1,989 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.

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!

1,989 Comments

  1. Stav L

    Hi there,
    I'd like to get married and change my last name to my spouse's on the marriage certificate… however, we are traveling in a month abroad for the summer and I'm not sure I'll have enough time to change my name on my passport, ss, and other necessary documents… if I change my name on the marriage certificate, but keep my maiden name on all other documents for the time being– would that cause problems during my travels abroad? Should we just wait to get married when we return? Thank you for your help! I can't find this answer anywhere.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      if I change my name on the marriage certificate, but keep my maiden name on all other documents for the time being– would that cause problems during my travels abroad?

      No.

      Should we just wait to get married when we return? Thank you for your help! I can't find this answer anywhere.

      You can get married now and just wait to change your identification after your travels.

      Reply
  2. Penny

    I have been divorced for over 20 years and would like to go back to using my maiden name. I kept my married name so my children and I would have the same last name. Now they are grown and I would like my maiden name back. What do I have to do to make that legal?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Penny. If your divorce decree included an order restoring your maiden name, then you could use that document to effect a name change. Otherwise, you'll have to petition the court.

      Reply
  3. Wendy bidwell

    Hi im currently seperated from my husband i want to call my self by my maiden name can i just do so or do i have to do it leagly

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Wendy. Such usage would only be informal. In legal contexts you'll want to continue use your current name.

      Reply
  4. Mary VanSkiver

    Hello, I have seen a lot of women using their maiden name hyphenated with their married name. This seems to be fad or trend. I am wondering if that practice is legal.
    If not, what legal repercussions could they encounter?

    Reply
  5. Lene Grâce

    Hi Im in Canada gave birth to a baby boy.I did the registration online 4 in 1 package at present after 2 weeks I recieved a letter from the Registration office saying Mothers name at the time of baby birth. I used my maiden name to register online for my baby and as of now still using my ex husbands name. They asked my social insurance # too during the registration.Do u think it will affect my papers here as Im still using my married name? Its just these one I used my maiden name for registering my baby online.Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lene. You're fine. You're allowed to use your maiden name or current name when registering your child's birth.

      Reply
  6. Sunny

    Hello,

    I am hoping someone can help me out here. I got married 3 years ago, I have changed my name on my social security but have not updated my driver's license in CA. Is this going to be a problem? I also file my taxes jointly with my husband as my new married name which matches my social security but does not match my driver's license..

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sunny. You're fine, but you'll have to change it when it's time to renew.

      Reply
  7. T

    Hello, I am hoping you can answer my question. My mother, in her creative glory gave me a two word first name, middle name, and last name. Ex (not my name): Jane Rae Jones Smith. My credit report shows inquiries from 6 variations of my name, the most common being the spacing between the 2nd word of my first name and my middle name ex: Jane Raejones Smith. When I filled out the marriage certificate I opted to lose the Rae and Jones and change it to "rose" but I haven't been to the dmv or ss office to do so, all my documentation have stayed the same. My broker took it upon himself, even though I told him it wasn't changed yet, to put Jane Rae Lynn *husbands last name* on all of our documents for the loan. At first I was hoping I could just bring in the marriage license with the name change on it for them to view, but the name listed for "after marriage" doesn't have the 'Rae Lynn' on it. What is going to happen to this? Are we going to have to redo our loan?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      When I filled out the marriage certificate I opted to lose the Rae and Jones and change it to "rose" but I haven't been to the dmv or ss office to do so, all my documentation have stayed the same.

      First name change using your marriage certificate isn't possible.

      At first I was hoping I could just bring in the marriage license with the name change on it for them to view, but the name listed for "after marriage" doesn't have the 'Rae Lynn' on it.

      That's not important, as name change on a marriage certificate isn't binding. You don't have to follow through with it.

      What is going to happen to this? Are we going to have to redo our loan?

      Name misspellings can be a problem. This shouldn't be ignored. Contact your broker to determine if a fix is necessary.

      Reply
  8. Annek.

    Hello,

    I am confused what to do.i am filipina married to a us citizen for almost a year now and updated some of my documents valid I.ds . My problem is we wants to apply for a visa. Would it be okay if my passport is still under my maiden name while most of my valid ids are updated ( husband's surname).? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Annek. You can keep your passport name as-is, although you may want to look into filing an surname affidavit of discrepancy.

      Reply
  9. Rosemary

    I was married in 2015. Second marriage. Changed my name to current husband's on social security, nothing else. I changed my mind and would like to go back to my first husband's last name. What do I need to do? I just recently renewed my passport with first husband's name with no problem.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rosemary. In order to change it with the SSA, you'd have to get a court order.

      Reply
  10. Leena

    Hey my name is leena and I have a bank account on my maiden name and my aadhar card is after marriage name and due to strict rules we need to link aadhar to bank account I don't know what to do.

    Reply
  11. Chris

    Hello. I am a widow for many years. When I married, I did the hyphenated thing and added his last name. I never changed things with SS. Since then, I dropped his last name on my Illinois DL by showing his death certificate. In 4 years I will apply for his SS benefits. Am I legit? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Chris. Not changing your name with the SSA does not invalidate a previous marriage, if that's what you're asking. If you're referring to something else, please clarify.

      Reply
  12. Julie hamilton

    I've been divorced for 12 years. Now that my girls are married- I want to go back to my maiden name. Does this affect alimony checks, getting ex's social security at 62+? Could I still cash checks that are in my married name once I change I change my name? Do I have to change everything/ my mortgage too?

    Can you have 2 names- legally married name and maiden!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to go back to my maiden name. Does this affect alimony checks, getting ex's social security at 62+? Could I still cash checks that are in my married name once I change I change my name?

      Yes, you typically can. The details would have to be worked out with your bank. They may want you to endorse the check with both your married and maiden name.

      Do I have to change everything/ my mortgage too?

      It's a good idea to update your records to reflect your legal name. The consequence for not doing so varies between institutions.

      Can you have 2 names- legally married name and maiden!

      No, you can only have one legal name at a time.

      Reply
  13. Dana

    Hello,
    I am thinking of keeping my maiden name and adding his last name to it, without the hyphen, when we get married. I understand that I would be able to use the last names interchangeably and would like to continue to use my maiden name at work to make things easier. I do know that I would have to sign all legal documents with both last names. I am a notary at work so I know I would have to sign both last names for that. I am a signer on the checking account at work as well and I am wondering if I could continue to sign my maiden name when I sign checks or would I have to sign both last names? Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am a signer on the checking account at work as well and I am wondering if I could continue to sign my maiden name when I sign checks or would I have to sign both last names?

      That's up to your bank/employer. You'll have to consult with them.

      Reply
  14. Roxanna

    I married last year and changed my name on the marriage certificate. From there I only changed it with the DMV but haven't with Social Security nor my passport. Can I still keep my maiden with the two latter documents or do I need to change it to my married name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Roxanna. You aren't required to change it, but when it comes time to renew your driver's license you'll be facing a name mismatch problem.

      Reply
  15. Honelyn

    Hi valera…i got married 2 years ago but i haven't yet change my surname in all my documents(sss, passport, philhealth etc.)maybe i'll change it when i have time but for now i am applying for work in government institution and requires me to fill up application form..will i use my maiden surname or my husband's surname..one more thing that bothers me is that will i write single or married in "civil status"?..thank you in advance!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      will i use my maiden surname or my husband's surname.

      Maiden name.

      one more thing that bothers me is that will i write single or married in "civil status"?

      Well, your true status is married, so that's what would make sense.

      Reply
  16. Jelly

    Hi im jelly i was separated with my husband..then now i want to use again my maiden name…what would i do..???

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jelly. If you're only separated, and not divorced, you'll have to petition the court to restore your maiden name.

      Reply
  17. Amy

    I do not want to change my name w/social security because I don't want to change my name on professional licenses. However I do want to change my name on my driver's license and go by my married name socially. Is that ok? And if so, can I still sign the marriage license with my husband's name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      However I do want to change my name on my driver's license and go by my married name socially. Is that ok?

      In most cases, you must change your name with the SSA before updating your driver's license. This is because the driver's license office may perform a lookup against the SSA database and a name mismatch will be flagged.

      And if so, can I still sign the marriage license with my husband's name?

      Are you referring to the marriage license application or the certificate of marriage?

      Reply
  18. Teresa

    Good morning-
    I got married in Oct of 2016 my marriage certificate has my husbands last name. I have not changed my last name with SS as of yet, nor have i renewed my drivers license which is up for renewal as of this month.
    1. Is it feasible for me to renew my drivers licenses in my maiden name. 2. For professional reasons I would like to continue to use my last name and my married name. Is this doable? If so how should i sign legal documents?
    Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      1. Is it feasible for me to renew my drivers licenses in my maiden name.

      Yes, as I presume your current name is still your maiden name.

      2. For professional reasons I would like to continue to use my last name and my married name. Is this doable?

      You could use it informally.

      If so how should i sign legal documents?

      Legal documents must be signed using your current legal name.

      Reply
  19. Valentina

    I changed my last name about a week ago but want to add my maiden name as a middle name now. Can i still do it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Valentina. If you've already changed it with the SSA or DMV, they'll require a court order to modify it again.

      Reply
  20. Courtney

    Good Evening,
    My husband and I got married 3 years ago and I never took his name however now that we have a child together I'd like to change it. I never changed it because I am a doctor and want to continue to use my maiden name professionally. Do I have to have my maiden name included in my new "legal" name in order to be able to continue to use it professionally? Any and all information is greatly appreciated!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to have my maiden name included in my new "legal" name in order to be able to continue to use it professionally?

      No, as this is an employer and licensing board issue. You'll have to make arrangements with them to commence using a professional alias.

      Reply
  21. Ruby

    I need to request new certificate of employments from my previous employers which that time I was single. Now that I'm married and using my husband's surname, do I need to ask them to provide me latest certificate of employment on my new name or can they still use my maiden name-which they have in their records? Do I also need to change my professional ID to my married surname?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ruby. Your previous employer is likely to only provide the record they have on file, unless you specifically ask for an updated document. The old should suffice, considering it's your ex-employer. I don't know what you're referring to when you say "professional ID." Are you talking about your workplace ID?

      Reply
  22. Jane

    Good night,

    I got a divorce from my first husband, and re-marry again in Texas. I signed my name on the marriage certificate using my ex husbands last name which is my legal name as written in my passport. Now my current husband is filing for me to become a US resident. Can I fill out USCIS application form using my ex husband last name, being that is the name in my passport? Can I keep my ex husband last name for SSN, and other important documents and use my current husband last name socially? How will using my ex husband last name impact on my green card, filing income tax and later apply for citizenship. I found it really hard to give up my ex husband last name being that we were married for 27 years and my children has the same last name. There was nothing in the court order to go back to my maiden name. How will using my ex last name affects me when its time to file joint income tax with my current husband? Do I have to change my passport to my current husband last name? When travelling international do I book my ticket with the name in my passport or my current married name? Please spread some light on this for me. Thank you very much for your response.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I fill out USCIS application form using my ex husband last name, being that is the name in my passport?

      Yes.

      Can I keep my ex husband last name for SSN, and other important documents and use my current husband last name socially?

      Yes.

      How will using my ex husband last name impact on my green card, filing income tax and later apply for citizenship.

      It wouldn't.

      How will using my ex last name affects me when its time to file joint income tax with my current husband?

      It wouldn't affect you. Your last name and marital filing status aren't related.

      Do I have to change my passport to my current husband last name?

      No.

      When travelling international do I book my ticket with the name in my passport or my current married name?

      Passport name.

      Reply
  23. Sebrina

    Hello

    I've been married since August 2016 and I hyphenated my maiden name with married name (e.g. Jane Sam-Stewart) my green card and passport is still in my maiden name , but my SSA is in my new name and most of my banks cards would it be an issue with Using not changing my green card and passport right away to my new name or can I still travel with maiden name until I decide to change my GC and PP?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sebrina. You should still be able to travel fine as long as you make sure the name on your tickets match what's on your passport.

      Reply
  24. Betty Gray

    I am 64 years old and want to keep my maiden name for legal situations while using my married name in social situations. Is this possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Betty. Yes, you can accomplish that precisely as you'd laid out.

      Reply
      1. Geo Moro

        Hi Valera,
        I am in exactly the same situation as Betty Gray above.
        Currently, my last name is of my first husband, who died while we were married.
        Now, I am getting remarried and I want to legally keep the same last name (of my deceased husband, since I had this name for 40 years and my son and grandkids have the same last name) while socially I want to use my new husband last name.
        Please advise me how should I complete the marriage application and how should I sign the marriage license.
        I would like in marriage license to have both last names without a hyphen, but as I mentioned, to use old one as my legal name and the new one socially.
        Please advise asap. Thank you

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Geo. Not all marriage licenses have a spot to specify a new last name, so if you're in that situation you'd sign your current legal name. If it does have a spot to specify a new name, you can enter you new husband's surname with the understanding that it's nonbinding. In other words, the new last name will be reflected on the marriage license and certificate, but you don't actually have to change it officially.

          Reply
  25. Nikki

    My "husband" and I had a ceremony and we're married but did not submit any paperwork or anything to state that we were legally married. This is a long story but can be summed up by money hungry ex looking to fatten a child support check for kids who call me mom. That being said, I want my husband's last name. Should I include my maiden name (ex. Smith-Williams) or just drop my name? If I include my name, do I still need to change my legal documents?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      we're married but did not submit any paperwork or anything to state that we were legally married

      Are you referring to a common-law marriage?

      Reply
  26. Melisa

    I recently changed my name after I got married last month. We purchased a house together last year, so my maiden name is on the deed of the house. Am I required to change my last name on the deed? Our lawyer is charging $295 for the name change and for the county recording (we are in IL). Also, I purchased a car last year in March and never received the title. It says online it costs $95 to get an official copy of my title in order to change the name on it. Is it necessary to change my last name on the title? I changed my last name on my auto loan already.

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Am I required to change my last name on the deed?

      No, you're not required to change it.

      I purchased a car last year in March and never received the title. It says online it costs $95 to get an official copy of my title in order to change the name on it. Is it necessary to change my last name on the title?

      You'll have to take that up with the SOS. Since you'd have to update your driver's license, you could do the title at the same time.

      Reply
  27. Kristen

    I recently got married in CA and had them change my last name to my married name. I had intended to also change my middle name to my maiden name and completely forgot during the paperwork.

    Here is a generic example of what I am talking about:
    Maiden Name: Mary Lynn Smith
    Marriage Certificate Name: Mary Lynn White
    Intended Name: Mary Smith White

    Is my legal name change with social security dependent of what is listed on my marriage certificate? If so, is it too late to change it? I basically want to drop my middle name altogether but not sure if I can now.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kristen. In California, it goes by what's on your certificate, so you're looking at having to petition the court to modify your middle name after the fact.

      Reply
  28. shortcake 58

    I was married 25 years and got divored but kept my ex last name now I'm remarried and have my husband last name on SS card and driver's license bank accounts but not up dated some other accounts can I leave some Credit cards in ex last name ?

    Reply
  29. Christine

    Can an employer require the usage of an employee's maiden name on employment documents, such as an employment contract, even though the employee is married and assumed her husband's last name? Does it make a difference if the name after marriage is: Jane Maiden or Jane Maiden Married or Jane Married Maiden?

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Christine. I don't understand how or why they'd want to enforce this. For tax purposes, they'd be filing under a name that wouldn't match what the IRS has on file.

      Reply
  30. Maria Reyes

    Hi my name is Maria Reyes I am legally married but have not changed my last name in my passport, social security, and license we will soon baptize my son and they asked me if I wanted my husbands last name on the certificate. I am fine with this as maybe in the future I will eventually change my last name as we have been married for 10 years. My only concern is if I can do this?

    Reply
  31. Jenny

    I'm getting married and I'm now getting my fiance's last name, but I don't want to change any of my identification documents just yet because we're both still in school and it's just too much paperwork right now. Is it okay that I leave everything under my maiden name for about 3 more years? And if it is okay, for fasfa can I also do this while still putting that I'm married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it okay that I leave everything under my maiden name for about 3 more years?

      Yes, that wouldn't be a problem.

      And if it is okay, for fasfa can I also do this while still putting that I'm married?

      Yes.

      Reply
  32. Shavera Campbell

    i have been married since 2015 to a woman and i am also a woman. i changed my last name to hers and i am still working under my maiden name and filing taxes as single/head of household in my maiden name as well. me n my spouse has been separated for a year but still married even tho we never really made any legal separation. we are just working on us. is this is illegal

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Shavera. Did you actually go through a formal name change? If not, then it would make sense for you to continue filing in your maiden name. Since you're married, the marital status when filing should have been as married.

      Reply
      1. Shavera Campbell

        i have a social and license in my married name. i didnt want to use my married name for work which is what led to my taxes still being in my maiden name as well. if i file separated on taxes they want me to be legally separated. if i file married they want her info and we are not on that page as of now.

        Reply
        1. Shavera Campbell

          but twist is i also have an id and ss with my maiden name so thats how ive been getting by with no issues. when my id expires then me n spouse would know by then if we are going to be together or not and whether i have to renew the license with the married name or work on just switching it back to my maiden.

          Reply
        2. Valera

          Hi Shavera. Presumably the IRS has your married name on file, as it would match the SSA's record. When you're filing with your maiden name, a name mismatch would occur and would have to handled by an automated or manual process. This doesn't necessarily mean it'll result in a rejection, but it has to be accommodated. Apparently, yours have just been accommodated.

          Reply
  33. Leena Dhar Kaul

    Hi I have a question I have a daughter who married an American. She decided to keep her maiden name as her middle name. Can she still renew her drivers license and passport in her maiden name only?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Leena. If she changes her name with the SSA and the DMV queries the SSA's database, they'll likely want the names to match.

      Reply
  34. Debbie Eckardt

    Hi, I have been married for 30 years, and want to add my maiden name back because my husbands name is so hard to pronounce "Eckardt" and spell! Ha! My maiden name, "Courtney" I always loved!
    So if I just start adding it as my middle name, do I legally need to change everything? I don't care if my social security card, drivers licence, bank, etc. statement is in my legal husbands last name, my concern is just with convenience, socially, and I just miss my name,mostly in social situations, after all I identify with being Debbie Courtney.
    My husband does not have any issues, he understands his name is hard to spell, (everybody wants to put in an H) pronounce, etc. and says to go ahead. Can this be a problem?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Debbie. If you're just using it in social situations, you don't have to undergo a formal name change.

      Reply
  35. Melissa

    Hi Valera,

    I am very confused as to what to do. I went through a divorce in 2013, in which my lawyer filed a name change decree which was approved by the judge, so that I could use my maiden name. Due to other issues, I never changed my name back to my maiden name with social security on my license. For most purposes, I still use my married name. I am planning to purchase a home. Should I continue using my married name which is on my ss card and id, or is it too late to get them changed back to my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Melissa. It's not too late to use your divorce decree to restore your maiden name. If your home purchase is imminent, you should factor in the processing time it would take to complete your name change.

      Reply
  36. Vrushali

    Hi,
    Can i keep mu maiden surname on all legal documents like PAN card, driving license, passport, bank accounts even if i have changed my name legally by doing a gazette.
    Can i continue using my maiden name will it have any legal implication in future

    Reply
      1. Vrushali

        so I will not face any legal implication while claiming a property which is on my maiden name

        Reply
  37. Ana

    Hello, all is f the above are very useful but I have a question.
    I was recently sent a chance to cover miss sold PPI for a crefit card I had taken out in my maiden name many years ago.
    I went to HSBC with birth cert, marriage cert and passport plus letters from the finance company it they would not allow me to pay in the checks. I am worried if I sent them back to the originator that they may take ages to reissue. Is there anything else I can do?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ana. What was the reason given? Did they require additional supporting identity documents?

      Reply
  38. Ms Taylor

    So my daughter applied for Fasa and has appealed it -when she first applied I used my maiden name (had nothing changed)but about a few months ago I just changed to my married name and I've been using my maiden name still when signing papers -well she has now appealed Fasa /financial aid for assistants for college funds and i just realized I sign with my maiden name and not married and submitted the appeal(all docs had my maiden name ) – and I've changed my name with the dmv and SS office – do you think this will matter ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ms. Taylor. I doubt it would cause a problem, since your parental information is linked to your social security number. However, it is possible for her to update her FAFSA profile.

      Reply
  39. Stephen Cutler

    My daughter is listed in my Last Will and Testament (in Florida) with her "married" name but she has been separated using her "maiden" name for over 5 years. Her US Passport uses her maiden name. Is it necessary for me to do a Codicil making the change from her married name back to her maiden name (my last name)?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Stephen. You won't have to change your daughter's name in your last will and testament as long as she's able to prove she's the beneficiary. Her marriage certificate would be sufficient proof.

      Reply
  40. Ilisa

    Hello,

    I recently got married in NYC, and checked the box on the marriage license application to change my last name to my husband's last name. Since we've gotten married (and gotten our official marriage certificate, which indicates I have a new last name), I haven't changed my name anywhere else…and I'm not sure I want to. Am I legally obligated to, or would there be ramifications if I didn't, change my name in certain places (SS card, passport, driver's license, bank, any others)? Is it possible to just keep my husband's name legally/on my marriage license, but NOT change it anywhere else? Would that cause problems for me down the line? (Filing taxes, etc.?) Thanks in advance for your help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Am I legally obligated to, or would there be ramifications if I didn't, change my name in certain places

      No, you're not required to follow through with the name change.

      Is it possible to just keep my husband's name legally/on my marriage license, but NOT change it anywhere else?

      Yes.

      Would that cause problems for me down the line? (Filing taxes, etc.?)

      No, it won't be a problem.

      Reply
  41. Reni

    My maiden name not changed after marriage. I have applied for a green card in 2007. DS 140 form also is in my maiden name.whether I should change My sir name for further processes. I have one experience from my previous employer having sir name of my husband. ,mam I would like to know whether it will be a problem during my visa interview .please tell me whether I should change My maiden name and add my husband's sir name in all documents .

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Reni. If you're asking if you must change your surname to your husband's, then the answer is no. If you're asking something else, please clarify.

      Reply
  42. Rosalind

    I am getting married in Oct and I was thinking about keeping my maiden name as well as take his last name . example ( missy short long) I take care of my father and in his Will I am left with everything. i was wondering if by me keeping my madien name and along with my married name, My name is on the deed of the house but with my birth name. do I have to change it to say my madien and married name. Can I use both names in the future without changing anything?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rosalind. You wouldn't have to have the name on the deed changed as long as you can verify your identity, which shouldn't be a problem.

      Reply
  43. Amy G

    I think you've already answered this but basically I CA whe I went to do marriage license I did not intend to take my fiances last name as I have my own business under my current name The clerk basically talked me into moving my current last name to my married middle name and taking my fiances last name because she said if I wanted to do it sometime later it would be really difficult to not have it on this doc. I have been freaking out since this point and my questions are

    1. When we have the marriage solemnized does that mean the new name on the bottom is my legal name? (The part I filled out with my maiden name as middle and his name as last)

    2. Can I write in or change the doc before the wedding as I really don't want to change my name at all?

    3. When we have the doc solemnized is the onus solely on me to enact the legal name change by updating it with social security?

    I guess I'm confused because surely this marriage certificate gets filed somewhere and your new name gets put in some system?

    Thank you in advance for your answer; I have been worried sick

    Reply
    1. Valera

      1. When we have the marriage solemnized does that mean the new name on the bottom is my legal name? (The part I filled out with my maiden name as middle and his name as last)

      No, it'll just give you the option if you choose to change it.

      2. Can I write in or change the doc before the wedding as I really don't want to change my name at all?

      No, you shouldn't alter the issued license. You can return to the clerk and request it be amended.

      3. When we have the doc solemnized is the onus solely on me to enact the legal name change by updating it with social security?

      Yes, if you don't initiate the name change, nothing changes.

      I guess I'm confused because surely this marriage certificate gets filed somewhere and your new name gets put in some system?

      Once it's returned, it'll get registered as a vital record. But the clerk doesn't know nor care if you follow through with the name change. It's not their concern.

      Reply
  44. Kris

    Hi…I recently got re married….all my photo id has my old married last name…including the deed to my house…can I hyfinate my new married name to my old one. So the name on my deed is still part of me. Or do I have to change everything?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kris. As long as you're able to verify the name on the deed is you, it really doesn't matter what you change your name to.

      Reply
  45. Mariz

    Good day! I'm married for more than a year already but I haven't gone through the process of changing to my married name and haven't updated my marital status to "Married" in any of my documents (bank account, drivers license etc). Even my passport is still under my maiden name and I applied for it when I was single. But I do have my marriage certificate already, I just didn't have the time to update my documents. So my questions are, if for example I want to apply for a Visa (for Tourism purposes only):
    1. Should I indicate my married or maiden name in the application?
    2. Should I still declare myself as "single" in the marital status or should I already indicate "married" even though I haven't updated any of my documents yet?
    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      1. Should I indicate my married or maiden name in the application?

      Maiden, since you haven't changed it.

      2. Should I still declare myself as "single" in the marital status or should I already indicate "married" even though I haven't updated any of my documents yet?

      Married. Marital status doesn't have anything to do with your name.

      Reply
  46. Lisa Kennedy

    I filed my maiden name back with SS with the divorce decree. Regret now for not having the same last name as my school aged children, When I call their DR, i use my married name, as well as phone calls to school..My Question is can I get in trouble for using my married name casually,? On documents with school I sign my legal name sometimes adding the married name to the end of it is that a problem? Maybe throw a little fka on top of that?:) Thanks fro answering all these important questions for people. Many people call/write my married name knowing I changed it back to maiden, including my kids so i know its important to them.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lisa. Since you're not trying to commit fraud or avoid debts by using your previous name, it's fine to use casually.

      Reply
  47. Tyler

    My fiancee is unsure about changing her name at the moment. Is it possible that she writes down her future last name, and just doesn't change it until she feels like it, even if it's years down the road? Will that make the marriage license illegitimate? Could she just use the marriage license with here "future" last name to change it any time down the road? Thanks a ton!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible that she writes down her future last name, and just doesn't change it until she feels like it, even if it's years down the road?

      Yes, she could do precisely that.

      Will that make the marriage license illegitimate?

      No, it wouldn't have any negative impact.

      Reply
  48. Esther

    Hi,

    The CA dmv gave me a new license with my husband's last name. My social security card is still my maiden name. Now I am getting a divorce and trying to get my passport. I need my new drivers license with my maiden name but the lady wouldn't do it because my old drivers license has my husband's name even though my social security says my maiden name and also on the dmv computer it says my husband's Last name AKA my maiden name. Should I just go back to a different dmv and see if someone else will do it? I don't have time to wait for the name change documents.

    Reply
  49. Heather A

    Hello,

    When we got married I signed my new name as a hyphen of maiden-husbands last name.

    I have since decided for several reasons to keep my maiden name and just go by his last name in social situations. Do I need to get a new marriage certificate? Can I not change any other legal document and my marriage certificate and documents be legal? Thank you in advance. I have not done any name change except on the marriage certificate.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I have since decided for several reasons to keep my maiden name and just go by his last name in social situations. Do I need to get a new marriage certificate?

      No, you don't need a new certificate.

      Can I not change any other legal document and my marriage certificate and documents be legal?

      Yes, that's fine.

      Reply
  50. Hetty99

    My mum opened my bank account using her marriage certificate since I was under 16 so my bank account is under my family name but this was never my name legally my bank has always been in this name and employers have never had an issue with it. I'm now applying for a mortgage will this be an issue or not as it's still me?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Hetty. It won't prevent you from getting a mortgage, it will likely have to be in your legal name.

      Reply
  51. V

    If I get married in the court, and take his last name on the marriage certificate, can I keep my maiden name on everything else until I am ready to fully change to his last name? Also, if I do go through with the name change now, would it show up on my parents insurance since I am on theirs? Also, could we file taxes jointly if i use my maiden name on all my legal documents, SS DL etc but on the marriage certificate it shows i have his last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I keep my maiden name on everything else until I am ready to fully change to his last name?

      Yes.

      Also, if I do go through with the name change now, would it show up on my parents insurance since I am on theirs?

      Unlikely. You'll have to contact the insurance company to update their records.

      Also, could we file taxes jointly if i use my maiden name on all my legal documents, SS DL etc but on the marriage certificate it shows i have his last name?

      Yes.

      Reply
  52. Lori

    About to apply for 1st time passport, please advise. Divorced 17yrs, drivers license was never changed from maiden name. Only ss# was changed when married. Will this be a problem when appling for 1st time passport? Is there anything additional i will need to provide to get passport, other than drivers license & birth cert?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lori. You'll have to apply in your legal name. You'll also need to provide two 2×2 color photographs that were taken within the last six months.

      Reply
  53. Dana Trimble

    Hi. I have Medicaid and was wanting to get married. I would love to change my name to his but I do not want to lose Medicaid. What should I do?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I would love to change my name to his but I do not want to lose Medicaid.

      Name change doesn't affect your Medicaid status. Getting married might. You'll have to discuss how your marital status might affect your medicaid coverage with your caseworker.

      Reply
  54. Harriet

    Am married to a US citizen, and I used my husbands name. But I want to go back to school and I don't want to use my marriage name on my certificate since my previous certificates as my maiden name, so can I use my maiden name when renewing my green card? Since it will expired soon. Thank you.???

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Harriet. If you haven't legally changed your name, you can continue using your maiden name.

      Reply
  55. Ntombi

    Hi my name is Ntombi,I got married 2011 & separated with him 2013 since then we both moved on until last year he served me with divorce papers bcos I was pregnant with another man's child I now want to register the birth certificate of my child with my maiden surname not marriage surname as we are divorcing waiting

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ntombi. Yes, you should be able to change your child's name as you prefer.

      Reply
      1. Ntombi

        Thanks for the reply,forgot to ask if it's possible for me to use also my maiden surname on my child birth certificate as im also going to register her with my maiden surname

        Reply
          1. Ntombi

            Wow is that possible though im not yet divorced?meaning both of us me & her the birth certificate will have my maiden surname

          2. Ntombi

            Thank you so much for the reply Monday im going to home affairs I wonder why they refused @ the hospital the lady from home affairs when I tell her im not divorced but want my maiden surname when registering the birth of my child now the child is 2months no birth certificate I will b stated as a mother with my maiden surname & my child's name with my maiden surname

          3. Valera

            Hi Ntombi. Did you provide them documentation displaying your prior name?

          4. Ntombi

            Yes I did,now im coming from home affairs they told me I can't use a maiden surname on registering the birth of my child I have to use a marriage surname. The child is not from my marriage when I explain they told me to do the DNA test to prove is not from my marriage

  56. Cheryl

    Hi.. I got divorced 10 years ago. I didn't realized I had checked the box to change to my maiden name once my divorce was final. I am still using my ex- husband's last name. Everyone at work calls me by my married last name.My passport, social, bills etc is in my ex's last name. I am about to get married. Will this be an issue? I live in New York

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cheryl. No, it's not an issue. Checking the box gave you the option to return to your maiden name, but it didn't mean you were obligated to follow through.

      Reply
  57. Katrina Collin

    Kat
    I have been married for 14 years and even though I did take his name I have never used it on anything we are now about to divorce but I'm unsure if I have to sign in my married name or the name I use plz help I'm in the uk

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Katrina. If you never formally/legally took your husband's name, then you'd sign with the name you've always used.

      Reply
  58. Cynthia

    I got married 3 years ago and changed my name with SS and DMV to my complete maiden name and added my married name, it is not hyphenated, my middle name and my maiden name are basically my middle "names." Professionally, I have maintained my licenses and HR information in my maiden name until recently HR questioned it … please guide me in understanding how to do this correctly.
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cynthia. It's up to your HR department to work with you. You'll have to explain that you prefer to maintain your prior name professionally and that they submit taxes, and other equivalent documents, using your legal name.

      Reply
  59. Marilyn Harris

    Hi.. My name is Marilyn Harris I just got married on July 14 2017… But I keeping my maiden name… So what can I use my husband name on… if I don't have his last name.. Can I get a passport with his last name if my marriage license have my maiden name or I have to go with my maiden that on my drive license

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Marilyn. If you update the name on your passport but nothing else, you may get into name mismatch problems down the road. Your passport should match your legal name.

      Reply
  60. Katie Lowe

    I have only changed my name on my drivers license but not through ss or anything else yet. I decided I'd like to keep my maiden name as well as my new last name but on my dl I had it changed to only my married name. Can I go back and have my maiden name added back in?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Katie. It's unlikely you'll be able to get your driver's license changed without another supporting documenting reflecting a new name change.

      Reply
  61. Katie Smith

    Hi there! I was recently married (October 2016) and hyphenated my last name on the marriage certificate (ex: Katie Smith-Jones). I would like to use my husbands last name (Jones) for my banking, drivers license, social security card, medical benefits, etc. but have yet to change any documents because I am in an artistic profession where I'd like to solely use my maiden name (Smith) as a stage name for recognition purposes and for any checks/money I may receive. Should I change my middle name to Smith and have it written as Katie Smith Jones for my bank account/taxes and use Katie Jones in all other areas such as credit cards, benefits? Should I change my drivers license to include both names? With the hyphen or without? I understand I would need to get a court order to change my middle name. Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance :)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Katie. You could do all of those things, but there's one you omitted: registering a DBA of Katie Smith, for professional purposes. That name you could put on your checks and credit cards.

      Reply
  62. Lorena

    Hi, my name is Lorena. I married my USA husband in Chile (where I am from). I currently have a 2 year green card. in Chile we don't change our names when we get married, so I kept mine.
    I did all my green card paperwork with my "real" name. we bought a house, car, etc.
    Now it is time to apply for my new green card and I would like to change my name and have my husband last name. would I have to change the name in our house deed ? car? everything?
    Also, if I have all my current immigration papers under "my" name and I changed it just before applying for this new green card, would I have any problems? or just filling the "a.k.a." part should be enough?
    thank you so much!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lorena. House deed should be fine as-is, as you should be able to confirm your identity in the event of a name change. When you change your name on your license, you can update the car title as well. Name change is common when it comes to green cards. The agents aren't going to be flummoxed and it won't cause you a problem as long as you present evidence of the marriage and name change.

      Reply
  63. Teresa Harris

    I got married in 2014 and kept my maiden name. My husband says it bothers him that I dont have his last name. So I decided to change my last name to his. How do I do that?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Teresa. It can vary by state. You may be able to just take your marriage certificate as-is and have it changed with various government institutions. Some states, such as California, require the new name choice be reflected on the certificate to avoid a court-petitioned name change.

      Reply
  64. Michelle M.

    I changed my last name to reflect my husband’s last name on our marriage certificate. I’m realizing now that I want to keep my maiden name. My name on drivers license, social security, passport, etc is still all under my maiden name. Do I have to let someone know/fill out a form to change my name back on my marriage certificate? If not, will my name on my marriage certificate possibly affect me in the future?
    THANK YOU!! :)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to let someone know/fill out a form to change my name back on my marriage certificate?

      No.

      If not, will my name on my marriage certificate possibly affect me in the future?

      No, it won't cause a problem.

      Reply
  65. Julie

    Hi!! I just got married but I can't get use to my married last name. Do I have to change it or can I keep my maiden name? I have NOT gone and changed it at work or my social security card yet. If I do decide to keep it for now, how will I change it down the road lets say in 5 years if I decide that I do wanna take his last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Julie. You don't have to change your name if you don't want. If you have a change of heart and want to change it later, you can. There's no time limit involved.

      Reply
  66. Mar

    Hi,

    I changed my last name legally but my passport ends in 4 years from now, so they told me its not necessary to renew my passport because they are adding this info to Page 9 on my passport. Page 9 now says (This person has legally changed her last name) and it says what the new last name is.

    so at the first page of my passport it shows my old last name, but it says (look at page 9 – name changed). I already booked a trip to Vietnam with my new last name (that's on page 9).

    Is that going to get me in a lot of trouble?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mar. I doubt it'll be an issue as the change is referenced within your passport.

      Reply
  67. Kristyn Noah

    I just got married and took my husbands name on, on our marriage certificate.
    Do I legally have to change my name to his, or can I continue to use my maiden name and not change anything?
    I have heard this will make our marriage void unless I legally change to the name I chose on the marriage certificate.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I legally have to change my name to his, or can I continue to use my maiden name and not change anything?

      You do not have to go through with the name change.

      I have heard this will make our marriage void unless I legally change to the name I chose on the marriage certificate.

      It won't void your marriage.

      Reply
  68. Eva

    Hi, I'm currently in a situation that I really need help with. I got married 25 years ago in Czech Republic. Shortly after our wedding we came to the united states and I never had a chance to update my passport. I came to the United States under my maiden name passport. I've lived in the United States for over 25 years. Since my passport with my maiden name was the only I.d. I had, I was forced to use it on all my papers. After 25 years I got my green card and they put down my maiden name. Now I would like to go back to my country. I had to renew my passport and my new passport came back under my married name. Now I am dealing with a situation where I have two different names. The maiden name on my green card and my married name on my new passport. My question to you is, would they give me any problems at the airport when I am returning? My attorney told me I am good to go as long as I provide my marriage license and proper documents. what would your advice be for my situation?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Eva. Your attorney's advice makes sense. Problems arise when there is insufficient supporting documentation. If you have the documents, you should be ok.

      Reply
  69. Lenora

    My husband died in 2016 and I want to go back to my maiden name what do I need to do? and I need to know will it hurt me ss

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lenora. You'd have to petition the court. Changing your name shouldn't affect your SS.

      Reply
  70. Michael Cabal

    I have a question. When my wife and I got married, she took my last name only. Now she wants to add her maiden name to her legal last name, which is my last name. She wants to have a hyphenated last name. What is the process for that?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michael. If she's already legally changed her last name to yours, she'd have to petition the court to modify the name again.

      Reply
  71. hazel grace quinto

    hello, my husband just got his u.s citizenship and he wanted to do petition for me, however i am not using his surname in all of my documents, do i really need to change my family name using his surname?

    Reply
  72. Meranda

    I got married September 24th 2016 and I haven't changed my maiden name to my husbands last name yet. My marriage license is in my husbands last name and my social security card is to. Will I get extra fined if I do it tomorrow?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I get extra fined if I do it tomorrow?

      Some DMV's may impose a modest fine for those who don't notify them of a name change within a certain number of days. It varies by state and is sometimes not even enforced. If you're referring to another type of fine by a different institution, please clarify.

      Reply
  73. Gisel

    Hi,
    I just recently change my last name to my husband's last name. I took my maiden name out. I regret taking it out. Now I'm wondering if I could add it back to social security and dmv haven't change anything else yet.? I still want to keep my married name just add maiden name.
    Thank you for your help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Gisel. If you haven't actually changed it with the SSA or DMV, then there's nothing that you'd have to do. If you're saying you changed it with the SSA but not the DMV, then you'll need to obtain a court order to update the SSA again.

      Reply
  74. Laura McMillion

    Hello!

    My situation is as Michael Cabal described above, but I would like a little clarification. When I married my husband 30 years ago, I changed my name from First Middle Maiden to First Middle Married. Recently my father passed away and I executed his estate as First Middle Married AKA First Middle Maiden Married, because if the way the will was written.

    Now that both of my parents have passed, and I have been signing the estate documents as First Middle Maiden Married, I find that I would like to continue with my name in that context. What must I do legally, if anything, to be known this way?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What must I do legally, if anything, to be known this way?

      You'd simply petition the court for a legal name change.

      Reply
  75. Jasmine

    I got married in 2015 and chose to take my husbands last name. I still haven't updated my lisence or ID. I just got caught up with work and moving that I never got around to updating my info. My lisence is expiring this month and thinking of updating everything then. Will this be a problem?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jasmine. It shouldn't be a problem, although it's a good idea to update with SSA first.

      Reply
  76. Elisabetta

    Hi! I arrived in the States in 1999 and I started using my husband's last name to make things easier, without legally changing my name. On my driving license, though, for some reason I put both my maiden name and my husband's and it has been like that all along.
    I became a US citizen now and I kept my maiden name on my passport and social security, while I still have the double name on my driving license. Now the time has come that I need to renew the driving license. Can I still keep the two names so that I can still show one document with my husband's last name? Indeed in these last 18 years my name on the driving license has never matched my name on the passport…
    Thank you for any help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Elisabetta. If your DMV queries the SSA database for a name match/mismatch, you may not be able to renew in the same name. Not all offices do this. If they do not perform such a lookup, you should be able to renew in your preferred name.

      Reply
  77. Nicole

    I'm getting married next week and have been trying to wrap my head around my option re: last names. I work as a licensed therapist, and do not want to legally take his last name as my professional name. I would however like to be known as his last name socially, and even be able to use it on bank accounts, financial forms etc that we share, and in the future have the same last name as our kids. In my profession, many of the forms need to be signed by my legal name/ name matching my license to practice. What if any are my options to separate my professional name (First Maiden) and personal (First Hislast) while still having things legally above board?
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What if any are my options to separate my professional name (First Maiden) and personal (First Hislast) while still having things legally above board?

      If you're not changing your name, then you'll just have to use your "personal" last name unofficially in social situations. Your bank may be willing to issue and accept checks in your preferred name as well.

      Reply
  78. Ada

    HelloValera,I am from a different country, I didn't remove my marriage name, I only added my husband's name when I did my news paper publication as is the case in my country,now I have done a new publican and removed his name entirely and I want to change my bank accounts here in the US to my maiden name but I am facing some difficulties as I have been asked to again do the name change here officially in the US. My problem now is that no one knows how that works around here for such changes and I really need my names changed on my account. What am I supposed to do please?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ada. They're likely referring to you obtaining a court ordered by way of a court petitioned name change.

      Reply
  79. Norma Nicholson-Brown

    My ex daughter in law is signing papers to release child support arrears on my son. Child support office has my son's last name since she filed for child support under the married name. She has been remarried with a new last name, however the child support papers releasing all child support present and arrears (child is now 29 years old and arrears are $40,000+) is in my son's last name. How does she sign the papers? Does she sign both last names or does she sign her now married name although the child support papers are in my sons last name, or does she sign what's on the document although it's no longer her last name?????

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Norma. She'll have to sign precisely as the document instructs. If it says name, legal name, or current name, then it would be her new name. If it references prior names, she can reference her previous name(s).

      Reply
  80. Kellie

    I have in the divorce papers that I want to go by my maiden name. But I've still been using my married name on everything. Is it ok that I do that? My ex husband doesn't want me using his name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I have in the divorce papers that I want to go by my maiden name. But I've still been using my married name on everything. Is it ok that I do that?

      Yes, it's fine.

      Reply

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