Use Your Maiden Name Even After a Name Change

Proud woman holding up her identification card with signature

Whether you're changing your name to better align with your new spouse's and kids' names or because you like the new name better, there may be situations where it makes sense to continue using your maiden name.

You could achieve the best of both worlds where:

  1. You change your name after marriage.
  2. You continue to use your maiden name when it suits you.

Let's explore real-life circumstances where it helps to use your maiden name over your married name, whether that's sometimes or even most of the time.

1. In professional contexts

If you've invested time building your maiden name into your professional identity, don't discard it arbitrarily: consider the consequences and prepare for the transition.

Woman riding ocean wave, clinging to orange life preserver
When necessary, reclaim your maiden name like a life preserver.

Even after changing their name through marriage, many people still use their maiden names in professional contexts. You can join the ranks of those who find this approach beneficial.

It's doable without conflict, while ensuring everything is legal and compartmentalized: your maiden name over here and your married name over there, coexisting peacefully.

Our online name change kit can help you complete this transition while you prepare for a future where your maiden name remains prominent in your life.

Everyone knows you by your maiden name

Consider the numerous places your maiden name is firmly plugged into the world, extending far beyond your diploma, professional license, or general reputation.

Woman standing besides electrical tower with cables wrapped around her
Your maiden name weaves through a complex circuitry of connections.

Your colleagues, customers, and clients know you by your maiden name. Your authored articles, references, and referrals from others are linked to your maiden name.

Your professional network converges around your name, weaving a web of recognition. Like Coca-Cola, you've covertly and masterfully branded your name throughout your life.

But now that you're married (or soon-to-be married) and have changed your name, it's like a burst of lightning, short-circuiting these connections.

Like X, formerly known as Twitter, you've warped and fragmented your brand recognition and must carry the "formerly known as" millstone around your neck.

But you might not have to undergo a complete reset…

Starting over with your married name

Changing your maiden name severs your network of associations until you assimilate your married name. Yet, like refreezing melted ice cream, it's never quite the same after.

Woman connecting multiple cables to mysterious device
Changing your name means reestablishing lost connections.

Traces of your maiden name will persist, etched into your birth records, and deeply embedded in genealogy databases, as well as in the memories of everyone you've met.

Covert woman spying in bushes with magnifying glass
Trace elements of your maiden name will never fully disappear.

While you can change your driver's license, you can't erase the historical record. Your yearbook is just one permanent testament to the past.

Yet this article isn't focused on downsides and rejecting your married name, but on completing the transformation while still placing your maiden name at the forefront.

Let's delve into putting your maiden name to work…

Here's one way dealing with name changes can get tricky: people still send mail and write checks to your maiden name even after you've switched to your married name.

Woman with headache experiencing exasperation
Managing the legacy of your maiden name is a necessary burden.

The opposite also is true: checks made out to your married name are problematic when you haven't yet updated your bank records away from your maiden name.

A name mismatch might disrupt check cashing, deposits, and direct payments, including those from employers or potential IRS tax refunds.

Prepare for the inevitable: talk with your bank and make sure they'll allow deposits in both your maiden and married names.

Woman cashing a check at an urban industrial bank
Upon request, your bank should accept checks in either your maiden or married name.

While you're at it, if you have a hyphenated name, go the extra mile by ensuring your bank accepts three name variations:

  1. Your maiden name
  2. Your hyphenated name
  3. Your spouse's surname only (just in case)

If you're well known by your bank's staff, an informal acknowledgment may be enough. But it's better to have an official notation recorded in your account that applies globally.

You should repeat this routine with every new bank account you open.

Notifying your bank is an often overlooked name change task that merits elevated importance alongside updating your social security card but rarely receives the attention it deserves.

Tick off this name change to-do early, as soon as you have a certified copy of your marriage certificate available to show your financial institution.

Doing business in your maiden name

Registering a DBA in your maiden name is useful when you need to conduct official business using your maiden name after changing it due to marriage.

Woman holding an illuminated light bulb
Bright idea: Register your maiden name as a DBA for business.

FYI, DBA stands for "doing business as" and is synonymous with other terms, such as fictitious business name, assumed name, brand name, trade name, or trading name.

This approach ensures seamless continuity and legal compliance, sparing you the need to alter business cards, letterheads, signatures, or the brand you've cultivated.

Put simply, a DBA is a clever way for you to use your maiden name as a legal alias, nickname, or pseudonym for your business or company.

Using your maiden name as a licensed professional

Having the aforementioned DBA in your maiden name is not a sufficient replacement for failing to update the legal name on a professional, government-issued license.

For instance, if you're a registered nurse or doctor, the DBA approach won't work. Instead, ask your state's licensing board about using your maiden name professionally.

Nurse dressed in dark turquoise uniform sits amongst colleagues at conference
Your state licensing board must permit the professional use of your maiden name.

In this scenario, your state's licensing board would record your married name as your legal name and add your maiden name as an alternative name.

This allows you to continue working under your maiden name as your professional name, legally and transparently.

State regulations vary, so contact your state's licensing board to confirm if this practice is permitted and its potential impact on your DEA number, NPI, etc.

Nurse dressed in white uniform looking up with hand on her chin
Obtain solid verification that your state allows use of your maiden name as an alias.

Consider requesting written confirmation from the board to acknowledge working under your maiden name as your professional name, despite your legal name change.

The preceding logic applies to other state-licensed professions too, such as dentists, pharmacists, psychologists, counselors, and physical therapists, among others.

2. In social contexts

Changing your name is a bold move, so it's understandable if you're reluctant to make the switch. After all, you've had the same name for your whole life… until now.

So, why bother changing?

Perhaps you're pragmatic in seeking a smoother experience with insurance and paperwork, or you may simply prefer to embrace the tradition of adopting your spouse's name.

In various situations, you don't necessarily have to strictly adhere to your legal name. Consider the context, exercise sound judgment, and avoid confining yourself to rigid boundaries.

For instance, when you're meeting new people who don't know your spouse and address you by your maiden name, there's no obligation to correct them.

Friends gathered around a crackling open fire barbecue grill
It's okay to use your maiden name socially or informally.

Another scenario is when you're meeting with old friends; you might want to stick with your maiden name, as your longtime friends may have trouble adjusting to your new name.

Most of these events are social in nature, so there are no legal implications to worry about. Feel free to rotate between your maiden and married names whenever you like.

When a security or background check gets ran against you, they'll ask for any previous names you've gone under to get a thorough look at your history.

Woman filling out security clearance document for background check
Revealing your maiden name is expected for a background check.

Background checks are standard for job applications, volunteer positions, and credit checks. In these cases, you're usually legally required to provide your maiden name.

How can you tell if it's required? Check the form; if it has a section for listing other names you've used, you'll typically find instructions mentioning "such as maiden names."

Better safe than sorry, unless you're really set on leaving your maiden name behind. In that case, ask whoever's handling your paperwork if listing your maiden name is mandatory.

Your legal name is the name on your social security record, which is also the name you'll use for tax filings, job applications, and W-2 forms.

Cheerful woman holding up a certificate showing her name
Always use your real name in legal contexts, paperwork, and contracts.

Beyond the talk of DBAs and social contexts, you must use your real name when filling out legal or government forms that asks for your name, current name, or legal name.

So if you've officially changed your name after marriage, but use your maiden name in social or formal capacities, your legal name and real name is your married name.

For instance, if you're an actor or singer with a stage name, you must sign your contracts and file your taxes using your real name. This is where artistry meets reality.

4. Paperwork not finished

One compelling reason to temporarily stick with your maiden name, whether you like it or not, is when you have paperwork and ID that still needs updating.

Woman drifting asleep atop a cluttered pile of paperwork
Your maiden name remains primary until your married name paperwork is done.

Before moving from your maiden name to your married name, the former will play a key role in preserving your legal identity before passing the baton.

When using your maiden name is unavoidable

Similar to methodically repairing a complex mechanical device, changing your name is a step-by-step process, addressing one document at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Woman repairing complex mechanical device
Name change is like a performing a complex fix or rebuild: one component or document at a time.

But you've also got to navigate when to strategically and temporarily hold onto your maiden name on a case-by-case basis, especially when time constraints or logistical challenges make updating everything in sequence impossible.

But sometimes the decision is out of your hands…

Certain documents are interconnected, requiring your names to match. In such cases, updating one ID necessitates changing others simultaneously.

For example, if your driver's license is in your married name, but your passport has your maiden name, international airline tickets must match the name in your passport.

Another example is if you've updated your social security card and nothing else, you must still file your taxes to match the name social security has on file.

Don't crack out of turn

Picture changing your name as a high-stakes game where you're juggling two identities: your maiden name and your married name.

Woman in seedy underground world playing high-stakes poker
Stay in character: Keep your maiden and married name in check.

Much like a con artist guards their words to avoid "cracking out of turn" and revealing their true intentions, you must master the art of smoothly transitioning from one name to the other.

Only when you've updated all your documents can you finally shift from your maiden name to your married name, preventing any identity "cracks" in your smooth changeover.

Managing multiple identities

You're managing conflicting identities, but each credential, from your social security card and driver's license to your bank accounts, allows only one name to prevail.

Woman with clown makeup holding a comedy tragedy mask
Transitioning names means handling two identities: old and new.

Keep a checklist of who has confirmed your name change. This will ensure that you never find yourself in an embarrassing situation where you're unsure which name to provide.

Woman writing on a blackboard covered with sticky notes
Maintain a list of where your name has changed: every document and organization.

Before obtaining official approval for your new name, introduce yourself with your maiden name, and then explain that you're in the process of changing it.

This is often enough to satisfy requirements at places such as banks, as they understand the time-consuming nature of the name change process.

5. Haven't decided to go through with it

For some, the decision to undergo a name change is a can they keep kicking down the road, sometimes for years.

Women sitting down with palms on chin, immersed in indecision
Uncertainty is a normal part of every name change decision.

It's a procrastination that can make them wonder if they've missed an unspoken name change deadline that'll snare them with penalties or consequences.

Buying yourself some time

You might choose to slow-walk the process by updating your legal name on certain documents while you mull over whether you genuinely want to undergo a name change.

Woman gazes at a dark atmospheric wall adorned with analog clocks
Don't rush your name change, lest you regret your decision.

You might even welcome the idea of name change at first, only to backtrack when it comes to signing documents and introducing yourself with an entirely new name.

You're not alone if you're not sure if name change is right for you at this time. Maintaining the status quo is a tempting alternative to indecision.

You can legally change your name, but if you ever want to switch back to your maiden name, you can do so at any time. It's a reversible decision.

At a minimum, make sure your preferred name is chosen before applying for a marriage license to avoid your marriage certificate missing your married name.

Closing thoughts on using your maiden name

Some people think changing or keeping their name after getting married as a Hobson's choice. In reality, you have room to maneuver.

You can legally change your name and still use your maiden name at work or with friends. So, you're not boxed in. It's about what feels right for you in the moment.

If you're interested in starting the name change process, our online name change kit provides expert guidance through the transition.

Our name change kit helps you change your name, either before or after marriage.

Start Your Name Change

3,169 Comments

  1. Will I get into legal trouble if I never changed my maiden name to my married name on my Ohio driver’s license? My license is still in my maiden name.

    • Will I get into legal trouble if I never changed my maiden name to my married name on my Ohio driver’s license?

      No, Ohio doesn't impose a penalty for failing to update the name on your driver's license. But when it comes time to renew your license, you'll have to do so in your new name.

  2. Hi so I divorced my husband in 2017 but never was it put into the court papers I wanted to change my name back to my maiden name. So my name is still legally my ex husband's but I still use my old social security card with my maiden name and also ID for legal documents like court papers etc. Is that okay?

    • Hi Sam. No, you should not use your old social security card with your maiden name for ID or legal purposes, as that is not your current legal name.

      You can contact the court to see if they're able to amend your divorce decree to restore your maiden name. Then you could use your revised decree to formalize a return to your maiden name.

      • What if my husbands last name is still on some legal documents? Will I have to change those or will they continue to stay the same even if I go to court and change my name back to my maiden name?

        • Hi Sam. You don't have to update your name on older documents or paper trails. They should be left alone to reflect your name at the time.

  3. When I was married I decided to keep my middle name and drop my maiden name. Now I want to use my maiden name as my middle name. Will I need to go through a name change with SS?

  4. I'm not yet married and trying to decide if I want to add my husband's name as a hyphen or keep my last name. If I add his name to my maiden name as hyphen what documents, do i need to have officially changed? If I keep my maiden name, do I still need to update my drivers license in any way or any other documents since I'm no longer "single"?

    • If I add his name to my maiden name as hyphen what documents, do i need to have officially changed?

      Social security card, driver's license, passport, etc.

      If I keep my maiden name, do I still need to update my drivers license in any way or any other documents since I'm no longer "single"?

      No. Marital status isn't shown on your driver's license or recorded by driver licensing agencies.

  5. I just received SSDI and I have Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal was put under my maiden name originally. I’m supposed to send Medi-Cal my award info from my backpay money to report. My award letter is in my MARRIED name. I sent it in with a note stating maiden name. And former married name. Problem is my legal name is still with SS. Sooooo. Two different names. What is going to happen?

    • Hi Lisa. You can contact your local county office to make sure your notation is sufficient for them to update your name. They may require supporting documentation to bridge your maiden name and married name, such as a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

  6. Hi! I had my name legally changed on my social security card but still have not changed my name on my license through the DMV. I have to get an identification card for work through our local sheriffs office.

    They will also be doing a back ground check. Will I have issues with my ID still stating my maiden name?

    • Hi Alexis. It depends on how extensive the background check is and what source's they'll be checking. If they reference social security, a name mismatch will occur. But you could explain that using a certified copy of your marriage certificate. You could preemptively bring it to their attention so as not to raise a red flag.

  7. Hello. My question is if marriage certificate have maiden name and married name listed but you haven't change any id's. When question comes have you been known by any other name(s)? The answer would be yes or no? Thanks.

    • Hi Jasmine. You would answer no, since you have not legally changed your name at that point in time.

    • My question was… I still have my name under my former husband. I received my medical card in my maiden name. I kept it that way and use it. Why did it not flag on the database? My SS is under my married name. Help please!

        • Tyrone, I’m keeping the married name on my SS and drivers license. With medi cal I need to make the change from my maiden name. I’ve used the card for 5 years! Is it going to be a problem at medi cal?

          • Hi Lisa. Changing your name won't affect your Medi-Cal coverage, but changes in your marital status and income might. You're focused on your name change, but that's a red herring. The real focus is the possibility that they'll recalculate your limits due to your divorce and any changes of income that might entail.

  8. I am divorced but have my name as his on social security. When I received my health insurance card it was put in my maiden name. I just kept it that way since that is my birth name. Any thoughts?

    • Hi Lisa. I assume you're referring to private medical insurance. If so, they wouldn't know that your name has changed with social security unless you notify them.

      Your medical insurance is processed under your social security number, not your name. It's important to make sure your medical insurance is under the proper name, but a name mismatch shouldn't result in coverage problems.

          • I’ve had my card for 5 years is it going to be ok! My drivers license and social security # have my married name.

          • Hi Lisa. Name change alone doesn't affect Medi-Cal coverage, but others factors might. For instance, Medi-Cal expects you to report changes to your income, family size, and marital status (i.e., married to divorce, and vice versa).

            You can review the Medi-Cal FAQ for additional information, or contact a local office.

            By the way, it's not clear to me which name you plan to settle on: maiden name (which is already on your Medi-Cal insurance) or married name (still on your social security card and driver's license).

            If your divorce decree contains an order restoring your maiden name and you want to return to your maiden name, you wouldn't need to change the name on Medi-Cal since it's already set to your maiden name. You would need to update social security and the California DMV instead.

  9. My ex-wife changed her name back to her maiden name when we got divorced. That was over 2 years ago. But she continues to use my last name on documents. Is that legal? Should I refuse to honor documents where she still uses my last name given that it is no longer her legal name?

    • My ex-wife changed her name back to her maiden name when we got divorced.

      It's worth clarifying if she had the judge restore her maiden name in the final divorce decree, but didn't follow through with a legal name change on her social security card. If she did the former but not the latter, then her legal name is still her married name and not her maiden name.

      But she continues to use my last name on documents. Is that legal?

      Same point as above. If she didn't formally change her name with social security, then her legal name is still her married name. If she did change it, then her usage wouldn't be proper if used on governmental, tax, or other legal documents.

      Should I refuse to honor documents where she still uses my last name given that it is no longer her legal name?

      Same point. Are you certain what her real legal name is? She may have decided not to restore her maiden name or chose to defer the change. The option for her to revert doesn't have a time limit.

  10. Hello, I am getting married. Can I opt to take my husbands last name, but still use my maiden name? I want to take his last name and do the name change, but I am not currently in a position to make all those changes officially.

    So can I take his name but continue to use my maiden name? What if I opt to take his last name, but never go to social security. Does that mean my name is legally the same? Or is it recognized as my married name?

    • Can I opt to take my husbands last name, but still use my maiden name?

      You can take your husband's name informally, without updating legal documents.

      I want to take his last name and do the name change, but I am not currently in a position to make all those changes officially.

      You can make the changes later when you're ready.

      What if I opt to take his last name, but never go to social security.

      Then your legal name stays the same. Name change is not mandatory and it is not automatic.

      Does that mean my name is legally the same? Or is it recognized as my married name?

      If you don't update your social security card to your new married name, your current non-married name is still considered your legal name.

  11. I'll be getting married, want to put his name then mine. They would be hyphenated. Would I have to do name change forms?

    • Hi Angela. I'm not sure what you mean by "do name change forms." Whether you're hyphenating or taking your spouse's surname alone, you would have to submit the same name change forms the same way.

  12. I applied for a credit card and was given a $300 limit. When it came in the mail it had my maiden name. I have not used my maiden name since 97′. I've been divorced for 15 years and never changed my name back. Can I still activate it?

    • Hi Deborah. You could activate your credit card, but why not get a new card with your proper name? Either way, the credit bureaus maintain a history of prior names.

  13. I recently got married and I also recently became a licensed physical therapist in PA. Is it possible to have my name legally changed to my husband’s last name, but continue to practice with my maiden name professionally?

    • Hi Imani. You'll have to contact the State Board of Physical Therapy to inquire if they'll allow the use of a prior name or alias while maintaining your legal name on file.

  14. Hi, I am currently separated and going through a divorce with my spouse. Expecting a baby to be born in July with my current partner. I never legally changed my last name with social security to my spouse's.

    When my baby is born I was told that the child would have my last name listed and not the father's until the divorce is final. That we could have the baby's last name changed to that of the biological father's with a paternity acknowledgment that we could take to the local health department to have the child's last name changed.

    Would the child have my married name or my legal last name on her original birth certificate since I never legally changed my last name on any of my documents?

    I was wondering what last name she would have because legally I go by my maiden name because I never changed it with social security, but it is listed on my marriage license as my spouses last name.

    • Would the child have my married name or my legal last name on her original birth certificate

      Your child would have your current legal name on her birth certificate, which is your maiden name.

  15. I got married in Nigeria to my husband and I changed my name in the US. So now that I'm filing my tax return my W-2 will have my married name one day, but at the moment I am doing a fiance visa and I'm not using the marriage in Nigeria.

    We will have three months to get married in the US and I see they will be asking for tax return documents. Would that stop him from coming to America by me filing 2023 and my married name I am really confused right now I need your help.

    • Hi Benita. You should file your tax return in your current legal name. It shouldn't affect your fiance visa.

  16. I got married and changed my surname on my DL and with my SSN, taking my maiden name as a second middle name. However, I still use bank accounts and freelance work online with just my maiden name for convenience. Can I be given a 1099 using my maiden name or does it have to match my Social Security card and DL?

    • Can I be given a 1099 using my maiden name or does it have to match my Social Security card and DL?

      You should get 1099s and file in your married name to match what the SSA has on file.

  17. Hi,

    I'm English and married to a Portuguese man. We married in Portugal 12 years ago and I've never changed any of my documents. On the marriage license it has my full name with his surname added on the end.

    I don't want to use his name as it is difficult to pronounce. Is it legal for me to only use my maiden name, even though it's double barreled with his?

    Thanks for your help

  18. Hi,
    I am an APN in NJ and recently married. I am considering to legally change my last name to my husbands last name. However, I would like to know if I can practice under my maiden name if all documents related to my APN licenses are under the same maiden name and if I can just change my legal last name (my husbands) to SS, Taxes, etc.

  19. If I'm divorced and changed my name back to my maiden name… yet I have checks in my married name… how do I sign the check? It says my married name on the check.

    • Hi C. Most banks will not have trouble accommodating checks in your prior name when you can bridge your old and new name. For instance, a photocopy of your marriage certificate would show your old name. Old (current or expired) ID in your old name could work as well.

  20. Thank you for this incredibly helpful website!

    I have used my maiden name professionally for the past 6 years without an issue. But now, my new employer does not allow professional names and is forcing me to use my legal name within my new organization. But no one outside my new organization can find me, as they only know me by my maiden name.

    I haven't been given an actual reason why my professional name is not allowed. (For example, I don't work in a field that involves licensing or requires liability insurance in my legal name.) It doesn't sound like a DBA would help me, as I'm not running my own business; I'm an employee in a larger organization.

    Of course, I'm happy for my legal name to be used for all legal purposes within HR; but when interacting with other employees outside of HR as well as people outside of my organization, I want to be known by my professional name. And since I'm asking HR to include my professional name, they will have an official record connecting my professional name to my legal name at their organization.

    Do I have any legal right to using my professional name? Can an employer actually prevent the use of a professional name? Is there any action I can take to force my employer to use my professional name? Thank you for your thoughts.

    • Hi Maria. Your employer isn't obligated to accommodate anything beyond your legal name. But you can have an attorney write a letter favorable to your position and present that to your employer. Such form letters aren't very expensive. Many attorneys can whip them up in a few minutes with flowery language.

      It doesn't have to have a threatening tone. It can read informative with the unspoken understanding that if an employee is so willing to consult an attorney, this may not be something they want to push and aggravate.

      They may need a subtle nudge to provide reasonable accommodation to prevent undue harm.

  21. I got married and added my spouse last name to my last name (hyphenated), but now I just want his name. Can I drop my maiden name and just keep his last name without having to go to probate court?

  22. As a teenager, my mother changed our LAST names legally which is the LAST name I used until I got married.
    (let’s use colors and shapes as an example).

    Born: Pink
    Legal name change as a teen: Blue
    Married to: Rectangle
    New married last name: Rectangle-Blue

    I then got divorced and kept his last name but dropped mine.
    New divorced last name: Rectangle
    (Passport, SS is all under this name)

    My question is can I use my original married name again? Rectangle-Blue or perhaps even switch it to use mine at the front? So Blue-Rectangle?
    If so, what would be my first step?
    SS Card I assume?

    Btw I did remarry but did not take on his last name and do not plan to.

    • My question is can I use my original married name again?

      You'll need a new name change event document. Your divorce decree wouldn't work. Neither would your old marriage certificate. That leaves court order as your go-to.

      Rectangle-Blue or perhaps even switch it to use mine at the front? So Blue-Rectangle?

      All possible with a court order.

      If so, what would be my first step? SS Card I assume?

      Court petition, then social security.

  23. Hello, I'm from the Philippines. I had my driver's license with my maiden name, I got this marriage contract with my ex-husband last 2009 using his last name in my passport, but on all my IDs and my other documents, I'm using my maiden name.

    Now I will apply for work and decided to use still my maiden name, not the last name of my ex-husband's because it's been a long time since we separated. Is this still fine?

    I don't have any grounds for this? Is this still legal? I want to remove the last name of my ex-husband, I want to use my maiden name still. Please, advise me, thanks!

    • Hi Jocelyn. Are you trying to make these changes in the Philippines or in the United States?

  24. Hi there,

    Thank you so much for your website!! It is the only useful site I’ve found during this stressful process of deciding what my name will be!

    I would like to take my fiancés last name, but still go by my maiden name professionally. (I am in Hawaii )

    I wanted to make my maiden name a second middle name and still practice by by maiden name. Through some sources I have found that this may not be possible legally.

    Would it be possible to add his last name to my last name, with just a space and no hyphen?

    His last name is already two words- Dela Cruz.

    For example- Ann Mary Smith Dela Cruz

    And then would I be able to legally change it (ss card, drivers license, passport) but for certain purposes (work) just go by my maiden last name since it will technically be a part of my last name? And then socially just go by his last name ?

    Thanks so much!

    • Would it be possible to add his last name to my last name, with just a space and no hyphen?

      Yes, space or hyphen.

      but for certain purposes (work) just go by my maiden last name

      That's up to your employer to accommodate. But W-2s must be filed in the name that matches what's on your social security record.

      So they may be willing to informally honor your maiden name in work settings and correspondence, but they they must use your legal name for social security, taxes, etc.

      And then socially just go by his last name?

      Yes, but socially would equate to your legal name. Your situation is a bit inverse to others who more commonly approach this. For them, they choose to keep their maiden name as their legal name while going by their spouse's socially. Either way could work though.

  25. If we got married in Tennessee would it be ok for future wife keep her maiden name for financial purposes and use my name for social things. How would you put this on marriage license.

    • in Tennessee would it be ok for future wife keep her maiden name for financial purposes and use my name for social things

      Yes, that would work fine.

      How would you put this on marriage license.

      You would use your current legal names when applying.

  26. When going to get an ID card 42 years ago my son's father and I went to the DMV and we were planning on getting married. The DMV agent asked me point blank what name did I want to use. I took his last name and they gave me an ID are and later a driver's license with out proof of marriage. I had used that last name for many years. I married in 1997 and now have my current husband's last name. I can't prove the other last name. What would be your advice?

    • Hi Beth. You can prove you held your previous married name with expired ID, medical records, tax returns, or pay stubs. You can also use a copy of your prior marriage certificate where your married name could be pieced together. It may not say your "new name is" so and so, but you can extrapolate your changed name from you and your spouse's name as shown.

  27. Hello!

    Not sure if my situation has been asked before but thank you in advance for your response. Sorry for the long read in advance as well!!

    My husband and I got married early 2021 in NYC. On our marriage certificate I have that I would take his last name as my new surname. I was not aware of the power of hyphening last names at the time.. (be able use maiden and/or husband's). If I knew I would have put new surname as maiden-husband's.

    I was planning to legally keep my maiden name and socially use my husband's surname but my husband really wants me to update it.

    My DL renewal is coming up so I was going to update all my legal documents.. (SSN, passport DL). I was going to make my middle name as my maiden name, but I read somewhere the middle name does not count as part of your legal name. Is this true? Often times I don't even see middle names show on paperwork, or it's normally only a middle name initial. Is there an name change option where my full name will always show? (Firstname_maiden_husband's)

    Would SSN, DMV or passport allow me to hyphenate our last names even though the marriage certificate shows my new surname as only husbands? My full maiden name is displayed on the certificate as well, does it help my situation? Haha

    We are also having a baby soon and he feels the birth certificate with the same last name shows uniformity between us.. on the birth certificate can I put my name as "firstname_maiden_husbands" even if it might not match my legal documents? Is there any legal issues with this depending on what your answer is to the above questions?

    Phew, that was a long one.
    Thank you in advance again!

    • Forgot to ask, is there a specific order I need to change my name by? Would I be able to renew/upgrade to an enchanted DL first or does it always start with SSN change?

      I was going to try my luck submitting the SSN form with a hyphenated name and see if they would accept or reject it.

      • is there a specific order I need to change my name by? Would I be able to renew/upgrade to an enchanted DL first or does it always start with SSN change?

        Social security before driver's license.

    • I read somewhere the middle name does not count as part of your legal name. Is this true?

      Yes, but that doesn't mean it can't be changed.

      Is there an name change option where my full name will always show? (Firstname_maiden_husband’s)

      What's shown on a non-government form isn't the same as changing your name on official government credentials. The latter should use your full name.

      Would SSN, DMV or passport allow me to hyphenate our last names even though the marriage certificate shows my new surname as only husbands?

      The new name shown on your certificate is what must be used.

      My full maiden name is displayed on the certificate as well, does it help my situation?

      No, they'll still use your new name as shown.

      on the birth certificate can I put my name as "firstname_maiden_husbands" even if it might not match my legal documents?

      Yes, you can.

  28. Hey,

    I recently got married and changed my name on both my ss card and drivers license. I was just hired for a new position and would like to use my passport (has maiden name) as one of the W2 requirements. On the form, I did list my maiden name as other names known by. Am I able to use my passport even though it has maiden name?

  29. This is a super compassionate piece. Changing names seems like a petty issue until we're living it in out within complex situations. Thank you for writing this and sharing.

    • Changing names seems like a petty issue until we're living it in out within complex situations.

      Agreed.

      Thank you for writing this and sharing.

      Thanks for coming by.

  30. What about for a RN in New York State?

    If I change my name on on the marriage certificate, but only want to use it socially, can I keep my RN license in my maiden name? The NY Professional website says a RN License name change needs to be updated within 30 days of the change.

    I cannot understand if this means after the marriage certificate is completed, or after a Social Security change.

    • can I keep my RN license in my maiden name?

      Yes, you can.

      NY Professional website says a RN License name change needs to be updated within 30 days of the change.

      This doesn't apply in your case, as you're not changing it legally.

      this means after the marriage certificate is completed, or after a Social Security change.

      It means after social security.

  31. I got married in NY and chose to hyphenate my last name on the marriage certificate, maiden-husbands surname. I have a few questions about how this hyphenated name change can work.
    1. If I only want to change my DL and passport to the hyphenated surname and keep my SS card with my maiden name. Would that be an issue?

    2. if I updated my SS to the hyphenated name, do i have the option to still go by my maiden name professionally and keep my bank accounts in my maiden name?

    3. Can I update my SS card and only use my husbands surname on my DL and passport?

    • and keep my SS card with my maiden name. Would that be an issue?

      Yes, that would be an issue. The name on your NY driver's license must match what's on your current social security card/record. They'll check this electronically to confirm.

      do i have the option to still go by my maiden name professionally

      Yes, informally.

      and keep my bank accounts in my maiden name?

      Your bank should be able to accommodate.

      Can I update my SS card and only use my husbands surname on my DL and passport?

      Your name change across documents—social security card, driver's license, passport—would have to match the name on your marriage certificate, which is the hyphenated name.

  32. Hi – I recently got married and changed my name on my SSN to my husbands last name but added my maiden name as my second middle name. I am also in process of renewing my passport with the same name. Do I need to immediately change my name at the DMV in PA or can I wait until my license is up for renewal (in 2 years)?

  33. Hi, I got married and changed my last name to his with SS and DMV. We have been married since October 2020 so I am in the process of changing some things as I was late changing my name to his, done in June 2021.

    My question is the title on my car is in my old last name and so is my car insurance. If I change the title to my car to my married name will it hurt anything without changing the insurance policy.

    I would also like to add him a 2nd owner to my car title. We are not combining car insurance polices because right now we live in separate states. I live in Georgia. So he is not on my car insurance. Driver's license shows the new name.

    • If I change the title to my car to my married name will it hurt anything without changing the insurance policy.

      If you have an auto claim, they may refuse to pay due to your name mismatch. This should be resolvable if such situation arises, but why put yourself through a potential hassle. It's a good idea to update your auto insurance to match your new name. Sooner or later you'll have to get this done.

  34. Hello, I got married & I did changed my last name to my husbands. I also change my documents to my husband last name. Now I’m starting a job & I’m trying to use my old last name due to personal business. Is this possible?

    • Hi Aleah. That's up to your place of employment to accommodate. But when they report employment data to the IRS and state, they'll have to use your legal, married name.

  35. Hello. I got divorced 17 years ago. I tried to get my driver’s license renewed but DMV in my state won’t let me drop off my ex name on my driver’s license even though my maiden name is also listed on my driver’s license. The personnel informed me that I need proof that I got divorced. I can’t find my divorce decree due to moving over the years.

    I never changed my maiden name on my SSN but added my ex name to the driver’s license and changed my military record to my ex name when I got married but never changed it back to my maiden name after my divorce due to my kids. What do I need to do?

    • Hi Marivic. You'll need to contact the court where your divorce was finalized to obtain a new certified copy of your divorce decree. Some states provide that at state-level vital records office. Then use it to change your name with federal and state agencies.

  36. I am a physician in Texas. When I moved here 8 years ago I was licensed and starting working under my maiden name. I was married 7 years ago and changed my name on social security card 6 years ago —hyphenated name: maiden-husband’s. However, I never changed it on other documents and continue working professionally under maiden name.

    Our mortgage is under my legal name but bank accounts, etc remain under maiden. It is time to renew DL, and I think it has been flagged as mismatch because I am required to come in to renew. I am ok to change it on my DL but it will not match my medical license. Is this an issue?

    My job is aware of the change and it has never come up as an issue w several medical license renewals. Might this cause problems eventually? I am considering just going back to maiden if so. Will this require me to go to court?

    Thank you for the help. I’ve learned a lot from reading the other responses.

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

      You're find. They needn't match.

      Might this cause problems eventually?

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

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

      The Social Security Administration supports a "name correction" using your marriage certificate. It's effectively a name reversal. It's not a well known or utilized option, but it's there. You can revert to your maiden name without going to court. This is a viable option for those who's changed their names only on their social security card and nothing else. Or at least nothing else that couldn't easily be reversed.

      Even though your name change was several years back, it doesn't appear you've updated many documents to reflect your married name. Performing a reversal may be a viable path. Keep in mind, if you ultimately do change your driver's license to match your married name, this correction option would be closed to you on the state level. Reverting to your maiden on your driver's license would then require a court order.

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

  38. Hello,

    I got married in June 2020 and chose to change my last name to my husbands but never changed it on any other documents such as social security or passport. I live in California. Is it legal to continue using my maiden name on documents after changing it on marriage certificate?

    • Is it legal to continue using my maiden name on documents after changing it on marriage certificate?

      Not only is it legal, it's what you should do.

  39. The first time I was married I kept my maiden name. My husband passed away and I later remarried (same state) but this time I signed the marriage license with my maiden name -hyphenated husband's last name.

    Shortly after getting married my husband was stricken with cancer and I never got around to changing my driver's license or social security card. In fact, almost everything I sign with my maiden name.

    I am concerned that changing my name will throw something going smoothly into some red tape nightmare. With medical bills, every penny we have is needed and I hate having to fork out what is quite a bit of money to us right now for changing my driver's license and vehicle registration.

    My vehicle was joint of ownership of both myself and my first husband. When he passed away I notified DMV but not file any paperwork as there was no name change then.

    My second husband added to me his vehicle registration as co-owner and he used my hyphenated name. I was married and live in the State of Oregon. I assumed that as long as my name was included, it would cover me for both marriages.

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

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

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

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

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

      You may be in search of a solution for a problem that doesn't exist. You can correct the name on your Oregon vehicle registration without paying a fee.

  40. I got divorced in 2019 with a petition to change last name to maiden again. "petitioner would like maiden name restored and from this day be known as…" however I did not change my Drivers license and now I am getting my real estate license.

    My questions is do I have to have ID with my maiden name in order to advertise with said name or can I have my Drivers license in my married last name and still conduct business in my maiden name?

    • Hi Sandy. You must use your legal name in legal contexts. For advertising, you can look into a DBA. It can be in your maiden name. Contracts, taxes, and state and federal filings should be in your legal name, which is still your married name.

  41. I was married 6 years ago in NY. I put that I was going to change my name and our marriage certificate lists my new surname as my husband's last name. I never changed a single piece of identification to my married name and I want to keep my maiden name going forward. Do I have to get a legal name change because of what's on the marriage license?

    • Do I have to get a legal name change because of what's on the marriage license?

      You can ignore what's on your marriage license. You're not obligated to change your name just because your marriage license says you will.

  42. Hi, I have been married for 7 years and never changed my name (wasn't ready). I am ready to change it now, but I have no idea where to start. I live in California and am on title with my home with my present name (maiden). Can I fill out a quit claim that transfers it to me in my new name?

    Also, can I just add my husband's name to the end without a hyphen? Like if my name is Jane Doe, does it have to read Jane Doe-Smith or can it read Jane Doe Smith (without the hypen)? That way I can maintain my maiden name (which I use professionally) as my last name and include my husband's name.

    • Can I fill out a quit claim that transfers it to me in my new name?

      Using a quitclaim deed would be reasonable, assuming you've already changed your name in an official capacity. But you're not at that point.

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

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

  43. Hello, I was married and divorced but I still have my ex husbands last name. I plan on getting married this summer, however I am not sure if I can revert back to my maiden name & hyphenate. Or if I have to do anything special in order to do this? Please help!

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

  44. I'm getting married in December and would like to take his last name. However, I'm a probation officer and would really prefer to keep my maiden name at work. I actually decided to make my maiden name my middle name so it would be Christina (maiden name)(married name).

    No one seems to think it would be an issue although the administrator does think that I'll have to give the auditor's office my official new last name for tax purposes. My concern is when I have a court hearing that I have to testify, which doesn't happen often but does happen, would I just state my full name at that point?

    • No one seems to think it would be an issue although the administrator does think that I'll have to give the auditor's office my official new last name for tax purposes.

      This makes sense. If you're employer allows this, you're fine. Whatever the outcome, they will have to file taxes under your new legal name, even if you're using your prior name informally or as a work-approved alias.

  45. If you want your maiden name on your passport, you can apply for a brand new one (not a renewal) in person at an acceptance facility. They usually will accept either the name on your birth certificate or the one on your driver's license. If you have an old, expired passport take it along also.

  46. I'm married 40 years ago using my husbands surname to all my documents specially passport, but we are separated 35 years. Can I use my married certificate to renew or get a new passport, not using my birth certificate because my last name on my passport is my husbands surname? Thank you.

    • Hi Emmie. If you're keeping the name on your passport the same, then you don't need to supply your marriage certificate. If you're trying to change it back to your maiden name, you'll have to supply a document that justifies the change. Such as a divorce decree restoring your prior name.

  47. Hello,

    I got married back in 2016 and when we went to the court house and signed our marriage certificate, I put that I was going to change my last name to my husbands last name ( Morales ). Got married, and never updated my Taxes, SSN, DL, Passport, nothing at all kept using my Maiden name ( Garcia ) everywhere.

    At that time, I didn't wanted to go through that hassle so just pushed it to the side and now I'm 4 years late. I still don't want to go through that hassle and it's time for me to get a Real ID and also renew my passport.

    Am I going to have to change everything now? I guess my main concern is now realizing that my passport will expire 2022 and looking at the application it ask "List all other names you have used" How will handle this if I want to keep renewing it under my maiden name ( Garcia ). Help :(

    • Am I going to have to change everything now?

      No, you can leave everything the same.

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

      Continue using your maiden name. Don't list the married name you never took. It wouldn't be valid if you did, as you haven't changed it anywhere beyond your marriage certificate.

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

    • No it is actually legal but you have the right to send them back saying it needs to be changed to the name you are requesting. Each person has a specific amount of days to respond after being served. If you don’t respond in time it will be more difficult later on. I would suggest speaking to legal aid

  49. Hello, I am a US Citizen. I got married abroad in my birth country in Europe. When we were getting married I took my husbands last name. However, I have not yet changed any of my legal documents (SSN, Passport, DL, Debit/Credit Cards, etc.) from my maiden name to my married name. So all of my ID's still say my maiden name.

    We are planning to apply for my husbands immigration papers soon, so that we can live together in the US. I was wondering whether I should use my married name or maiden name when filling out the papers for a spousal visa?

    • wondering whether I should use my married name or maiden name when filling out the papers for a spousal visa?

      Maiden name, as you haven't legally changed it yet.

  50. Does anyone else see how ridiculous this is, this is how the government works, one agency doesn't know what the other is doing. It seems to me that its only women who have this issue.

    I, am in the middle of it as we speak, I feel discriminated against, they make me feel like a criminal, like I'm the stupidest person alive, with the snarky attitudes I get when asking them to explain at the DMV. They all has us chasing or tails.

  51. I’ve been married for 12 years, own a house, 2 businesses, have 2 kids. I have continued to use my maiden name throughout the entire marriage and as we purchased our house and started businesses and had kids. I wanted to change my last name to my husbands but not sure if I have to change all of my businesses paperwork, home deed and children’s birth certificates to match marriage last name.

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

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

      home deed

      It's a good idea to change the name on your home deed, so that your identity isn't in question during a name mismatch. If you later try to sell your property, the name mismatch could delay proceedings. Verification is an avoidable hassle.

      and children’s birth certificates to match marriage last name

      You needn't worry about this one.

  52. Hello

    My divorce was finalized in may of last year and on our final judgment papers it states that my name is to be restored to my maiden name I never changed any legal documents back to maiden name all still have ex’s name I plan to remarry this year will it be a issue that I haven’t changed my name on legal documents I still am unsure if I wanna go back to maiden name or new husbands name and would hate to do 2 names changed back to back

    • It will only matter with your social security card and passport. Or if you ever misplace a document it will be very difficult to get a replacement because the proper channels weren’t followed.

      I learned this the hard way with my social security card and driver’s license when I relocated to a different state.

  53. I have been married over 50 years and took my husband's last name as mine. He is currently discussing changing his name to his birth name. His mother had his name changed when she remarried but later divorced.

    I would also do a name change so that our last names are the same. Is it possible for me to continue using my current married name or do I have to change everything once the name is legally changed?

    TIA

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

      • Thank you for your quick response. Once I have changed my name legally, do I need to change everything or are there are some things I can leave unchanged, like bank accounts, memberships in clubs, etc? Definitely will change my name on house deed, but do I need to change it on the title to my car?

        • Hi Ellen. You may not need to change the name on your bank accounts, but it doesn't hurt to alert them of your new legal name. This way they'll have it on file, while still allowing the issuance of checks and credit/debit cards in your old name.

          You don't have to update your car title, but it's a good idea since you'll be updating your driver's license.

        • Hi!
          I still have credit and debt cards in my ex-husbands name and have had no issue with it. But with the more serious documents, I changed it to match my divorce decree after the social security office was giving me a hard time.

          Also, if you misplace or lose any documents like a passport, marriage license, social security card etc, it will be very difficult and time consuming to get issued new ones if you don’t change your name to match the marriage certificate.

          Bank accounts, car loans, memberships, etc don’t matter, only the big important documents. Things vary depending on the state as well so I would look into your question with a legal professional in your state

  54. I’m curious as to which documents or ids I’m able to change to my husbands without my last name being changed on my actual birth certificate. Is that possible?

    • Hi Rose. You don't (and shouldn't) have to change your name on your birth certificate when changing it through marriage. Do you have a specific situation where you're needing this to be done?

  55. Hello, great article! I have a question too. I'm a U.S. citizen. My first marriage I didn't change my name. Now I'm getting married again in Europe. I plan to take my husband's name. But my American passport, SS card and bank account all with my unmarried name. Can I leave things this way? Meaning in America everything will stay on one name and in Europe, on my married name (another passport, bank account etc). Is this completely legal?

    Also, my first marriage nd divorced papers are lost, is there a way for me to get these documents online, because they are being required in Europe before marriage. If I can't get them (I cannot fly to America for that), can I just not mention my first marriage and divorce at all? How this can be ever checked? Thanks a lot!

    • Can I leave things this way? Meaning in America everything will stay on one name and in Europe, on my married name (another passport, bank account etc).

      Yes, but it could be a trial to juggle.

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

      Yes, you can contact the vital records office for your state and have them mail you out a copy. If you're traveling soon, you should consider requesting expedited processing and shipping.

  56. Can I have the choice of signing documents with either my maiden name or my married name if I don't hyphen? e.g. Tanya Smith Brown
    Or do I still need to sign with both? Asking because I would like to sign with my Maiden name on financial things, only because my real maiden name is difficult to spell, ( harder for identity theft). Then I would sign with married name for things like hotel rooms or fishing license, etc.

    • Hi Tanya. You should sign your legal name on legal documents, contract, government forms, etc. Other documents, you can go in a more informal direction.

    • I also wanted to ask a similar question to this.

      I was just married I Hawaii in 2022 and chose to take husbands last name and my last name on the certificate. Maiden name Jen Jones, married name Jen Jones Smith. No middle name but two last names.

      The person who advised me said I can use either name since I didn't use a hyphen. But it sounds like as soon as you change it with SS card, then the two last names must be signed at all times.

      So I don't know why she said I could choose t use either name when I wanted to. I'm guessing I misunderstood her

      • But it sounds like as soon as you change it with SS card, then the two last names must be signed at all times.

        When signing legal or government documents, use both names. For social situations, you can use either name.

  57. Hello!

    When my husband and I got married back in Sept. 2018, I was undecided on what to do with my name, so I've continued to use my maiden name without changing any of my legal documentation.

    I've now decided I would like to keep both – add his name as an additional name to the end while keeping my current full name (S______ D_______ A______ C______).

    Is this possible if it is not specified as such on the original marriage certificate? If I remember correctly, the application did not specify a space for a name change (South Dakota).

    Thank you!

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

      Yes, you can still change it.

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

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

  58. I'm married and turning 4 years this month of May. I'm a stay-at-home solo parent for the past 3 years with a 3-year-old son. My husband and I are not together since we got married and no support.

    I've had already a marriage certificate, Philhealth status changed to married with the ID, my SSS status had changed also but my UMID is still single. Other ID's like Pag-Ibig, TIN, Passport still maiden name and single.

    My concern is, this time I am looking for a local/overseas job. I want to use my maiden name with a single status.

    I've tried already to fill-out forms in my maiden name.

    Does it make conflicts in getting NBI clearance?

    What about the Philippine ID system and passport renewal.
    Can I use also my maiden name with single status?

    Hope to make this clear for me, I'm not after my husband's financial support since he has also first children and needs to support his more siblings/family.

    • Hi Jielica. You can apply for NBI clearance using your maiden name with single status. You're supposed to use your married name if you've changed it, but the system will allow you to do so in your maiden name.

      When it comes to your passport, it could become an issue if your married name surfaces during the application process. It may now surface, but if it does it can make things difficult.

  59. I have changed my name officially after my marriage, however I do not want to change my name in office as every one over there recognize me by my madien name even client as well. Is it ok if I won't change my name in office. And also request govt to bring up a law that after marriage a girl should not change her name.

    • Hi DR. If you've changed your name with social security, that means the IRS will know of your new name. If your workplace is filing taxes in your old name, a mismatch will occur. You'll want to make sure your office is filing in the correct name.

      You may have to come to an understanding with HR (or equivalent) that you may accept them having your current name on file, but prefer to continue being addressed by your maiden name.

  60. I changed my name on my marriage certificate, but never legally changed any documents (social security card, ID etc). Which is my legal name, the name on my documents (maiden) or the name on my marriage certificate?

  61. Hi, This site is very helpful, thank you! I have a dilemma because I changed my name to my husband's last name when we were married 6 years ago on the marriage certificate only. (I put his last name as the new surname). However, I never changed anything else.

    I don't want to change my name but he really wants me too, so it's a constant battle. I agreed that I would use his name socially but I want to keep my name professionally (I am a doctor and have a publications/referrals under my maiden name).

    I am about to purchase a practice and would like to have everything under my maiden name there still. I know he really wants me to change my name legally, but I don't know if that will make a mess of the practice purchase, especially when I want it to be called ___my name__ Dental.

    I am ok with having two last names if that's a possibility (no hyphen, it's awful with a hyphen :P) to make paperwork easier. However, I don't know if there will be tax ramifications if I have two last names / change my name but am still practicing under my maiden name. What would you recommend? I live in NC.

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

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

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

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

      change my name but am still practicing under my maiden name

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

      What would you recommend?

      The path of least resistance is no name change. The alternative is to contact your licensing board to determine if you can practice under an alias, even if they have your legal name on file.

      • If two last names isn’t possible using my marriage certificate, is there anything I could do to change the marriage certificate? We got married in NY. Thanks for your help.

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

          There isn't. Certificate changes are reserved for errors, such as misspellings or wrong birthdates. Although you got married in NY, your name change on the state level would be decided by NC law. What's possible in one state isn't in another.

    • If you're only going to use your husband's name socially, then don't change any documents. You said you only changed it on your marriage license, so until you change it with Social Security and update your driver's license, your legal name is still your maiden name.

      You could also drop your birth middle name and replace it with your maiden as your middle, along with taking his surname.

      You can name your business whatever you want, it doesn't need to reflect your legal name.

  62. Hi I live in Massachusetts . I got married last month. I used my husbands name and my maiden name last on the marriage Certificate . When I file my taxes can I still use just my maiden last name as I always done leave it as single we are filing Separately . Also I am going to file for early retirement next year can I still use my maiden name as it states on my SS card

      • Hi my husband is going to add me on to his work insurance my question is where my husbands last name is after my first name, my maiden name is last… his insurance wants a copy of the marriage certificate.. when I file my taxes we file separately can I still use my maiden name and can I put down MRS .. or leave as single with my maiden name . my .S.S. card is my last name.

        • Hi Kathy. If you haven't changed your name on your SS card, then you'll continue using your current legal name, which I presume is your maiden name. Now that you're married, you must file as married filing separately instead of just single.

  63. I have been married 35 years and took my spouse's last name. We have been in business together for 8 years and it is a problem sharing his last name. How do I go back to maiden name without changing documents? Just for business sake , create a new (DBA) with my maiden name?

    • Hi Patricia. DBA would make sense if you just need your maiden name for narrow business purposes. If you need your maiden name for anything else, it would make sense to formally change your name through court.

  64. Hi! I am in the process of filling out a naturalization form that asks for current legal name. When I got married I changed my name to my husband’s family name, however I never changed the name on any of my official documents. What would be my legal name? The one on the marriage certificate or the one on all my other documents (licence/SS card/passport)? Thanks

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

      Other documents.

  65. Hello. I go married in Sept. Im using my husbands name on the marriage certificate. Can i use my married name even if i didnt update ssn, dmv and my other documents? Will it affect my taxes if i use my new name at work? I live in CA

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

      You can informally.

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

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

  66. I have a 30 year career as a physician and am board Certified in multiple fields. I married 2 years ago and we hyphenated our last names (my last name comes last). I changed my name with the bank, SS, and RMV to the hyphenated name, but have continued to use the same professional name. It has not been a problem until today.

    I have changed agencies and the new HR department is taking issue with this. My feeling is I am too old with a 30 year career to attempt to backtrack through all the schools I have attended and agencies that have licensed and certified me & change my name to satisfy this one agency. Am I mistaken? I know multiple female physicians who have done this, and question if this would be an issue if I were not a man.

    • Hi Greg. If there's a rule in place, you can ask that it be given in writing. If they can't do so, they're position is weak. If need be, appeal to a higher position of authority within or outside the department.

  67. Got married a week ago ! If I changed the last name on the married certificate do I have to change the ss#.DVL too .. and if I don’t would I get in trouble ?

  68. A few questions for you.

    1. I want to change my name in theory, but am hesitant to change my Social Security card. Can I change my name on my credit cards or insurance without changing it in my SS, or do I have to change my SS in order to change it anywhere?

    2. Will my driver's license automatically change when it's time for renewal or will I need to go in and change it? Looking through other questions on this site, it seems that the license needs to match your SS card, so I wouldn't be able to update it unless I update my SS, correct?

    3. If I do go ahead and change my name on my SS and DL, Will I be able to keep my maiden name on my credit cards and passport? I guess, I want to keep something of my original name, and I know my mom still has a bank account in her maiden name, but I don't know the legalities of it.

    4. Do you know if you have dual citizenship if I will need to change my name on my EU passport if I change it in the states?

    Thank you for your help!

    • Can I change my name on my credit cards or insurance without changing it in my SS, or do I have to change my SS in order to change it anywhere?

      That's up to the card issuer. The credit bureaus will know if there's a name mismatch between your social security record and credit report.

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

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

      Looking through other questions on this site, it seems that the license needs to match your SS card, so I wouldn't be able to update it unless I update my SS, correct?

      That's typically the case.

      If I do go ahead and change my name on my SS and DL, Will I be able to keep my maiden name on my credit cards and passport?

      Yes, for passport. Typically, same for credit cards. Even if they're aware of your name change or you alert them, you can request that the card be issued in your prior/established name.

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

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

      Do you know if you have dual citizenship if I will need to change my name on my EU passport if I change it in the states?

      They're not dependent upon one another.

  69. Hi There,

    I was married and Divorced about 18 years ago. When I was Married I went into the DOL and Provided them with my Marriage license and They simply asked if I would like to use my married name. I Said yes. Since then i have been divorced for quite some time without ever changing my name back with the WA State Department of Licensing. The Dillema I have come across is that My name With the SSA still shows as my Maiden name. My WA State issued ID Shows My married name.

    I recently won A jackpot at the casino ANd They refused to award it to me Because My SSN and My ID do not match. I just want to go back to My Maiden name And what with This Covid Pandemic its hard to walk into the WA state DOL and ask a worker. Plus their appointments are all Further than 30 days out. WHAT DO I DO?? I do not have a copy of my marriage license OR Divorce Decree which has been finalized since 2002. SO what do i do where do i go? Please help

    • Hi Kristine. If your divorce decree contains an order restoring your maiden name, then you can use that to change it with WA DOL. Divorce records can be acquired through the Washington State Department of Health.

      Otherwise, you'll have to ask if they'll accept other documentation in addition to your social security card to confirm your name, such as an affidavit. The last resort is to obtain a court-ordered name change to validate your maiden name.

  70. Hi, For the last 10 years since my divorce I have been going by my ex's last name. I am going to get married but would like to at that time on the marriage certificate change my last name back to my maiden name.

    Will there be a certain time frame that I must change all documents such as SSA, DMV, bank etc or can I just take my time changing my name on these after I get married. I am getting married in Alabama but will live in Georgia.

  71. Hi. First of all, thank you for any guidance in my circumstance. I was married 39 years and divorced 4 years ago. In the transition, I relocated to another state. While living there, I renewed my DL.

    Not having the paperwork trail for two marriages and not reversing my married name to my maiden name, I obtained a certified copy of my birth certificate. This was at the advice of the State's DMV. I was then able to renew my DL under my maiden name.

    2.5 years go by, I've relocated to another state, registered at the DMV and provided all the (now obtained official copies) for the name changes paper trail. My new DL is still in my maiden name.

    I obtained a Notary Public commission and am now doing notary work and starting to receive checks under my maiden name. My bank accounts, tax info., SS, it's all still in my married name. I can already see there are going to be issues just after depositing a couple of small checks with my maiden name on them.

    1. Should I open a bank account in my maiden name to accommodate my notary work?
    2. Are there legal implications I need to be aware of if I do open an account in my maiden name?

    I plan to file this income with my taxes under my married name. Money is tight and I hesitate to go through any court processes at this time.

    3. Would it be possible, given the current DL, to apply for a name reversal for my SS at this point without an official court change?

    Thank you for any advice you can provide.

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

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

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

      Too broad of a question. As long as the bank is aware and supportive of what you're trying to achieve, you should be fine. Keep in mind, taxes should be filed using the name the SSA/IRS has on file.

      Would it be possible, given the current DL, to apply for a name reversal for my SS at this point without an official court change?

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

  72. Hello I got married about 4 years ago, I have not changed my name with social security but I did on my drivers license! I have decided that I don’t want to change my last name after all. What do I need to do to change it back on my license? This is in Texas.

  73. Hi I’m from Florida and my divorce is finalized and it says “wife to restore maiden name to” so with everything being closed and a hassle I want to stick with my married last name for now but I think it’s a court order I have to change?

    I’m getting married next month but I’m scared if I don’t have my maiden name on my social security card and my license they won’t let me get married because I have to show them the final judgement because it’s gonna be less then a year I’m divorcing.

    I’m in Florida any advice is appreciated…

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

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

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

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

  74. Hello,

    I am an undergraduate student who will be graduating this year and I got married 2 years ago. I have 2 maiden last names, but legally changed my name on everything to take my husbands last name, followed by my first maiden last name.

    As a personal choice, although I plan to practice law using my new legal name, I would like to have my maiden name on my college diploma and later on my law school diploma. Would this be possible or is it necessary for my new legal, married, name to be on my diplomas from now on?

    Can I be enrolled in school with my new legal name, yet my diplomas have my maiden name without me experiencing issues in the future?

    • Can I be enrolled in school with my new legal name, yet my diplomas have my maiden name without me experiencing issues in the future?

      That's up to your school. You'll have to ask them if they'll allow the printing of a prior legal name or alias, even if they maintain your current legal name on file.

    • I graduated with my bachelors when I was married. I never informed the school of my marriage and name change. My diploma has my maiden name on it and so does my master degree diploma. I worked so hard for them (nothing against my partner) but those are staying in my name. Lol.

      The same will be the case when I become a doctor. It will say Dr. (Maiden name) on my coat for sure. Maybe you can argue that although it is your legal name, it is not your preferred name. My schools didn’t care at all.

  75. I have got married and change my name, but I do not want to change my name in Office currently I m working with, because where one over there recognize me with my maiden name. Is it ok that I won't change my name

  76. Hello!

    I have been legally married for 6 years and I would finally like to take my husbands last name. How do I go about that process? How long will it take to go through? I live in Oklahoma for military purposes. What legal documents should I change first when I change my name?

    • One more question: On my marriage certificate it says my surname is my husband’s last name. So legally is my last name his? And I am just using my maiden name as convenience? Can I start change my last name on things to my husbands name without going to the court?

      • So legally is my last name his?

        Not until you proactively change it on ID.

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

        Yes, with your marriage certificate.

    • Hi! The military has different standards and rules for names since you have a federal spouse ID through the military. I was married to someone in the army and only changed my maiden name to his because I wasn’t allowed on base because they wouldn’t issue me a spouse ID until I changed my name to his. I showed the marriage certificate and everything and they wouldn’t budge. Are you able to go on base without your spouse present?

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

    • Hi Pamela. Depending on what state you live in you can request for a name change. Just make sure to have it updated on every document but it is possible. You will get a new marriage certificate with the correction. This is the case for Hawaii at least. It is a very relaxed place when it comes to name changes

  78. I got married 38 years ago and changed my last name to my husbands but I used my maiden name (1st letter) as the middle initial (M)… my question is can I legally just start using my maiden name that begins with M or do I have to change it legally through just SSA or courts?

    • can I legally just start using my maiden name that begins with M or do I have to change it legally through just SSA or courts?

      You have only one legal name. Using a non-legal name on government and legal documents after-the-fact wouldn't be valid.

    • Unfortunately you have to change it again :(. I got in trouble for using my old social security card with my maiden name after I got divorced. The DMV didn’t catch it but all other places did. It was quite the hassle.

      • Hi, what type of trouble did you get in? I got divorced early 2021 and was given my maiden name back in my divorce, but it was during COVID so the social security office was still closed down and I never followed through with getting my name changed with social security or with my drivers license.

        It's completely slipped my mind until just recently when I realized I needed to renew my drivers license! Now I'm in a panic :-(

    • I had a difficult time with a similar situation. I would make sure social security card matches resident card exactly. I couldn’t get documents I needed because I had misplaced a social security card with my maiden name, got a new one in my married name, and was told after my divorce that the social security card in my maiden name was invalid because of the marriage and divorce. I literally only needed a copy of my driver abstract for a job and it took 2 months. Everything has to match up with more serious documents

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