't sure whether they're ready for a name change. You might decide to change your legal name on some documents while deciding whether you truly want to change your name. You might even be on board with the name change until you actually start signing documents and introducing yourself with a new name entirely.

You aren't alone if you decide that you aren't sure if you want to go through with a name change yet, if at all. You can often change your name back to your maiden name or simply start to use the maiden name again whenever you choose to do so. If you don't want to go through the hassle of changing back the name again, you can sometimes add the new name as an alternate name to various accounts and with important agencies.

Changing your name is no small matter, and even when you change your maiden name to a new one, no rule says you need to use it in every situation or introduce yourself with it all the time! Many newly-married couples avoid the name change decision, so relax: you have time to choose where you want to use which names. You can continue to use your maiden name until you have decided whether to use it or your married name in each situation… and you may never really change your name when you're chatting with old friends!

2,640 Comments

  1. Jai

    I got married in 2016 and changed my maiden name to my husbands last name. I got new DL and new SSN with husbands last name. (I still have my old DL and SSN with maiden name) I do want to go back to my maiden name. I continue to stay married. (This is NOT a divorce!) Do I have to make a legal name change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I do want to go back to my maiden name. I continue to stay married. (This is NOT a divorce!) Do I have to make a legal name change?

      Yes, you'll have to go through a court-approved name change.

      Reply
      1. Etaskin

        How does that work in Cali ? I want to remove my second last name which is husbands , but I won't divorce. Where should I go , how do I do , please help.

        Reply
  2. Gertrude

    Reading this, it sounds like updating anything is not required after choosing to take a partner's surname. Is there really no time limit in updating your SSN, and therefore everything else?

    If using a marriage certificate as proof of relationship for perhaps financial/bank reasons, does it not need to match? Would you change SSN before using the certificate for thing?

    Thanks so much! This in FL by the way. :)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there really no time limit in updating your SSN, and therefore everything else?

      No, there's no time limit.

      If using a marriage certificate as proof of relationship for perhaps financial/bank reasons, does it not need to match? Would you change SSN before using the certificate for thing?

      Since you'd be able to provide documentation of your old name, this wouldn't really matter in any real-world scenario.

      If your marriage certificate contains a new post-marriage name that you haven't changed to, it still doesn't matter from the bank's perspective whether or not you change it.

      It's doubtful the bank would even bring it up either way. They understand some people choose to not change their name after marriage, even if it conflicts with what the certificate says they intended at the time.

      Reply
  3. Amy

    I'm divorced and want to use my maiden name again. Is it ok to change my name legally to my maiden name but still use my married name professionally? Is it ok if I don't change my SSN, passport, DMV, bank records, pensions, 401k, etc. even if I've changed my name legally?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it ok to change my name legally to my maiden name but still use my married name professionally?

      Yes. You'll want to make sure your taxes are filed in your legal name.

      Is it ok if I don't change my SSN, passport, DMV, bank records, pensions, 401k, etc. even if I've changed my name legally?

      If your name is only changed in your divorce decree, it's not actually legally changed. It just gives you the option to do so.

      Regardless of what's in your decree, you don't have to change any of the documents you cited.

      Reply
  4. Michelle

    Hi, I got married this past April to an Air Force man and so my gov’t spouse ID and my marriage certificate both have my last name hyphenated but nothing else is. We just bought a house together and I used my maiden name on everything. My question is will I have to legally change everything to my new hyphenated last name? Especially when it comes social security and/or gov’t spousal benefits down the line?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My question is will I have to legally change everything to my new hyphenated last name? Especially when it comes social security and/or gov’t spousal benefits down the line?

      If you'd like to stick with your maiden name, the easiest route to take would be to update your government ID. No other credential would need to be updated.

      Reply
  5. Jenifer Carter

    My fiance and I have played with the idea of him taking my last name when we get married, since his last name is difficult to pronounce for most people. Will a court order be necessary? We live in Massachusetts, if that matters.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will a court order be necessary? We live in Massachusetts, if that matters.

      No, your fiance doesn't need a court order. The eventual marriage certificate alone will suffice. Just be sure the new name choice is specified on the marriage license application.

      Reply
  6. Katia

    Hi!

    I got married a few months ago and took his last name. I kept my maiden name on everything (ssn, bank account, driver's license, passport…) and I've been receiving my paychecks through maiden name also. But I did file the application forms for the green card with my married name and filed my taxes this year with my married name also. Is that a problem? And if not, in the future, do I have to file the taxes with my married name? Do I need to have my paychecks on my married name if I file taxes with my married name?

    Also, Since I filed the green card forms with the married name, my green card will have my married name in my passport that is on my maiden name, will that be a problem? Could I even keep using my maiden name for getting paid and everything if my green card is on my married name?

    I'm sorry for the long comment, it's just that I took my husband's last name while getting married to eventually be able to use it but for now I just want to keep my maiden name on everything until I do decide to start using my husband's, but I don't know how to do that especially while being on the green card process! I'm in NY by the way.

    Thank you very much for helping!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      But I did file the application forms for the green card with my married name and filed my taxes this year with my married name also. Is that a problem?

      Taxes should be filed matching the name on your social security record. It's possible the agent who deals with your claim will manually reconcile your paperwork. If not, you'll be contacted for a correction.

      And if not, in the future, do I have to file the taxes with my married name?

      See above.

      Do I need to have my paychecks on my married name if I file taxes with my married name?

      Yes, it makes sense to do so.

      Also, Since I filed the green card forms with the married name, my green card will have my married name in my passport that is on my maiden name, will that be a problem?

      If you don't update your passport, at least maintain an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate on hand in order to explain the name discrepancy.

      Could I even keep using my maiden name for getting paid and everything if my green card is on my married name?

      That's an arrangement you'll have to work out with your employer.

      now I just want to keep my maiden name on everything until I do decide to start using my husband's, but I don't know how to do that especially while being on the green card process!

      If you want to reverse the name change on your green card, you'll have to petition the court for a name change and obtain a court order.

      Reply
      1. Katia

        Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, it helped me a lot! :)

        Reply
  7. Natalie

    I live in England UK. I got married in Jamaica in 2006. 12 years ago. I never changed my surname officially with benefit agencies and tax office and banks and dentist and doctors etc. So I kept my maiden name with them all but personally known by my husbands surname.

    If I want my records and future letters from benefit agencies and tax office etc to now address me with my husbands surname instead of my maiden name because it's been 12 years and I've done nothing to change it would I have to legally obtain a change of name deed poll or would my marriage certificate be enough for them to change my name on my records despite the time frame being 12 years since I got married and I think my certificate might be signed with signatures for both my maiden and married surname.

    I have a passport with 7 years left but am I right in guessing that even if I change my name with other organisations I don't have to buy a new passport and can keep that in my maiden name until it runs out as long as I book travel under my maiden name? Many thanks for any advice and feedback.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      would I have to legally obtain a change of name deed poll or would my marriage certificate be enough for them to change my name on my records despite the time frame being 12 years

      Your marriage certificate will suffice to change your surname. You don't need to do a deed poll. The fact that your marriage took place 12 years ago doesn't matter.

      I have a passport with 7 years left but am I right in guessing that even if I change my name with other organisations I don't have to buy a new passport and can keep that in my maiden name until it runs out as long as I book travel under my maiden name?

      Correct.

      Reply
  8. Diana

    Hi 26 yrs old from philippines and im studying again bachelor of science in nursing. And im married to a british guy. Is it ok if my bank account and my school ID is still under my maiden name if i submit it to the UK embassy? But my passport and other IDs is on my spouse surname… As i still want to use my maiden name when I graduate just to honor my fathers surname. Is it ok?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      As i still want to use my maiden name when I graduate just to honor my fathers surname.

      Something like this would have to be worked out with your school. Is there any mechanism in place where they'd be notified of a name change and require their internal records be updated? That's something you'll have to contact the school about to determine.

      Reply
  9. Joshua

    Didn't have time to read all the responses, but see you reply pretty promptly and may be able to answer my questions.

    I just married two days ago and my wife too my name hyphenated as "Maiden name-Surname" we know she needs to change the SS card and Drivers license and such, but can she still use just her maiden name for things such as credit cards, or is she required to change it for everything?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can she still use just her maiden name for things such as credit cards

      Yes, she probably could considering credit bureaus maintain a history of prior names. However, if she's paying by credit card and it doesn't match the name on her ID, any given merchant may reject the transaction.

      Furthermore, if she applies for a new credit card or equivalent using a name that doesn't match what's on her social security record, the application could be declined.

      So it's possible, but could be a brittle path to maintain over the long run.

      Reply
      1. Joshua Stur

        Thank you very much for the information. As a follow-up question.

        Since we are now married and the marriage license has been signed and sent off for record keeping, If we were to have a change of heart and want to revert her name back, or even have me take hers, what would be the process for that?

        Would we need to have the marriage license itself changed, or go through the normal name changing procedures?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          If we were to have a change of heart and want to revert her name back

          If she's already changed her name with the SSA, she couldn't change it again without getting a court order. If she hasn't changed it yet, it depends on the state. Some state's marriage certificates will show a new name after marriage, which could hamstring your choices. Without knowing the state, I can't provide additional detail.

          or even have me take hers, what would be the process for that?

          Only a few state's allow a husband to take the wife's name through marriage. Again, it depends on the state.

          Would we need to have the marriage license itself changed, or go through the normal name changing procedures?

          Marriage license or certificate changes are reserved for errors. Anything beyond that isn't allowed, unless you get a judge to sign off, which is unlikely.

          Reply
          1. Joshua

            It was done in New York State and we have not yet moved on changing the SSA or anything yet until we figured out other options.

          2. Joshua

            Figured I would let you know we figured an easy solution. We actually got a hold of the Town Clerk where we did the paperwork just as it was about to be sent off so they were able to make the change for use after having us verify it was us.

          3. Valera

            We actually got a hold of the Town Clerk where we did the paperwork just as it was about to be sent off so they were able to make the change for use after having us verify it was us.

            It's great you got it sorted out in time. Thanks for coming back to give a status update.

          4. Caroline

            Hi Valera,
            I find myself in a similar situation. I got married back in June 2018 and I hyphenated my husband's last name so it is maiden name-surname, I have not updated any of my documentation such as SSN, credit bureau, etc; but I would like to go back to my maiden name, is there a way to do this in Massachusetts?

          5. Valera

            Hi Carolina. Since you haven't updated any of your identity documents, then there's nothing for you to do. Take no further action and your current name remains the same.

  10. Sarah

    I was legally married last year although we kept it a secret and still had a big wedding celebration. I wrote my maiden name on the marriage license last year. Is it still possible for me to change my last name if it's not on the marriage license? How is the process different?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I wrote my maiden name on the marriage license last year. Is it still possible for me to change my last name if it's not on the marriage license? How is the process different?

      It depends on the state. Some states provide spots to choose a new name after marriage (e.g., California, New York, Massachusetts), while most others don't.

      Reply
  11. Marlene Jaime

    If I got married 8 years ago and I changed my last name at the social security office but still use my maiden name for everything I do. Will my new last name come up in a background check even if I've never used it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will my new last name come up in a background check even if I've never used it?

      Yes, it most likely will.

      Reply
  12. CAT

    I married 6 years ago in CA and kept my maiden name. I now want to change DL and SS (all personal items) to my married name but want to keep my maiden name for work and my profession (psy) is this possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I married 6 years ago in CA and kept my maiden name.

      When you say you kept your maiden name, does that mean you never specified a new name on your marriage license application or does it mean you did but never formally went about changing it on any official documents?

      If your new name choice doesn't appear on your marriage certificate, you'll have to petition the court. If it does, you can change your name as you normally would.

      I now want to change DL and SS (all personal items) to my married name

      See prior comment.

      but want to keep my maiden name for work and my profession (psy) is this possible?

      It may be possible, but you'll have to contact your state's licensing board to determine if their records need updating without necessarily having to reissue your credentials.

      Reply
  13. sveta

    Hi, I am being married for more than 20 years and in the beginning, I took my husbands name only on the passport, not on SS. Later on, like around 10 years ago, I took his last name on the SS as well. My question is can I add (not change back!) my maiden name to my last name on the passport and SS?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My question is can I add (not change back!) my maiden name to my last name on the passport and SS?

      Not on the basis of getting married. You'd have to present a court order to the SSA and State Department for your name change to be authorized.

      Reply
  14. Amber

    I am getting married in a few months and I am uncertain about changing my name. I would like to change my legal name in order to have the same last name as my children and separation from my professional identity. I would like to keep my maiden name professionally, but my concern is that I am a licensed professional. Is it possible to keep your maiden name professionally while legally changing your name? I would like to keep my maiden name on my state license, and as credentialed with insurance companies.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible to keep your maiden name professionally while legally changing your name? I would like to keep my maiden name on my state license, and as credentialed with insurance companies.

      This is up to your state's licensing authority or board. In some states, reportage of a name change is mandatory. Same with an address change. Failure to report a legal name change may be considered professional misconduct.

      Sometimes reporting has to be done within a certain number of days following your name change. Some will issue new certificates or credentials automatically, while others require you to pay a fee.

      Some boards may allow you to report the name change while permitting you to use the professional name you've been using. It varies by state and profession.

      Reply
  15. Tina

    Hi,
    I have taken my husband's last name after marriage on my passport and green card and driving license. However, i now want to go back to my maiden name. We are not divorced but i feel it a big hassle to change name on all bank accounts etc. hence, i just want to go back to my maiden name on my 3 main documents while i am still married. How can i do that? What is the process?
    All sites say i need a divorce decree to go back to my maiden name, but thats strange. I am married but i want to go back to my maiden name. Please suggest.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      i just want to go back to my maiden name on my 3 main documents while i am still married. How can i do that? What is the process? All sites say i need a divorce decree to go back to my maiden name, but thats strange.

      Whatever website says you need to get a divorce to change your name back to your maiden name is wrong. You need to obtain a court order for a legal adult name change.

      Reply
      1. tina

        Thank you! does court order require both husband and wife signature? Also, in addition to court order do you also need a newspaper advertisment?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          does court order require both husband and wife signature?

          No, only the person who's changing their name signs. The court has no interest in the other party.

          Also, in addition to court order do you also need a newspaper advertisment?

          Yes, that's typically the case. You can read the article about publishing your name in the newspaper for what to expect there.

          Reply
  16. oleva v okeefe

    I got divorced in 1998 and did not change back to my maiden name. I am now getting married in TX and we would like to use my maiden name. Can I do this or do I have to do a legal name change first?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am now getting married in TX and we would like to use my maiden name.

      Are you saying you want to use your maiden name on the application or you want to change to your maiden name after marriage?

      If it's the prior, that wouldn't be possible. You'll have to use your current legal name. If it's the latter, you'll have to use your divorce decree to change your name back to your maiden name. If your decree doesn't contain an order permitting the return of your maiden name, then you must petition the court for a name change.

      Reply
  17. Tina

    Question I got married in 2017 and only change my name with my bank and DMV but I did not hyphenated my husband last name. Is it ok to go back to the DMV to change my name back to my maiden name or can I just leave my license and my back account information the same and just continue using my maiden name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it ok to go back to the DMV to change my name back to my maiden name or can I just leave my license and my back account information the same and just continue using my maiden name.

      If you had a court order, you could change it. Otherwise, you can leave it alone.

      Reply
  18. Ellen Greenberg

    I was married 30 years ago and my name was changed on the marriage certificate but my social security card and license still have my maiden name. Does that mean both my maiden and married names are legal?

    Reply
  19. Sveta

    Hi! I got married in September (California), and at that point decide to take my husband's last name so in marriage certificate they put that It's my new last name. But now I changed my mind and I would prefer to keep use my maiden name. Is it legal? Or since there is new last name in marriage certificate I have to use it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      But now I changed my mind and I would prefer to keep use my maiden name. Is it legal? Or since there is new last name in marriage certificate I have to use it?

      No, you're not required to change your name regardless of what's on your marriage certificate. Do nothing and your maiden name will remain intact.

      Reply
  20. Deanna C

    I got married last week (we live in New York State) and I opted to keep my maiden name, mostly out of laziness. I'm 47 and didn't want to go through the hassle of changing my name on everything from my social security number to my gym membership. My original plan was to use a "double barreled" name, i.e. First Middle Maiden Married (no hyphen) and use the two last names interchangeably. But there was no option for that on the marriage license, so that would still mean I'd need to change everything over to the additional name – and likely need a court petition to complete the change. Too much work, time, money…

    It's my understanding that you can call yourself anything you want, provided you are not doing so in an attempt to defraud or commit a crime. So ultimately I decided I would go by his last name socially, but keep my maiden name legally. People wrote us checks for our wedding that had my first name with his last name and the bank hasn't given me a problem, mainly because (a) we *just* got married, so obviously even if I were going to change my name it wouldn't take effect so soon, and (b) I'm putting the checks into our joint account, which obviously has his name on it.

    But now that we've been married a week, I feel like I really like using his last name. I still don't want to change it legally, though, unless I end up just going with the original plan and tacking it on to the end of my maiden name. So I guess my question is, what exactly CAN I use his last name for, and what can I NOT use his last name for if it's not my legal name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      So I guess my question is, what exactly CAN I use his last name for, and what can I NOT use his last name for if it's not my legal name?

      New York's name change options are fairly generous, but you have to specify your choice on the marriage license. Since you didn't do so, your path would be to file a name change request with the Supreme Court.

      Reply
  21. Janine

    I've got married at the year of 2016 and taken my boardexam in 2018 and still i used my maiden name in taking my boardexam.. is it okay?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Janine. If the legal name you specified when taking your board exam was correct, you're fine. If not, you can contact them to correct the record.

      Reply
  22. Amanda

    Ok so I got married about 4.5 years ago. At the time of filling out our Marriage Certificate, I thought I was going to take his name. After we got married, my father became ill and the importance of my last name hit me so I decided not to change it.

    I have tried contacting my town and the state about getting my name change back on the marriage certificate and I'm being told that it is basically impossible without going to court and hiring a lawyer. Our marriage certificate / license is the only place where my last name shows as his.

    My question is if something happens to me, will my husband have to fight or somehow prove that I am the same person as the marriage certificate in order to get everything I would be leaving behind to him? Every other document has my name on it, even our home and bank account we opened after we got married. It is literally the only document where I have his last name. How is it this hard to change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My question is if something happens to me, will my husband have to fight or somehow prove that I am the same person as the marriage certificate in order to get everything I would be leaving behind to him?

      This shouldn't be a problem, as your husband will be able to verify your identity. Many people choose to take a new name on a marriage license/certificate and then later change their mind. It's a nonissue.

      Reply
  23. Len G

    I applied for green card and work permit.. My applications were all based on my maiden name. I received my SSN with my married name though.
    My question is can I just retain as is my bank account details, green card, work permit and driver's license using my maiden name? Then my SSN with my married name?
    Would this create a future problem for me? What is the best thig to do? I decided to use my maiden name instead of my married name for my bank details, green card, driver's license and credit card.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Len. If don't intend to update your green card, you can keep a certified copy of your marriage certificate on hand in case questions about your married name arises.

      Reply
  24. Jen

    I got married in 2013, it lasted 3 months. I never changed my DL, SS or birth certificate. I’m getting a divorce, will I have problems when divorcing for not changing my maiden name to the legal last name in my documents?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I’m getting a divorce, will I have problems when divorcing for not changing my maiden name to the legal last name in my documents?

      No, it doesn't matter.

      Reply
  25. Mary Claire

    Hi. I’m a permanent resident holding a 10 year green card. I got divorced in Feb. 2018 and my divorce decree stated that I can change my name back to my maiden name. I changed my last name to my maiden name on my ssn, driver’s license, job, bank accounts, etc. except my greencard and passport. I was told by a lawyer that I can have my greencard name changed when I apply for naturalization. I am eligible to apply for citizenship in Feb. 2019. My question is, am I going to have a problem with my citizenship application if my government id’s have already changed to my maiden name and not my greencard? Please help. Thanks

    Reply
  26. Bertha

    Hi, i recently got married, and my plan is to become a citizen next year, but i dont know what to do cause my husband owes back pay, now if i add his last name or or change my maiden name to his last names is that going to affect me on any kind of way?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Bertha. The fact that you're married would be what's important, not your last name. You may want to get in touch with an accountant to discuss how your marriage affects your financial liabilities.

      Reply
  27. Ruth Plaatjies

    Can I use my maiden name when I apply to study at a university or is it fraud ?

    Reply
  28. Nargiza

    Hello,
    I'm a Green card holder and now it's time to get my citizenship, i'm married, but all my legal documents (Green card, New York ID, SSN, etc..except marriage certificate) on my maiden name. I've got married since 2014 and I didn't change my last name, but 2 years later (my husband insisted on changing my last name, and in 2016 we came back to City Hall (as City Hall's Clerk advised us) and we remarried…

    I have 2 marriage certificate now: first one is on my maiden name since 2014 and second one is on my husband's last name since 2016)..My question is… can I leave my maiden name when I apply for Citizenship? I still don't want change my maiden name
    Thank you in advance

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My question is… can I leave my maiden name when I apply for Citizenship? I still don't want change my maiden name

      Yes, you can still leave your maiden name as your true legal name. You don't have to change it.

      Reply
  29. Kay

    Hi!

    I want to finally take my wife’s last name on all legal documents, except for my passport and military ID. I will change those in the next 2 years. Question is: will I enounter any sort of problem if I have some legal docs with my maiden name and some with my married name?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      will I enounter any sort of problem if I have some legal docs with my maiden name and some with my married name?

      Maybe. You can carry a certified a copy of your marriage certificate with you to explain the inconsistency.

      Reply
  30. Melody

    11.18.2018. My divorce was final in 2013. During the settlement, I signed a power of attorney over ownership for my ex-husband to have ownership of a truck. It was recently totaled due to a tree falling on it during a hurricane. He now has an insurance claim on it.

    This week he has asked me to sign another power of attorney form. He states that back in 2013 there was a mistake on the form and it was rejected and “he just never fixed it”. So my name on the ownership form and the title of the truck is my married name.

    My question is this, I changed my married name back to my maiden name last year. The notary (his friend) and my ex husband say I have to sign the form as my married name so the names match. Is this ok, since I have changed my name back to maiden name? It is a notarized signature. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Melody. There is an AKA option that the notary may accept. If they're just trying to get this moving along so that whichever entity receives the document is satisfied, then it's up to you if you're comfortable going along with it.

      There doesn't appear to be anything nefarious about what they're suggesting and it's not as though your identity is in question, so this may be a mountain out of a molehill situation.

      Reply
  31. Anna

    I indicated a name change on my marriage license (this is for NY) to hyphenate maiden-husband's last name since I wanted to have that representation that we're married. But I've recently been thinking that I want to keep my maiden name to avoid the insanity that is with notifying my licensing board of a name change. I'll be getting married in a month. Is there a way to change it on the day we get our marriage certificate or will we have to reapply again?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a way to change it on the day we get our marriage certificate or will we have to reapply again?

      You can first ask the city or town clerk if they can reissue the marriage license with a modification. They may charge a small fee or no fee. If that's not an option, you'll have to apply for a brand new license.

      Reply
  32. Nanette

    Hello,

    I am from California. On our marriage application and license, I put that I wanted to add my birth name to my middle name (2 middle names) and take his last name.

    When we got the license, we were still struggling with this and we asked if what would happen if changed our minds about the name change. We were told that if we changed our minds, we would need to pay the $85 license fee again for a new license.

    We ended up deciding it was best for me to either keep my last name or just add his name to my last name (2 last names, no hyphen). We have not turned in a signed license (my minister and witnesses).

    We went back to the clerk to get a new license with the new name information to sign and submit for our official marriage certificate but were then told that they could not issue a new one because our we married on November 17th.

    The clerk said that we were told incorrect information. Based on what the initial clerk told us, we thought the marriage/name change was not official until we submitted the competed and signed license and were issued an official Marriage Certificate?

    We were Is this true? Do we have any recourse, or do I have to change my name to his last name? if no recourse, how can I keep my birth name or change it to reflect 2 last names?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nanette. Bottom line, you can only change your name to what's reflected on your marriage certificate. You're not required to change your name to this though. If you want your middle or last name changed to something other than what's on your certificate, you'll have to go to court.

      Reply
      1. Nanette

        Thanks! All names are on the license (no certificate yet), just not in the correct spot.
        So, just for clarification, if my license has…First as 'Nanette', Middle as 'Michelle Johnson' [birth middle & last/maiden] and Last as 'Miller' and I want my middle just to remain as 'Michelle' and my new last name as 'Johnson Miller' [maiden & hubby's last name], I'd still need to go to court to change it?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          All names are on the license (no certificate yet), just not in the correct spot.

          Your certificate will ultimately mirror the names on the license.

          I'd still need to go to court to change it?

          Correct.

          Reply
  33. Jenny

    Just got married last month and wondering if I need to go to court to change my name or just take marriage certificate to all the places like SS and DMV, etc. . I want to drop my middle name and use both my maiden and married names, but no hyphen. So for example instead of “Jenny Lynn McKenzie” it would now be “Jenny McKenzie Smith” – two last names, no middle name … is this a legal court matter for name changing or is just filling out changes at SS and DMV etc. valid legally? State of Illinois if that helps. Thank you!

    Reply
  34. Kate

    I just changed my name but did not update my SS and DL.

    I am about to purchase a property (no band and finance involved) and a vehicle, I want to have both under my new name, I can’t postpone the purchases.

    I am planning to update my SS and DL 5 days prior to the purchase, I am concerned about insurance company not being able to verify my credit as the updated seems to take a while to show.

    any comment if insurance companies will take into consideration my previous name against for credit checking so insurance coverage may not be an issue?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kate. They'll check against your current legal name. If it's not found, they can try your prior name. If necessary, you can offer to provide them a copy of your marriage certificate to silence any doubts.

      Reply
  35. Martha

    I recently got a court order that grants me permission to resume using my maiden name ( many years after the divorce). I’m having second thoughts about it and no longer want to change my name. Will I run into any problems if I just don’t change my SS info, drivers license or anything else?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I run into any problems if I just don’t change my SS info, drivers license or anything else?

      No, there won't be any problems. You aren't required to follow through.

      Reply
  36. Dulce Matchon

    Good morning…i am separated for almost 10 yrs now,is it possible to change my married surname to my maiden name?even if we are not legally separated and whst is the requirments?tia

    Reply
    1. Valera

      is it possible to change my married surname to my maiden name?even if we are not legally separated and whst is the requirments?

      You'd have to file a regular name change petition with the court. Spousal separation, even for a great length of time, isn't sufficient for you to request your name be changed by X agency. If you ultimately get divorced, you can request the judge include instructions in the decree to reestablish your maiden name.

      Reply
  37. Shyra

    Hi so I got married a month ago and I wanna change my name, but just on my DL can that be done or will I have to change it on everything? Can I have both maid and married name on the DL but just my maid name? please help with answers thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I wanna change my name, but just on my DL can that be done or will I have to change it on everything?

      If the DMV performs a lookup against the SSA database and discovers a name mismatch, you wouldn't be issued a new driver's license until your social security card is updated.

      It's not guaranteed this action will be performed, but there's a good chance it will.

      Can I have both maid and married name on the DL but just my maid name?

      I don't know which you're referring to here. Please clarify.

      Reply
      1. Shyra

        sorry I was asking can I have both names on DL but just use my maid name? like for my food stamps and stuff I still wanna use my maid name. So will I be able to have both names on the DL but just use maid name?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Shyra. You could use your maiden name informally, but for legal and government purposes, it would have to be your legal name.

          Reply
  38. Marie

    QUESTION
    Received my marriage certificate it states just my new surname. I had wanted to have both maiden name /hyphen new surname name listed on certificate but was misinformed by clerk that I should just list new surname on application to have option of both. Told now by town that only way to correct this is to redo marriage ceremony and application.

    Can I just legally continue to use my maiden name for ease of life on everything with no penalties. Ex social security,taxes,bank statement,credit cards be listed on marriage certificate, citizenships, drivers license, etc,etc

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I just legally continue to use my maiden name for ease of life on everything with no penalties.

      Certainly.

      Reply
  39. Richa

    Hi
    I have my maiden name on Passport and on marriage certificate its with my husband last name.
    I am applying for L2 Visa. Am i going to get into trouble for this?

    Please help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am applying for L2 Visa. Am i going to get into trouble for this?

      No, it wouldn't get you in trouble.

      Reply
  40. Callie

    I got divorced in 2011 and court granted me the right to go back to my maiden name which I never did because of the hassle with SS. I am now engaged and plan on getting married in a couple of months. The only thing that never ended up changing was my SS name card. It still is under my former married name. Everything else is under my maiden name now(ie license, passport, etc). If I go back to SS now (years later) to change back to my maiden name, will it be a problem ? Also i plan on keeping my maiden name when i get re-married.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I go back to SS now (years later) to change back to my maiden name, will it be a problem

      No problem. Just use a certified copy of your divorce decree to change your name back.

      Reply
  41. Alecis Sutker

    Hi, I’m getting married and want to keep my maiden name for some time, for family reasons.
    I intend on changing my name to his at some point down the road but it could be 10 years before it’s feasable to do,
    Will I be able to take my marriage licence and change my name legally on everything then or will we need to get married again?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I be able to take my marriage licence and change my name legally on everything then or will we need to get married again?

      You can change it later. Even many years later. You wouldn't have to remarry.

      Reply
  42. katie

    I recently got married and while filling out the marriage license i had opted to take my husbands last name, however i no longer want to, and was thinking of just hyphenating.. am i able to do that when i go to legally change my name or does it have to match the marriage license

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Katie. It likely has to match the state. Which state did the marriage take place in?

      Reply
  43. Shandra

    I got married 2012 and i changed my name only on my ss card. I have been using my maiden name for everything, DL, Bank account, insurance everything. Do i need to change my last name on my ss card back to my maiden? If so how and how much is it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do i need to change my last name on my ss card back to my maiden?

      Not possible without a court order.

      Reply
  44. Teresa

    I am am an emerging artist. I changed my name when i got married 18 yrs ago and took my spouse's name. But I sign my paintings with my maiden initials. Is it appropriate to continue to use my maiden name to sign my paintings and continue going by my maiden name as an artist but everything else by my legal name? Or do I have to go through the whole "DBA" thing?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it appropriate to continue to use my maiden name to sign my paintings and continue going by my maiden name as an artist but everything else by my legal name? Or do I have to go through the whole "DBA" thing?

      Registering a DBA isn't required. You'll just do it if it serves any useful administrative or tax filing purpose.

      Reply
  45. Samantha Schlim

    I got a divorced in Hawaii in 2007 and elected to take back my maiden name. I moved to Colorado in 2008 and since my birth date wasn't listed on my Hawaiian divorce papers, Colorado DMV refused to recognize my maiden name as my legal name.. Because of that, I decided to continue using my married name.

    After 8 years I moved back to Hawaii. I needed to get my Hawaiian drivers license and since my divorce papers listed my maiden name as my name they told me I had to have that on my license.

    Since the divorce I had opened various credit accounts, loans and etc. with my married name. I decided I want to keep my married name.

    My question is this. Do I have to go through the complete name change process to keep the name I have used now for for over 30 years?

    The DMV is the only one that is using my maiden name but since I need my DL on occasion for identification purposes I'm concerned that having a different name on it will create a problem.
    Thanks…

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My question is this. Do I have to go through the complete name change process to keep the name I have used now for for over 30 years?

      Are you looking to change your name with the Hawaii DMV from maiden to married? If that's the only entity, then you'll have to present a document that'll satisfy them.

      It can't be your marriage certificate, since you're divorced. It can't be your divorce decree, since you already used that to go back to your maiden name. That leaves a court order, assuming you're unable to get the DMV to grant an exception.

      Reply
      1. Samantha S

        Thanks for your reply. I was forced to get my driver license since my Colorado one was expiring today and I didn't want to go through the process of getting a new license all over again. They issued it with my maiden name on it since it was the name on my divorce papers as my legal name I would take after my divorce was final. I literally begged them to leave my current married name on my new drivers license but they refused. So how do I go about getting a court order or do I have to go through the expense and inconvenience of the name change process?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          So how do I go about getting a court order or do I have to go through the expense and inconvenience of the name change process?

          You'll have to submit a name change petition in the district court representing your county of residence.

          Reply
  46. Cynthia Dittman

    Hi. I got married in 2004 in NC, and my husband and I decided I would hyphenate my last name. But I never did, and he seems upset by this. So I was wondering if I can change my name to the hyphenated last name on my marriage certificate only? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      So I was wondering if I can change my name to the hyphenated last name on my marriage certificate only?

      Yes, you can.

      Reply
  47. Keisha

    We were married in 2015 in CA. I indicated I wanted to keep my current last name on the marriage license for tax purposes but now I want to change it, can I do that or will we need to remarry?

    Reply
  48. Marie

    I married in 2018 and changed my SS to my husband’s last name, but I kept my maiden name professionally, on my DL and insurance. We live in TN. Will this cause any identification issues when we file our taxes? Also, do I need to obtain a DBA? If so, how do I do this in TN?
    We are planning to try to get pregnant in 2019. Will I be able to use my husband’s last name on my the birth certificate and medical records even though my insurance has my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will this cause any identification issues when we file our taxes?

      It may if the name you're filing in doesn't match what's on file with the social security administration and IRS.

      Also, do I need to obtain a DBA? If so, how do I do this in TN?

      You can register an assumed name online which is the same as a DBA.

      Will I be able to use my husband’s last name on my the birth certificate and medical records even though my insurance has my maiden name?

      Yes.

      Reply
  49. Laura

    Hello. I got my marriage license on Monday. I did not know I was supposed to decide immediately the last name, and was taken by surprised when I was asked. I decided to change it to my future husband's. Now my family (European) is very upset because that is not customary to us, and they are asking me to rethink this. Given we have not yet performed the ceremony, that will take place later today, am I still on time to change this?
    Thank you!!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Laura. Name change is optional. You don't have to commit to what you specified on your marriage license.

      Reply
  50. Hannah Clark

    Hi- I recently got married in Texas and was so excited to take my husband’s name. I began the name change process rather hastily and now have a social security card and driver’s license with my first name, middle name, new last name on it. I received my social security card in the mail today – wondering if it’s possible to change to first name, maiden name, and new last name? Can I just return to social security office with my marriage certificate and start over or do I have to go through the court system?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I just return to social security office with my marriage certificate and start over or do I have to go through the court system?

      You'll have to go through the court system to do a follow-up name change.

      Reply
  51. Melinda

    I got married about 17 years ago and changed my name on drivers license to my husbands last name but didn’t change my ss card to his name it still has my maiden name on it and i lost my husband about 8 years ago and want to know what i can do to change my name back to maiden name on my drivers license i live in South Carolina

    Reply
  52. J Ann

    Hi…I want to use my maiden name again, but I'm still married…how can I do that?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi J Ann. If you want to make it official, you'll have to get a court ordered name change. The alternative is to use your maiden name informally.

      Reply
  53. Lou ann

    Hi there,

    We are an Irish couple getting married in LV shortly.

    I want to continue using my maiden name on all official documentation and only use my marriage name socially.

    However, for tax purposes we have to notify the Revenue (Tax office) of our marriage, do I tell them that I still intend to go by my maiden name – even though the marriage certificate will show my marriage name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lou. If you're not formally changing your name, there's nothing to tell them about.

      Reply
  54. Joanne

    I have changed my last name after getting married. We recently found out we are expecting and when I went to the doctor for the first visit I still had my primary insurance under my maiden name. My husband is concerned that there will be issues with billing once I begin using his insurance since I now have been put under his insurance with my new name. Do you know anything about this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Joanna. Insurance is typically under your social security number as well, so it shouldn't be much of an issue. You may want to consider contacting your prior insurance company about your name change.

      Reply
  55. LA

    Hi,
    I married back in 2008, I took my current seperate husband last name when we married but I never change my new last name on all documents including driver license, SS but my green card is his last name. Do I have to wait till we finalize the divorce in order to change back my maiden name on my green card?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi LA. You don't have to wait if you obtain a court-ordered name change. If you don't want to go through those steps and expense, you'll need to wait to receive your divorce decree.

      Reply
  56. Becky

    Hi,
    I got married at a young age and didn't realize my maiden name changed to my husband's last name after marriage. For years I've been using my maiden name when signing documents, bank accounts etc. I'm not sure what to do now. Should I continue using my maiden name or do I legally have to use my husband's last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I got married at a young age and didn't realize my maiden name changed to my husband's last name after marriage.

      What's the basis of your saying you changed it? Your marriage certificate, social security card, driver's license, or a combination thereof?

      Reply
  57. Jody

    This is going to sound stupid but I have a hyphenated first name. I never used the second name. I am having my ss card and my drivers license name changed so they match. Should I use it? And since it is only on my birth certificate is that enough documentation to have it changed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Should I use it? And since it is only on my birth certificate is that enough documentation to have it changed?

      If the name on file with the SSA is hyphenated, it won't be changed without a court order. Same with your driver's license.

      Reply
  58. Tanya Salmon-Green

    Hello, I got married about a year ago and changed my name to reflect my husband's last name Green on my ssc and citizenship/ passport. However, I own a property in my maiden name. Now i use my maiden-married name. Is that ok? or will i get in trouble for using both maiden and marital name on documents (since i legally removed my maiden name on ssc & passport). I'm wondering if i can keep both my maiden name and marital name on my driver's license (FL) now.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tanya. These sort of name mismatches have a way of eventually catching up with you. It's one thing to use an alternative name informally. It's another to do so on official documents.

      As for your driver's license, when it comes time to renew they'll likely perform a search against SSA records and they'll come across your current name. If that happens, your license must be updated to reflect your legal name.

      Reply
  59. Kelly

    Hi got married and tuck. My. Husband last name but we have split up and I changed my last name back to my madam name by deepoll us that ok to do

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kelly. Could you please rephrase your question? I'm not sure what you're asking?

      Reply
  60. Maria

    I got married in 2014, changed my name everywhere, except US GC and my foreign passport (those still bear my maiden name). Never before had I any problems with that.

    Now this year I'm finalizing a divorce. Not planning to change back, because of too much paperwork.

    Question: if I wish to remarry anytime down the road, will I be able to do it under my maiden name with my passport, where it never changed? And still keep the name from my current marriage after remarrying, as I don't wish to change US documents?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      if I wish to remarry anytime down the road, will I be able to do it under my maiden name with my passport, where it never changed?

      It may be possible. It depends on the state's marriage license requirements as it pertains to identification. Many states leave ID decisions up to the marriage licensing officer. Foreign passports are typically accepted as-is without much problem.

      And still keep the name from my current marriage after remarrying, as I don't wish to change US documents?

      You don't have to change your name regardless.

      Reply
  61. Karen

    Hi – i got marrried in 2017 in nyc and i hyphenated my last name on my marriage certificate to CRUZ-RIVERA (my last name is cruz and my husband is Rivera).

    i have not changed my name in my SS, DMV, passport, etc, all my paperwork reads CRUZ. HOWEVER, i recently submitted a renewal for my permanent green card (since it’s about to expire) with my first name and new hyphenated name CRUZ-RIVERA.

    I am scheduled for my biometircs and i want to know if this will be an issue? Or do i need to go to SS office to legally change my name?

    Now I’m wondering if i made a mistake and i should have renewed my green card with my name before marriage – not sure if it’s too late to do this? I also need to get a new permit at the DMV and I’m debating wether to leave it with just cruz (Can i do this?) any input is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Karen. Your green card takes precedence. The Social Security Administration can change the name in their records to match the green card, not the other way around. Same with the driver's license.

      Reply
      1. Karen

        Hi Valera, thank you for your prompt response. i just want to make sure i then filled out my green card application correctly. It asks “Has your namei legally changed my name since the issuance of your permanent resident card.” I indicated yes since i did get married and i listed the name on my marriage license. I have not gone to the SS office for a name change yet. Am i required to do this? Or can i leave my paperwork as is?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          I indicated yes since i did get married and i listed the name on my marriage license.

          That's proper.

          I have not gone to the SS office for a name change yet. Am i required to do this? Or can i leave my paperwork as is?

          You can, but then you'll have to juggle this name mismatch.

          Reply
  62. Lori Ortiz

    I have been divorced 8 years and when we had married I used First Maiden Husband’s Last Name. Now, I am buying property and building a new home. I no longer wish to use his last name. Can I legally use my First Maiden name to purchase the property? Time is of essence- putting in the bid ASAP. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lori. You'll want to consult with whoever is handling the purchase for you. A name mismatch can hold things up, especially if your identification doesn't match what's on your credit report or bank statements.

      Reply
  63. Ashley Green

    I got married in 2015 and signed my Marriage License/Certificate requesting name change. The entire time I was married I continued using my maiden name for everything. When I got divorced I did not request a name change because I didn’t feel I needed to since I never went by my married name and none of my personal documents (besides marriage license) shows me having my married name. (Everything still shows my maiden name since that is what I had continued to use) Now that I’m wanting to get married again, am I going to have an issue?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now that I’m wanting to get married again, am I going to have an issue?

      It's not a problem, as your name was never changed.

      Reply
  64. Sarah

    I have a question my daughter is pregnant and she's married she's separated from her husband and got pregnant from her high school sweetheart come to find out he doesn't want anything to do with her or the baby. So my question is her can she give the baby her maddien name instead of her married name

    Reply
    1. Valera

      So my question is her can she give the baby her maddien name instead of her married name

      Yes, it's up to her.

      Reply
  65. Ohana

    Hi. Ive been married last 2008 but was seperated to my husband after 4 yrs. However, ive already used my married name at my drivers license and tin id. I just filed for a petition for annulment this 2018 but the process is still ongoing. I am planning to buy a house using my maiden name now, using my passport as identification that also contains my maiden name, Is it possible that i request that my name be changed back to my maiden name now for my tin no. to be able to buy the property under my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible that i request that my name be changed back to my maiden name now for my tin no. to be able to buy the property under my maiden name?

      You'd have to present a document to justify the change, such as a court order

      Reply
  66. Aries

    Hi, both my husband and I are from west Africa, I still bear my maiden name same as all my document. My husband is currently applying for nationalty in Spain and says I have to take his surname especially on my international passport. He says it s a requirement for the process. Cant a marriage certificate suffice?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Cant a marriage certificate suffice?

      Could you clarify what you're asking is sufficient?

      Reply
  67. Megan Duffy

    Hi! I am a Doctor with my own private practice for 12 years. I am divorced but never changed my name. I am getting remarried next January and am thinking of taking my new husbands last name. But I do not want to change my professional name.

    I have licenses in my last name and all of my personal bank accounts which several are used for my small practice are in my last name. What do I need to change to use my husbands last name in my regular life but still keep my maiden name professionally?

    How do I file taxes if my business is a sole proprietorship in my maiden name but then I’d have a different legal name and we would file jointly? Honestly do I even need to change anything to just use his name? Can I change my DL with his name and just leave my SS # and all of my other things as is with my maiden name?

    I want to use his name but I don’t want to screw up all of my stuff and make things very difficult for myself if I change some things and not others.

    I’m not sure if once you change a DL if you are required to then change your passport, SS card and all credit cards. Or will I need to use his name on the marriage license and just carry a copy of it with me always for when I travel or something to explain the different names on DL and passport.

    I’m in NJ. And this is not that easy like my fiancé thinks lol….this is why I didn’t ever change it the first time.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What do I need to change to use my husbands last name in my regular life but still keep my maiden name professionally?

      You can contact your state's licensing board about the use of an alias. This way their internal records would cite your legal name change, but your professional license and credentials would remain the same.

      How do I file taxes if my business is a sole proprietorship in my maiden name but then I’d have a different legal name and we would file jointly?

      The name you use to file taxes would have to be in your legal name. Which name is on file with the SSA should be what's given to the IRS. You can file as married filing separately or married filing jointly.

      Honestly do I even need to change anything to just use his name?

      Name change isn't mandatory. You can opt to use your husband's name informally without making a change.

      Can I change my DL with his name and just leave my SS # and all of my other things as is with my maiden name?

      In all likelihood, the MVC won't change your name to something that doesn't match what the SSA has on file. This is why people tend to change their name on their social security card before their driver's license.

      I’m not sure if once you change a DL if you are required to then change your passport, SS card and all credit cards.

      You don't have to, but then you'll have to juggle two names across multiple credentials.

      Or will I need to use his name on the marriage license and just carry a copy of it with me always for when I travel or something to explain the different names on DL and passport.

      If you're not changing your name on your documents or passport, then there's no need to carry your marriage certificate. However, if you change your name on some documents (e.g., driver's license) and not others (e.g., passport), carrying your marriage certificate could explain the discrepancy.

      I’m in NJ.

      You may want to review the New Jersey name change page.

      Reply
  68. Leizle

    Hi im Philippines citizens and I’m divorced and annulled in my country… then I get re married through double proxy married in state of Montana USA. since I didn’t change my last name to my fathers maiden name after divorce and I’m using still my ex husband last name on my passport and marriage certificate now, is that having a problem to change my name? Im planning to use my husband last name now.. I was so confused what should I do

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I’m using still my ex husband last name on my passport and marriage certificate now, is that having a problem to change my name? Im planning to use my husband last name now

      No, it won't be a problem.

      Reply
  69. Temika

    Hello,

    I am getting married soon in Virginia. I would like to change my last name, but due to me being in school I want my degree to be in my maiden name. If you change your name before you graduate, are you allowed to put your maiden name on your degree for graduation?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If you change your name before you graduate, are you allowed to put your maiden name on your degree for graduation?

      Maybe. That's entirely up to your school.

      Reply
  70. Viktorija

    Hi,

    I've been married for 5 years. I am a permanent resident and this year am applying for citizenship. I want to have my name changed before I become a citizen.
    Q: With having my name changed can I still use my old passport with my maiden name?

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      With having my name changed can I still use my old passport with my maiden name?

      Yes, it'll remain valid.

      Reply
  71. Phyllis Chads

    Got married 8years ago.I changed most of my documents into my married name.I did not change my maiden name on my mortgaged property.. I am not sure if this is legal as it sounds like I have two identities.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I did not change my maiden name on my mortgaged property.. I am not sure if this is legal as it sounds like I have two identities.

      Although you don't have to change the name on your mortgage after marriage, doing so can eliminate complications down the road. For instance, if you need to switch your homeowner's insurance policy or refinance, you'll have to provide extra identity documentation to explain the name discrepancy.

      Reply
  72. Franchesca

    Hi! Do I have to change the name on all my documents (passport, drivers license, bank account, etc.) right after marriage? Or can I wait till let’s say my drivers license is expiring and only change my name when I renew? I just got my passport renewed and don’t really want to go back to get a new one.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to change the name on all my documents (passport, drivers license, bank account, etc.) right after marriage?

      You don't have to change them immediately or at all.

      Or can I wait till let’s say my drivers license is expiring and only change my name when I renew?

      Yes, but you'll want to update your social security card first.

      Reply
  73. Christy

    Hello! I don't know if this page is still updated. I got married last 2007 and Separated in 2009. Some of my documents are married name.

    I went back to school last 2009 and never change my married name status in my school information. I graduated 2011 using my Single name with the civil status Single.

    Last 2017 I enrolled to a different school with my transcript of my records from my previous school that has Single name with Single Status. As of this moment I am still using my single name and single status in school.

    I didn't bother changing it from my previous school because my annulment/divorced is ongoing already.

    Now I plan to apply a tourist visa using my married name and passport. Do you think I will have trouble if they found out Im a student using Single name with Single status?

    My friend told me today that she fear for my future because I didn't use my married name in school and my school documents are single name and in the future my record as a nurse will also be in trouble especially once I applied for abroad.

    What do you think? Please give me some advice. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do you think I will have trouble if they found out Im a student using Single name with Single status?

      I'm not sure what country you're referring to. You should be fine if you can provide identity documents in your pre-marriage name. You may want to contact the office that will issue you your tourist visa to determine if you have a potential problem and what supporting documents are required to resolve it.

      Reply
  74. Yuliya

    Hello, I have a situation in which don’t know what to do. I got married last year but haven’t changed my maiden name yet including Green Card, but on marriage certificate I have my husbands last name.

    Now I want to apply for citizenship and question is: Should I first get a new Green Card with married name on it and then apply with marriage name , or I can still apply for citizenship with my maiden name and there is no need to change Green Card? Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can still apply for citizenship with my maiden name and there is no need to change Green Card

      You don't have to change your name on your green card or when you apply for citizenship just because your marriage certificate lists a new name.

      Reply
  75. Robin

    My ex husband obtained a secret divorce in another state by claiming he did not know where I was living. He is now remarried and I would like my maiden name back. The name change was not addressed in court since I did not know about the proceeding. I cannot afford to take this to court. Do I have any other options?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Robin. You may want to get in touch with an attorney. You could also contact the court where the divorce was finalized to request the divorce decree be amended to reinstate your maiden name.

      Reply
  76. Jessica Colon

    Hi, I’m soooo nervous I’m getting married! I dont want to change my last name but I also would like to have my fiancé’s what should I do (In NYC). Also do I HAVE to change my documents after gettin married (SSC,ID,ETC)?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I dont want to change my last name but I also would like to have my fiancé’s what should I do (In NYC).

      You can specify your partner's name on your marriage application, which'll be mirrored on the marriage certificate. This will give you the option to change your name down the line.

      Also do I HAVE to change my documents after gettin married (SSC,ID,ETC)?

      No, it's not required.

      Reply
      1. Jessica Colon

        So it’s not mandatory at all correct ? Because when I spoke to someone at the office she told me that I will have to change all of that. Someone else told me the same thing you did that it’s not required. Help please

        Reply
        1. Valera

          So it’s not mandatory at all correct

          It's not mandatory.

          Because when I spoke to someone at the office she told me that I will have to change all of that.

          Perhaps they were suggesting that if you changed one identity document, you'd be well off to update them all to avoid inconsistency.

          Reply
  77. Michelle

    Hi, I'm a physician who has practiced for many years as "first name" "Maiden name" "ex husband's last name". I did not go back to my maiden name when I divorced 12 years ago as I wanted to have the same name as my children. The kids are grown and now I am getting married and in a conundrum as to what to do with my name. I'll retire in 9-10 years and am well established in the medical community with the ex-husband's last name, but it just seems strange to keep his name now. But, changing my professional name now seems extremely difficult and probably not smart from a business standpoint.

    Is it possible to put four names on the new marriage certificate to keep my options open? first name, maiden name, ex husbands last name, new last name. I could go by the new last name socially, go by the ex husbands last name professionally for now, and keep my options open for changing altogether as I retire.

    I've heard that Medicare has strict rules about what name you use and perhaps other insurance companies do as well.

    If the four name thing works on the marriage certificate, then what do I do about Social security card, driver's license, passport, medical licenses, etc?

    Or, is it possible to "do business as" my current name, but actually change it for all of those things mentioned above? I live and work in Oregon.

    Advice?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible to put four names on the new marriage certificate to keep my options open? first name, maiden name, ex husbands last name, new last name.

      You could reposition your maiden name as your middle name. You could also combine your current last name with your spouse's current last name, separated by a hyphen or space.

      If this is what you're proposing, your sequence would work.

      and keep my options open for changing altogether as I retire.

      Whatever you specify as your new last name is what you'll be locking yourself into. If you later want to deviate from that, you'll have to go to court to change your name.

      If the four name thing works on the marriage certificate, then what do I do about Social security card, driver's license, passport, medical licenses, etc?

      You'll only deal with them when you decide to formally initiate a name change with those institutions.

      Or, is it possible to "do business as" my current name, but actually change it for all of those things mentioned above?

      Yes, that's an option.

      Reply
  78. Emily

    I just recently got married for the third time. Instead of taking my current husbands surname I’d like to go back to my maiden name. Is this possible with my divorce decree. Or will I be able to go to the social security office and revert back to maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is this possible with my divorce decree.

      Probably, although it wouldn't sync with your current marital status. If you were to do so, the decree would need to include a statement restoring your maiden name.

      Reply
  79. Hannah

    I got married a decade ago and didn't change my name, but now that we have kids in school I would like to. Can I still do this? If so, how long will the process take?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I still do this? If so, how long will the process take?

      Yes, there's no time limit for name change. How long it takes depends on how many documents you need to update and if you're doing them in parallel or consecutively. There's also the time between submitting your forms and getting your updated credentials.

      If you're only dealing with your social security card and driver's license, you could submit your paperwork within a day of each other. You'd get your updated social security card back in about a week or soon thereafter. The driver's license turnaround time varies by state and county.

      If you need to update your passport, tack on more time. Same for other agencies and nongovernmental sources.

      Reply
  80. Nova

    Question if I already change my name to Social Security and my Maryland state ID has my maiden name on it an I’m going to Atlantic City can I still use it

    Reply

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