Use Your Maiden Name Even After a Name Change

Smiling Businesswoman Holding Blank Name Placard

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!

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3,067 Comments

  1. CJ

    After marriage, I made my maiden name my 2nd middle name and took my husbands surname. 5 years later, I've decided to just have my original middle name and make my maiden plus husbands name my new last name (with no hyphen). Is a name change required through courts or can I use my marriage license to update my social security card? My given name only is on my marriage license in the state of Maryland. My name will be first name, middle, maiden + husbands name without hyphen.

    Reply
  2. Jenny

    Hi, i was previously married and on the marriage license i changed my last name to my ex last name. However i never used it in any legal documents like I.D S.S and all that. I got a divorce in 2016 and honestly i forgot that i had changed my last name to ex's. Now i'm a going to get re married but i'm not sure what my last name would be? Will i be putting my maiden name or ex husbands even though i never used it.

    Reply
  3. Robin

    Hi.

    I would like to keep my maiden name professionally but add husband’s name to passport etc. (First, middle, husband maiden) with no hyphen. I tried to make his name part of my middle name, which SSA let me do, but DMV said I could not make his name my middle name, couldn’t change my middle name without some other court process.

    Want to have husbands name as part of mine (matching him and kids) but maintain maiden for professional reasons. My licensing board said I could continue to use maiden name. In PA; what’s the proper way to do this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Robin. The name on your driver's license must match what's on file with the SSA. The DMV is unlikely to budge on that matter.

      Reply
      1. Robin

        Ironically, SSA allowed me to make the change I wanted, but DMV said that change was illegal without some other court process (marriage license wouldn’t allow me to make husband’s last as part of my middle name). Do you know what the rules are with regards to how you incorporate a married name?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Robin. Although Pennsylvania statutes don't spell out what names are allowed after marriage, taking your spouse's or hyphenating are universally accepted. A space-separated last name is not accepted at the state-level DMV office.

          Rule of thumb, unless a state's statutes allows a surname configuration that deviates from the norm, the DMV will disallow it. You experienced success with the SSA because they're a federal agency where a spaced name is allowed in their operating manual.

          Reply
  4. Help needed

    Hello

    I was married before and got divorced but kept my ex’s last name for the sake of the child. I have since remarried but on the Solemnization it has my maiden name. Will this make a difference when applying for the certificate and then passport in Canada

    Reply
    1. Valera

      on the Solemnization it has my maiden name

      Were you given the option to choose a new name when you applied?

      Reply
  5. Meagan Wallace

    I will be getting married and plan to take my fiancé’s last name, but I want to keep my maiden name for professional reasons. Is it possible to do this, in reference to things like filing taxes, if I change my SSN to show his last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Meagan. You'd have to file your taxes using the name on your social security card.

      Reply
  6. Mnp

    Hello, I was married and hyphenated my last name but the only document I changed was my SSN card and we have joint banking accounts. My ID and passport all remain in my maiden name. I am starting a new career in real estate and had to get my license in my maiden name. I am wondering first, officially which is my legal name? Second, which should I use for my business?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      the only document I changed was my SSN card

      You can revert to your maiden name using your marriage certificate wih the SSA. It's considered a name correction. This can be useful since it's the only document you've updated.

      I am wondering first, officially which is my legal name?

      The name on your social security card. Which is the name you'd use when filing taxes.

      Second, which should I use for my business?

      Unless you're opting for a DBA in your maiden name, you'd use your married name.

      Reply
  7. Denise

    Hello I just got married and took my husband name but do I have to change my DL, ss, or passport or can I keep my maiden name? I live in California.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Denise. You don't have to update any of your credentials, even if a new name appears on your marriage certificate. It can stay isolated to that document.

      Reply
      1. Celeste

        Hi Denise and Valera,
        I am getting married in CA, but live in IL. I would like to list my name change on my marriage license but not file it with SS/DMV until I retire. Thus retaining my maiden name. I believe doing this allows me to change my name later, without an additional court visit/fee.

        However, if I take his insurance I believe I've read that some companies will reflect the new name. Do you think this will be problematic as my ID will remain in my current name?

        TIA for all of the helpful information!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          I believe doing this allows me to change my name later, without an additional court visit/fee.

          Correct, as name change is optional.

          if I take his insurance I believe I've read that some companies will reflect the new name

          They'll use whatever your legal name is. Otherwise, it's a false assumption on their part. Be sure they use the proper name when adding onto his policy.

          Do you think this will be problematic as my ID will remain in my current name?

          Not if they use your proper name.

          Reply
  8. Sandra Roberds

    I never legally changed my last name to my husband's , the only change was hyphenating his last name after my maiden name on my personal checks which I stopped doing when we were divorced.

    When we were both signing the mortgage papers I asked how I should sign because I was keeping my maiden name so should I sign with both, and I was told to sign with just my married name which I did.

    When the judge asked if I wanted to change my name I thought to myself 'I never changed it to begin with. Why would I want to change it (to his) now!? The problem is the property, which is mine, is under my married name, which is what the company that issues the mineral rights checks goes by.

    Even when I still had hypenated last names on my personal checks and additional items to support both last names my bank refused to cash them, so they have been uselessly accumulating.

    I cannot afford court costs. I do have a certified be copy of my birth certificate, and both my d.l. and my s.s. card are my maiden name, as well as my passport, although it's expired. Can I use a notary to certify my name as my maiden name on a document official enough to have my name as owner of my property changed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I never legally changed my last name to my husband's

      Which makes your maiden name your current legal name.

      I was told to sign with just my married name which I did.

      You can present ID that verifies your identity. It's unlikely to be a problem. Companies deal with these name issues frequently.

      The problem is the property, which is mine, is under my married name, which is what the company that issues the mineral rights checks goes by.

      If need be, you can ask them to change it. Explain the circumstance and present valid non-expired ID showing your current name.

      Even when I still had hypenated last names on my personal checks and additional items to support both last names my bank refused to cash them, so they have been uselessly accumulating.

      That's the bank's prerogative. Some will allow the use of an alias, some won't. It's something that'll have to be worked out with the bank.

      Can I use a notary to certify my name as my maiden name on a document official enough to have my name as owner of my property changed?

      Is the company you're dealing with asking for this? Before jumping through hoops, you may want to inquire if any of this is necessary. Perhaps your divorce decree showing your current legal name would be sufficient along with a copy of your marriage certificate and picture ID.

      Reply
  9. Ebun

    I got married to my first husband in Nigeria in 2009, I didn’t change my name legally but I took a job in his last name. We got divorced in 2018 and I’m still using his last name professionally.

    The divorce certificate was issued in his last name. I met my current spouse in July 2018 and we started cohabiting in November 2018. But we decided to legalize our union in 3rd March, 2020 in Nigeria also. The new marriage certificate is in my maiden name.

    All my particulars, job appointment letter, promotion letter, my pension statement, tax certificate, bank accounts and my international passport are in my ex husband’s name.

    My international passport is going to expire in September 2021. We are planning to immigrate to Canada and I want to be the principal applicant. I want to find out If our application will be affected if i apply for immigration in my ex husband’s name or do I need to do a change of name? Will the new marriage certificate that is in my maiden name cause any problem?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ebun. You can keep the name on your passport unchanged. You can also change your name during the Canadian citizenship process.

      Reply
  10. Patricia Hixson

    I live in the State of Michigan. In 1981 I had my last name legally changed so it would be the same as my daugher. Her dad and I were never legally married. I want to go back to using my maiden name. Can I just start using it again, or do I have to go to court?

    Reply
  11. Felicia

    I i can prove that my marriage is a farce, once SS changes me from my married name to my maiden name…isnt that confirmation I am no longer married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Felicia. You can use your certificate of annulment to switch your name back.

      Reply
  12. Sonia

    When we got married I was already a physician. At the advice of my medical mentor, (a woman I greatly admired who did the same) I kept my maiden name as my professional name and never changed my SS#.

    Socially, I changed to his last name as designated on our 2004 Minnesota Marriage license. My driver's license, passports, house, investments etc are all under my married/legal name.

    This has all worked fine for 16 years… until recently–>it was my birthday and I had to renew my driver's license. I knew I might not be able to get a REAL ID (because the name and SSN don't match), but I thought I could just renew my regular driver's license just as I had all these years and not get a REAL ID since, after all, I already have a passport that supersedes it.

    Image my surprise when the DOV/State of MN did not let me renew my driver's permit! The problem is not stemming from the IRS, but rather from a change in the law in the past year in the state of MN.

    I already contacted my company's legal department and they were of no help to me, even though this is an issue that could potentially affect my professional licensing (which I luckily just renewed with no problems) if I change the name on my social security card.

    I would really appreciate your professional help. This naming system has been working for me for 16 years! I am not eager to change my professional name – now 20 years into that brand, so to speak.

    I did contact the social security service directly and on two separate phone calls they told me it would work if I just got a social security card with both last names on it then it would solve the problem.

    I sent the proper forms and documentation to the Minneapolis social security card office and was very discouraged when they returned it to me last Friday and it didn't work like they said over the phone that it would. They wrote a little note to me that I would have to change my legal name.

    I am hoping there is still some kind of workaround. Do I have to establish a business name/identity (DBA?)? What are the other affected professional women across the country doing? Are they making all of us change our names?

    In Canada and other countries women like me are issued passports with a picture page in each name. Here I am being treated like a criminal. I feel very discriminated against. I was told years ago by the IRS that my arrangement was legal as long as there was no intent of fraud (which there obviously isn't).

    Who is correct? The two people at social security who assured me it could be done fairly easily, or the Minneapolis office who turned me down ?

    I have had no problems with my taxes or anything else. The only other problem I have had with this arrangement was that since the Patriot Act I had to close my joint bank account with my husband since the name didn't match the account SSN.

    I have kept my single bank account in my maiden name and get paid under that name as well. We file joint taxes under my maiden name (which matches the ss#) I attest to Wells Fargo (our mortgage company) that I am the same person and that the mismatch is not a mistake. The house , investments etc are in my married name.

    This new problem appears to be the result of a change in MN law. Should I be contacting my representatives? The governor? Has there been a change in federal law I am not yet aware of? This must affect hundreds if not thousands of women nationwide.

    Really appreciate your advice!

    Reply
    1. Sonia

      Also which kind of lawyer can I contact about this? It is really hard to find someone who knows what they are talking about with this other than this website!

      Reply
      1. Brenda

        All your ID's and legal documents should be in the same name, whether it be maiden or married. The informal name, used socially, is not used on official documents, just informal ones and in casual society. Driver's licenses and passports are not "social documents," they're official, legal, identity and/or citizenship ones. It's impossible to have two documented legal names.

        Reply
    2. Valera

      The problem is not stemming from the IRS, but rather from a change in the law in the past year in the state of MN.

      Did they provide this in writing? Or point to a specific clause? The likely reason is that your driver's license is not in agreement with your social security record. It may have been fine before, but times change.

      they told me it would work if I just got a social security card with both last names on it then it would solve the problem.

      Not sure how this would have helped. The DMV could insist upon using both last names.

      They wrote a little note to me that I would have to change my legal name.

      Which means going to court.

      Do I have to establish a business name/identity (DBA?)?

      Wouldn't work for your driver's license.

      What are the other affected professional women across the country doing?

      Some are keeping their legal names maiden, while using their married name unofficially. You're doing that as well, but you've got government ID in both names, which is giving you trouble.

      I was told years ago by the IRS that my arrangement was legal as long as there was no intent of fraud (which there obviously isn't).

      They go by what's on your SS record.

      Who is correct? The two people at social security who assured me it could be done fairly easily,

      Not sure what their thought logic was.

      or the Minneapolis office who turned me down ?

      As previously stated, short of their citing a specific rule, it likely comes down to a name mismatch with your SS record.

      Has there been a change in federal law I am not yet aware of? This must affect hundreds if not thousands of women nationwide.

      You have a long-persisting name mismatch between your social security record and driver's license. This isn't likely to be a common occurrence throughout the country.

      If you haven't already, you could try to return to the DMV presenting your marriage certificate showing your married name as justification. Probably wouldn't work if they're looking to sync up with the SSA.

      The alternative is to get a court-ordered name change showing your married name to satisfy the DMV. Or just change your name on your driver's license to match your SS record and keep everything else as-is, as much as can reasonably be done. If you go this latter route, you'll want to make sure your state's licensing board is okay with it.

      Reply
  13. Suchia

    I got married 13 years ago and hyphenated my maiden name and by husband last name. My husband is decease 7 years ago. I never change my name to my maiden name and my husband last name I remarry in 2019 and kept my maiden and hyphenated my husband last. Will there be an issue that I never used my previous hyphenated name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Suchia. I'm not sure of how many hyphenations you went through. One or two? Either way, I'm not certain what issue you could be facing.

      When you remarried, there's no problem with dropping your prior hyphenated name and hyphenating again with your new spouse. There's also no problem with you keeping your prior hyphenated name through remarriage.

      Reply
  14. Val

    If my name on the marriage certificate uses my husband’s surname, do I have to legally change my name to his? Do I have to change ssn, license,etc. to the name listed on the marriage certificate if I don’t want to (and would prefer to use maiden name legally and married name socially)?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If my name on the marriage certificate uses my husband’s surname, do I have to legally change my name to his?

      No, it's not mandatory.

      Reply
  15. Shaida

    Hi, I'm a US citizen and got married in Turkey last year. I wanted to keep my last name after marriage, however Turkey law requires the woman to change her last name, and hence on my marriage certificate my last name after marriage is stated as my last name + my husband's.

    Now, I want to know if this name change applies in California, where Im a resident. I didn't file a legal name change and have been using my maiden name for all purposes and haven't changed my name on any of my documents.

    Now, I have filed a green card petition for my husband and USCIS has requested me to show a proof that I have changed my last name back to my maiden name, since I used my birth name in the application. I'm very confused what to do at this point. Would be grateful if you could help me. Will I be able to change the name on the application to my married name, but continue to use my maiden name for other purposes ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now, I want to know if this name change applies in California

      It's not automatic, nor binding.

      Will I be able to change the name on the application to my married name

      Use your marriage certificate for that.

      but continue to use my maiden name for other purposes

      Depends on the context. You mean informally?

      Reply
  16. Jazmyne Jones

    I Am legally married but separated since 2016. My docs has my married last name but still use my maiden name since 2016. If I start an LLC can I use my maiden name? Or wait for divorce to be final?

    Reply
  17. A. J.

    I changed my legal name to my husband's last name 2 years ago when got married. I am now sending out a Debt Verification letter and the debt collector addressed me by my maiden name, which is the legal name the debt was in. Should I reply with my maiden name or married name? Or both?

    Thank you.

    Reply
  18. Lucy Bamberger

    When I got married last July in New York State, I changed my last name to my husbands last name. It’s almost been a year and I haven’t changed any documents to reflect my new last name. I still use my maiden name for my ssc and everything else.

    Do I have to change all of these documents or can I just continue using my maiden name? Is there any penalty for not changing your documents to your new last name? Do I have to get married again to change it back so I won’t get in trouble for using my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to change all of these documents or can I just continue using my maiden name?

      You can keep on using your maiden name.

      Is there any penalty for not changing your documents…

      No penalties.

      Do I have to get married again to change it back…

      Unnecessary. Do nothing and maiden name remains your legal name.

      Reply
  19. Princess

    Good day,

    I got married in USA under immigrant status but I am now back in my native country. i am being petition by my husband via consular process, should I use my married name as principal applicant in the application or my name in my passport under my maiden name which I have'nt change yet and any other documents and identification.

    Thanks

    Reply
  20. Virginia Hacht

    I have a property (land) in my maiden name 40 years ago. I need to sell the land, but the notoriety needs a picture ID and I do not have anything with a picture on it with my maiden name. What do I do now?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Virginia. You can ask if they'll accept a document that links your old and new name, such as a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  21. Alina E G Bagley

    Hey, I’m trying to reapply for my passport which has my maiden name listed. I never actually legally changed my name that I know of ( no one told me anything…) marriage certificate says maiden name but I still went in and changed my SS card name and added my husbands last name in the end. (I’m wondering now how they allowed that since I don’t remember doing anything else.)

    I thought the SS change Was the legal name change… so what do I do moving forward with passport application?? Do I need to try and correct my SS card back to maiden? (I’m in California) I’d prefer to go back to my maiden name but I hear it’s hard to just change the SS card anytime.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Alina. You did legally change your name when you updated your social security card. As for your passport application, you can change your name as well or leave your name as-is. You're not required to change upon renewal.

      Reply
  22. Veronica

    Both my SS card and US Passport reflect my maiden and married last name with a hyphen. When I went to the DMV office to update my California Driver's License to match both SS card and Passport I was told by the clerk that it was easier to put my maiden name as my middle name. Apparently at the time hyphens we're not allowed (this was about 15 years ago). I've never had any issues but I have to renew my Driver's license in person this year and will apply for the real ID. Will I be able to hyphenate my last names or can I just leave it as is?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Veronica. You should be able to hyphenate. It's a good idea to take your social security card, passport, and certified copy of your marriage certificate with you.

      Reply
  23. Gabrielle

    Hi,
    I became a citizen before I got married but once I got married I took my husband's last name. I've changed my DL and SSC to match my marriage certificate except for my passport (still has my maiden name). Can I keep my maiden name on my passport or do I have to change it? Also, do I have to change my citizenship certificate as well?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I keep my maiden name on my passport or do I have to change it?

      Yes, you can keep your maiden name on your passport.

      Also, do I have to change my citizenship certificate as well?

      No, your certificate of citizenship remains the same.

      Reply
  24. Tori B

    Hi,

    I recently got divorced in September 2019 but haven't changed my SS card or Driver's License to reflect this. I do have a court order requesting to restore my maiden name.

    I'm applying for a new job and must complete a background check. I have a passport that shows my maiden name. For the background check, should I just simply use my maiden name and indicate my married name as another name I've used in the past? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tori. The primary name should match what's on your social security card. You can reference your maiden name as a prior name.

      Reply
  25. Gisselle

    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?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      does this mean my legal name is what I put on my marriage certificate?

      Your legal name is still your name before marriage.

      if I want to go through divorce do I need to ask for my name to be changed back to my maiden?

      No, it wouldn't apply.

      Reply
  26. Brenda

    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

    Reply
  27. Odette Manresa

    Hello,

    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?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a time limit as to when I need to change my legal paperwork to reflect this

      There's no time limit to change your name after marriage.

      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?

      Correct.

      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?

      Name change is optional. Whatever new name appears on your marriage certificate is nonbinding.

      Reply
  28. Emily

    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.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Emily. You can't change your middle name in Washington State that way through marriage.

      Reply
  29. Angela McClain

    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?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Angela. It's not a problem. She'll still be insured. Her marriage certificate proves her married name is valid.

      Reply
  30. Lisa

    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)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible to keep my maiden name as middle and add his last name

      Shifting your maiden to middle is supported in most states.

      can I sign as Lisa Jones OR do I have to use Lisa Smith

      You'd sign your current legal name.

      OR would it be best to legally wait on name change until disability court has been resolved?

      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.

      Reply
  31. Denise

    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?

    Reply
    1. Denise

      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

      Reply
      1. Valera

        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.

        Reply
    2. Valera

      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.

      Reply
  32. Lola

    Just got married and kept my maiden name, when signing documents can i initial my maiden name followed by my spouses last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      Reply
  33. Carol

    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

    Reply
  34. Angie

    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)?

    Reply
  35. Jodi

    Hello,
    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!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there any risk in using both names interchangeably on contracts

      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.

      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?

      No, it wouldn't invalidate them. The problem comes if it really wasn't you signing or you don't acknowledge signing.

      Reply
  36. Rose

    My maiden name is in my permanent card can I still used it to renew even my ssn is different last name

    Reply
  37. Donna Erickson

    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?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      Reply
  38. Pamela (Dennis) Huston

    I’m married and carry my husbands name, Can I add my maiden name to marriage certificate if I took his name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Pamela. You can't change a marriage certificate unless there's an error on the document.

      Reply
  39. Miyoshi

    Hello!

    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?

    Reply
    1. Miyoshi

      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?

      Reply
      1. Valera

        So legally is my last name his?

        Not until you proactively change it on ID.

        Can I start change my last name on things to my husbands name without going to the court?

        Yes, with your marriage certificate.

        Reply
  40. DN

    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

    Reply
  41. Cindy

    Hello,

    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?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      Reply
  42. Stephanie

    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…

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to stick with my married last name for now but I think it’s a court order I have to change?

      You can stick with your married name. Name change is nonbinding, even through divorce.

      I have to show them the final judgement because it’s gonna be less then a year I’m divorcing.

      It's a nonissue. You'll be issued a marriage license in your current name without a problem.

      Reply
  43. Cristal

    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.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cristal. You'll have to obtain another name change event document. Specifically a court order.

      Reply
  44. Sandy

    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.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Should I open a bank account in my maiden name to accommodate my notary work?

      You can ask the bank if they'll accept an alias on file or DBA registered in your maiden name.

      Are there legal implications I need to be aware of if I do open an account in my 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.

      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?

      If your divorce decree has an order restoring your maiden name, you can use that.

      Reply
  45. Cheryl Hovey

    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.

    Reply
  46. Kristine O'Grady

    Hi There,

    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

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      Reply
  47. Julia

    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!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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?

      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.

      Will my driver's license automatically change when it's time for renewal or will I need to go in and change it?

      It's not automatic. You'll have to go in.

      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?

      That's typically the case.

      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?

      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.

      I know my mom still has a bank account in her maiden name, but I don't know the legalities of it.

      Likely, the bank knows her legal name, but is willing to accomodate her name preference on checks, debit cards, etc.

      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?

      They're not dependent upon one another.

      Reply
  48. Lizbeth

    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 ?

    Reply
  49. Greg

    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.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      Reply
  50. Leslie

    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

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can i use my married name even if i didnt update ssn, dmv and my other documents?

      You can informally.

      Will it affect my taxes if i use my new name at work?

      You'd continue using your non-married name at work and for taxes.

      Reply
  51. Reka

    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

    Reply
    1. Valera

      The one on the marriage certificate or the one on all my other documents (licence/SS card/passport)?

      Other documents.

      Reply
  52. Patricia R. Jacobson

    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?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      Reply
  53. Kathy

    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

    Reply
      1. Kathy

        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.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          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.

          Reply
  54. Jane

    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.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am ok with having two last names if that's a possibility

      Two last names wouldn't be possible in North Carolina using your marriage certificate.

      I don't know if there will be tax ramifications if I have two last names

      There wouldn't be a problem with taxes regardless of what you'll change your name to.

      change my name but am still practicing under my maiden name

      You'd only have one legal name at the time. Whatever is filed with the SSA is what the IRS uses.

      What would you recommend?

      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.

      Reply
      1. Jane

        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.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          is there anything I could do to change the marriage certificate?

          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.

          Reply
    2. Kirsten

      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.

      Reply
  55. Ty

    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?

    Reply
  56. DR

    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.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      Reply
  57. Jielica

    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.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      Reply
  58. Sarah

    Hello!

    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).

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is this possible if it is not specified as such on the original marriage certificate?

      Yes, you can still change it.

      If I remember correctly, the application did not specify a space for a name change (South Dakota).

      You remembered correctly. They don't ask this on the application.

      Reply
  59. Tanya Weijnschenk

    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.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      Reply
  60. Lana

    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!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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).

      Yes, but it could be a trial to juggle.

      Also, my first marriage nd divorced papers are lost, is there a way for me to get these documents online

      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.

      Reply
  61. Rose

    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?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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?

      Reply
  62. Ellen Turco

    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?

    TIA

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ellen. You can do your follow-up name change on your own timeline. It needn't be immediate.

      Reply
      1. Ellen Turco

        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?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          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.

          Reply
  63. Yanira

    Hello

    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

    Reply
    1. Valera

      will it be a issue that I haven’t changed my name on legal documents

      It won't be an issue.

      Reply
  64. Olivia

    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.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      not sure if I have to change all of my businesses paperwork

      A bit too broad. Not sure what this is referring to. Perhaps look into a DBA using your maiden name.

      home deed

      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.

      and children’s birth certificates to match marriage last name

      You needn't worry about this one.

      Reply
  65. Dawn

    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.

    Reply
  66. Amy

    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?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      Reply
  67. Jessy

    I was served with divorce papers and he put his last name. Which is not my legal name. So is this divorce legal?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jessy. The divorce papers should be amended. Otherwise, it could be rejected by the court.

      Reply
  68. Alma

    Hello,

    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 :(

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Am I going to have to change everything now?

      No, you can leave everything the same.

      How will handle this if I want to keep renewing it under my maiden name

      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.

      Reply
  69. Emmie

    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.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      Reply
  70. Jana

    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.

    Reply
  71. Christina

    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?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      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.

      Reply
  72. Tali

    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!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tali. It depends on residency. Where will your summer marriage take place and which state do you live in?

      Reply
  73. Elizabeth

    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.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I fill out a quit claim that transfers it to me in my new 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.

      can I just add my husband's name to the end without a hyphen?

      If you were married in California, you'll have the use the new name shown on your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  74. Ann

    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?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      Reply
  75. Sandy Salazar

    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?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      Reply
  76. Linda Jiler-Graham

    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.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I signed the marriage license with my maiden name -hyphenated husband's last name.

      That gave you the option to change, but was not required.

      In fact, almost everything I sign with my maiden name.

      This is proper, as your maiden name is your legal name.

      I assumed that as long as my name was included, it would cover me for both marriages.

      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.

      Reply
  77. Sammy sandhu

    Hello,

    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?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      Reply
  78. Nancy Young

    My maiden name is on a will as an executor and getting married do I need to change it to my future husbands name

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nancy. Unless you feel your identity may come into question, that's not necessary.

      Reply
  79. Angela

    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.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am ok to change it on my DL but it will not match my medical license.

      You're find. They needn't match.

      Might this cause problems eventually?

      No, you're good as long as your driver's license matches your social security record.

      I am considering just going back to maiden if so. Will this require me to go to court?

      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.

      Reply
  80. Marivic

    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?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      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.

      Reply

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