2,313 Comments

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

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

1. In professional contexts, particularly specialized professions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2,313 Comments

  1. Sara

    I was divorced in 2004. I had 529 BlackRock funds set up for my children. When I went to with draw the money from my youngest daughters account, it has taken me 2 months plus to withdraw this money. Now, they wont release the money because I didn't sign the part where I had to sign it as my former last name. I even attached the document of my divorce decree, where it says my name changed legally, after 2 medallion stamps from the bank. So my question is can they make me sign it like that? or am I at their mercy because of this issue? I am so frustrated!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sara. Even though your divorce decree contains an order restoring your previous name, it doesn't take legal effect until you change it with the necessary government institutions.

      Reply
  2. Jasmine

    Hi I recently got married and I took his last name, but I dont want to change all my documentation yet. I am young and still a dependent on my parents taxes, health care etc. Just graduated college so I would like to keep my name for many reasons even though I do plan to go through the motions to change it later. Is there a time frame on when I have to do that by?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a time frame on when I have to do that by?

      There is no time frame to complete your name change.

      Reply
  3. Del

    Hello hopefully someone can help me I got married literally a week ago but realized I kept my last maiden name as well. I want to take it out and just keep my husbands. Is there a time limit where there’s no fee or complications like going thru court orders and stuff? We live in California. I haven’t changed my SS,DL or passport yet because I would like to make that change . Or could I just do it without changing it on marriage license? Because in the end it’s in SS that it counts right?? Idk

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Del. If you got married in California and didn't specify your preferred new name on the marriage license application, you'll have to go through the court system to change your name.

      Reply
  4. Scarlet

    Hello. I have been married for 14 years and have always kept my maiden name. Lately my husband has been hounding me to get my last name changed to his. I finally caved. However, I don't want to use his name all the way around. I'd like to use his name for legal documents such as drivers license, bank accounts, taxes, insurance, social security card, etc. I can even be Mrs. HisLastName socially, but I still want to use my name professionally. So for example, at work when I'm signing documents, my work email, and with a book I want to write. Is it possible to change my last name to his legally while keeping my maiden name professionally?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Scarlet. Yes, it is possible. You may want to look into registering your maiden name as a DBA for professional use.

      Reply
  5. Agnes

    My polish passport expired 5y ago, i got married 12y ago in USA. I only changed name on my DL to hyphanated my SS is still in my maiden name. Now i go to renew my polish passport and i hear that they won't do it unless first they record my marriage in poland and do all paperwork (which cost way more than i can afford) plus i don't really need/care for it as im considering divorcing/separating in next year/s. Anyway i called DMV and asked if I can change back my last name to maiden only and they said only with divorce papers and court order allowing me to go back to my maiden name! (Honestly i think cheapest way would be just divorce now and change it so i don't have to go to that hassle 2times) but is there any other way?

    Also I didn't think putting my married name on DL was LEGALLY CHANGING it (is it?) in all my 3 kids Birth certificates as my legal name i put my maiden name how it appears on my SS. I thought only changing in in SS office makes it legally changed

    Reply
    1. Valera

      (Honestly i think cheapest way would be just divorce now and change it so i don't have to go to that hassle 2times) but is there any other way?

      No, there's no other way. You must either present a divorce decree restoring your maiden name or a court order.

      Also I didn't think putting my married name on DL was LEGALLY CHANGING it (is it?) in all my 3 kids Birth certificates as my legal name i put my maiden name how it appears on my SS. I thought only changing in in SS office makes it legally changed

      Social security is the primary, not your driver's license.

      Reply
  6. Jane

    I got married in 2012 kept my maiden name and added my husband last name been mine keep forgetting to claim marriage and work file w2 still say single and we have been filing single. But now I want to drop my maiden and a correct my w2 file and claim marriage with new last what should I do will I get fine for telling them I was married .

    Reply
  7. Raquel

    Hello. My driver's license was expired I went in to DMV to renew it but then the technician asked me if I was married, I said yes she said she couldn't update my info and tells me she needed my marriage certificate.. she ended up changing my maiden last name to my married last name…. I didn't think no big deal of it at the time.. but now I'm starting work and I'm having issues. I don't want my married last name. I haven't done the process in changing it through the Social Security Department because I'm choosing to stay with my Maiden name. What route would I have to take to keep my maiden name regardless of marital status? Thank You!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Raquel. The name on your social security card takes precedence over the name on your driver's license. If you want to restore your maiden name on your driver's license, you'll likely have to present the DMV with a court order.

      Reply
  8. M Muil

    If I was to hyphenate my last name (would need to petition the courts), would I also then need to change my passport and driver's license to reflect the change, or could I continue using these documents with only the one last name listed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I was to hyphenate my last name (would need to petition the courts)

      You shouldn't have to petition the court for that.

      would I also then need to change my passport and driver's license to reflect the change, or could I continue using these documents with only the one last name listed?

      Name change isn't required, regardless of what's specified on your marriage application, license, or certificate. You can keep your identity documents unchanged if you'd prefer.

      Reply
      1. M Muil

        Thanks for your response!
        So to clarify – my current name is First Middle Married, and I want to change it to First Middle Maiden-Married. I don't need to go to court to make this change? Only SS? What documents would be required?
        And then I can keep my passport as is? Thank you again!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          So to clarify – my current name is First Middle Married, and I want to change it to First Middle Maiden-Married. I don't need to go to court to make this change?

          Correct.

          What documents would be required?

          Certified copy of your marriage certificate.

          And then I can keep my passport as is?

          Yes.

          Reply
  9. Xee

    Hello,

    My husband I married about three years ago. I waited till this year to update my last name since my passport is expiring. As I am getting ready to move on with this new chapter in my life, I realized that updating my last name to his is going to definitely cost some small fingers (not an arm and a leg but still a few $$$), we are considering keeping my maiden name as is. I have not updated anything at SSA or DMV yet. However on the marriage certificate, I have dropped my maiden name and took his last name. If I didn't change it at DMV and SSA, is this okay? Or will I eventually have to change it since it is on the marriage certificate?

    Please advise.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I didn't change it at DMV and SSA, is this okay? Or will I eventually have to change it since it is on the marriage certificate?

      Yes, it's OK. You don't have to go through with the name change. There are no legal repercussions for not following through.

      Reply
  10. Caitlin beilke

    I got married two years ago but never changed my name. Now that we have a baby I’d like to have the same name legally as my husband and child. Is there a way to change names just for things moving forward, such as daycare/school stuff, hospital forms, even my license, but not have to change it professionally or even go through the hassle of switching all my credit cards, professional licenses, and different types of accounts?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Caitlin. You may want to look into registering your prior name as a business entity.

      Reply
  11. Lucky

    Hi. I got married last year and was kind of pressured to take his last name. SO wrote that I would go by his last name. Then afterward I wanted my maiden name still so I went through the court and included my maiden name so that I have 2 last names (maiden and married). My name is now First Middle Maiden Married. I made the change with SSA in May. However, I am not happy about it and just want my maiden name (more for professional reasons as I work in research and all my publications are in my maiden name). Can I go back to the courts and ask to return to First Middle Maiden if I am still married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      an I go back to the courts and ask to return to First Middle Maiden if I am still married?

      Yes, you can.

      Reply
  12. Neil

    Hi, My wife and I have been married for a year, she continue to use her husband's (decease) last (as her middle name) and my last name. I thought once she was married again she would drop his last name and use her middle name and my last name. By the way her maiden name is the same as my last name. Please tell me how it should appear thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Please tell me how it should appear thanks.

      If your wife has already legally changed her name to take on your surname, she'd have to go to court to change it to anything else. At that point, she can choose to take on any name combination she'd prefer.

      Reply
  13. Jennifer Baker

    Hello. I got married 6 months ago and changed my name on my social security card but nothing else. I need to renew my passport and no longer want to use the married name. I want to go back to my maiden name only. What do i need to do? How does one petition the court if need be?

    Reply
  14. beth

    Hello,
    I'm using my husband last name since we got married. When I became a US citizen I decided to remove my maiden name for a reason. Now I wanted to put my maiden name back since I'm in the processb of divorce. How can I do it? Do I have to go to immigration to change my name or hired a lawyer?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Beth. You can ask your divorce judge to restore your maiden name in your divorce decree. Afterward you can use the decree to change your name.

      Reply
  15. Kari

    I’ve been married for almost 12 years. When we were married I took my husbands name. I was wondering if it’s possible for me and my husband to switch to my madden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kari. Both of you would have to separately petition the court for a name change.

      Reply
  16. Jen

    Hi, i got married and dropped my maiden name and took husbands after i did this i wished i had not dropped maiden name. At SS office i got SS card with maiden name as middle name and then married last name. DMV wouldnt allow me to get this on id since i didnt have enough points for proof. When i formed business, i created business name and as a counselor, im the provider. I do not want to change my name on my license as dont want to go through the hassle of changing my name with insurance providers and state license can i just remain Jen Madien name for professional purposes? I struggle with what name to go by professionally as i realize it is no longer legally my name. what are my options? can i leave my state license as is and for work purposes always go by maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jen. Contact your licensing board to determine if you need to obtain a fictitious name permit.

      Reply
      1. Jen

        is that the same thing as do business as? I already formed an llc as business name but then there is my name i cant even wrap my mind around where to begin with changing everything. Dont think they have a fict. name permit

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Jen. You could register a DBA in your professional name. The question you'll have to ask the licensing board is if that would be acceptable to use.

          Reply
  17. Toni

    My husband and I bought a house last year and our loan officer did the paperwork in my married name which involves a change in my middle name. I haven't had a chance to go to the social security office yet to change it with them because I need my adoption papers and am still waiting on them to be sent. How can we file our taxes on our home if my taxes are being filed in my maiden name but the loan is in my married name? Should I go to the ssi office this month and get it changed or wait until after tax time?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Toni. The SSA will notify the IRS of your name change, so if you're looking to avoid a name mismatch the sooner you update the SSA the better. The alternative is to modify the name on your loan.

      Reply
  18. Priya

    Hi Valera,

    I got married 9 years back and changed my name to take husbands name and surname. All the documents like driving license/Passport have this new name after marriage. Now I want to actually go back to my maiden name as my legal name. Do I need to go to the court and follow the regular procedure or can I use my maiden name on all my legal documents without any court orders? I just want to go back to my maiden name. I am a citizen of India and currently residing in California on Green Card status.

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to go to the court and follow the regular procedure or can I use my maiden name on all my legal documents without any court orders?

      Yes, you would have to go to court.

      Reply
  19. Gem

    I am widowed in my 60’s and have always been known as FirstNameMaidenNameMarriedName. Now I am committed to a new man and we wish to have a “wedding” that will be a commitment ceremony only rather than a legally registered marriage, purely for practical financial/family reasons, but would like to live and be known as a married couple. I would keep all of my legal documents including SS, passport, bank, drivers license in my original name. After we are “wed” can I use his last name socially and otherwise without legal complications?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Gem. As long as you're not using the name in legal contexts, you're fine.

      Reply
  20. Kristen Jahnke

    Hi,
    I recently got married and am planning on doing some international travelling. I have not changed my name on any of my documents, including my passport. I am just wondering if I am able to use my passport to travel abroad? What other legal documents will I need with me incase I have any trouble? I'm from Canada, I'm not sure if that will make a difference or not. Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kristen. You don't need anything extra. Just do as you have been doing.

      Reply
  21. Robin

    Hello , my social security number is in my maiden name and I have been married twice and never changed my ssc to anything other than my maiden name . My drivers license are in my married name and when they expired I went to them renewed and the lady tells me that my ssc and drivers license are different because of last names and I am separated and starting the divorce papers , so I will go back to maiden name . How can I get my license done without all this rigmoroe

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Robin. The driver's license office wants to match the name that's on file with the SSA. You'll have to provide a supporting document that restores your maiden name, such as a divorce decree or court order. As your legal surname is your maiden name, your divorce decree could simply reaffirm your right to revert to your maiden name on various legal documents (e.g., driver's license).

      Reply
  22. Sarah

    Hi, Thank you for an informative article and I've been reading the comments and your responses which have been helpful. A slightly different question, not sure if you've addressed it already. I was married last Summer, and like many, I didn't feel ready to make a decision about a name change, and put on my license that I will be taking my husbands last name. I haven't changed any of my other documents or accounts to reflect that change so technically it's not official yet. However, I am now regretting not having selected my maiden name to be apart of my new name after marriage. I would like to take on my husbands name but also keep my maiden name, thus having both mine and his as part of my new gal name.Hope that makes sense! haha Am I still able to do this, even though in my marriage license I only chose his last name as being part of my new name..? Again, I have not gone to change any passports, social security cards, bank accounts, etc.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sarah. Whether or not you're able to deviate from your original new name choice depends on the state. Most aren't particularly lenient, requiring you to stick with your original choice.

      Reply
  23. Ana

    I got married a year ago and i only took my husbands last name now i want to have my maiden name with his last mame in it. Do i just go to the SSA and change it there. That’s what i did at first when i changed my last name to his. Help please

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ana. Since you've already changed your name with the SSA, you can't do it again using your marriage certificate. You'll need another document to justify a followup name change, such as a court order.

      Reply
  24. Cyhrene

    Hi, i recently got divorced last Dec. 15,2017 and restored my last name from my husband's last name. But then i realized is it going to be a problem for my daughter if we dont have the same last name? I still didnt update anything yet, all my id's are still on my husband's last name even my citizenship certificate, passport, driver's license, banks, car loans. Please help thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cyhrene. A name restoration order in a divorce decree is non-binding. You don't have to follow through with it if you don't want. Ignore it and your name will not change on any identity documents.

      Reply
  25. Mary

    Hi, I've been married for 15 years and still use my maiden name, I'm now ready to make that change …..how do I go about doing that?? Will I get into trouble for keeping my maiden name so long with ss??

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I'm now ready to make that change …..how do I go about doing that??

      Obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the government office that recorded your marriage license. Then use that document to change your name as your normally would.

      Will I get into trouble for keeping my maiden name so long with ss??

      No such penalty exists.

      Reply
  26. Cecil Ruth

    My daughter's name is Leslie Marie Ruth. Her husband's last name is Salas. In NJ, should her married name be Leslie Ruth Salas?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cecil. New Jersey doesn't permit maiden to middle name changes as a result of marriage.

      Reply
  27. Teri

    I was married in Costa Rica. I live in North Carolina. I have my SS card changed and my driver license changed. I need to get my driver license to REAL ID. The DMV will not verify me to get REAL ID because my marriage certificate does not have my husbands last name as mine. Women do not change their names in Costa Rica. I asked the attorney that married us to add the Todd name to the end of my name. He would not. Now my son is in military and I can’t go on military grounds without having the REAL ID. It seems like a simple thing since the DMV used my married name on my driver license. Why can’t they verify me if they acknowledge the name change? It has been a nightmare. I have been sent to many offices at the courthouse without luck. I am getting the run around. Please help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Teri. A certified marriage license or certified marriage certificate is considered valid for a Real ID card. Can they provide written documentation citing this requirement?

      Reply
  28. Tarah

    Hi,
    I got married recently and I changed my name with the social security office, but I haven't changed it anywhere else, will this affect anything I do while filing my taxes?

    Reply
    1. Tarah

      Like I haven't changed my drivers license or anything else, but I do have a new social security card.

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Tarah. As long as you file your taxes using your changed name you'll be fine.

      Reply
      1. Mia

        Question:
        I got married a year ago. I file my 2017 taxes under my maiden name because I was not expecting to change my last name but i just recently did change it (last week) on my SS card . However, my taxes were already file . Will I have tax issues ?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Mia. The IRS may be able to accommodate your name difference internally. If not, they'll notify you to correct the discrepancy.

          Reply
  29. Susan Levaque

    I am a widow and I have spent the last 30 years with my deceased husband's name. I also have had a professional career for the last 30 years. Now I am going to re-marry and my fiance wants me to take his last name. So, three things….. 1. I really loved my first husband and don't want to drop the surname I've used for the past 30 years. 2. As stated, I have a professional career and have a lot of history linked to my surname. 3. I very much love my fiance and do wish to take his last name but want to figure out how to not lose this other name. I need a win-win solution. Can you help? I live in New York State.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Susan. 1) You could take his name on the license and certificate and simply not formally change your name. Just use it informally. 2) You could hyphenate. 3) You could combine a portion of both names into one.

      Reply
  30. Ann

    Hi Valera,
    I have been married for 12 years and never changed my name to my husband’s even thought I did check the box that I would take his name after marriage. We got married in NY but now live in FL. Will there be any consequences as for me keeping my Last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will there be any consequences as for me keeping my Last name?

      No, none at all.

      Reply
  31. Matt A

    I have a question, we are in Alabama, myself and my fiancee are getting married within the next few weeks (a few months earlier than anticipated) but we have a trip planned in which we are going to be flying out of the country in May of 2018(tickets are booked, and were booked using her maiden name). She definitely wants to change her name, but since the trip is still about 4 months from now, and we will be getting married within the next 2 weeks, how should we approach this? Her passport, which is not a US passport, is in her maiden name, as is plane ticket.

    Is it possible to name change on the marriage certificate, but delay changing her ID, social security card, etc? So that she is able to fly without any issues

    What would be the best way to approach this situation?

    Reply
  32. Lourdes

    Hi I got married in nov 7 2015 and I thought I had to change my last name To my husbands last name but I did not know I could keep my maiden last name I really want to take my last name back can I just go to the DMV and get I.t change back on my ID

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lourdes. If you've already changed it, you couldn't go back to change it again without a court order.

      Reply
  33. Wendy

    I am in Texas, divorced with children and engaged to be married in 2 weeks. I would like to take my new husband's name, but my son would like me to at least keep my married name/his last name on my official documents (at least until he is 18). I also have a very large amount of deeds to mineral rights in FirstName MiddleName DivorcedName which would be a nightmare to change. I was wondering if I sign my marriage license as my FirstName MiddleName DivorcedName NewMarriedName this might solve the problem. I understand that I do not have to change my name on my SSC to match what is on the marriage certificate, and I could just go by NewMarriedName socially and informally until such time as I wanted to change it on my SSC. But, if I did ever change it on my SSC, would that mean I need to change all of the deeds which are in DivorcedName? I am concerned that, after I die, my children may have a hard time transferring the mineral rights to their names if I have changed my name on SSC to FirstName MiddleName DivorcedName NewMarriedName and the deeds are still in just FirstName MiddleName DivorcedName. What do you recommend? Thank you so much!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I was wondering if I sign my marriage license as my FirstName MiddleName DivorcedName NewMarriedName this might solve the problem.

      Texas marriage license applications don't provide a blank space to specify a new name after marriage, so it's moot.

      But, if I did ever change it on my SSC, would that mean I need to change all of the deeds which are in DivorcedName?

      No, it shouldn't be an issue because your identity and prior name usage can be verified by you or your children. Your marriage certificate would explain the name change.

      Reply
  34. Priscilla

    I am a physician and am getting married in June. Due to building my profession with my maiden name, I was not planning on changing my name. Someone told me I could have an official alias meaning that legally I can use my maiden name AND I can use my name with my soon-to-be husband's last name. Is this true? How do I go about doing that if it is?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Priscilla. You can contact your state's licensing board about obtaining a fictitious name permit, including the procedure, fees, and renewal fees.

      Reply
  35. Shadae A Jones

    I changed my name on my drivers license but with nothing else…can i go back to the secretary of state and request a drivers license with my maiden name again since I haven't attached my spouse name to anything else

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Shadae. You'll need to present them with a court ordered name change document to change your name back.

      Reply
  36. Anisha

    Hi there!!

    I married my husband in California and elected to take his last name for the purposes of the marriage license only. I don't plan to take his last name – but added it to the marriage license just so I have the option later in life.

    Can you please confirm that this DOES NOT mean that I have legally changed my name, as I will not be updating my SSN or DL to take his last name.

    It is complicated as my husband is enlisting in the Navy, and they are giving him a hard time since all my legal documents are in my maiden name except for the marriage license. I already checked but I can't reprint the marriage license without his last name.

    Do you know if this name discrepancy on the marriage license only would be an issue as I am applying for permanent residency as I'm Canadian?

    Thanks!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can you please confirm that this DOES NOT mean that I have legally changed my name, as I will not be updating my SSN or DL to take his last name.

      That's correct. You are not required to change your name to match what's on your marriage certificate.

      Do you know if this name discrepancy on the marriage license only would be an issue as I am applying for permanent residency as I'm Canadian?

      No, it shouldn't be an issue. A new name choice on a marriage record is non-binding.

      Reply
  37. Jacky

    Apply for goverment RDP house 13 years ago.I was stil single Get married almost 2years ago.I am on the waiting list under my maiden name.Do I need to use my married name when I went to update to get a house or can I just use my maiden name as it is on the list

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jacky. It's best to update your name on file and use your current legal name thereafter.

      Reply
  38. Christina

    I elected to change my name to my marital name when we got married. However, it’s been 4 years and I still haven’t changed my name on my SS card and license. Would I still be able to do so or would I have to go to the court to change it now since it’s been so many years? I want to change it on my license and SS card now but I don’t know if the time that has passed will matter or not.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Would I still be able to do so or would I have to go to the court to change it now since it’s been so many years? I want to change it on my license and SS card now but I don’t know if the time that has passed will matter or not.

      You can still change your name without going to court. The four years that's passed doesn't change that.

      Reply
  39. Stephanie Davila

    Hi, I just got married 5 months ago and I removed my maiden name and took his. Now, I’m regretting it and i want it back. What can I do to get it back? I even changed my social security but not my drivers license. Can I change it or I’m gonna love forever with this regret? I’m super sad.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now, I’m regretting it and i want it back. What can I do to get it back? I even changed my social security but not my drivers license. Can I change it or I’m gonna love forever with this regret?

      You can definitely get your maiden name back, but you'll have to petition the court to do so.

      Reply
  40. Dyan

    Hi.. before i get married i have my id with my maiden name and now its not yet expired this is the only one i have.now im going to get some certificate can i have my maiden name also to match it..and if i will renew i will use my married name all together.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      now im going to get some certificate can i have my maiden name also to match it

      Do you want the name on your certificate to match your maiden name or do you want the name on your ID to match your certificate? Are you looking to maintain your maiden name or to switch to something else? Please clarify.

      Reply
  41. Beth

    I married in 1981. I changed from my maiden name to my married name on my drivers license only. I have used my married name all these years with no questions asked, until recently when I went to renew my Ohio drivers license and was told the name and ssn doesn’t match. I went to the social Security Administration and decided since I haven’t lived with my husband for 12 years, I would like to have my maiden name on my license. Got proof that I never changed it through as office and still they need either a divorce decree or name change. If I never changed it through the social Security Administration isn’t my legal name still my maiden name??? My licenses is expired and they won’t let me use my maiden name at the bmv. Even with my social security papers . I feel like the bmv is forcing me to use my married name or file for divorce.

    Reply
      1. Valera

        Also the last few years my taxes had to be filed under my maiden name.

        Yes, that makes sense as the SSA and IRS names must match.

        Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Beth. Confirmation documents from the SSA wouldn't suffice. They'll need one of three things: marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order.

      Marriage certificate is out, since you're looking to revert to your maiden name. If y our divorce decree has an order restoring your maiden name, it can be used. Otherwise, you'll need to obtain a court order.

      Reply
  42. Susan Carol Jones

    I have been married to my husband for almost 12 years. I want to incorporate my maiden name. My married name is Susan C Jones. I have recurring ID theft daily! I want to make my name:
    Mrs. Susan Carol LowryJones

    Reply
  43. Carol

    I am married but separated. My drivers license is in my maiden name. I honestly don't remember if I ever changed my SS to my husbands last name but I do have a SS card in my maiden name and all paperwork at my place of employment is under my maiden name. I need to get a passport and they ask about marriage and other names used. I did use my husbands last name at my children's school when they were young. Not sure if I ever had a DL in his last name. Will I have a problem getting my passport in my maiden name when I list I am married and have used his last name for some things?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I honestly don't remember if I ever changed my SS to my husbands last name but I do have a SS card in my maiden name

      You can go to your nearest social security office to verify your name on file.

      Will I have a problem getting my passport in my maiden name when I list I am married and have used his last name for some things?

      They were referring to prior legal name changes, but it's unlikely to be an issue as you'll be renewing under the same name.

      Reply
  44. Stephanie Martinez

    Hi,
    I got married June 2016 and left my maiden name on the marriage license. I would like to change my last name to my husband's now. What procedures do I need to take?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Stephanie. If you were married in a state where they print a new name choice on your marriage certificate and you chose to do so at the time, you may not able to change your name with the certificate. If your application never asked for such information, then you'd use your certificate as-is to effect a name change.

      Reply
  45. Kb

    Hi
    We got married in October , when we got married I assumed his name on the big day. 5 months later I’m still using my maiden name because we are still waiting for our marriage certificate to come in the mail. Hope this is legal.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kb. Yes, it's fine for you to continue your maiden name now and for as long as you see fit.

      Reply
  46. Bradley Miller

    Here's a brain teaser:

    Jane Doe married Freddy Stagg and her legal name becomes Jane Stagg. She never changes her IDs to the new name and continues to use Jane Doe.

    Later, she has a legal name change using Jane Doe (using the outdated IDs) to Sarah Doe.

    Sarah Doe separates from Freddy (no divorce) and marries John Young. She takes his last name in the marriage and becomes Sarah Young. Again never changing her IDs.

    Sarah then uses the name Jane Doe to divorce Freddy Stagg. In the divorce with Stagg she has her name changed to Sarah Doe.

    What is her actual name?

    Did she legally divorce Stagg?

    Is Young married to anyone?

    Note: she did commit bigamy, but in the state of Georgia the marriage is valid (though prohibited) until challenged in court. The question with Young is if the woman used an invalid name is the marriage even valid or is Young married to someone that legally does not exist.

    This is my current circumstances just the names are changed. I would be John Young in this story.

    Reply
    1. Bradley Miller

      Let me correct two errors.
      1- the separation with Stagg comes before the name change to Sarah Doe. It shouldn’t have any bearing on anything.

      2- when Sarah Doe marries John Young, Sarah does get a driver’s license in the name of Sarah Young.

      Reply
      1. Valera

        Let me correct two errors.
        1- the separation with Stagg comes before the name change to Sarah Doe. It shouldn’t have any bearing on anything.

        It doesn't.

        2- when Sarah Doe marries John Young, Sarah does get a driver’s license in the name of Sarah Young.

        This doesn't really matter.

        Reply
    2. Valera

      Jane Doe married Freddy Stagg and her legal name becomes Jane Stagg. She never changes her IDs to the new name and continues to use Jane Doe.

      Jane Doe is still her name.

      Later, she has a legal name change using Jane Doe (using the outdated IDs) to Sarah Doe.

      Unclear. Obtaining a court order to change your name doesn't legally change it. Once it's changed with the Social Security Administration, then it's for real.

      Sarah Doe separates from Freddy (no divorce) and marries John Young.

      That's bigamy, but you allude to this later.

      She takes his last name in the marriage and becomes Sarah Young. Again never changing her IDs.

      At this point, it's not clear if "Jane Doe" or "Sarah Doe" is actually the her legal name. Did she ever go through the motions of effecting a name change after successfully petitioning the court?

      Sarah then uses the name Jane Doe to divorce Freddy Stagg. In the divorce with Stagg she has her name changed to Sarah Doe.

      What is her actual name?

      Same as above. Did she actually change her name with federal and state government authorities after obtaining a court order? If so, her name is Sarah Doe. If not, it's still Jane Doe.

      Even though the name used in divorce proceeding was Jane Doe, the court could have been using false information unbeknownst to them based on old identification cards/documents.

      Did she legally divorce Stagg?

      If the divorce was decreed final, it was legal.

      Is Young married to anyone?

      Note: she did commit bigamy, but in the state of Georgia the marriage is valid (though prohibited) until challenged in court.

      Yes, she's married to John Young.

      The question with Young is if the woman used an invalid name is the marriage even valid or is Young married to someone that legally does not exist.

      The marriage exists and it's real, but it's void. A petition for annulment can be filed by a party to the marriage.

      This is my current circumstances just the names are changed. I would be John Young in this story.

      Alleged name changes may add some weight or flavor to an annulment petition, but it wouldn't be the core rational for the Superior Court to grant or deny an annulment. Bigamy is the elephant in the room.

      You may need to consult an attorney, if your intent is to end the marriage. If you don't want the marriage to end, it can be ratified as valid with your consent and continued cohabitation as husband and wife. This is possible since the impediment of the prior marriage did end in divorce.

      Reply
      1. Bradley Miller

        Yes, the petition for the Name change is effected through the Social Security Agency.
        On her SS card it reads Sarah Doe (not Jane Doe)

        Reply
  47. Julie Ouellette

    On the mariage certifiçate I have signed my maiden name. Can I go back to my maiden name without seeking a lawyer?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Julie. States handle things differently. In some, it's possible to restore a maiden name as part of the marriage name changing process. In others, not so much. Without knowing the state, it's simply too variable to say definitively.

      Reply
  48. Mira

    Hi, i recently got married and still to go through the process of legally changing my name. However am confused when posed with the question single or married, for instance during my medical appointments. Does a name change matter to change my status from single to married, or i can now go with married eventhough i still use my old names.
    Thank you!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Does a name change matter to change my status from single to married, or i can now go with married eventhough i still use my old names.

      You'd answer marital status questions the same regardless of your name.

      Reply
  49. LeAnn

    I got married almost a year ago and that married name is on my marriage license. (My current last name is my previous husband's last name). Do I have to change my last name since it is on that marriage license? In other words do I have to change my last name with the Social Security Office, my license, etc, or is it ok and legal to keep my last name I have now but not change it on anything but a marriage license? I call my self and sign documents with my new married name, but if I don't have to change my name on all the other things I won't. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      In other words do I have to change my last name with the Social Security Office, my license, etc, or is it ok and legal to keep my last name I have now but not change it on anything but a marriage license?

      No, you do not have to change your name on any of those documents. Having a new name on your marriage certificate gives you the option to change your name, but that doesn't mean you have to use it.

      Reply
  50. Karen

    I got married a week ago, changed my last name to his on the marrage license, now I receive ssi. Do I need to change to married name or can I keep maiden name? I haven't changed anything except the marrage license. I want to be known as his last name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to change to married name or can I keep maiden name?

      It's optional. You don't have to change anything.

      Reply
  51. ASHLEY D MCCUTCHEON

    I will be getting married at the court house and then having a wedding later on. I plan on changing my name to his last name and that's what i put on the marriage certificate but i dont want to change my name with Social security and other documents cause we dont want people knowing until the wedding. But i was wanting to add him to my insurance. Can i legally do that without a name change and just as long as i provide the marriage certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      But i was wanting to add him to my insurance. Can i legally do that without a name change and just as long as i provide the marriage certificate?

      Yes, as the surname isn't relevant in such cases.

      Reply
  52. Takeesha

    I’m married (for 3 years now) and have accepted my husband’s last name, which is on my marriage certificate. I have certain benefits that I receive where I need to retain my maiden name, where I could potentially lose them if I go about changing my legal documents to my married name. I’m currently pregnant and was told by the hospital that if I wanted my married to be on the baby’s hospital ID, then I would need to change my ID reflecting my married name. Is there any way around this? I would like my baby to have my married name on the hospital ID.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Takeesha. Did you try presenting a copy of your marriage certificate to the hospital?

      Reply
      1. Takeesha

        That’s a good idea! If my insurance card has my maiden name on it as well, will they still accept my marriage license?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Takeesha. It's possible it may be accepted. It's ultimately up to the hospital.

          Reply
  53. Mia

    I have couple Questions:

    1. My husband is Latino and he has two last name (paternal and maternal) his birth certificate has both last name . Some documents have both last names and some only have the paternal last name . Our marriage certificate he used his birth name ( with the two last name ) From what i know in the U.S we only recognize one last name correct ? So can I change my last name to just his paternal last name ? He wants or family as in me and our kids to just carry the one last name . If it’s possibke to just use his paternal last name would we have an issues such as buying a home or anything else if his under two last names and I’m just under his one last name ?

    Second question:
    Say I file my 2017 taxes under my maiden name because at the time of filing I was still under my maiden name but say I just recently changed my last name (last week) on my SS card to my married name , Would i have an tax issues?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      So can I change my last name to just his paternal last name ?

      You'd typically have to take both, although a few states will allow you to take just a portion.

      If it’s possibke to just use his paternal last name would we have an issues such as buying a home or anything else if his under two last names and I’m just under his one last name?

      It's possible, but it's usually resolvable. A financial organization may require additional identity verification.

      Would i have an tax issues?

      It could result in a delay. If the tax office isn't able to resolve your name mismatch internally, you'll be contacted to make a correction.

      Reply
  54. Marian

    Hi! I changed my last name in 2013 to my son's Dad's last name. But is it possible to change it back to my maiden name? My Dad wanted me to pursue college and he wants me to graduate using his last name. And it is his last request for me since he has been sick and weak. Please help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Marian. You'd have to pursue a court-ordered name change to change your name again.

      Reply
  55. sanjana

    Hello,

    I want to keep my father's surname(A) after marriage but my surname was changed to my husband's surname(B).Me and my husband are together. I want my father's surname back for different reasons.

    Is it possible to change my surname to my father's surname(A).If possible what is the procedure.

    Please help me I am in need.

    Reply
  56. Marie

    Hi –

    I got married at city hall this week and listed my husband's name as my new name. I'm not feeling very attached to my old name and not sure I want to give it up! That said, we're moving to Switzerland in a few months for work and have to get the visas processed soon. Do I have to change my SSN, Passport etc to match the name on the license? Or can I leave it as is? I've heard the Swiss are sticklers for paperwork, so not sure how thorough they'll be.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to change my SSN, Passport etc to match the name on the license? Or can I leave it as is?

      You do not have to change the name on your social security card or passport to match your marriage license/certificate. You can leave it unchanged.

      I've heard the Swiss are sticklers for paperwork, so not sure how thorough they'll be.

      They will not be concerned that you chose no to change your name to match what's on your marriage record.

      Reply
  57. Bris

    Hello,

    I recently got married in CA (11/2018). My marriage Certificate reflects:
    FIRST MAIDEN MARRIED

    I have not changed my name anywhere – All of my documents (Passport, SS, DL, Bank, etc.) still remain as: FIRST MIDDLE MAIDEN

    I would like to change my name to reflect (on SS/DMV/PASSPORT):
    FIRST MIDDLE MAIDEN MARRIED

    Will I need to file a court order for this change? Can I start using FIRST MIDDLE MAIDEN MARRIED?

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I need to file a court order for this change?

      Yes, you would.

      Reply
  58. Genalyn

    Can I use my maiden name in my passport if my government id is already with my married name? Its my 1st time to get a passport.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Genalyn. You'll have to use your current legal name for your first time passport.

      Reply
  59. Ktf222

    Hi, My fiance and I are getting married in May. I am planning to add on his name instead of hyphenating it.
    Ex. My name is Kayla Brown and his name is Luke Smith, so my new name would be Kayla Brown Smith.He is planning on taking my name too but in the reverse: Luke Brown Smith.

    Because I am not hyphenating it, do I still have to change my name on all of my documents? We are doctors and I really don't want our medical licenses and degrees changed.
    We wanted to know if it were possible to make this change on the marriage license only. Would he still be able to go by just Luke Smith everywhere else??
    I hope this isn't too confusing!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Because I am not hyphenating it, do I still have to change my name on all of my documents?

      If you're going to legally change your name, your documents should be updated to reflect the change.

      We are doctors and I really don't want our medical licenses and degrees changed.

      They may not change visually, but the licensing boards will have outdated information.

      We wanted to know if it were possible to make this change on the marriage license only.

      Space-separated name changes aren't typically supported using a marriage record. You'll likely have to opt for a court-petitioned name change.

      Would he still be able to go by just Luke Smith everywhere else??

      Informally.

      Reply
  60. Kenisha

    Hi I got married for my green card and on my marriage certificate I add his last name to mines as gladden-Anderson and my working permit and Social came back as Anderson so my question is will it affect me from getting a ID what should I do

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kenisha. If you've only specified the hyphenated name on your marriage certificate while all your identity documents are only in his last name, then your subsequent ID's would just be in the non-hyphenated name as well.

      Reply
  61. Bethany J Easter

    I was married in Michigan in 1976 (way before computers) and changed my name to my husband's with Social Security, but not my driver's license or any other documents. Within a year, I "missed" my pretty maiden name and so resumed using it.

    But I never told Social Security of the change back.

    In 1979 we moved to Massachusetts, where I have ONLY been known by my maiden name, having turned in my Michigan driver's license (that had my maiden name on it) for a Massachusetts license. My license, my passport, my tax returns, my medical records, by financial transactions, my will and health proxy . . .even the court adoption for our son from Bogota, Colombia, in 1989, all are in my maiden name.

    Seeing as how I am turning 65 in 1919, I decided I'd better correct my name with Social Security, but much to my surprise that, unlike "the old days" when doing such things were much more lax, I have been told that they cannot change it back without a court order name change. (They were surprised that I had gone for so long without being "flagged" somewhere along the way!)

    I have no idea what Massachusetts is going to say to requesting a "change," since THEY'VE ONLY KNOWN ME BY MY MAIDEN NAME!

    Do you think it would be worthwhile to file a review of my case to Social Security, seeing as how I have been so long and with such a firm (and rather convincing, I think!) "paper trail" of my identity being my maiden name . . . Or should I just bite the bullet and see what the Massachusetts court system says to "Hey guys, I need a name change!"

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I have no idea what Massachusetts is going to say to requesting a "change," since THEY'VE ONLY KNOWN ME BY MY MAIDEN NAME!

      Court orders to reinforce the legality of a current name may seem curious, but is not an unusual circumstance.

      Do you think it would be worthwhile to file a review of my case to Social Security, seeing as how I have been so long and with such a firm (and rather convincing, I think!) "paper trail" of my identity being my maiden name

      You could give it a try, but you'll likely wind up right where you started.

      Or should I just bite the bullet and see what the Massachusetts court system says to "Hey guys, I need a name change!"

      The court wouldn't scoff at your request. They'll process your name change petition just like any other.

      Reply
  62. Kay

    Hi! So I got married in November. Bc of my higher ed / accomplishments I wanted to go by my maiden professionally or hyphen. When we signed the license I signed it was new name “maiden-married” well whirlwind of a cross country move for his job. And then I got a job as a contractor for gov – I had to be rushed to make a “business entity” in my name- so I did it all in my maiden since I haven’t done anything with social security yet.

    We already filed our taxes for 2017 w no problems. But looking forward – and especially w future kids or mortgage and social security benefits in way future… do I need to change my name w social security or just unofficially go by “maiden-married” ? (For example when have kids and sign birth certificate will it make it invalid if I sign maiden-married but not changed at social security? ) ?

    If I change with social security will it affect my contract position or my business entity if it is registered still with my maiden name since my new name will have my maiden name still in it and it’s the same number ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do I need to change my name w social security or just unofficially go by “maiden-married” ?

      Name change isnt' perfunctory just because a new name is cited on your marriage certificate.

      (For example when have kids and sign birth certificate will it make it invalid if I sign maiden-married but not changed at social security? ) ?

      No.

      If I change with social security will it affect my contract position or my business entity if it is registered still with my maiden name since my new name will have my maiden name still in it and it’s the same number ?

      It wouldn't affect either negatively. You can update the name on your business entity (DBA?) to reflect the name change.

      Reply
  63. Mayra

    Hello, I really need this questioned answered I got Married 7 months ago I have not changed my name in Drivers license or anywhere else , I have never taken out a passport planning to go out the country to Mexico in a few months do I have to change my name before I can get a passport

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do I have to change my name before I can get a passport

      No, you can get your new passport in your current, pre-marriage name.

      Reply
  64. Christi

    I live in Missouri and was married in Colorado about 7 months ago. At the time I was undecided on what to do about my last name. I have since decided that I would like it to be first middle maiden married. Are 2 last names without hyphens legally recognized? And if I’m not mistaken, i believe I just need to take my marriage certificate to the social security administration to start the name change, correct?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Christi. I don't believe that combination would be supported without a court order.

      Reply
  65. Echo Spencer

    Me and my husband have been separated (not legally) for 8 years. We have a child who is about to be 9. He hadn't been a part of her life unless it is convenient for him. Me and my daughter have moved to another state, and she has no want to see or be in contact with him. I am trying to get a divorce from here and I have many messages from him saying I can have full custody and he will sign is rights over. Then he turns around and says he doesn't want to. I want this divorce and want to move on with me and my daughter. Idk where to turn! Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Echo. You should consult with an attorney within your state. Was there something name-related you were also concerned with? Such as your changing your child's name?

      Reply
  66. Terri

    Hello. I've been widowed for ten years and would like to return to my maiden name. My concern is that all legal documents for the last 32 years – our children's birth certificates, home, cars, life insurance, etc. were signed with my married name. If I change my name legally will all those documents and certificates be compromised? In other words, would I have to re-sign all of these legal docs with my maiden name to show ownership of mortgage, policies, etc. in the event I wish to sell my home or car or…? Would my children have difficulty filing a beneficiary claim when I die?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I change my name legally will all those documents and certificates be compromised?

      No.

      In other words, would I have to re-sign all of these legal docs with my maiden name to show ownership of mortgage, policies, etc. in the event I wish to sell my home or car or…?

      No.

      Would my children have difficulty filing a beneficiary claim when I die?

      No, as they should have no problem confirming your identity.

      Reply
  67. Cindy

    Does a Florida marriage certificate have the space for the new married name? And if yes, does it allow for the wife to be FIRST MAIDEN MARRIED?
    and finally, from reading many of your previous q&a, did i correctly understand that even if the marriage certificate says FIRST MAIDEN MARRIED, i wouldn't have to legally change any documents and therefore while being legally married, use new married name socially, yet keep all legal documents with current name (first mi maiden)?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Does a Florida marriage certificate have the space for the new married name?

      No.

      And if yes, does it allow for the wife to be FIRST MAIDEN MARRIED?

      Yes, this name combination is allowed.

      did i correctly understand that even if the marriage certificate says FIRST MAIDEN MARRIED, i wouldn't have to legally change any documents

      Correct.

      Reply
      1. Cindy

        I'm confused. If the FL marriage license, certificate doesn't have the space for the new married name, where do you record the new married name? What is actually on the Florida marriage certificate?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Cindy. The marriage certificate as-is permits you to change your name.

          Reply
  68. Vibha

    Hello
    My offic surname n bank account name is my maiden name but my adhar surname is both surname like ashvarya Rai bucchun. I m asking just this is right for my future.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Vibha. The name on your aadhar card should match the name on your bank account.

      Reply
  69. cvb

    Hi Valera,
    So I am getting married in MA. Can I have the marriage certificate be First Maiden HisLast but just leave everything else as is?

    Essentially I am not sure what i want to do, so if I were to change it on the marriage license next month, I can leave everything else as it is currently? If in 5 years I decide, I can just go ahead with the SS and all that?

    My passport renews in 2019, for example. So I would just renew it as my current name until I choose to take his name?

    Thanks so much… I am sure this is a simple topic for you but I just want to be sure ;)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Essentially I am not sure what i want to do, so if I were to change it on the marriage license next month, I can leave everything else as it is currently? If in 5 years I decide, I can just go ahead with the SS and all that?

      Yes.

      My passport renews in 2019, for example. So I would just renew it as my current name until I choose to take his name?

      Yes, you could renew your passport in your current name while maintaining the option to change it to your husband's down the road.

      Reply
  70. Katty

    Hello, I got married 8 yrs ago in NV. I changed everything to my husband's last name since I got the Green Card. Now, i want to get my maiden name back and add a middle name. Will I need to file a court order for this change? I am going to travel to my country next month. Do I need to get a new passport first with my maiden name before I travel?

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now, i want to get my maiden name back and add a middle name. Will I need to file a court order for this change?

      Yes.

      I am going to travel to my country next month. Do I need to get a new passport first with my maiden name before I travel?

      No, but your tickets must be booked to match the name in your passport.

      Reply
  71. Cecilia thilili majola

    Hi there my name is cecilia got married in 1996 my husband passed away in 2002 we were still married when passed away,his family ill treated me after that,im using my husband surname now but i want to use my maiden name now,what can I do

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cecilia. You'd have to petition the court to legally restore your maiden name.

      Reply
  72. Bianca

    I recently got married and I just added my husbands last name. I still sign my forms with my maiden name. Im in the process of getting my license renew. My question is do i need to notify the DMV or may i just keep it as it is?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Biance. You should notify the DMV. They may even attempt to query the SSA database to confirm your current name, so they may be aware of your name change without you even bringing it up.

      Reply
      1. Bianca

        I haven't done any changes with SS, banks etc. pretty much everything is still the same with my information. Would I have to make changes? Because i added my husbands last name

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Would I have to make changes? Because i added my husbands last name

          In that case, no. If your intention to change your name to you husband's is only shown on the marriage certificate, then you can ignore it and change nothing.

          Reply
  73. 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
  74. 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
  75. 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
  76. 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
  77. 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
  78. 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
  79. 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
  80. 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

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