2,110 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!

2,110 Comments

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. Ronnie

    Hi i just got married in california. I put my maiden name as my new last name Jane Doe
    New name Jane Doe Smith
    I just went to SS office change it but i have bank accounts and property under my name with family. They dont know about my marriage and i dont want to go through the hassle of changing it. Do i have too even though i kept my maiden name as my middle name?

    Reply
      1. Valera

        Also i dont want them to know i got married.

        In California, that's where the confidential marriage license is more useful. If you opted for a regular non-confidential marriage license, then your marriage certificate is a public record.

        Reply
    1. Valera

      Do i have too even though i kept my maiden name as my middle name?

      No, you don't have to go forward with the name change if you've changed your mind, regardless of what you specified on the license.

      Reply
  27. Macy Mclean

    Hi. I'm getting remarried soon, in the state of NC, and my fiancee wants me to "lose" my ex-husband's last name. I was granted the ability to change my name back to my maiden name in my divorce decree but never did. Can I change it when we get married? Also, I want to hyphenate my maiden name with my fiancees name and keep my middle name…can that be done?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I change it when we get married?

      Yes, you can change it then.

      Also, I want to hyphenate my maiden name with my fiancees name and keep my middle name…can that be done?

      Yes.

      Reply
  28. Andrea

    Hi so when I got married I only changed my name on my drivers license not SSC. I have been a stay at home mom so hasn't been a problem up till now I'm going to be looking for a job and applying for graduation from college (who still uses my maiden name) as well as applying for a loan. I'm unsure what last name I should use for these? I would just go change my name with ssc however we are going to be getting a divorce and will want to go back to my maiden name anyways..

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Andrea. You'd use the name that's on file with the SSA, which is your maiden name.

      Reply
  29. Brooke

    I am recently married. I am going on my honeymoon, out of country, in October. I wanted to go ahead and legally change my name on everything EXCEPT my passport, since I probably wouldn't have it back in time and don't really want to pay for the expedited fees. I bought all of my plane tickets in my maiden name, so that they will match my passport. I plan on bringing my marriage certificate, birth certificate, social security card, etc. with me, just incase there is an issue. Do you think I'll have any issues?
    Or should I just wait and change my name after the honeymoon?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do you think I'll have any issues?

      You shouldn't have any issues.

      Or should I just wait and change my name after the honeymoon?

      It's up to you to change everything except your passport now. What matters most is that your passport and airline tickets match and you have supporting documents to bridge your maiden and married name.

      Reply
  30. H

    I'm married my name is changed but I want to open an ISA in my maiden name I don't think I have any old id in my maiden name can I still do it if the application is online?

    Reply
  31. m

    If you remarry and you sign your name do you use your 1st married name or maiden? which is proper?

    Reply
  32. m

    Thanks Valera, I wasn't clear, this is 2nd marriage I am sending a condolence and want to know should I put my current name and then maiden in parens or my 1st marriage name. The condolence is for an x family member also. thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi M. As it's informal, you can put what you're most comfortable with.

      Reply
  33. Sara

    Hi – I got married June of 2017. I want to legally change my name to my husbands last name but I own an LLC. I have had the same career for many years and am well known by my maiden name. How am I legally able to keep my maiden name with the business and professionally but legally have my husbands last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sara. Consider looking into something like a DBA (doing business as) registered under your maiden name.

      Reply
  34. Liz

    Hi, I have three questions:

    1) If my name is Liz Anne(middle) Smith and his is John Doe can I change my name to Liz Anne Doe Smith..? I have seen most commonly the name Liz Anne Smith Doe but I feel it would be almost degrading to him to use my last name first.

    2) Is it uncommon to do this? In your opinion do you think it would be weird?

    3) Am I correct in assuming that if I don't hyphenate I can use both last names interchangeably? ( I am aware I would have to use both to fill out legal docs.)

    note: I don't want to lose my middle name or else I would have considered using my last name as a middle name.

    Thank you in advance,

    Reply
    1. Valera

      1) If my name is Liz Anne(middle) Smith and his is John Doe can I change my name to Liz Anne Doe Smith..?

      Spaced names aren't typically supported when it comes to marriage-based name changes.

      2) Is it uncommon to do this? In your opinion do you think it would be weird?

      It's uncommon due to it's lack of support.

      3) Am I correct in assuming that if I don't hyphenate I can use both last names interchangeably? ( I am aware I would have to use both to fill out legal docs.)

      You could use it that way informally.

      Reply
  35. AD

    I defaulted to use my spouse's name as my surname after marriage, as I was not prepared to make that decision at the town clerk's office when applying for the license, so that is what we wrote down. However, I want to keep my maiden name, and want to have no legal record of my last name as the spouse's last name. Is that possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      However, I want to keep my maiden name, and want to have no legal record of my last name as the spouse's last name. Is that possible?

      Yes, do nothing and no change will occur.

      Reply
  36. Kelly

    My maiden name is Kelly Michelle Clark. My married name is Kelly Michelle Fuller. I need to change my social security card and drivers license. I would my the name is appear as: Kelly Michelle Clark Fuller. Will I be able to have this name on my drivers license and social security card? I thought I registered my new legal name as Kelly Michelle Fuller on my marriage certificate, but I can't find it anywhere.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kelly. Space (or double-barrelled) names aren't well supported in most states.

      Reply
  37. Melissa

    Hi,I recently got married a few weeks ago. I’m still processing everything around with paperwork to make it legal. But the only thing I haven’t done was change health insurance yet. I’m going to do soon. Would I still be able to use whatever is left on my old card before I renew it? I have a month and a half I believe.

    Whenever I do use it,would I have to explain that I changed my name? And what I’d would I have to show? My maiden or married name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Melissa. You shouldn't have a problem with the continual use of your health card. If you need to explain the name discrepancy, you can present a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  38. Jean

    After a divorce many years ago, I kept my ex husbands name to match my kids. Also I'm a doctor and didn't want to change my name for professional reasons. I recently got remarried and when renewing my govt ID for work they insisted I must use my legal name. This has presented many difficulties now professionally and personally, though I like the new name better. Is it possible to go back to my previous name for professional reasons only including my govt work ID?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jean. I assume your "legal name" is your new married name and not your ex-husband's. If you're just looking to change your name at your place of work, you'll have to work that out with your employer. They may be willing to accommodate the use of an alias.

      Reply
  39. Latisha

    Hello- I got married to my same sex partner in CA 3 years ago. I put her last name on the paperwork for my name change. However I never changed my license, social security or any other paper work as I decided after I wanted to keep my name. Can I continue to do this or do I have to get the certificate changed? My license is up for renew and I don't want an issue. I dont live in CA.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I decided after I wanted to keep my name. Can I continue to do this

      Yes.

      or do I have to get the certificate changed?

      No, you do not.

      My license is up for renew and I don't want an issue. I dont live in CA.

      You won't face any problems.

      Reply
  40. Gwendolyn DeVoe

    Hi Valera,

    I got married a few weeks ago. At the clerk's office, I chose to add my husband's last name to my maiden name because I wasn't sure what to do. Such a huge decision. Can I continue using my maiden name or do I have to now notify folks that my marriage certificate is my maiden name along with my husband's last name? So confused.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Gwendolyn. You can continue using your maiden name as long as you'd prefer.

      Reply
  41. Annabela

    I am in the process of moving. I lost my social security card with my married last name. Will a new a employer take my birth certificate with my maiden and my drivers license with my married name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Annabela. That's up to your employer. Are you certain they need your social security card, or just any document containing your social security number, such as a tax document? If you need to bridge your maiden and married name, you can supply them a copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  42. Dee

    Just recently got married and hyphenated my last name with my husband last name so I have both my maiden name and my married name on my marriage license.
    Wanted to know do I have to use both on my passport because I am doing the application to change my name or can I just use my new married name on my passport I do not want to change any of my other IDs.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Dee. It's possible it'll be allowed. It may come down to the agent's willingness to be flexible.

      Reply
  43. Jane

    Hi, I was married in August 2015. I changed my name on my bank only. I am in the middle of selling my home and the paperwork is all in my maiden name, so is my passport but Is it possible for me to add my maiden name back to me bank account so any money can still be paid into this from the sale of my home ?

    Reply
  44. Ivette Mendoza

    Hi i just got married and i want to add my maiden name back. How and where can i do that?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ivette. If you've formally changed your name already, then you'll have to obtain a court order to change it back.

      Reply
  45. Kelly

    Hi!

    I am having a symbolic wedding in Tulum Mexico and was going to get my marriage license in Califronia. My question is- I want to get marriage license before Mexico so im legally married- and I will put on marriage license new name. Will this effect my out of country travel if my ID and Passport have my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will this effect my out of country travel if my ID and Passport have my maiden name?

      No, it will not.

      Reply
  46. Sarah

    Hi Valera,
    I am getting married next week, and contemplating keeping my name as is, or adding his last name onto mine so it would be First Middle Maiden Married (no hyphen). I am a business owner and want to keep all my professional materials under my maiden name. Can keep all important business legal documents the same? If I understand correctly, I will need to legally change my name on my SSC, driver's license, and passport. My fiance and I recently refinanced our home, and the deed is in my maiden name. I am wondering if I can leave that as is, as well as my existing credit cards, student loans, insurance, and bills. Is there anything I would have to change besides SSC, driver's license, and passport? I live in Wisconsin. My understanding is that with a double barrelled name I can choose if I go by Maiden, Married, or Both. Is that correct? Will I ever have trouble if we move to another state?

    Reply
    1. Sarah

      I also want to clarify. When we picked up our marriage license, the woman there had us sign it right away. I signed my birth name. Will I need to change my signature if I want to change my name? Again, I live in Wisconsin. Thank you!

      Reply
      1. Valera

        When we picked up our marriage license, the woman there had us sign it right away. I signed my birth name. Will I need to change my signature if I want to change my name? Again, I live in Wisconsin.

        No, your signature does not need to be changed.

        Reply
    2. Valera

      I am a business owner and want to keep all my professional materials under my maiden name. Can keep all important business legal documents the same?

      Consider looking into a DBA filed under your maiden name.

      My fiance and I recently refinanced our home, and the deed is in my maiden name. I am wondering if I can leave that as is, as well as my existing credit cards, student loans, insurance, and bills.

      It's possible to leave them as-is, but it's worth putting forth the effort to get your name synchronized across the board.

      Is there anything I would have to change besides SSC, driver's license, and passport?

      Those are the primaries. You've got it covered pretty well.

      My understanding is that with a double barrelled name I can choose if I go by Maiden, Married, or Both. Is that correct?

      Yes, informally. Use your full name on government documents, taxes, or anything that might cross-reference the name on your social security record.

      Will I ever have trouble if we move to another state?

      No, it's unlikely.

      Reply
  47. doc with legal questions

    Thanks for your blog, very informative. I am a physician who recently got married. All of my medical boards and medical paperwork have my maiden name. I will be changing my name legally (SS, driver's license). Can I keep my maiden name for my professional career (Dr. Maiden name), while every other document will have my married last name? I am worried about (legal) conflicts in the future.
    Thanks again.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Doc. You may be able to maintain your maiden name professionally, but that would be up to the licensing boards and your employer to accommodate.

      Reply
  48. Ameli

    My husband is filling up a USCIS form for me becoming a citizen, but when we got married I kept both our last names without a hyphenation. My question is, when we fill out the papers how do I use the last names? Do I put down my given name, and as a middle name I use my madden name, and as last name do I use my husbands last name?? Or do I write both last names where it says (Family Name), and no middle name, because I do not have a middle name. I have my name and both last names. I am a little confuse and need help with this.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ameli. In the optional name change section, you'd enter the new name you'd prefer to take.

      Reply
  49. Katie

    Hi, I recently got married in PA and am preparing to file paperwork with the USCIS. All my immigration and ID documents are in my maiden name. I am wanting to take my husbands last name (and have his last name on my SSN and green card). My marriage certificate only lists my maiden name and did not give me an option to change it. Is my marriage certificate enough evidence to legally change my name and submit paperwork to USCIS in my married name? I would list my maiden name as a previous name. Thanks!

    Reply
  50. Jennifer

    I am about to change my name after marriage. We are planning on hyphenating the maiden with married name. Mostly because I want to keep the last name my daughter carries (she took my maiden name- father is not involved). Once my daughter is grown I am sure I will want to only carry my husbands name. How hard will it be to drop the hyphen down the road?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jennifer. It wouldn't be difficult to drop the hyphen later. You'll just have to petition the court for a regular name change.

      Reply
  51. Dahlia

    I'm getting married in a month and eventually want to change my surname to my married name, but I don't want to go through all the paperwork for another few years. Is it possible to put my new married name on the marriage license, but not change it officially on any documents (license, passport, etc.)? Is there no conflict on official documents when doing this? What are the repercussions of having a married name on a marriage license without correcting it anywhere else?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Dahlia. There are no repercussions. You can do precisely as you proposed.

      Reply
  52. Sara

    Hello, thanks for all the information.
    I got married 13 years ago, and the only thing document not having my new last name (husbands last name) is my drivers license. Now that we are settled down, retiring from the military, and bought a house to stay put finally, I want everything to be correct. When I go in to have my license changed, will it be easy even though it has been so many years?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      When I go in to have my license changed, will it be easy even though it has been so many years?

      As long as you can provide documentation (e.g., marriage certificate) that allows a marriage name change to be processed you should be fine.

      Reply
      1. Sara

        I appreciate it! I fear them asking me why it has taken so long, and me getting in trouble.

        Reply
  53. Sol Zamora

    hi. i used my husband surname in all my id's including my passport, but we are separated for almost a year (not legally)…it would be possible for me to change my all id's and passport to my maiden name?even if im still married?

    Reply
  54. Artemis

    Hello!
    When my husband and I married 7 years ago, I put his last name on our marriage certificate. However, I never went to the SS office to change it from my maiden name, and I haven't been using my married name at all (except for reservations and things like that).
    Now I have a drivers license and passport renewal to do. Can I renew them both just using my maiden name?
    Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now I have a drivers license and passport renewal to do. Can I renew them both just using my maiden name?

      Yes, you can.

      Reply
  55. Angela Sims

    I've been married for 23 years. Recently I've deceided that I would like to hyphen my name with my maden name. Is this something that i can legally do? Also the change would be updated on my DL and SS. What is the process for making this change.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Angela. Yes, you could implement such a change, but you'd have to get a court order.

      Reply
  56. Crystal Hargrove

    Hi there,

    I changed my name on only my DL and not my SSN…
    I would like to keep my maiden name, will i be able to visit the DMV and request a new license w my maiden name?

    Or do i have to finish going through with the name changes at SSN

    Reply
    1. Valera

      will i be able to visit the DMV and request a new license w my maiden name?

      You'd need a new document showing another name change, such as a court order.

      Or do i have to finish going through with the name changes at SSN

      You don't have to, but you'll now have to juggle a name mismatch.

      Reply
  57. Mallory

    Hi, I'm looking to elope but not tell family because we are going to do the big wedding thing. Do I have to change my name yet or can I wait till after our ceremony a year later? This includes all personal and professional doings.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to change my name yet or can I wait till after our ceremony a year later?

      You can wait until later.

      Reply
  58. Sue

    Hi I'm a widow of 7 years I'm getting married on June 16th 2018 that's 8 months time I would like to change back to my maiden name but we have done all the documents at the register can I still change it and could I also have my maiden name and my new husbands name in a double barrel name and would it cost

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sue. You may be able to restore your maiden name after marriage, but it depends on the state. Can you specify the state you'll be getting married in? Double barrelled isn't as widely supported though.

      Reply
  59. Chantel

    Hi

    I just got married a couple weeks ago before my baby comes this month.

    I haven't changed my name on social security yet because I am afraid it will mess up my insurance in the hospital when baby comes as I do not want to go through the process of alerting my insurance yet.

    Will it mess it up? Or will it not be noticed and me and baby will be covered when she's added after birth?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Chantel. The SSN is matched using the primary ID, which is the nine-digit number. It would be odd for a problem to arise because a secondary identifier, such as your surname, changing. You would have to ask the hospital and insurance company if it could cause an internal conflict and if it's advisable for you to wait until later to complete the change.

      Reply
  60. Jamie (Whittington) smith

    K I am 34 weeks pregnant married but been separated from him for 4 yrs the baby isn't his it's a man I Been in a relationship with for 2 yrs my question is can I get my license put in my maiden name and my Medicaid n my maiden name so that way until I have a judgement done for my child's biological father to be put on my child's birth certificate the baby will take my maiden last name instead of my ex's

    Reply
  61. Stacey george

    I am a us citizen married in another country. My estranged ex husband no longer lives in that country and he's not in the us. I'm no longer allowed to leave the united states ( my passport was revoked). I don't have any documents. How can I resume using my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How can I resume using my maiden name?

      Legally? By petitioning the court.

      Reply
  62. Lena

    Hello,
    I am a medical doctor in private practice engaged to be married in 9 months. I would like to take my husband's last name socially and legally and keep practicing under my maiden name.
    Question 1: Is this possible?
    I would anticipate major problems if my legal last name (husband's) and the last name on prescriptions, paychecks, liability/malpractice insurance, and credentialing paperwork will no longer match.
    Question 2: How to I address this?
    If this topic should have already been addressed elsewhere in this blog, I sincerely apologize, but am grateful for any information you can provide. THANK YOU!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lena. That's typically up to your state's licensing board. Notify them of what you're seeking and if they're able to log your married name while maintaining your professional name as-is.

      Reply
  63. Mariedu

    Hi Valera ! My Passport have a maiden name still now,but when a married in my country I didn't change my status on my passport ,the others documents i used the married name,but now I am a WIDOW.
    which one I have to used to ask for a US Status migration ?.
    please let me know.
    thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mariedu. Multiple documents will be accepted, so bring all that you have.

      Reply
  64. Lam nguyen

    Hello,
    I recently just got my citizenship and i changed my first name on it but all my bank account and driver license still had the old name and i dont want to change it to the new name yet so can i keep the old name on these stuff?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lam. If your legal documents are showing a different first name, you may run into problems down the road with the inconsistency. It's up to your bank to accommodate you. As for your driver's license, if the DMV performs a lookup against the SSA database and discovers a name mismatch, you may have a problem with renewal/reissue until the names match.

      Reply
  65. Alexandra Williams

    Hi,

    I just got married a few months back and my passport expires in Nov… I am renewing it now and want to change my name (to my married name) on my passport so we can travel as a "family" but i do not plan to change anything else to my married name …. is that an option to change my passport and nothing else ????

    sorry if you have answered this already

    Reply
    1. Valera

      is that an option to change my passport and nothing else ?

      Yes, you could do that.

      Reply
  66. Nienna

    So I have an unusual circumstance, so pardon my use of a pseudonym in my comment.

    I am married to a registered sex offender, who has very much been rehabilitated, and we have a very unusual last name. He will never be off the registry.
    I am thinking about returning to university, first as a psychology major and then a masters for counseling.

    However, because I don't want anyone to connect my last name to my husband during this process, I would like to use my maiden name for university and my licensing.

    Is this possible to do without legally changing my name back? I don't want to hurt my husband's feelings by doing this.

    Also, I was previously married and widowed, so I have not used my maiden name since 2009. I have no degrees currently, but some of my college work is in my previous name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nienna. That entirely up to your university to accommodate if you explain that you want all school documentation to reflect your maiden name. Ask if it's allowed and what procedures and documents are required.

      Reply
  67. Karen Delgado

    I got married in August of 2017. The only thing I changed was my name on my social security card. Can I rechange it to my maiden name because I still haven't changed anything else.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      The only thing I changed was my name on my social security card. Can I rechange it to my maiden name

      Not without a court order.

      Reply
  68. Brian Rocket

    When you change your name with the DMV, does the old name get destroyed? Is there a way to have them remove the old name completely from their systems? I changed my name because I was a victim of an abusive past that caused me all kinds of trauma. At the DMV when I asked that question they told me that they do destroy all traces of previous names you had as if you never had them, but I wanted to be sure they gave me the right info. The person who said that they did destroy records of the old name was the one actually administering the new snapshot.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Brian. That's a state-level issue that would be governed by state statutes. If it's not specified in state law, the DMV may have leeway to do what it wants. You'll have to ask for formal documentation confirming this cleanup procedure.

      If you're concerned about privacy, you may want to look into your state's address confidentiality program and how your DMV interacts with it.

      Reply
  69. Gael

    When I got divorced from my abusive husband, I had my name changed in my divorce decree to "maiden-married" and intended to drop the married when my youngest turned 18. I haven't done it yet as I can't seem to afford the $300+ fees. It has been extremely difficult for me to move on in my life with this name and will try to get a fee waiver from the court. But until then, can I just not use my married name on legal documents?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      But until then, can I just not use my married name on legal documents?

      If your legal name is just "married," then that's what you'll have to use. If it's actually "maiden-married," then that's what you'll have to use.

      Reply
  70. Joe Zullo

    V,
    On a property warranty deed, the buyer, a divorced women still using her legal married name wants her name written as follows: first, middle, last (nee maiden first, maiden middle, maiden last, mother) and first, middle, last (son)…..joint tenantes she said it is more precise taking her lineage back to her birth certificate. Is it OK to have current and maiden names on a legal document like the property warranty deed?
    thanks, joe

    Reply
  71. Misha

    Hello,
    I am divorcing and selected to go back to my maiden name, how long do I have to update everything back to my maiden name?
    Do I have to update everything back to my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Misha. There's no time limit to abide by. You don't have to update everything, but you'll have to manage name mismatches and its side effects.

      Reply
  72. Devin

    Hi there. Thank you so much for this post, it's very informative. I'm wondering if it's truly essential to have the name match on my passport and license for travel. I have only my maiden name on my passport, however, my maiden name precedes my married name on my license. I'm hoping to avoid having to change it on my passport so I can avoid paying another $100+. If you might have the time to advise me on this matter, I would truly appreciate it. All the best to you!

    Reply
  73. Ana Katrina Reyes

    Hi. I already used the surname of my husband in my Maxicare card (health card). Now i would like to used it for my check up, but the rest of my valid id state my maiden name. The ospital needs the id for validation.. Is it ok to used my maxicare card with my husband surname then give id for validation with my maiden name??

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ana. You may want to include an additional document to explain the difference in names, such as a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  74. Wendy mills

    When filling out a w4 for work do you have to use your married name.. Ive only changed my name on my Social security card and nothing else. When i file taxes i still use my maiden name and SSC with my maiden name and not married name.

    Reply
  75. Alexis Matthews

    I still use my maiden name on certain document… And I've lost my ID with my maiden name can I still obtain a driver license in my maiden name

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I still obtain a driver license in my maiden name

      You can if it's still your legal name. However, if the driver's license office performs a lookup against the SSA database and discovers a mismatch, the SSA name will take priority.

      Reply
  76. Vanessa

    Hi I got married 2yrs ago in NY changed my last name to my husbands I want to go back & add my maiden name. The only thing I have changed since gotten married was my drivers license. Will I have a problem?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Vanessa. You'll have to get a court order to process a second name change.

      Reply
  77. Jolene

    Hello!

    I got married on 11/12/13 and on our marriage certificate indicated that I would hyphenate my name (Horton-Cassada). I have not started the process of changing anything. All of my legal documents are just my last name right now (and I'm not positive that I'm going to change anything). However, I'm starting the process of obtaining my passport and I'm wondering what I should do? If it all out with just my last name?

    Thank you!
    Jolene

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jolene. You don't have to change your name on any document if you don't want to, if that's what you're asking.

      Reply
  78. Flo

    Newly married a USA citizen and spouse about to file for change of status (green card) for me.
    Is it okay i maintained my maiden name without changing it to his.
    I want my last name to be as it is in all my documents and profession as i have a very special bond between i and my late Dad, his name is one of the memories i keep, won't like to change or add any name to it.
    My question is can he file for me with my maiden name
    Without me changing to his name.
    If yes, how can i go about it
    He is a professor and is cool with it.
    We live in New Jersey

    Reply
  79. Kia Reilly

    I have applied for a marriage certificate to take on my husbands last name but want to use my maiden name as an official legal middle name.
    Do I need to complete a Change of name application form to do this as I'm not hyphening the two last names? If so should I forget about the marriage certificate and apply using my maiden name now? The form read that I needs proof of name and everything is still in my maiden name.
    or
    Can I simply "Legally" tack the new name on the end using the marriage certificate.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kia. Have you already married? If so, did your marriage license application provide a space to specify a new name and was that name reflected on your marriage certificate?

      Reply
  80. Stephanie

    Hi Valera

    I just got married oct 31st 2017. On the license my name is now Jane (middle name) husbands lastname (hyphen) my last name. I dont want to change it anymore and would like to keep my maiden name only.
    Im a resident of California.

    I havent changed anything at all with ss, dmv etc.

    If i dont want to change my name afterall what should i do?

    Also, getting joint bank accounts, will i need to use the name on the certificate?
    Taxes, car, house etc?

    Thank you so much

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If i don't want to change my name afterall what should i do?

      If you don't do anything, then nothing changes.

      Also, getting joint bank accounts, will i need to use the name on the certificate?

      No, you'll use your current legal name. Forget about the certificate.

      Reply

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