2,496 Comments

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

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

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

1. In professional contexts, particularly specialized professions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2,496 Comments

  1. M

    Hello, i am in NJ and getting married soon. Do you know if its legal in the state of NJ to create a new last name that both me and my fiture husband can keep? I dont want his last name and he doesnt want mine, but we want to have the same last name! Help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do you know if its legal in the state of NJ to create a new last name that both me and my fiture husband can keep?

      Through marriage? No. Through a court petition? Yes.

      Reply
      1. M

        Im guessing the court petition would have to be done after we do get married?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Im guessing the court petition would have to be done after we do get married?

          It can be done before or afterward.

          Reply
  2. Debra

    So, I got married in '96 and legally changed my name with my maiden name and hyphenated my husband's last name. We divorced in 2000 and I was released to change my name but I didn't do so through SSI. I remarried in '04 and only used my maiden name. My question is was my marriage in '04 legal?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I remarried in '04 and only used my maiden name. My question is was my marriage in '04 legal?

      Yes, it was.

      Reply
  3. rrp

    I was divorced in 2008 and kept his last name. Then remarried to someone else in 2012 but didn't change name yet for my kids. I now want to change my last name but back to my maiden name. What decree to submit, divorce decree or marriage certificate? And what is the best order to change name at my office? First social security, driver license, passport, then at the work place then rest of other institutions? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What decree to submit, divorce decree or marriage certificate?

      You can use your divorce decree if it includes language that restores your maiden name.

      And what is the best order to change name at my office? First social security, driver license, passport, then at the work place then rest of other institutions

      Social security first, then the others can be done in any order or simultaneously.

      Reply
  4. mary

    My name is currently first middle married. I am legally divorced for three years now, but I have kept my married name for the child I have which I hear I can not change her last name without the other parents approval even though I have full decision making/custody. I am starting work in the same field as my ex and do not want to be associated with him. Can I use any last name I want or even my maiden name as a minimum? I am in hiding from my ex and it would be great to keep that privacy.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I use any last name I want or even my maiden name as a minimum?

      That would be up to your employer, although they'll have to file taxes in your legal name.

      Reply
  5. Cynthia

    OK so I have a question I got married I took his last name and mine now that we're devore's on the papers I put that I didn't want his name but he hasn't sent me the papers do I have to by law change my last name now or can I just leave a like that and keep his last name

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cynthia. You can do either: keep his last name, or go back to yours.

      Reply
  6. Lynn Rosenberger

    help with this one…..I am divorced. I haven't changed my name yet because of being an elementary teacher and my son seemed a little upset when I mentioned of changing my name. However, Both of my parents passed last year and I feel very compelled to re-claim my birth name. What could I do to add in my birth name so it becomes hyphenated? & do I have to use both in all situations? they are both really long names. uuughhh….struggling with this decision. any advice???

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What could I do to add in my birth name so it becomes hyphenated?

      You'd have to obtain a court order for this.

      do I have to use both in all situations? they are both really long names. uuughhh….struggling with this decision. any advice???

      1. Legally change your name, but use your married or maiden name name informally.
      2. Do not legally change your name, but use your maiden or married name informally.

      The latter approach will allow you to experiment before committing to a court petition.

      Reply
  7. maria

    I've been married for 9yrs. and never took husband last name. I lost my green card and replaced it with only his last name.But now my question is, can i go to the ssa and add his last name with mine? i would like to have both last names but dont want to have a problem when i travel.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Maria. Yes, you should be able to change your name with a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  8. Laura

    Hi there! I got married February. On the marriage certificate I said I was to take his surname. I have not changed my name on any other document- Social, Drivers license, etc. When I went to my bank she asked for my wedding certificate, as we were opening a joint account, and I hadn’t realized she’s open the account with his last name. They told me that because I signed I was to take it legally I am his last name now, but I was under the impression unless I changed with social security I was my maiden name. Am I 50/50 last names now or how does that work? No one can seem to give me a positive answer, only assumptions.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Laura. It's possible you simply encountered an employee who's mistaken in interpreting the strictness of their bank's rules. Your legal name is your maiden name. It's what's on your social security card, existing credentials, credit report, etc. You can return to your bank and request a correction.

      Reply
  9. Deb

    Hello, I am going to be married later this year, am 52 and have had my maiden name all my life except for a year due to a prior marriage/divorce. My son has my maiden name. I would like to use my new husband's name in some instances but still use my maiden because of my son, who has two more years of high school. After he is out of school I would probably just use married name. How should I handle this at the time of the marriage application? Should I just put both last names and then drop using one? I'm confused even after reading all of the comments. I live in Ohio.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Deb. If the marriage application provides a spot to specify a new name after marriage, enter your married name. It doesn't bind you to this choice, but preserves the option to change it later, if you so choose.

      Reply
  10. sharun houston

    I changed my married last name to the last name of my first husband. Now, all i want is my maiden name and no more 'husbands" names. My maiden name is on my drivers license before married name

    Can I do that automatically or do I need paper work?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sharun. Unless you have a divorce decree which contains an order restoring your maiden name, you'll have to petition the court to go back to your original surname.

      Reply
  11. NG

    Hi,
    I need to renew my passport which is in my maiden name. My Social Security card has my married name. I would like to renew my passport in my maiden name as I have continued to use that name for all credit cards and frequent flyer miles programs.
    Can I renew the passport with my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I renew the passport with my maiden name?

      Yes, you can. For future travels, you'll want to make certain the name on your airline tickets matches the name on your passport.

      Reply
      1. NG

        There is a question on the passport application asking "Has your name changed since your most recent document was issued?"
        Since I am renewing my passport in my maiden name which is the same name as my old passport do I answer 'No" to this question?
        Again, I have changed my name on my Social Security card to my married name but I would like to renew my passport in my maiden name.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Since I am renewing my passport in my maiden name which is the same name as my old passport do I answer 'No" to this question?

          You'd answer no, as you're choosing not to change it on your passport.

          Reply
  12. Julie

    Hello,
    Quick question: I married, changed my name with SSA, updated my license and all other documents, then 3 months later the marriage was voided by the state. Is my ex-spouse's last name still my legal name or am I required to switch back to my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Julie. If your marriage was annulled, you can optionally revert to your prior name.

      Reply
  13. Andy

    We live in Texas. My fiance and I are about to get married. Each of us are previously divorced. Her driver's license and legal documents still have her old married last name, but in her divorce decree she was granted her maiden name back. Does she need to update her driver's license before we get a marriage license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Does she need to update her driver's license before we get a marriage license?

      No, she does not need to update her driver's license before applying for another marriage license.

      Reply
  14. Lori

    Hello I have been married for 14 years and I hyphenated my maiden name with my husband’s last name..I have changed my SS to my hyphenated name as well as my passport.. I also file my taxes married..I never changed my name to the hyphenated name at the DMV (New York). It is almost time to renew my license can I renew with just my maiden or Do I have to use my hyphenated name on my renewal? I still just use my maiden name for some credit cards, car insurance and my professional business. Is it okay use both my hyphenated name for some affairs and just my maiden name for other affairs?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      It is almost time to renew my license can I renew with just my maiden or Do I have to use my hyphenated name on my renewal?

      The DMV might or might not query the SSA database for a name match/mismatch. If they do, you'll have to use your hyphenated name. If they don't, you can use your maiden.

      Is it okay use both my hyphenated name for some affairs and just my maiden name for other affairs?

      Sure, as long as you use them in the proper context.

      Reply
  15. Robin

    I am a tax professional who was required to get a TIN for my business, which is connected to my maiden name. I just got married and was wondering if I can take my husband's name, but keep my maiden name on all my professional related areas?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Robin. Yes, you can continue using your maiden name for business purposes. Have you looking into registering a DBA?

      Reply
  16. Janine Wohadlo

    Hello,

    I was married in 2006 and divorced in 2010. I never changed my last name for any organization or on the marriage license. Have always been first name, birth last name. I am completing paperwork for a background check. Do I need to list my ex-husband's last name as an additional name? I called their help line and they wouldn't give me a straight answer, just list any name you've ever gone by. Please advise!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to list my ex-husband's last name as an additional name?

      No, just your birth name.

      Reply
  17. Linda

    How do I sign the marriage certificate if I may keep my maiden name or decide to go with his last name and still don’t know the day of the wedding.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Linda. You wouldn't sign the marriage certificate until after your marriage ceremony has concluded. By the way, in some states the couple doesn't even sign the certificate. If this isn't what you're referring to, please clarify.

      Reply
  18. Alicia

    Hello there! Great article :)
    I am licensed with many insurance companies and have my online reputation built up under my maiden name Alicia Lenae Smith. I got married last year (Clark) and we are expecting our first child June 22, 2018~! YIKES! I want to change my name but am worried about all the cost of getting re-credentialed with insurance companies (they will hold my billing and could take months) . Also, my license states Alicia Smith as well as all my credit cards, accounts,etc. I have a business set up as Smith Health and Wellness already. What do you suggest I do?
    Alicia Leane Smith- Clark
    Alicia Leane Clark
    Alicia Smith Clark – drop middle name?

    Please help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Alicia. First, you'll have to decide if you'll ultimately undergo a legal name change or just choose to take on your spouse's name informally, in social settings. If you choose to do the latter, you wouldn't have to change anything.

      If you do choose to undergo a legal name change (the name combination doesn't matter), you may want to look into registering a DBA in your maiden name: Alicia Lenae Smith or Alicia Smith. You'll have to contact your licensing agencies to determine if you can be credential as your DBA or if they'll allow an alias. It's possible they'll just need to update their internal records without having to issue you new documents.

      Reply
  19. Anonymous

    I recently got divorced and went from my married name to my maiden name. My ex spouse and I all hypothethically still living together and he is paying my health insurance benefits for the rest of this month. Can I still use my married name for them?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My ex spouse and I all hypothethically still living together and he is paying my health insurance benefits for the rest of this month. Can I still use my married name for them?

      Your insurance company should have your current legal name on file.

      Reply
  20. Angie ubas

    I've been married 3 months ago, do I need to change my passport from maiden name to his surname ? Is it not difficult for me when travelling abroad using my maiden name if ever?

    Reply
  21. Addie

    Hi,

    I got married last year. At the time we put his last name on the marriage certificate… but I love my maiden name and would like to keep it.

    I have not changed my SSC, drivers license, or any of my financial names to the married last name. But I need to get a new drivers license soon. Since I haven’t changed my SSC can I just keep going with my maiden name? Is there a time frame I have to change my SSC by?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Since I haven’t changed my SSC can I just keep going with my maiden name?

      Yes, of course.

      Is there a time frame I have to change my SSC by?

      No, there is no time limit.

      Reply
  22. Brenda

    I got married back in 2010 signed marriage certificate with his las name but never changed it with ssn But my Iicence is with my maiden name and my passport and my car registration and insurance is with my “married” last name! Can I get in trouble for this? What needs to be done ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I get in trouble for this? What needs to be done ?

      Although you won't get in trouble, you may be setting yourself up for headaches and inconveniences by having so many of your credentials split between names.

      Reply
  23. Mary

    Hi!

    If I choose to have two last names after getting married, is there additional paperwork that I have to do if I choose to keep my maiden name professionally?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mary. Assuming you're able to obtain two last names through a marriage name change, maintaining your maiden name is an entirely separate matter. You could look into registering a "doing business as" in your maiden name for professional purposes.

      Reply
      1. Mary

        Thanks for responding Valera!

        I work in the healthcare profession and wanted to keep my maiden name. What happens if I don't notify them that I added an additional last name? I thought the pro of having two last names was that you can use them interchangeably? For paperwork wise, is it easier to have my maiden name as a middle name as opposed to having it as one of TWO last names?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          What happens if I don't notify them that I added an additional last name?

          Many state boards (or equivalent) require the name on your personnel records to be up-to-date. If you're going to skirt those rules, you'll have to deal with whatever consequence arises.

          I thought the pro of having two last names was that you can use them interchangeably?

          Perhaps you can switch between them informally or during social settings, but you'll only have one legal last name.

          For paperwork wise, is it easier to have my maiden name as a middle name as opposed to having it as one of TWO last names?

          If you're changing your last name, it doesn't really matter. You'll still have to update all your credentials.

          Reply
  24. Claudia

    I live in Broward County, FL. I got divorced in 2011 and court granted me the right to go back to my maiden name which I never did because of all the hassle with SS. I am now engage and planning to get married in a couple of months, can I still use my id with my ex's last name to get married? would it be a legal marriage since I never changed my name? can I be penalized because I never went back to my maiden name? Can I choose to take his name when we get married and then decide if I really want to do it without getting into any legal trouble?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I still use my id with my ex's last name to get married?

      Yes, you can use your ex's last name, as it's still your legal last name.

      would it be a legal marriage since I never changed my name?

      Yes.

      can I be penalized because I never went back to my maiden name?

      No, definitely not.

      Can I choose to take his name when we get married and then decide if I really want to do it without getting into any legal trouble?

      Yes, there wouldn't be any legal problems for not having changed your name back then.

      Reply
  25. Sarah

    I recently got married and requested to take on my husband's last name. I plan on changing my name on my SSC to his last name, and also updating my DL after the name change also. Do I have to tell my bank, employer, car insurance company, and county tag office about my name change? Or can I keep it a secret as long as my old DL isn't expired?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to tell my bank, employer, car insurance company, and county tag office about my name change? Or can I keep it a secret as long as my old DL isn't expired?

      Many of these institutions will query databases for your social security number, which will result in a name disparity with what they have on file. You may be setting yourself up for some headaches down the road by changing your name on your principal identity documents and nothing else.

      Reply
  26. Diana

    Hi,I got married a year ago. The only documents I changed were the marriage certificate, and I jointly with my husband on his bank account. Those are the only places that I have my maiden last name changed. SS, Passport, driver license, Green card have my maiden name. I am thinking to fly out of the country first week of July. Would I be able to fly with my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Would I be able to fly with my maiden name?

      Yes, you'll be able to travel. Make sure the name on your ticket is in your maiden name.

      Reply
  27. Tori

    You have already commented on this above, but I am wondering about the specifics in Texas. I got married in December and switched my maiden name to a second middle name and took my husband's name as my surname in January, both on my SS card and DL. I am having a change of heart (especially as my company will no longer accept my maiden name as my professional name) and wish to change my my surname to include both my maiden name and husband's last name (no hyphen). In Texas, do you know if this requires a court order through the county clerk, or can I simply change it at the SS office? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      In Texas, do you know if this requires a court order through the county clerk, or can I simply change it at the SS office?

      You'll have to get a court order through the county courthouse and not the county clerk.

      Reply
  28. schamiee

    I got married on april and now i need to submit may adjustment of status and working permit to USCIS ican i still used my maiden name to the USCIS documents??? Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can i still used my maiden name to the USCIS documents

      Yes, as name change is optional after marriage.

      Reply
  29. Glenda

    I just recently got married and I have changed my ss# but have not been to the Dmv. I need to get my passport ASAP. Can I bring my marriage certificate with my new ss card and my Valid ID ? My valid ID has my name before marriage.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Glenda. Yes, you can use those documents to change your name. You don't need your SS card though.

      Reply
  30. Drew Salisbury

    Apologies if this question has been posted already.

    My wife and I got married in November of 2017 in NYC. She didn't pick the option to have her name changed at the time and our marriage certificate has her maiden name on it. She now wants to change her name. What is the best course of action?

    Get remarried and elect to change the name on the new application?

    Petition the civil court? If we choose this option, will we have to get a new marriage certificate to reflect her new name after the civil court approves it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What is the best course of action? Get remarried and elect to change the name on the new application?

      If available, that would be a good option.

      Petition the civil court?

      This is likely your only option.

      If we choose this option, will we have to get a new marriage certificate to reflect her new name after the civil court approves it?

      No.

      Reply
  31. Nadia

    Hi,
    I got married on Jan 2016 in NY. I opted for name change to my husband's last name on my marriage certificate but I never made the change in anything else. I know feel like I would just like to keep my maiden name. I am about to renew my passport and change my drivers license and I am going to be keeping my maiden name. My question is, is it going to be an issue for me to keep my maiden name on my passport, SSI, License etc because I opted for name change of the marriage certificate? Also, how can I go about opting out of name change on my marriage certificate?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My question is, is it going to be an issue for me to keep my maiden name on my passport, SSI, License etc because I opted for name change of the marriage certificate?

      No, it won't be a problem.

      Also, how can I go about opting out of name change on my marriage certificate?

      There's nothing to opt out of. Changing your name isn't obligatory, regardless of what's on your certificate.

      Reply
  32. Lorrie Ann

    Hi, I was married 37 years ago. The marriage didn't work out and I was able to afford getting a divorce, so i did the next best thing, started using my maiden name. I never changed it legally, but systematically started using it on everything, banks, credit cards, government papers, income taxes etc. No one, and I mean no one has questioned it. But now i may have to sign a document reversing a decision on a matter that I signed 36 years ago while I still under my married name and i don't know what to do without it possibly undoing everything I've accomplished under my maiden name. Note: I never did remarry.

    Reply
    1. Lorrie Ann

      Sorry, there is a misspell" I wasn't able to afford a divorce" is what I meant to say.

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Lorrie. Assuming you're referring to a contract or legal document, you should consider contacting an attorney to determine if your signature at the time is going to cause a present day conflict.

      Reply
  33. Cecilia

    Hi, I recently got the green card as a USA citizen’s wife and they put my husband’s last name, my Social Security Name is with my maiden name and I want to get a driver license or ID, I really want to use my maiden name on the driver license or ID because I plan to study and would like those certificates with my maiden name, is this possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cecilia. The driver's license office will likely want to see your social security card and green card. If there's a name mismatch, it could cause a problem processing your request.

      Reply
  34. Elizabeth

    Hi I’m getting married in NY in a few weeks and am struggling with the name decision. I will be taking over my family business in the future and it is important to me to be able to use my madien name for business but I was hoping to take my future husbands as well. Is it possible to change my name to Jane Doe Smith and use Doe professionally and Smith for legal documents (SS card, drivers liscence, etc). What is the best course of action to keep my maiden name for business but still have some connection to his name as well?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What is the best course of action to keep my maiden name for business but still have some connection to his name as well?

      A DBA in your maiden name would be a good option.

      Reply
  35. Chanalaya Inthewoods

    Ok so a while back I gotten a divorce, my SS card has my ex married name on it, i went by my mother's maiden name before my first marriage, then later changed it to my father's last name, but didn't apply for a name change yet, it's still under my ex married name. Now I'm remarried and want to change it to my new husband's last name. What documents will I need?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Chanalaya. That'll just be a regular marriage name change. You'll need a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  36. Brendon

    I got married under my old full name now I have changed my full name and seeking divorce..so is my marriage void if that's not my name anymore?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Brendon. Your name doesn't impact the validity of your marriage.

      Reply
  37. Brenda Kauffman

    I am getting married this year (in PA) and would like to change my name (SSC, etc..) to my husband's name, but I am also a licensed Nure Practitioner with 25 years of practice under my maiden name. Can I keep my m,aide name on my license but change my legal name to my married name? How does that work with payroll?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Brenda. This is entirely up to your state's licensing board and employer. For your license, you can inquire if they'll allow the use of your maiden name on your license as an alias.

      Reply
  38. Dayna

    I just got married at city hall in New York. In the moment I decided to keep my maiden name. Now three days later I’m wishing I had at least hyphenated my maiden name and my husbands last name. Is it too late to add his name? Since we married at city hall they gave us the certificate the same day.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it too late to add his name?

      Yes, they're highly unlikely to allow a change on the marriage certificate unless they made a mistake.

      Reply
  39. Alison

    I have not yet changed my last name to my husband's last name (I have been delayed due to travel out of the country, etc.) However, my mom (and aunt) quickly updated my name on their legal documents ("pull to plug" form and will – I am also power of attorney for her and my aunt). They put my name as follows in their documents: First name, Maiden name, Husband's last name

    I am definitely going to continue going by my maiden name for work, even if I do legally change it, because I have an established career. And I totally don't mind if people call me by his last name – but it is just a pain in the butt to do! Especially when you're older with an established career, etc.

    That said, if something happened to my mom or aunt say tomorrow – would the difference in last names be an issue? Is this something I need to legally change/rectify asap?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      That said, if something happened to my mom or aunt say tomorrow – would the difference in last names be an issue? Is this something I need to legally change/rectify asap?

      That's doubtful, as you should be able to provide supporting identity documents to bridge any gaps, such as your birth certificate and marriage certificate.

      Reply
  40. Kodi

    I got married in Hawaii in 2015 while I was in the military and decided that I wasn't going to change my name until after I separated from the military. The clerk doing my liscense said to put my choosen name, or "after marriage name" to whatever I would use immeidately following my wedding, so I put my maiden name. Now that I am out of the military and we are expecting our first child I am thinking about going through the name change process, because I want my child to have the same last name as me. If I choose to keep my maiden name on my marriage liscense in 2015, can I still use that liscense and follow the typical name change process, or do I need take extra steps since I chose my maiden name on the liscense instead of the married one? If it makes a difference I live in Maryland now.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kodi. You'd go through the regular marriage name change route of changing your name, which doesn't involve the courts.

      Reply
  41. Jennifer

    Hi I got married 2016, I got my new ssc with first name married-maiden. Is this incorrect? The DMV wouldnt issue me a driver's license until I correct my last name to first, maiden-married. I live in Ohio.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jennifer. The DMV operates on a separate track from the SSA. You can request the DMV produce documentation that mandates their demanded surname sequence. If they're unable to produce it, you can request again (with greater standing) that your name change be properly processed.

      Reply
  42. Mélissa beaulieu

    Hi, I got married 2 weeks ago and want to change my last name, but as a newly health professional, do I need to keep my maiden to match with my certificates? Is there somehow that I can end up with only 1 last name that won’t be too complicated with paperwork?

    Example: I am Mélissa Beaulieu and married Jacob Hambrook. I want to be known as Mélissa Hambrook, but would it be smarter to keep Mélissa Beaulieu-Hambrook ?
    (I am not a fan of the double last name due to document signing)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mélissa. I don't see it making much different. Either name change would require the same amount of paperwork and effort. You should choose whichever you prefer.

      Reply
  43. Sarah

    Hello,

    Lets say my maiden name is Sarah Barnow and I married Daniel Gold. I never legally changed my name but when I got pregnant, my husband put me under his insurance as Sarah Gold (they did not ask for proof of this).

    Eventually, I had to open a hospital file as Sarah Gold (to match the insurance docs). I had my baby a few months back and the mother's name on the hospital issued birth certificate is Sarah Gold as there was no provision for either married name or maiden name.

    I intend to legally change my name to Sarah Gold eventually but the problem is right now I'm not sure I can prove that I am my baby's mum (in visa application) since Sarah Gold does not legally exist and even if I change the name today, the name dint exist when my baby was born.

    So, do I ask that my hospital file and Baby's birth certificate be changed back to Sarah Barnow? I am really confused.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      So, do I ask that my hospital file and Baby's birth certificate be changed back to Sarah Barnow?

      You can have both records corrected. It's not a big deal. You'll want to contact your vital records office and hospital for their precise procedures and whatever documents they'll need.

      Typically, you'll just need to compile the necessary identity documents, including your birth certificate. Your marriage certificate can also be used to explain the name discrepancy and bridge the gap. Certificates should be originals or certified copies.

      Reply
      1. sarah

        Thank you Valera.

        If I decide to leave my baby's BC as it is (with Sarah Gold), will I have any issues proving that he is mine while I am still Sarah Barnow, especially during visa applications? Will my Marriage certificate, which does not have any 'married' or 'new' name (just my maiden and husband's full name- Daniel Gold) written on it be sufficient?

        I intend to legally become Sarah Gold when my passport and driver's license expire in a couple of months.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Sarah. If push comes to shove, you'll be able to verify your identity with plenty of supporting documentation, so it's not as though you'd be facing a scenario with no possible resolution. When you do eventually change your name, all documents will be in sync.

          Reply
  44. Pinky

    Is it valid to retain my maiden name in our marriage certificate and in all other documents once married to a US citizen? I will not be using my husband surname at all.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it valid to retain my maiden name in our marriage certificate and in all other documents once married to a US citizen?

      Yes, it's fine.

      Reply
  45. Sonji Williams

    Hello, I got married 30 years ago in Washington, DC and took on my husband surname. My license, passport, social security etc all states husband surname. This year, I decided to change my middle name and maiden name on my birth certificate as it now reflects my fathers surname (Walker) instead of my sisters fathers surname (Kennedy). I was married with the maiden name (Kennedy) and would like to amend my marriage certificate to reflect the correct maiden name of (Walker). Is this something I need to do? I already changed my SS information and will change my license and passport soon.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sonji. Such marriage certificate amendments aren't allowed.

      Reply
  46. Amber

    I got married in PA in October 2017. I have a professional license in my maiden name and have been working in my field for over 9 years. I have not yet done anything to change my name.

    I want to know if I am able to add my husband's last name to my name and still just use my maiden name for professional purposes or if I have to update that license to list both of our last names (and use them in the professional setting) once I legally change it with SS and DMV.

    Would I then have to update everything else – bank, credit cards, utilities, mortgage, etc. of the name change and use both last names when signing legal documents?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to know if I am able to add my husband's last name to my name and still just use my maiden name for professional purposes or if I have to update that license to list both of our last names

      If you undergo a legal name change, you'll have to notify the entity that issued your license to determine if they'll require a reissue with your full name or if your prior name can continue to be used.

      and use them in the professional setting

      You'll have to inquire with your employer if you'll be able to use a professional alias.

      Would I then have to update everything else – bank, credit cards, utilities, mortgage, etc. of the name change

      If you update the SSA and DMV, you might as well update everything else.

      and use both last names when signing legal documents?

      Yes, you'll want to apply both last name when signing legal paperwork.

      Reply
  47. Ranjana

    I have changed my name after marriage.n i hav my gazette also.on which name my marriage certificate should be? Pls reply

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ranjana. Please clarify what you're asking regarding the gazette and certificate.

      Reply
  48. Nora

    I wanted to clarify. My fiance and I are getting married in California. If I want the option to legally change my last name to his down the road, I should put his last name on the marriage certificate, correct? But legally my name will be my maiden name unless I update it with SS and DMV.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I want the option to legally change my last name to his down the road, I should put his last name on the marriage certificate, correct?

      Close. On the marriage license application.

      But legally my name will be my maiden name unless I update it with SS and DMV.

      Correct.

      Reply
  49. Quisha

    If I change my name legally do I have to stay attached to that name because it was my birth name? Or can I choose that the name go away forever? If my mother is no longer here, to honor her name would it make a difference if I changed my name to her full name or would it be just as authentic to change just my name to her last name

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I change my name legally do I have to stay attached to that name because it was my birth name?

      If you're going to get your name changed through the court, you can change it to whatever you want.

      Or can I choose that the name go away forever?

      Same as above.

      If my mother is no longer here, to honor her name would it make a difference if I changed my name to her full name or would it be just as authentic to change just my name to her last name

      No one can answer that except for you. You should choose whichever makes you most comfortable and can live with.

      I think you would honor your mother by choosing any portion of her name. It doesn't have to be her full name.

      Reply
  50. Ashley

    My passport with my maiden name is going to expire next year. I got married this year and legally hyphenated my last name (maiden-married). Can I renew my passport in my maiden name and continue to book flights under my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I renew my passport in my maiden name and continue to book flights under my maiden name?

      Yes.

      Reply
  51. Aurie Johnston

    I want to change my full name but I'm married, do I have to include my husband last name in my name change application or only my maiden last name
    PS: currently I am using my husband last name in all my document

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do I have to include my husband last name in my name change application or only my maiden last name

      You'd specify your current legal name.

      Reply
  52. Vicky

    I married 6 months ago still has my maiden name in all my documents but is is ok if I want sign with my husband name for new documents

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Vicky. Your current legal name should go on legal documents. For less formal documents, you'll just have to use your best judgment.

      Reply
  53. Lita Ackhavong Leefoon

    I applied for renewing green card .after that I got married and charged my last name.a year later my alien card and social security got burned in fire.this year so I went to the social security office after to return back to madden after my divorce they couldn't do it cause I couldn't prove my alien status. I'm told him most of my paper burn down .then showed them my my i797 approved my alien status 2009 .do I apply my alien card 1st because social security wont let me have my maiden

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lita. Did you try replacing your destroyed alien registration card first? You'll have to do it anyway.

      Reply
  54. Maggie

    Hi. I’m from NY. I never got married but I have 2 kids and they have both last names in the birth certificate (father and mother), by mistake at school they are register with my last name (mother) and after years my kids went by my last name. Now they’re over 18 and want to open a bank account, get a job, etc. Can they sign my name or they have to start using their fathers name? Can they present themselfs as they always did not anymore?

    Reply
    1. Maggie

      Can they use either one as an adult? Or they have to use the fathers last name as it appears on documents?

      Reply
      1. Valera

        Hi Maggie. They'll have to use your name and their father's name for legal contexts and government documents. For other, informal purposes, it's up to them.

        Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Maggie. If they don't use their full last name (including their father's) it could throw up a red flag. They'd have to explain it away, but the bank will likely want the full name on file even if they'll allow a shorter variant on checks or debit cards.

      Reply
      1. Maggie

        Thank you so much for your help. Another question is that if they can use either one in their signature but print their names as it appears on documents?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Another question is that if they can use either one in their signature but print their names as it appears on documents?

          If you're referring to your children printing either names on documents, then they need to exercise caution. On legal and government documents, their full name should be put down. On less formal documents, it's up to them to use their best judgment.

          If you're referring to a bank or financial institution printing only one portion of their surname on a check or credit or debit card, then that has to be worked out between your kids and that institution. It has to be explicitly requested.

          Reply
  55. Krystal Wilson

    I'm getting married and want to take my husband's lastname but I want to keep my surname for business purposes, we work for the same company and I don't want it to cause a conflict of interest. Do I have to change my name with my employer? Will this affect my taxes if I don't? Will I use my surname as it will be the one on my w-2 or do I use his and just attach a copy of my marriage license to clear up any discrepancies?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to keep my surname for business purposes

      You may want to look into obtaining a DBA in your surname.

      Do I have to change my name with my employer? Will this affect my taxes if I don't?

      You'll have to use your legal name for tax purposes.

      Reply
  56. Fiona

    I'm married, and there is a New Surname listed on my marriage certificate because I've adopted my husband's surname.
    I'm currently applying for green card, but I haven't changed my surname on passport yet, do I have to change my surname on passport before I send out the green card application forms?
    Is my maiden name still a legal name for me?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Fiona. The name on your green card and passport do not have to match. However, when you travel you may be asked questions about the discrepancy. You can bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you during travels to explain why your surnames don't match.

      Reply
      1. Fiona

        Because I'm currently working on the green card application forms, but I'm not sure which last name I should put on the forms for "legal name". Do you know which one is the legal last name for me? My husband's or my maiden name?

        Thanks.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Fiona. Generally speaking, your legal last name is whatever your current last name is.

          Reply
  57. Gloria

    I married to a japanese and i change my maiden name to japanese name.. after 1 year we decided to file a divorce. after a divorce the philippine embassy amend my passport change back to my maiden name,i go back to philippines and used my passport.long years have pass… I want to renew my expired passport and it was lost and its already amended on divorce passport.. my question is .. do the DFA question my passport because it was amended? Do they ask for any supporting papers eventhough they know that my passpost was amended on divorce..

    Reply
    1. Gloria

      Is the DFA computerized name and details of all registered person ?

      Reply
    2. Valera

      my question is .. do the DFA question my passport because it was amended? Do they ask for any supporting papers eventhough they know that my passpost was amended on divorce..

      Since you lost your passport, you'll have to submit an affidavit of loss and submit a brand new application and all the required documents. Since your passport is expired, you don't have to submit a police report.

      Reply
  58. Tina

    Hi! I recently got married and went to the social security office to change my name to First MaidenMiddle HusbandsLast. Four days later and my family and husband are still upset with me, saying it’s not “traditional.” (Even though I told everyone this was my plan for 1.5+ years. I won’t even get into this.) At this point, it seems like it’s easier to just forget what I want and appease them, changing my name to First BirthMiddle HusbandsLast. Do you know if social security would let me change it again now, considering I still didn’t receive a new card?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do you know if social security would let me change it again now, considering I still didn’t receive a new card?

      You can attempt to have your application withdrawn by contacting your local SSA office. You can also visit the office. If your application has already been processed, then you'll likely have to get a court order for SSA to change your name again.

      Reply
  59. Mikaela

    Hello.

    I have been married for 4 years and I'm still not sure how to file my name when filling out documents. I have kept my maiden name as well as my husband's last name.
    My name is M (first) M(middle) C(maiden) D(last).

    When filling out documents, there's only 3 boxes. Normally in the US, it is FIRST, MIDDLE, LAST. Since I wanted to keep my maiden name, should I include it in the "Middle name" Box and move my Middle name to the "First Name" box? or do I put both my middle and maiden name in the "Middle Name" box?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I have been married for 4 years and I'm still not sure how to file my name when filling out documents. I have kept my maiden name as well as my husband's last name.

      Did you legally change your name, or are you just using these name combinations informally? If you didn't, then you shouldn't be putting your unofficial name on official documents. If you did change it, see the remainder of this comment.

      My name is M (first) M(middle) C(maiden) D(last)

      It's not clear to me where the name divisions are with your example.

      Since I wanted to keep my maiden name, should I include it in the "Middle name" Box and move my Middle name to the "First Name" box? or do I put both my middle and maiden name in the "Middle Name" box?

      Space or no space, you only have one legal first, middle, and last name. If your middle name is Middle+Maiden, then that'd go in the middle name space. If it's Maiden+Last, it'll go in the surname space. You wouldn't shift your maiden name from middle to last at will. It's either part of your middle or last, but not both.

      Reply
      1. Mikaela

        I legally changed my name which is Mikaela Milan Cusi Duro.
        Before I got married, it was Mikaela Milan Abando(mother's maiden) Cusi or would be written as Mikaela Milan A. Cusi

        I just found out that my mother included Milan as my first name and put Abando as a middle name.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Mikaela. The prior answer would still apply. If your first, middle, and last name is split like so: Mikaela / Milan Cusi / Duro. Then that's how you'd fill out whatever document you're working with.

          You previously asked if one portion of your name should go here or there, but that's not up for debate. Each section of your name belongs to either your first, middle, or last. If you're not certain which is which, you'll have to find the application you submitted to process your name change or whatever document confirmed your name change.

          If this is not what you're referring to, please clarify.

          Reply
  60. Maria

    Hi

    I got married on January 2018 on the marriage certificate I decide to put my husband last name. Would I get on legal trouble if I don’t change the last name on every document and I have been signing with my last name still. I haven’t change anything to the married last name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Would I get on legal trouble if I don’t change the last name on every document and I have been signing with my last name still.

      No, you will not face any legal trouble or penalty for not changing your name to match the new name on your marriage certificate. Name change is optional. You should continue to sign your current name. Your signature changes when your name legally changes.

      Reply
      1. Maria

        Ok thanks. I can’t do the change At the moment.I’m on the process buying my mom house and I have a business plus too many credit card to change last name. On my marriage certificate it do said my new last name but no others legal documents yet.

        Reply
  61. Nikki

    I will be getting married in CA soon. On the marriage certificate I plan on putting FIRST, MIDDLE, MARRIED.

    For several reasons I plan on “continuing” to use my name as is now…FIRST, MIDDLE, MAIDEN…I do not plan on legally changing my last name on anything or with any entity…not SS, DL, Passport, CA RN Licensing Board, Employer, Banks or any of my other Finacials…
    Is this ok & can I just use my MARRIED last name “socially” and legally keep my current name as is on everything else?

    Will my employer or any other entity somehow be notified of my new last name as it reads on the marriage certificate?

    Lastly, if say in 5 years I choose to begin using MARRIED name as it reads on my marriage certificate can I just change everying over legally at that time even though so much time has elapsed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is this ok & can I just use my MARRIED last name “socially” and legally keep my current name as is on everything else?

      Yes, of course.

      Will my employer or any other entity somehow be notified of my new last name as it reads on the marriage certificate?

      No, California county recorders don't send out such notices after your marriage is registered. However, your marriage certificate will become a public record. If you'd prefer privacy, you'll have to choose a confidential marriage license.

      Lastly, if say in 5 years I choose to begin using MARRIED name as it reads on my marriage certificate can I just change everying over legally at that time even though so much time has elapsed?

      Yes, the process is the same even many years later.

      Reply
      1. Nikki

        Excellent THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

        Just curious how do you go about getting a confidential marriage license?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Just curious how do you go about getting a confidential marriage license?

          When you apply, choose the confidential marriage license application instead of the default public marriage license application. The confidential version is typically a few dollars extra.

          Reply
  62. Nicole

    I recently got married and went to social security to update my new name. It now reads First Middle Maiden (hyphenated) Husbands last name. After thinking about it it’s going to be really really long, can I go back to social security with my marriage license and get it corrected to just my First Middle Husbands last name ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      After thinking about it it’s going to be really really long, can I go back to social security with my marriage license and get it corrected to just my First Middle Husbands last name ?

      No, only one name change allowed per name change event (e.g., marriage, divorce, court petition). You'll have to get a court order to change your name a second time.

      Reply
  63. Cristina

    Hi!
    I got married last year in CA and this year I wanted to change my last name to just my husbands last name, so I went to the SS Office and changed it but now I realized its a big hazzle so I was wondering if I could just change it back to my last name only or just add my last name on their in any way!! I only have changed it on the SS no where else!! Please help!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cristina. Since you've already changed it once with the SSA, you'll have to get a court order to change it again. How you prefer to change it—return to last name or add another surname—makes no difference.

      Reply
  64. Jai

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply
  65. Gertrude

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

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

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      No, there's no time limit.

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

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

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

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

      Reply
  66. Amy

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

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

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

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

      Reply
  67. Michelle

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply
  68. Jenifer Carter

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply
  69. Katia

    Hi!

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

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

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

    Thank you very much for helping!

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

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

      See above.

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

      Yes, it makes sense to do so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Reply
      1. Katia

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

        Reply
  70. Natalie

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

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

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

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

      Correct.

      Reply
  71. Diana

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply
  72. Joshua

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

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

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

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

      Reply
      1. Joshua Stur

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

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

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

        Reply
        1. Valera

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Reply
          1. Joshua

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

          2. Joshua

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

          3. Valera

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

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

  73. Sarah

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply
  74. Marlene Jaime

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Yes, it most likely will.

      Reply
  75. CAT

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

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

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

      See prior comment.

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

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

      Reply
  76. sveta

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply
  77. Amber

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

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

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

      Reply
  78. Tina

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply
      1. tina

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

        Reply
        1. Valera

          does court order require both husband and wife signature?

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

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

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

          Reply
  79. oleva v okeefe

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

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

      Reply
  80. Tina

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply

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