Use Your Maiden Name Even After a Name Change
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.
If you do intend to legally change your name while continuing to use your maiden name for other purposes, our online name change forms can help you to complete the process.
There are a few specific situations in which you may continue to use your maiden name. Here are some of them:
1. In professional contexts, particularly specialized professions
If you have spent the last decade building up a professional identity and reputation, you will not want to quickly cast that off! Some people change their legal name, but continue to use their maiden name after marriage. This can be tricky when people make out checks to you, for instance, but you often just need to talk to your bank and establish that checks may be deposited in your maiden name. You also may be able to obtain authorization to do business as your new name without changing documents—this is called a "doing business as" approval, or DBA.
The DBA approach may also be reversed, by registering a fictitious business name or trade name in your maiden name, while formally changing to your new married name on your personal credentials.
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 social security card and 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!
I got married in California I did put on marriage certificate that I wanted husband's last name as mine but I never went to social security to change it, all my paper work still appears as my maiden name, does this mean my legal name is what I put on my marriage certificate? if I want to go through divorce do I need to ask for my name to be changed back to my maiden?
Your legal name is still your name before marriage.
No, it wouldn't apply.
I put on marriage certificate my husbands last name to be mine, but afterwards I never went to change it with social security driver license, but when I applied for my green card I did put his last name as mine, but didn't change it on anything else, now were goin through a divorce when I applied for the divorce I didn't ask for my name to be restored to my maiden name.
I asked I lawyer he said my legal name was the one that appeared on my driver license that is why I filled my divoce paper work with my maiden name. Do I have to start all over again the process of divorce or am I ok? please help
Hi Brenda. Your divorce is valid. You needn't be concerned.
It seems that I can never find a clear, cut answer and just want to verify I understand correctly. I am getting married in a few months and plan to either hyphenate or have both mine and my future husband's last name on the certificate.
Is there a time limit as to when I need to change my legal paperwork to reflect this (i.e. social security, passports, license, etc).?
Even if I put both last names for the marriage certificate, my maiden name would still be my legal last name until/unless I change it with social security, correct?
Basically, I want to confirm if I can have the certificate encompass both names but not have to change it legally by a specific time period. So if I want to change it legally, I can but I do not have to and if I do, I can do it at any point during the marriage?
There's no time limit to change your name after marriage.
Name change is optional. Whatever new name appears on your marriage certificate is nonbinding.
Hello. I am getting married next month and am interested in taking my husband's last name as my middle name (not changing my first or last name). I currently do not have a middle name. The Social Security website says they don't consider middle names part of one's legal name. If I added a middle name, would I have to do any name change paperwork? I live in WA State.
Hi Emily. You can't change your middle name in Washington State that way through marriage.
My daughter got married a few weeks ago. She has her drivers license and social security card still in her maiden name, but she just purchased a used car using her married name. The car has temporary tags on it right now.
Will there be any problems insuring the vehicle if it is in her married name, when the DL and SS card are in her maiden name?
Hi Angela. It's not a problem. She'll still be insured. Her marriage certificate proves her married name is valid.
I am in the process of filing for disability, 5 year process so far. All my Dr’s paperwork, visits, testing, court documents, etc is all done in my maiden last name.
Is it possible to keep my maiden name as middle and add his last name, so Lisa Jones Smith, but for Disability, Doctors, banking etc, can I sign as Lisa Jones OR do I have to use Lisa Smith. OR would it be best to legally wait on name change until disability court has been resolved? Thank you. ( just married in TX this weekend-court case is in CA)
Shifting your maiden to middle is supported in most states.
You'd sign your current legal name.
You can change your name during or afterward. The SSA will be the one deciding your disability case and name change is within their purview. There's no time limit for name change, so waiting until later does no harm.
I got married but made a big mistake and I found my then husband had cheated. We were not together for longer than 3 weeks and I did not use his surname after that. I reverted back to my maiden name. My question is I have to fill out a DBS form but because I didn't use my marriage name and they need to know all my previous names and how long I used those names what do I put?
Following on from my last comment. I in fact did not use my married surname at all. Will I still need to disclose this name on a DBS check and if I do will it hold things up. I do not remember using that name on my previous check
Hi Denise. If you only used it informally, then you needn't bother with using it again. In this case, you'd use your maiden name from now on.
Hi Denise. If you never formally/legally changed your name, you can ignore any new surname or surname usage. You needn't reference it as a previous name. However, if you did change it for real (e.g., Social Security card or driver's license), go ahead and reference it.
Just got married and kept my maiden name, when signing documents can i initial my maiden name followed by my spouses last name?
Probably not a good idea for governmental and llegal paperwork. You'll want to use your current legal name. For more informal purposes, it's fine. When in doubt, ask whichever entity your dealing with if it'll be a problem, especially if signature verification might come into play.
I was married 16 years ago and changed my name to hyphenate my maiden and married name on my drivers license and passport but my social security card has only my married name on it do I need to change my name on my drivers license and passport to reflect social security info or does it even matter since my married last name
Hi Carol. You don't have to sync up your documents.
I live in Boston, MA and married back in 2013. When i filled out my marriage certificate I wrote down I would take my husbands last name. As of now, I have not used his last name. I haven't changed my SSN or passport to my married name on my certificate. The only time I have used my married last name was when I was filing forms for immigration for my husband.
Is this ok for me to do? Or should I be using my married last name for everything (bank, credit cards, etc)?
Name change is optional. You can keep your name as-is.
I have not changed my name legally since marriage, and still use my maiden name on taxes and whenever I am asked for my legal name. However, I go by my married name socially and for work, and on some documents have used my maiden name as the middle name and my spouse's last name as my last name – health insurance, will, mortgage, etc.
Is there any risk in using both names interchangeably on contracts even if my maiden name is my last name on my driver's license, SSN, passport and with the IRS? I live in Michigan. Will having my maiden name be my legal name invalidate contracts which have me using my first name, maiden middle name, husband's last name? Thanks!
Signing an alias doesn't invalidate a contract or pose a risk as long as it's understood that you accept being bound to the agreement.
No, it wouldn't invalidate them. The problem comes if it really wasn't you signing or you don't acknowledge signing.
My maiden name is in my permanent card can I still used it to renew even my ssn is different last name
Hi Rose. You can update your SS card to match your permanent resident card.
I got married 38 years ago and changed my last name to my husbands but I used my maiden name (1st letter) as the middle initial (M)… my question is can I legally just start using my maiden name that begins with M or do I have to change it legally through just SSA or courts?
You have only one legal name. Using a non-legal name on government and legal documents after-the-fact wouldn't be valid.
I’m married and carry my husbands name, Can I add my maiden name to marriage certificate if I took his name?
Hi Pamela. You can't change a marriage certificate unless there's an error on the document.
I have been legally married for 6 years and I would finally like to take my husbands last name. How do I go about that process? How long will it take to go through? I live in Oklahoma for military purposes. What legal documents should I change first when I change my name?
One more question: On my marriage certificate it says my surname is my husband’s last name. So legally is my last name his? And I am just using my maiden name as convenience? Can I start change my last name on things to my husbands name without going to the court?
Not until you proactively change it on ID.
Yes, with your marriage certificate.
Hi Miyoshi. See the social security name change article for procedures and time estimates. Start with that document, then your driver's license.
I have got married and change my name, but I do not want to change my name in Office currently I m working with, because where one over there recognize me with my maiden name. Is it ok that I won't change my name
Of course, name change is optional.
I am an undergraduate student who will be graduating this year and I got married 2 years ago. I have 2 maiden last names, but legally changed my name on everything to take my husbands last name, followed by my first maiden last name.
As a personal choice, although I plan to practice law using my new legal name, I would like to have my maiden name on my college diploma and later on my law school diploma. Would this be possible or is it necessary for my new legal, married, name to be on my diplomas from now on?
Can I be enrolled in school with my new legal name, yet my diplomas have my maiden name without me experiencing issues in the future?
That's up to your school. You'll have to ask them if they'll allow the printing of a prior legal name or alias, even if they maintain your current legal name on file.
Hi I’m from Florida and my divorce is finalized and it says “wife to restore maiden name to” so with everything being closed and a hassle I want to stick with my married last name for now but I think it’s a court order I have to change?
I’m getting married next month but I’m scared if I don’t have my maiden name on my social security card and my license they won’t let me get married because I have to show them the final judgement because it’s gonna be less then a year I’m divorcing.
I’m in Florida any advice is appreciated…
You can stick with your married name. Name change is nonbinding, even through divorce.
It's a nonissue. You'll be issued a marriage license in your current name without a problem.
Hello I got married about 4 years ago, I have not changed my name with social security but I did on my drivers license! I have decided that I don’t want to change my last name after all. What do I need to do to change it back on my license? This is in Texas.
Hi Cristal. You'll have to obtain another name change event document. Specifically a court order.
Hi. First of all, thank you for any guidance in my circumstance. I was married 39 years and divorced 4 years ago. In the transition, I relocated to another state. While living there, I renewed my DL.
Not having the paperwork trail for two marriages and not reversing my married name to my maiden name, I obtained a certified copy of my birth certificate. This was at the advice of the State's DMV. I was then able to renew my DL under my maiden name.
2.5 years go by, I've relocated to another state, registered at the DMV and provided all the (now obtained official copies) for the name changes paper trail. My new DL is still in my maiden name.
I obtained a Notary Public commission and am now doing notary work and starting to receive checks under my maiden name. My bank accounts, tax info., SS, it's all still in my married name. I can already see there are going to be issues just after depositing a couple of small checks with my maiden name on them.
1. Should I open a bank account in my maiden name to accommodate my notary work?
2. Are there legal implications I need to be aware of if I do open an account in my maiden name?
I plan to file this income with my taxes under my married name. Money is tight and I hesitate to go through any court processes at this time.
3. Would it be possible, given the current DL, to apply for a name reversal for my SS at this point without an official court change?
Thank you for any advice you can provide.
You can ask the bank if they'll accept an alias on file or DBA registered in your maiden name.
Too broad of a question. As long as the bank is aware and supportive of what you're trying to achieve, you should be fine. Keep in mind, taxes should be filed using the name the SSA/IRS has on file.
If your divorce decree has an order restoring your maiden name, you can use that.
Hi, For the last 10 years since my divorce I have been going by my ex's last name. I am going to get married but would like to at that time on the marriage certificate change my last name back to my maiden name.
Will there be a certain time frame that I must change all documents such as SSA, DMV, bank etc or can I just take my time changing my name on these after I get married. I am getting married in Alabama but will live in Georgia.
Hi Cheryl. No time frame. You can take your time.
I was married and Divorced about 18 years ago. When I was Married I went into the DOL and Provided them with my Marriage license and They simply asked if I would like to use my married name. I Said yes. Since then i have been divorced for quite some time without ever changing my name back with the WA State Department of Licensing. The Dillema I have come across is that My name With the SSA still shows as my Maiden name. My WA State issued ID Shows My married name.
I recently won A jackpot at the casino ANd They refused to award it to me Because My SSN and My ID do not match. I just want to go back to My Maiden name And what with This Covid Pandemic its hard to walk into the WA state DOL and ask a worker. Plus their appointments are all Further than 30 days out. WHAT DO I DO?? I do not have a copy of my marriage license OR Divorce Decree which has been finalized since 2002. SO what do i do where do i go? Please help
Hi Kristine. If your divorce decree contains an order restoring your maiden name, then you can use that to change it with WA DOL. Divorce records can be acquired through the Washington State Department of Health.
Otherwise, you'll have to ask if they'll accept other documentation in addition to your social security card to confirm your name, such as an affidavit. The last resort is to obtain a court-ordered name change to validate your maiden name.
A few questions for you.
1. I want to change my name in theory, but am hesitant to change my Social Security card. Can I change my name on my credit cards or insurance without changing it in my SS, or do I have to change my SS in order to change it anywhere?
2. Will my driver's license automatically change when it's time for renewal or will I need to go in and change it? Looking through other questions on this site, it seems that the license needs to match your SS card, so I wouldn't be able to update it unless I update my SS, correct?
3. If I do go ahead and change my name on my SS and DL, Will I be able to keep my maiden name on my credit cards and passport? I guess, I want to keep something of my original name, and I know my mom still has a bank account in her maiden name, but I don't know the legalities of it.
4. Do you know if you have dual citizenship if I will need to change my name on my EU passport if I change it in the states?
Thank you for your help!
That's up to the card issuer. The credit bureaus will know if there's a name mismatch between your social security record and credit report.
It's not automatic. You'll have to go in.
That's typically the case.
Yes, for passport. Typically, same for credit cards. Even if they're aware of your name change or you alert them, you can request that the card be issued in your prior/established name.
Likely, the bank knows her legal name, but is willing to accomodate her name preference on checks, debit cards, etc.
They're not dependent upon one another.
Got married a week ago ! If I changed the last name on the married certificate do I have to change the ss#.DVL too .. and if I don’t would I get in trouble ?
Hi Lizbeth. No trouble. Name change isn't perfunctory. You can skip it.
I have a 30 year career as a physician and am board Certified in multiple fields. I married 2 years ago and we hyphenated our last names (my last name comes last). I changed my name with the bank, SS, and RMV to the hyphenated name, but have continued to use the same professional name. It has not been a problem until today.
I have changed agencies and the new HR department is taking issue with this. My feeling is I am too old with a 30 year career to attempt to backtrack through all the schools I have attended and agencies that have licensed and certified me & change my name to satisfy this one agency. Am I mistaken? I know multiple female physicians who have done this, and question if this would be an issue if I were not a man.
Hi Greg. If there's a rule in place, you can ask that it be given in writing. If they can't do so, they're position is weak. If need be, appeal to a higher position of authority within or outside the department.
Hello. I go married in Sept. Im using my husbands name on the marriage certificate. Can i use my married name even if i didnt update ssn, dmv and my other documents? Will it affect my taxes if i use my new name at work? I live in CA
You can informally.
You'd continue using your non-married name at work and for taxes.
Hi! I am in the process of filling out a naturalization form that asks for current legal name. When I got married I changed my name to my husband’s family name, however I never changed the name on any of my official documents. What would be my legal name? The one on the marriage certificate or the one on all my other documents (licence/SS card/passport)? Thanks
I have been married 35 years and took my spouse's last name. We have been in business together for 8 years and it is a problem sharing his last name. How do I go back to maiden name without changing documents? Just for business sake , create a new (DBA) with my maiden name?
Hi Patricia. DBA would make sense if you just need your maiden name for narrow business purposes. If you need your maiden name for anything else, it would make sense to formally change your name through court.
Hi I live in Massachusetts . I got married last month. I used my husbands name and my maiden name last on the marriage Certificate . When I file my taxes can I still use just my maiden last name as I always done leave it as single we are filing Separately . Also I am going to file for early retirement next year can I still use my maiden name as it states on my SS card
Hi Kathy. You'd use whichever name is on your current social security card.
Hi my husband is going to add me on to his work insurance my question is where my husbands last name is after my first name, my maiden name is last… his insurance wants a copy of the marriage certificate.. when I file my taxes we file separately can I still use my maiden name and can I put down MRS .. or leave as single with my maiden name . my .S.S. card is my last name.
Hi Kathy. If you haven't changed your name on your SS card, then you'll continue using your current legal name, which I presume is your maiden name. Now that you're married, you must file as married filing separately instead of just single.
Hi, This site is very helpful, thank you! I have a dilemma because I changed my name to my husband's last name when we were married 6 years ago on the marriage certificate only. (I put his last name as the new surname). However, I never changed anything else.
I don't want to change my name but he really wants me too, so it's a constant battle. I agreed that I would use his name socially but I want to keep my name professionally (I am a doctor and have a publications/referrals under my maiden name).
I am about to purchase a practice and would like to have everything under my maiden name there still. I know he really wants me to change my name legally, but I don't know if that will make a mess of the practice purchase, especially when I want it to be called ___my name__ Dental.
I am ok with having two last names if that's a possibility (no hyphen, it's awful with a hyphen :P) to make paperwork easier. However, I don't know if there will be tax ramifications if I have two last names / change my name but am still practicing under my maiden name. What would you recommend? I live in NC.
Two last names wouldn't be possible in North Carolina using your marriage certificate.
There wouldn't be a problem with taxes regardless of what you'll change your name to.
You'd only have one legal name at the time. Whatever is filed with the SSA is what the IRS uses.
The path of least resistance is no name change. The alternative is to contact your licensing board to determine if you can practice under an alias, even if they have your legal name on file.
If two last names isn’t possible using my marriage certificate, is there anything I could do to change the marriage certificate? We got married in NY. Thanks for your help.
There isn't. Certificate changes are reserved for errors, such as misspellings or wrong birthdates. Although you got married in NY, your name change on the state level would be decided by NC law. What's possible in one state isn't in another.
If you're only going to use your husband's name socially, then don't change any documents. You said you only changed it on your marriage license, so until you change it with Social Security and update your driver's license, your legal name is still your maiden name.
You could also drop your birth middle name and replace it with your maiden as your middle, along with taking his surname.
You can name your business whatever you want, it doesn't need to reflect your legal name.
I changed my name on my marriage certificate, but never legally changed any documents (social security card, ID etc). Which is my legal name, the name on my documents (maiden) or the name on my marriage certificate?
Hi Ty. Your maiden name is still your legal name.
I have changed my name officially after my marriage, however I do not want to change my name in office as every one over there recognize me by my madien name even client as well. Is it ok if I won't change my name in office. And also request govt to bring up a law that after marriage a girl should not change her name.
Hi DR. If you've changed your name with social security, that means the IRS will know of your new name. If your workplace is filing taxes in your old name, a mismatch will occur. You'll want to make sure your office is filing in the correct name.
You may have to come to an understanding with HR (or equivalent) that you may accept them having your current name on file, but prefer to continue being addressed by your maiden name.
I'm married and turning 4 years this month of May. I'm a stay-at-home solo parent for the past 3 years with a 3-year-old son. My husband and I are not together since we got married and no support.
I've had already a marriage certificate, Philhealth status changed to married with the ID, my SSS status had changed also but my UMID is still single. Other ID's like Pag-Ibig, TIN, Passport still maiden name and single.
My concern is, this time I am looking for a local/overseas job. I want to use my maiden name with a single status.
I've tried already to fill-out forms in my maiden name.
Does it make conflicts in getting NBI clearance?
What about the Philippine ID system and passport renewal.
Can I use also my maiden name with single status?
Hope to make this clear for me, I'm not after my husband's financial support since he has also first children and needs to support his more siblings/family.
Hi Jielica. You can apply for NBI clearance using your maiden name with single status. You're supposed to use your married name if you've changed it, but the system will allow you to do so in your maiden name.
When it comes to your passport, it could become an issue if your married name surfaces during the application process. It may now surface, but if it does it can make things difficult.
When my husband and I got married back in Sept. 2018, I was undecided on what to do with my name, so I've continued to use my maiden name without changing any of my legal documentation.
I've now decided I would like to keep both – add his name as an additional name to the end while keeping my current full name (S______ D_______ A______ C______).
Is this possible if it is not specified as such on the original marriage certificate? If I remember correctly, the application did not specify a space for a name change (South Dakota).
Yes, you can still change it.
You remembered correctly. They don't ask this on the application.
Can I have the choice of signing documents with either my maiden name or my married name if I don't hyphen? e.g. Tanya Smith Brown
Or do I still need to sign with both? Asking because I would like to sign with my Maiden name on financial things, only because my real maiden name is difficult to spell, ( harder for identity theft). Then I would sign with married name for things like hotel rooms or fishing license, etc.
Hi Tanya. You should sign your legal name on legal documents, contract, government forms, etc. Other documents, you can go in a more informal direction.
I also wanted to ask a similar question to this.
I was just married I Hawaii in 2022 and chose to take husbands last name and my last name on the certificate. Maiden name Jen Jones, married name Jen Jones Smith. No middle name but two last names.
The person who advised me said I can use either name since I didn't use a hyphen. But it sounds like as soon as you change it with SS card, then the two last names must be signed at all times.
So I don't know why she said I could choose t use either name when I wanted to. I'm guessing I misunderstood her
When signing legal or government documents, use both names. For social situations, you can use either name.
Hello, great article! I have a question too. I'm a U.S. citizen. My first marriage I didn't change my name. Now I'm getting married again in Europe. I plan to take my husband's name. But my American passport, SS card and bank account all with my unmarried name. Can I leave things this way? Meaning in America everything will stay on one name and in Europe, on my married name (another passport, bank account etc). Is this completely legal?
Also, my first marriage nd divorced papers are lost, is there a way for me to get these documents online, because they are being required in Europe before marriage. If I can't get them (I cannot fly to America for that), can I just not mention my first marriage and divorce at all? How this can be ever checked? Thanks a lot!
Yes, but it could be a trial to juggle.
Yes, you can contact the vital records office for your state and have them mail you out a copy. If you're traveling soon, you should consider requesting expedited processing and shipping.
I’m curious as to which documents or ids I’m able to change to my husbands without my last name being changed on my actual birth certificate. Is that possible?
Hi Rose. You don't (and shouldn't) have to change your name on your birth certificate when changing it through marriage. Do you have a specific situation where you're needing this to be done?
I have been married over 50 years and took my husband's last name as mine. He is currently discussing changing his name to his birth name. His mother had his name changed when she remarried but later divorced.
I would also do a name change so that our last names are the same. Is it possible for me to continue using my current married name or do I have to change everything once the name is legally changed?
Hi Ellen. You can do your follow-up name change on your own timeline. It needn't be immediate.
Thank you for your quick response. Once I have changed my name legally, do I need to change everything or are there are some things I can leave unchanged, like bank accounts, memberships in clubs, etc? Definitely will change my name on house deed, but do I need to change it on the title to my car?
Hi Ellen. You may not need to change the name on your bank accounts, but it doesn't hurt to alert them of your new legal name. This way they'll have it on file, while still allowing the issuance of checks and credit/debit cards in your old name.
You don't have to update your car title, but it's a good idea since you'll be updating your driver's license.
My divorce was finalized in may of last year and on our final judgment papers it states that my name is to be restored to my maiden name I never changed any legal documents back to maiden name all still have ex’s name I plan to remarry this year will it be a issue that I haven’t changed my name on legal documents I still am unsure if I wanna go back to maiden name or new husbands name and would hate to do 2 names changed back to back
It won't be an issue.
I’ve been married for 12 years, own a house, 2 businesses, have 2 kids. I have continued to use my maiden name throughout the entire marriage and as we purchased our house and started businesses and had kids. I wanted to change my last name to my husbands but not sure if I have to change all of my businesses paperwork, home deed and children’s birth certificates to match marriage last name.
A bit too broad. Not sure what this is referring to. Perhaps look into a DBA using your maiden name.
It's a good idea to change the name on your home deed, so that your identity isn't in question during a name mismatch. If you later try to sell your property, the name mismatch could delay proceedings. Verification is an avoidable hassle.
You needn't worry about this one.
Does anyone else see how ridiculous this is, this is how the government works, one agency doesn't know what the other is doing. It seems to me that its only women who have this issue.
I, am in the middle of it as we speak, I feel discriminated against, they make me feel like a criminal, like I'm the stupidest person alive, with the snarky attitudes I get when asking them to explain at the DMV. They all has us chasing or tails.
Hello, I am a US Citizen. I got married abroad in my birth country in Europe. When we were getting married I took my husbands last name. However, I have not yet changed any of my legal documents (SSN, Passport, DL, Debit/Credit Cards, etc.) from my maiden name to my married name. So all of my ID's still say my maiden name.
We are planning to apply for my husbands immigration papers soon, so that we can live together in the US. I was wondering whether I should use my married name or maiden name when filling out the papers for a spousal visa?
Maiden name, as you haven't legally changed it yet.
I was served with divorce papers and he put his last name. Which is not my legal name. So is this divorce legal?
Hi Jessy. The divorce papers should be amended. Otherwise, it could be rejected by the court.
I got married back in 2016 and when we went to the court house and signed our marriage certificate, I put that I was going to change my last name to my husbands last name ( Morales ). Got married, and never updated my Taxes, SSN, DL, Passport, nothing at all kept using my Maiden name ( Garcia ) everywhere.
At that time, I didn't wanted to go through that hassle so just pushed it to the side and now I'm 4 years late. I still don't want to go through that hassle and it's time for me to get a Real ID and also renew my passport.
Am I going to have to change everything now? I guess my main concern is now realizing that my passport will expire 2022 and looking at the application it ask "List all other names you have used" How will handle this if I want to keep renewing it under my maiden name ( Garcia ). Help :(
No, you can leave everything the same.
Continue using your maiden name. Don't list the married name you never took. It wouldn't be valid if you did, as you haven't changed it anywhere beyond your marriage certificate.
I'm married 40 years ago using my husbands surname to all my documents specially passport, but we are separated 35 years. Can I use my married certificate to renew or get a new passport, not using my birth certificate because my last name on my passport is my husbands surname? Thank you.
Hi Emmie. If you're keeping the name on your passport the same, then you don't need to supply your marriage certificate. If you're trying to change it back to your maiden name, you'll have to supply a document that justifies the change. Such as a divorce decree restoring your prior name.
If you want your maiden name on your passport, you can apply for a brand new one (not a renewal) in person at an acceptance facility. They usually will accept either the name on your birth certificate or the one on your driver's license. If you have an old, expired passport take it along also.
I'm getting married in December and would like to take his last name. However, I'm a probation officer and would really prefer to keep my maiden name at work. I actually decided to make my maiden name my middle name so it would be Christina (maiden name)(married name).
No one seems to think it would be an issue although the administrator does think that I'll have to give the auditor's office my official new last name for tax purposes. My concern is when I have a court hearing that I have to testify, which doesn't happen often but does happen, would I just state my full name at that point?
This makes sense. If you're employer allows this, you're fine. Whatever the outcome, they will have to file taxes under your new legal name, even if you're using your prior name informally or as a work-approved alias.
Hello, I was married and divorced but I still have my ex husbands last name. I plan on getting married this summer, however I am not sure if I can revert back to my maiden name & hyphenate. Or if I have to do anything special in order to do this? Please help!
Hi Tali. It depends on residency. Where will your summer marriage take place and which state do you live in?
Hi, I have been married for 7 years and never changed my name (wasn't ready). I am ready to change it now, but I have no idea where to start. I live in California and am on title with my home with my present name (maiden). Can I fill out a quit claim that transfers it to me in my new name?
Also, can I just add my husband's name to the end without a hyphen? Like if my name is Jane Doe, does it have to read Jane Doe-Smith or can it read Jane Doe Smith (without the hypen)? That way I can maintain my maiden name (which I use professionally) as my last name and include my husband's name.
Using a quitclaim deed would be reasonable, assuming you've already changed your name in an official capacity. But you're not at that point.
If you were married in California, you'll have the use the new name shown on your marriage certificate.
I was married 6 years ago in NY. I put that I was going to change my name and our marriage certificate lists my new surname as my husband's last name. I never changed a single piece of identification to my married name and I want to keep my maiden name going forward. Do I have to get a legal name change because of what's on the marriage license?
You can ignore what's on your marriage license. You're not obligated to change your name just because your marriage license says you will.
I got divorced in 2019 with a petition to change last name to maiden again. "petitioner would like maiden name restored and from this day be known as…" however I did not change my Drivers license and now I am getting my real estate license.
My questions is do I have to have ID with my maiden name in order to advertise with said name or can I have my Drivers license in my married last name and still conduct business in my maiden name?
Hi Sandy. You must use your legal name in legal contexts. For advertising, you can look into a DBA. It can be in your maiden name. Contracts, taxes, and state and federal filings should be in your legal name, which is still your married name.
The first time I was married I kept my maiden name. My husband passed away and I later remarried (same state) but this time I signed the marriage license with my maiden name -hyphenated husband's last name.
Shortly after getting married my husband was stricken with cancer and I never got around to changing my driver's license or social security card. In fact, almost everything I sign with my maiden name.
I am concerned that changing my name will throw something going smoothly into some red tape nightmare. With medical bills, every penny we have is needed and I hate having to fork out what is quite a bit of money to us right now for changing my driver's license and vehicle registration.
My vehicle was joint of ownership of both myself and my first husband. When he passed away I notified DMV but not file any paperwork as there was no name change then.
My second husband added to me his vehicle registration as co-owner and he used my hyphenated name. I was married and live in the State of Oregon. I assumed that as long as my name was included, it would cover me for both marriages.
That gave you the option to change, but was not required.
This is proper, as your maiden name is your legal name.
You may be in search of a solution for a problem that doesn't exist. You can correct the name on your Oregon vehicle registration without paying a fee.
I got married in June 2020 and chose to change my last name to my husbands but never changed it on any other documents such as social security or passport. I live in California. Is it legal to continue using my maiden name on documents after changing it on marriage certificate?
Not only is it legal, it's what you should do.
My maiden name is on a will as an executor and getting married do I need to change it to my future husbands name
Hi Nancy. Unless you feel your identity may come into question, that's not necessary.
I am a physician in Texas. When I moved here 8 years ago I was licensed and starting working under my maiden name. I was married 7 years ago and changed my name on social security card 6 years ago —hyphenated name: maiden-husband’s. However, I never changed it on other documents and continue working professionally under maiden name.
Our mortgage is under my legal name but bank accounts, etc remain under maiden. It is time to renew DL, and I think it has been flagged as mismatch because I am required to come in to renew. I am ok to change it on my DL but it will not match my medical license. Is this an issue?
My job is aware of the change and it has never come up as an issue w several medical license renewals. Might this cause problems eventually? I am considering just going back to maiden if so. Will this require me to go to court?
Thank you for the help. I’ve learned a lot from reading the other responses.
You're find. They needn't match.
No, you're good as long as your driver's license matches your social security record.
The Social Security Administration supports a "name correction" using your marriage certificate. It's effectively a name reversal. It's not a well known or utilized option, but it's there. You can revert to your maiden name without going to court. This is a viable option for those who's changed their names only on their social security card and nothing else. Or at least nothing else that couldn't easily be reversed.
Even though your name change was several years back, it doesn't appear you've updated many documents to reflect your married name. Performing a reversal may be a viable path. Keep in mind, if you ultimately do change your driver's license to match your married name, this correction option would be closed to you on the state level. Reverting to your maiden on your driver's license would then require a court order.
Hello. I got divorced 17 years ago. I tried to get my driver’s license renewed but DMV in my state won’t let me drop off my ex name on my driver’s license even though my maiden name is also listed on my driver’s license. The personnel informed me that I need proof that I got divorced. I can’t find my divorce decree due to moving over the years.
I never changed my maiden name on my SSN but added my ex name to the driver’s license and changed my military record to my ex name when I got married but never changed it back to my maiden name after my divorce due to my kids. What do I need to do?
Hi Marivic. You'll need to contact the court where your divorce was finalized to obtain a new certified copy of your divorce decree. Some states provide that at state-level vital records office. Then use it to change your name with federal and state agencies.
Hello, I got married & I did changed my last name to my husbands. I also change my documents to my husband last name. Now I’m starting a job & I’m trying to use my old last name due to personal business. Is this possible?
Hi Aleah. That's up to your place of employment to accommodate. But when they report employment data to the IRS and state, they'll have to use your legal, married name.
Hi, I got married and changed my last name to his with SS and DMV. We have been married since October 2020 so I am in the process of changing some things as I was late changing my name to his, done in June 2021.
My question is the title on my car is in my old last name and so is my car insurance. If I change the title to my car to my married name will it hurt anything without changing the insurance policy.
I would also like to add him a 2nd owner to my car title. We are not combining car insurance polices because right now we live in separate states. I live in Georgia. So he is not on my car insurance. Driver's license shows the new name.
If you have an auto claim, they may refuse to pay due to your name mismatch. This should be resolvable if such situation arises, but why put yourself through a potential hassle. It's a good idea to update your auto insurance to match your new name. Sooner or later you'll have to get this done.
Hi – I recently got married and changed my name on my SSN to my husbands last name but added my maiden name as my second middle name. I am also in process of renewing my passport with the same name. Do I need to immediately change my name at the DMV in PA or can I wait until my license is up for renewal (in 2 years)?
Hi Angela. You can wait.
I got married in NY and chose to hyphenate my last name on the marriage certificate, maiden-husbands surname. I have a few questions about how this hyphenated name change can work.
1. If I only want to change my DL and passport to the hyphenated surname and keep my SS card with my maiden name. Would that be an issue?
2. if I updated my SS to the hyphenated name, do i have the option to still go by my maiden name professionally and keep my bank accounts in my maiden name?
3. Can I update my SS card and only use my husbands surname on my DL and passport?
Yes, that would be an issue. The name on your NY driver's license must match what's on your current social security card/record. They'll check this electronically to confirm.
Your bank should be able to accommodate.
Your name change across documents—social security card, driver's license, passport—would have to match the name on your marriage certificate, which is the hyphenated name.
What about for a RN in New York State?
If I change my name on on the marriage certificate, but only want to use it socially, can I keep my RN license in my maiden name? The NY Professional website says a RN License name change needs to be updated within 30 days of the change.
I cannot understand if this means after the marriage certificate is completed, or after a Social Security change.
Yes, you can.
This doesn't apply in your case, as you're not changing it legally.
It means after social security.
This is a super compassionate piece. Changing names seems like a petty issue until we're living it in out within complex situations. Thank you for writing this and sharing.
Thanks for coming by.
I recently got married and changed my name on both my ss card and drivers license. I was just hired for a new position and would like to use my passport (has maiden name) as one of the W2 requirements. On the form, I did list my maiden name as other names known by. Am I able to use my passport even though it has maiden name?
Hi Katie. The name on your W2 should match the name on your social security record.
Not sure if my situation has been asked before but thank you in advance for your response. Sorry for the long read in advance as well!!
My husband and I got married early 2021 in NYC. On our marriage certificate I have that I would take his last name as my new surname. I was not aware of the power of hyphening last names at the time.. (be able use maiden and/or husband's). If I knew I would have put new surname as maiden-husband's.
I was planning to legally keep my maiden name and socially use my husband's surname but my husband really wants me to update it.
My DL renewal is coming up so I was going to update all my legal documents.. (SSN, passport DL). I was going to make my middle name as my maiden name, but I read somewhere the middle name does not count as part of your legal name. Is this true? Often times I don't even see middle names show on paperwork, or it's normally only a middle name initial. Is there an name change option where my full name will always show? (Firstname_maiden_husband's)
Would SSN, DMV or passport allow me to hyphenate our last names even though the marriage certificate shows my new surname as only husbands? My full maiden name is displayed on the certificate as well, does it help my situation? Haha
We are also having a baby soon and he feels the birth certificate with the same last name shows uniformity between us.. on the birth certificate can I put my name as "firstname_maiden_husbands" even if it might not match my legal documents? Is there any legal issues with this depending on what your answer is to the above questions?
Phew, that was a long one.
Thank you in advance again!
Forgot to ask, is there a specific order I need to change my name by? Would I be able to renew/upgrade to an enchanted DL first or does it always start with SSN change?
I was going to try my luck submitting the SSN form with a hyphenated name and see if they would accept or reject it.
Social security before driver's license.
Yes, but that doesn't mean it can't be changed.
What's shown on a non-government form isn't the same as changing your name on official government credentials. The latter should use your full name.
The new name shown on your certificate is what must be used.
No, they'll still use your new name as shown.
Yes, you can.
Thank you for your prompt responses!!
I will reschedule my DMV visit until I have my SSN updated :)
When going to get an ID card 42 years ago my son's father and I went to the DMV and we were planning on getting married. The DMV agent asked me point blank what name did I want to use. I took his last name and they gave me an ID are and later a driver's license with out proof of marriage. I had used that last name for many years. I married in 1997 and now have my current husband's last name. I can't prove the other last name. What would be your advice?
Hi Beth. You can prove you held your previous married name with expired ID, medical records, tax returns, or pay stubs. You can also use a copy of your prior marriage certificate where your married name could be pieced together. It may not say your "new name is" so and so, but you can extrapolate your changed name from you and your spouse's name as shown.
If we got married in Tennessee would it be ok for future wife keep her maiden name for financial purposes and use my name for social things. How would you put this on marriage license.
Yes, that would work fine.
You would use your current legal names when applying.
Thank you so much for your website!! It is the only useful site I’ve found during this stressful process of deciding what my name will be!
I would like to take my fiancés last name, but still go by my maiden name professionally. (I am in Hawaii )
I wanted to make my maiden name a second middle name and still practice by by maiden name. Through some sources I have found that this may not be possible legally.
Would it be possible to add his last name to my last name, with just a space and no hyphen?
His last name is already two words- Dela Cruz.
For example- Ann Mary Smith Dela Cruz
And then would I be able to legally change it (ss card, drivers license, passport) but for certain purposes (work) just go by my maiden last name since it will technically be a part of my last name? And then socially just go by his last name ?
Thanks so much!
Yes, space or hyphen.
That's up to your employer to accommodate. But W-2s must be filed in the name that matches what's on your social security record.
So they may be willing to informally honor your maiden name in work settings and correspondence, but they they must use your legal name for social security, taxes, etc.
Yes, but socially would equate to your legal name. Your situation is a bit inverse to others who more commonly approach this. For them, they choose to keep their maiden name as their legal name while going by their spouse's socially. Either way could work though.
Hello, I'm from the Philippines. I had my driver's license with my maiden name, I got this marriage contract with my ex-husband last 2009 using his last name in my passport, but on all my IDs and my other documents, I'm using my maiden name.
Now I will apply for work and decided to use still my maiden name, not the last name of my ex-husband's because it's been a long time since we separated. Is this still fine?
I don't have any grounds for this? Is this still legal? I want to remove the last name of my ex-husband, I want to use my maiden name still. Please, advise me, thanks!
Hi Jocelyn. Are you trying to make these changes in the Philippines or in the United States?
As a teenager, my mother changed our LAST names legally which is the LAST name I used until I got married.
(let’s use colors and shapes as an example).
Legal name change as a teen: Blue
Married to: Rectangle
New married last name: Rectangle-Blue
I then got divorced and kept his last name but dropped mine.
New divorced last name: Rectangle
(Passport, SS is all under this name)
My question is can I use my original married name again? Rectangle-Blue or perhaps even switch it to use mine at the front? So Blue-Rectangle?
If so, what would be my first step?
SS Card I assume?
Btw I did remarry but did not take on his last name and do not plan to.
You'll need a new name change event document. Your divorce decree wouldn't work. Neither would your old marriage certificate. That leaves court order as your go-to.
All possible with a court order.
Court petition, then social security.
I got married and added my spouse last name to my last name (hyphenated), but now I just want his name. Can I drop my maiden name and just keep his last name without having to go to probate court?
Hi Shonda. Take a look a the reversing your name change article.
Thank you for this incredibly helpful website!
I have used my maiden name professionally for the past 6 years without an issue. But now, my new employer does not allow professional names and is forcing me to use my legal name within my new organization. But no one outside my new organization can find me, as they only know me by my maiden name.
I haven't been given an actual reason why my professional name is not allowed. (For example, I don't work in a field that involves licensing or requires liability insurance in my legal name.) It doesn't sound like a DBA would help me, as I'm not running my own business; I'm an employee in a larger organization.
Of course, I'm happy for my legal name to be used for all legal purposes within HR; but when interacting with other employees outside of HR as well as people outside of my organization, I want to be known by my professional name. And since I'm asking HR to include my professional name, they will have an official record connecting my professional name to my legal name at their organization.
Do I have any legal right to using my professional name? Can an employer actually prevent the use of a professional name? Is there any action I can take to force my employer to use my professional name? Thank you for your thoughts.
Hi Maria. Your employer isn't obligated to accommodate anything beyond your legal name. But you can have an attorney write a letter favorable to your position and present that to your employer. Such form letters aren't very expensive. Many attorneys can whip them up in a few minutes with flowery language.
It doesn't have to have a threatening tone. It can read informative with the unspoken understanding that if an employee is so willing to consult an attorney, this may not be something they want to push and aggravate.
They may need a subtle nudge to provide reasonable accommodation to prevent undue harm.
If I'm divorced and changed my name back to my maiden name… yet I have checks in my married name… how do I sign the check? It says my married name on the check.
Hi C. Most banks will not have trouble accommodating checks in your prior name when you can bridge your old and new name. For instance, a photocopy of your marriage certificate would show your old name. Old (current or expired) ID in your old name could work as well.
I am an APN in NJ and recently married. I am considering to legally change my last name to my husbands last name. However, I would like to know if I can practice under my maiden name if all documents related to my APN licenses are under the same maiden name and if I can just change my legal last name (my husbands) to SS, Taxes, etc.
You'll have to contact the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs about filing a name change while continuing to practice under your maiden name (or an alias).
I'm English and married to a Portuguese man. We married in Portugal 12 years ago and I've never changed any of my documents. On the marriage license it has my full name with his surname added on the end.
I don't want to use his name as it is difficult to pronounce. Is it legal for me to only use my maiden name, even though it's double barreled with his?
Thanks for your help
Yes, it is legal to continue using your maiden, even if your marriage certificate disagrees.
I got married and changed my surname on my DL and with my SSN, taking my maiden name as a second middle name. However, I still use bank accounts and freelance work online with just my maiden name for convenience. Can I be given a 1099 using my maiden name or does it have to match my Social Security card and DL?
You should get 1099s and file in your married name to match what the SSA has on file.
I got married in Nigeria to my husband and I changed my name in the US. So now that I'm filing my tax return my W-2 will have my married name one day, but at the moment I am doing a fiance visa and I'm not using the marriage in Nigeria.
We will have three months to get married in the US and I see they will be asking for tax return documents. Would that stop him from coming to America by me filing 2023 and my married name I am really confused right now I need your help.
Hi Benita. You should file your tax return in your current legal name. It shouldn't affect your fiance visa.
Hi, I am currently separated and going through a divorce with my spouse. Expecting a baby to be born in July with my current partner. I never legally changed my last name with social security to my spouse's.
When my baby is born I was told that the child would have my last name listed and not the father's until the divorce is final. That we could have the baby's last name changed to that of the biological father's with a paternity acknowledgment that we could take to the local health department to have the child's last name changed.
Would the child have my married name or my legal last name on her original birth certificate since I never legally changed my last name on any of my documents?
I was wondering what last name she would have because legally I go by my maiden name because I never changed it with social security, but it is listed on my marriage license as my spouses last name.
Your child would have your current legal name on her birth certificate, which is your maiden name.
I recently got married and I also recently became a licensed physical therapist in PA. Is it possible to have my name legally changed to my husband’s last name, but continue to practice with my maiden name professionally?
Hi Imani. You'll have to contact the State Board of Physical Therapy to inquire if they'll allow the use of a prior name or alias while maintaining your legal name on file.
I applied for a credit card and was given a $300 limit. When it came in the mail it had my maiden name. I have not used my maiden name since 97′. I've been divorced for 15 years and never changed my name back. Can I still activate it?
Hi Deborah. You could activate your credit card, but why not get a new card with your proper name? Either way, the credit bureaus maintain a history of prior names.
I'll be getting married, want to put his name then mine. They would be hyphenated. Would I have to do name change forms?
Hi Angela. I'm not sure what you mean by "do name change forms." Whether you're hyphenating or taking your spouse's surname alone, you would have to submit the same name change forms the same way.