My Marriage Certificate Is Missing My Married Name. Now What?

385 Comments

So your marriage certificate is missing your married name and you're wondering if you'll ever be able to change your name. What happened? What went wrong? You're not alone.

Folks in California, Georgia, Oregon, New York, among others, have it easy. When they apply for a marriage license the application has a clear bright spot to choose a new last name after marriage.

But if you don't live in one of those types of states, you can't declare a new name on your marriage application, marriage license, or marriage certificate. Are you missing out?

On the flip side, maybe you live in a state that allows you to choose a new name on the application, but you regret your choice. Or maybe you didn't choose. Are you disadvantaged?

In this brief post, we'll cover both angles. You'll find out how much trouble you're in and potential fixes to resolve your woes.

They never asked me for my new name

Maybe the marriage license application asked for your new name, but you missed it. Did you forget? Did the clerk forgot? What are you missing? Do you need to correct your marriage certificate? Does it even matter?

If these are the questions you're asking yourself, you're in limbo. It's time to bring you out of the fog.

Let's assume that you're sure the marriage license application never asked for your new name after marriage. Your memory isn't faulty. You looked for it and it wasn't there.

Your marriage license has your current name. Your marriage certificate has your current name. If you're not married yet, you expect your marriage certificate to fall in line and show your current name too.

At this point you may wonder how you'll change your name if your marriage license or marriage certificate only has your current name.

You can't be the only one facing this predicament, right?

If this matches your experience, you're in the majority. This omission may appear to be a roadblock, but it's not.

It just doesn't matter

Most marriage certificates don't show married names. Instead, they'll show the current name, maiden name, or birth name.

This is because the marriage license application for most states doesn't offer spots to specify a new name after marriage. But this won't stop you from changing your name.

For those states, your marriage certificate is proof of a name change event, even if it doesn't show your new name. The act of marriage itself is what allows your name change to take place.

They did ask for my new name, but I screwed up

Everything explained so far only applies if your state's marriage license application did not offer a space to choose a new name after marriage.

If they asked, but you left it empty, you have a problem. If you made a mistake in choosing your new name, you have a problem.

I left my new name blank

What if the marriage license application had a spot to choose a new name after marriage, but you left it blank? Did you miss your shot?

Yes, you've missed your shot, assuming your marriage has occurred. If you're not married yet, get another marriage license.

Remember, they tell you to review your marriage license before signing it for a reason. Your signature locks in your choices. Not choosing is a choice.

I chose the wrong name

What if you specified a new name, but have since changed your mind? Today you want to pick out an entirely different name. Are you out of luck?

Yes, you're out of luck, assuming your marriage has taken place. If you're not married yet, get a new marriage license in your preferred name.

Why am I stuck?

If you choose a new name on your marriage license application, it will automatically show up on your marriage certificate.

The Social Security Administration, DMV, and other government agencies will recognize and use the new name shown on your marriage certificate when you update or renew your documents.

That's why having the wrong name on your marriage certificate is such a problem.

For example, let's say you get married in California. The marriage application allows you to choose a new last name. It even lets you to choose a new middle name.

On the application, you add your spouse's birth name to your middle name, separated by a space. You hyphenate your maiden name with your spouse's current surname.

Now you're married, but you haven't changed your name with anyone yet. Your social security card, driver's license, and passport are still in your old name. Well, your current name, that is.

Your marriage certificate arrives in the mail. You're not happy. It shows the new names you chose, but they're no longer the names you want.

Now you want to keep your middle name by itself. And you want the last names to stay hyphenated, but in reverse order. Spouse's first, yours last.

The county clerk refuses to alter your marriage certificate. Next, you go to the Social Security Administration and DMV and ask them to make an exception. What do they do?

They reject your request.

Fix your mistake

If you're not satisfied with the name you chose or didn't choose, apply for a new marriage license, amend your marriage certificate, or petition the court for a name change.

Those are you three options. Let's go through them.

1: Apply for a new marriage license

If your marriage ceremony hasn't happened yet, you're in luck. Replace your faulty marriage license by applying for a new one. You must pay the marriage license fee again.

2: Amend the marriage certificate

Marriage certificate amendments are for mistakes and typos. They're not meant for changes of heart. Perhaps the clerk will sympathize and allow the change, but it's a Hail Mary pass. Failure is likelier than not.

Even if you could get your marriage certificate amended, it might not help. This is because they attach amendments to the original marriage record. They're not replaced. Everyone will still see the old record.

Just because a vital records clerk forgoes or straight up breaks the rules doesn't mean other federal and state agencies will accept it. They could dismiss your amendment as unlawful.

3: Petition the court

If you've run out of options, you must petition the court for a name change. This is the worst-case scenario. It may be expensive and time-consuming, but at least you're guaranteed to get the name you want.

You could even change your first name while you're in court. You can't do with a marriage certificate.

Will I get in trouble if I don't change my name?

No, you won't get in trouble if you don't change your name after marriage. That's a myth or misconception.

Even if your marriage certificate shows a new married name, you don't have to follow through with it. Maybe in 2 years, 10 years, or 20 years, you'll change your mind. But, for now, just ignore it.

Is there a loophole?

We've had readers report unlikely successes dealing with city, county, social security, passport, and DMV clerks. You may fail where they've succeeded. But you may find an opening where others don't even bother to venture.

Did you find a name change loophole? Were you able to get your name changed when you thought it was impossible? Share how you did it.

385 Comments

  1. Galina

    Hi Valera. I came to USA from Russia and got married in 2003 in Florida. I got all documents including USA passport in my husband's surname.

    I need a legal document from Russian Embassy and they are asking me for a Change of Name order from court to prove my identity, but Florida's marriage certificate and license has no spot for specification of the new name after marriage.

    I went to the Court House few times and spoke to the clerk, they said no court will issue such order because my name already had been changed and I want to keep my husband's surname.

    What would you suggest? Is there the possibility to amend marriage certificate? I put my previous to marriage last name in the blank for Bride's name, but on the marriage license spot "Signature of Bride (sign full name using black ink)" I signed with just my signature that has no specification of any name.

    I went to a few attorneys and no one could give me any legal advise. In the Collier County Court House no one heard about amendment to marriage certificate forms. Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Galina. Can you get the circuit court clerk's declaration in writing (on their official letterhead) to present to the embassy? This would show what they're asking for is not feasible.

      Reply
  2. Galina

    What is the legal document other than Marriage Certificate that can prove the change of surname after marriage? All my documents are currently showing my husband's surname.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Galina. If your marriage license application didn't ask you to choose a new name post-marriage, then your marriage certificate will serve as proof of name change. Your new surname can be derived from your husband's.

      Reply
  3. Claudia Norey

    I got married in Florida which doesnt give you the option to elect a new name on the marriage certificate. My question is can both my husband and myself change our last names?

    Reply
  4. Cris

    I’m a New Jersey resident who was married in New York. I would like to start the process of changing the name on my social security card, driver’s license, bank accounts, etc. The last name on our marriage certificate is hyphenated, but now I’m considering taking my husband’s last name fully. Would we have to remarry and/or go through a lengthy court process to do that?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cris. You can go for the remarriage option. Otherwise, you'd have to go to court.

      Reply
  5. Kirsti

    I got married in Michigan over a year ago, when I signed my Marriage License I signed with my husband's last name, and never legally changed it anywhere else. Over the past year I have decided to keep my current/maiden name. Do I need to change my Marriage license and certificate? And are they still valid even if they are signed with a last name I never actually took?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to change my Marriage license and certificate?

      You do not.

      And are they still valid even if they are signed with a last name I never actually took?

      They are valid and will remain so.

      Reply
  6. Reyna Nevarez

    Hi. I just got my marriage license on Friday 2/7/2020 and will go turn it in on Friday 2/14/2020 .. I didn’t change my name because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to so I wanted time.

    I told her I won’t be changing it yet and told my wife that I’ll have to think if I want to or not . My wife wants me to change it to her last name now … can I still change it ? And what is it that I have to do?

    Do I have to wait until they do that process after Turing in the marriage license? I live in Oklahoma. Or did I already messed up ? I’m still thinking of having time to think about it

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Reyna. You have to choose your last name at the time of application. Otherwise, you'll have to opt for a civil name change through court.

      Reply
  7. Jen

    Hi, I got married in Vegas in September. I reside in NJ. I took my husband’s last name and hyphen mine at the end. It’s been six months And I still haven’t changed any of my information to reflect the marriage certificate. Do I have to change all my paper work to my new last name. Is there a time limit ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to change all my paper work to my new last name. Is there a time limit ?

      You do not have to change your paperwork over. There is no time limit.

      Reply
  8. Monica

    New bride signed her new name not maiden name which is printed on marriage license. Will this be an issue for her

    Reply
  9. Sophia

    Hello, sorry for my English, I'm originally from Russia. I got married in California in 1995, so there were no space box for new bride's name on my document at that time. And actually, I didn't want to change my name because I had and still have many ties with Russia – daughter, old parents, pension, as well as I didn't want to bother to change all my USA documents.

    So after marriage I was using my maiden name for some period of time, not more then 2 years, I think. Later, my husband insisted on using his last name and I do it until now, all my US documents from until then are on my husband's last name.

    Now I have a need to prove in Russia for several purposes that I am the same person with different last names. For example, I stuck with money transfer to my daughter, because she can't prove it's a gift from her mother (otherwise there is a pretty big tax on her).

    The translation of marriage certificate gets us nowhere since there is no indication on name change. Before I had a stamp in my US Passport "also named as", but last time I got passport I was told they don't stamp it anymore.

    What should I do? Please, help, I will appreciate it very much. I am sure I will face other "surprises" not known yet in a future without having some kind of prove that's I am is I am. Thank you very much in advance.

    Reply
    1. Sophia

      Ooops, I see Galina has the same problem…and looks like there is no way to solve "our Russian" problem…Obviously, me, Galina and other Russian fellows (well, why only Russians, all the people from all over the world) now in nowhere for the rest of the life…

      Our children have no parents anymore and our parents lost us too…Try to joke but it's actually a nightmare.

      Is it possible that there is NO any chance to have document about name change? Authorities in other countries cannot and must not know all US laws and nuances of different US states in addition. Valera, help us all, I beg!!))

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Sophia. You can try contact the SSA or DMV to inquire if they can provide a printout documenting your name change. Something that shows the before and after. It should have sufficient dates and biographical data showing you're the same person.

      If that doesn't work, you may have to contact an attorney. Perhaps a sworn affidavit confirming your name transition with documentary proof (i.e., marriage certificate and ID).

      Reply
  10. MG

    Got married in NC and now moving to GA. Do I have to change my name through court action? Or can I take my NC marriage certificate (with only maiden name) to GA DMV and have name changed?
    thanks,

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi MG. Your NC marriage license will work fine in Georgia. No need to go to court.

      Reply
  11. Krystin

    Ok I’m confused. I live in GA. when I applied for my license I chose a new name but my license had my maiden name on it. I thought maybe it was because it states that this person is marrying this person so in that instance having my maiden name there would be correct cos I wouldn’t actually have my new name until after the wedding.

    I didn’t think any more of it. However, I just got my marriage certificate and it also has my maiden name on it. What happened?? Will I be able to get the clerk to pull the actual application so they can see that I 100% entered a bake in the “name after marriage” field??

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Krystin. It's okay if it lists your maiden name, but it should show your new married name too. If that's not the case, you can request a correction, amendment, and reissued certificate.

      Reply
      1. Krystin

        Hey. I just wanted to say that the information you’re giving out for the state of GA might be incorrect; it was for Floyd County at least.

        I just spoke with the probate court and they advised that the marriage certificate will show the maiden name alone, regardless of whether or not you picked a new name on the license application. What we have to do is take the certificate along with the certified license application that shows the name change request. That’s how we get our new name.

        Such a silly process and the fact that they don’t tell you this upfront at the probate court is a problem!!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Krystin. Thanks for sharing your experience. Georgia counties, like many states, have to design their own marriage applications and certificates. Some states have it standardized at the state level, which eliminates such inconsistencies.

          Reply
  12. Ashley

    I got married two weeks ago in Las Vegas, but I live in California. When I applied for the marriage license, I left the part blank that asks for the new name after marriage. But I do want to change my last name. Is this going to be a problem?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ashley. You'd probably be fine with the SSA, but the DMV will see it differently. For the latter, a blank new name spot on your marriage certificate is a missed opportunity.

      Reply
  13. Megan

    Hi I got married last week in Texas – I have only a marriage license as they said they use this also for the certificate. I live in Ohio and it has my maiden name – will this be a problem with changing my last name to my husbands? Also, how do i go about doing this??

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Megan. You can use a certified copy of your Texas marriage certificate to change your name in Ohio. The fact that is only has your maiden name is fine. That's standard in Texas.

      Reply
  14. Kelly

    Hello,

    MN resident here, got married in Ireland in 2017. Our marriage certificate does not list a place for a new name (nor was there a place to include it on the application) nor does it contain our signatures but it is on the republic of Ireland's official paper/letterhead. It has my maiden name and my husbands name.

    I need to 1. change my last name to my husband, and then 2. update my passport and DL.

    If I take my certified marriage certificate from the republic of IE into the SSA office, will this suffice as documentation for a name change or do I need to see a judge because it's a foreign doc with only my maiden name? I emailed the county court and they sent me all the paperwork for a legal name change that required a judge's approval but it was clearly an automated email and didn't answer my questions specific to a foreign marriage certificate.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kelly. You don't have to go to court. Your foreign marriage certificate will be accepted fine for a typical name change via marriage.

      Reply
  15. Eileen Morales-Maze

    Hi my name is Eileen. I got married in In MI October 2019. I decided to hyphenate my name name but now I’m regretting it because it’s so long and confusing. We are currently residents in IL and I’ve decided that I would like to remove the hyphen and have my husbands last name only. Where do I go to make this change and what will be needed from me?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Eileen. If you've only changed it with the SSA, you can request a name correction to switch out your name as you'd prefer. If you've updated other documents, such as your driver's license, doing a switch back is impractical. In that instance, you're looking at having to petition the court.

      Reply
  16. Susan Wilcox

    Hi,

    I was married in California in 1983. There was no space/line to show new married last name so marriage certificate only shows my maiden name. I did change my name with social security keeping my maiden name along with husband's last name at the end. Now I'm applying for a REAL ID and the marriage certificate does not match my SS card or my current D/L. Is that okay? Also, does the marriage certificate have to be a certified copy? I have the original….but it's not a certified original.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Susan. Your legacy certificate will be accepted. It must be a certified copy.

      Reply
  17. Hacelyn Chandler

    I got married in California, March 2019. Both mine (maiden) and my husband's original names are on the marriage license. I left my "New last name" option blank.

    What do i need to do to change my last name to my husband's with the SSA and DMV?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Hacelyn. You'll have to pursue a name change through court. You can't amend your marriage certificate after the fact.

      Reply
  18. Rose

    Hi, I married my husband in 2014. I did not realize at the time that I didn't have my amended birth certificate with me to use my current corrected first and middle name on the marriage license/certificate so on the marriage certificate is my first name and middle on the original birth certificate.

    I now have the amended birth certificate with my current corrected first and middle name. Can I request the court to fix my first and middle name on the marriage certificate? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rose. You may be able to get a simple amendment using those documents. You'll want to contact the office that recorded and issued your marriage certificate, which is usually the office that issued you your license.

      Reply
  19. Linda

    I got married in Jacksonville, NC but I live in GA. Will I still be able to change my name with Social Security if my new name isn't on the certificate or license? I don't recall the application having a place to put my new name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I still be able to change my name with Social Security if my new name isn't on the certificate

      Yes, you will.

      I don't recall the application having a place to put my new name.

      You didn't overlook anything. It doesn't exist on NC applications.

      Reply
  20. Zowie Kauffman

    Hi, I'm getting married in AL and since my certificate has my maiden name, do I sign it on our wedding day with my maiden name or with my new name?

    Reply
      1. Zowie

        Thank you! And there will be no trouble getting my name changed with SSA even though the certificate doesn't signify my new name?

        Reply
  21. michelle

    Hi,

    I just got married in Florida on 3/26/2020. I am trying to get my name changed and have heard two different things about what is needed. When I went to the county clerk to get my marriage license, I asked if I should put my legal name or what I wanted my name changed to. They told me that I had to put the legal name (the one on my driver's license). When I got my marriage certificate, it only has my legal name and my husband's legal name.

    Due to Covid the SS offices are closed so I have to mail in my documents. When we called the SS office, someone told us that our marriage certificate had to have the name I wanted my name changed to, but when I called my county clerk for clarification they said that my marriage license is proof of my husband's last name which should be enough for SS to change my last name.

    I am just confused as to what is needed for me to mail to SS office. I know I need my marriage certificate (which only has my legal name and my husband's legal name), my passport (for picture/ identification) and my birth certificate to accompany the SS change of name form. Any help would be appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michelle. The clerk (which would be the circuit court clerk in Florida) was correct. You just need to send in your marriage certificate showing your current legal name.

      Reply
      1. Heather

        I'm kind of in the same boat as Michelle, and you have probably answered this several times, but I just want to make sure since I have to mail things off instead of visiting in person due to COVID.

        I got married on August 1 in SC but we live in NC. The license just has my current name (which is from a previous marriage) and my maiden name in another section. Nothing at all on there about new married name.

        When I call my local SS office I was told I only need mail in the certified copy of my marriage license and the application for changing my social security card. Then this evening I started seeing things about how if it doesn't show the name change on the license then it may not be used as proof of name change.

        It's been so long I don't even remember what an NC marriage license/certificate looks like or if it has a spot for new name but got nervous that maybe the SS worker just assumed it was an NC license rather than SC.

        But, you are saying that the license NOT showing a name change will Still count as proof? Thank you for your help!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          I have to mail things off instead of visiting in person due to COVID.

          Some offices are now allowing appointments, if you'd rather go that route.

          The license just has my current name (which is from a previous marriage) and my maiden name in another section. Nothing at all on there about new married name.

          That's standard for North Carolina and South Carolina.

          When I call my local SS office I was told I only need mail in the certified copy of my marriage license and the application for changing my social security card.

          Certified copy of the marriage "certificate" not license, but we're probably just splitting hairs referring to the same document.

          Then this evening I started seeing things about how if it doesn't show the name change on the license then it may not be used as proof of name change.

          Refers to states that explicitly allow you to choose a new name after marriage on the marriage license application. SC doesn't apply.

          It's been so long I don't even remember what an NC marriage license/certificate looks like or if it has a spot for new name

          It doesn't.

          but got nervous that maybe the SS worker just assumed it was an NC license rather than SC.

          It wouldn't have mattered. The marriage and residency state could have been swapped and the SS worker would have been right.

          But, you are saying that the license NOT showing a name change will Still count as proof?

          Yes, as your spouse's name will be derived from the certificate. You're good to go to change your name. No roadblocks ahead.

          Reply
  22. Alisha

    Hello,
    My fiancé and I are getting married this year in Oregon. He has decided he wants to take his families last name, which isn't his right now. So because we will both be changing our last name, can we just do this on the marriage cert? Or does he have to change his before that??

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Alisha. He'll have to change it beforehand. He'll also need to update his ID before applying for a marriage license so that the new name is current and legal.

      Reply
  23. Dana

    Hi,
    I got married in Miami, Florida 8/22/2019. I am trying to get my name changed and have trouble figuring out what is needed. When I went to the county clerk to get my marriage license, I asked if I should put my legal name or what I wanted my name changed to. They told me that I had to put the legal name (the one on my driver's license). When I got my marriage certificate, it only has my legal name and my husband's legal name.

    I’m not a American citizen and we live in NYC. I have a SSN and a NYC ID license. The SS offices are closed now, I have the option to mail in my documents.

    I just don’t know what is needed for me to mail to SS office?!? My marriage certificate only has my legal name and my husband's legal name, do I have to go to curt to ask for the change before going to SSN?

    I’m lost.

    Thank you for your help and understanding.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Dana. You don't need to go to court. Your marriage certificate as it stands is sufficient.

      Reply
  24. Sam

    Hello,

    I just recently got married in the state of Georgia. When filling out the application I decided to put new surname as my husbands however I would like to keep my last name. Is this okay?

    Do I have to change my last name on everything now or am I okay to leave my maiden name on all legal documents such as SSN and ID. Also will this present as a problem later when renewing ID’s and such.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I would like to keep my last name. Is this okay?

      Sure. Feel free to disregard the new name specified on your certificate.

      Do I have to change my last name on everything

      You needn't change your name on anything.

      Also will this present as a problem later when renewing ID’s

      It won't become a problem.

      Reply
  25. Natalie

    My wife and I (we are a lesbian couple) got married 2 years ago tomorrow. We only signed our birth names on our marriage certificate. We decided to go with my last name. How would we be able to accomplish this? We live in Texas.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      We only signed our birth names on our marriage certificate.

      That's standard in Texas, as it's the only option available.

      We decided to go with my last name. How would we be able to accomplish this?

      Your marriage certificate is all you'll need.

      Reply
  26. Alecia Allison

    Hi, I got married in March in NY but at the time I was not sure if I wanted to take my husband’s name so I kept my maiden name but now I sure I want to take his name. What is the process of acquiring his surname a month later?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Alecia. Consider a remarriage marriage license or else you'd have to pursue a court-ordered name change.

      Reply
  27. Lauren

    Hi got my marriage certificate in Georgia in 2017…I filled out the application with my husband’s last name to use in place of my maiden name however the certificate shows my maiden name on it. I assumed that was how they are supposed to look in case you don’t end up changing your name like in most states but now I am thinking it was supposed to be printed with my new intended last name.

    I am 1000% sure I filled out my husband’s last name in the field that asked what would I like my new name to be. If this was a clerical error would they fix it or accept by current certificate for legal name change docs?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lauren. They should issue you a corrected certificate without charge. They can lookup the application on file to confirm the clerical error.

      Reply
  28. Melissa Greene

    Hello – I was married in California in February of this year. When applying for our license I filled out the section for NEW NAMES with my first, middle and last name (hyphenated: my maiden name and my husbands's last name).

    I just received my marriage license and will be heading to SS office soon for name change.

    BUT, I never use my first name and would like to drop it completely ….I go by my middle name. For my middle name I'd like to use my maiden name. For my last name I'd like my husband's name.

    Since my marriage certificate doesn't state this what are my options?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Since my marriage certificate doesn't state this what are my options?

      When changing your name using your marriage certificate, it's all or nothing. Therefore, your sole option is getting your name changed through court.

      Reply
  29. Nyki

    Hello !
    I got married a few months ago, January in CA. I didn’t change my last name in that time. We just moved to VA and I decided that I want to change and add my husbands last name. How do I proceed ? Can I still change for my husbands last name ? If yes, how ?

    Do I have to change my name in my marriage license or just fill a petition for a name change on the court here in VA? There’s any problem to change here since my marriage license is from CA. I’m so confused
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nyki. You don't have to go to court. A certified copy of your California marriage certificate will work fine in Virginia.

      Reply
      1. Nyki

        But my marriage license has the option for the new name but o didn’t put at the time. Do I have to change my marriage license ?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Nyki. If you were living in California, you'd have a problem. Now you're a Virginian, so the restriction doesn't apply.

          Reply
  30. Ismael Garcia

    Hi Valera!

    My wife and I married in Las Vegas in December 2017, but at the time we thought it was best for her to keep her last name, but now she wants to get my last name. We live in CA, but married in Nevada. I went on their website, and there's a form for correction. Do you think that form will suffice? Or is there another method that is more accurate? Thank you very much!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ismael. The correction form isn't meant to be used to retroactively add a new name.

      Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Ismael. Your marriage certificate should still work fine since it's from out of state.

          Reply
  31. Irma

    My husband and I got married in N.H. he has a hyphenated last name, on the marriage certificate I took his full hyphenated name but now only want to take one of the last names. Do I need to amend the marriage certificate, petition the court, or will the ss office and dmv not care?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Irma. They'll want to use the new name on your certificate, so you'll have to petition.

      Reply
  32. Jennifer Lazo

    I got married in Texas. My marriage license and certificate have my maiden last name. I want to change it to my husband’s last name. Can I just go to SSA and request a new SS card with his last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I just go to SSA and request a new SS card with his last name?

      Yes, you can.

      Reply
  33. Rochelle

    I got married to my husband while stationed overseas in Japan and when translated there was never a place on the form to change my last name to my husband's. Will I be okay to change all my documents to my new last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I be okay to change all my documents to my new last name?

      Yes, you'll be fine.

      Reply
  34. Valerie Wynn

    We recently got married in Tennessee and we live in GA, I put my maiden name on the the application for the marriage license because it asked for current name. On my marriage certificate it has my maiden name but I want my husbands last name, can I still change my name with social security and DMV even though my maiden name is on my marriage certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Valerie. Yes, your Tennessee marriage certificate will work fine in Georgia for name change purposes.

      Reply
  35. Steven L.

    My wife and I are trying to change our last names in Florida. We want to do a combination of my wife's last name and my mother's last name.

    I currently have my father's last name. I was raised by my mother so I feel my mother's last name is actually more accurate to who I am. The trouble is that I've never had my mother's last name. So essentially, both my wife and I want to change our last names to a name that neither of us have had.

    My understanding is that both my wife and I will need to petition for a legal name change through the courts. Since we want to switch to name neither of us have had previously, we can't use the marriage certificate to change our names.

    Does that sound correct? It would be nice if I could get a legal name change, and then my wife use the marriage certificate to change her name without needing to go through the petition herself. I don't believe that is possible though because the marriage certificate can't be updated even after a legal name change according to my local clerk of court office.

    So no matter what my wife and I both need to petition for a legal name change? Do you know if there would be any troubles if we both try to change our names at the same time? Or would it be best for us to change one at a time?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Steven. You've got it mapped out correctly. Your marriage certificate would no longer come into play. You'd both have to petition the court separately. You may be able to have your hearings held simultaneously. That's up to the court.

      Reply
  36. Megan

    I got married in California, but left the new name box empty because I was not planning to change me name until later since we were working on a Visa for my husband. I am not ready to change my name, but that box is empty. Do I need to have that filled in before I apply for a new Social Security card?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Megan. In California, no new name specified would preclude you from changing your name through marriage.

      Reply
  37. Mary J

    I just applied for my marriage license and there wasn't any place to put my new surname. I used my maiden name for the license. (I'm in Anderson County, TN.) Do I need to reapply to change my name after the ceremony or can I use the license with my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mary. That's standard in Tennessee. You needn't do anything.

      Reply
  38. Autumn

    I recently got married on June 4th in New Mexico. I accidentally hyphenated my maiden name and my husbands last name, and didnt notice until we got the papers back from the county clerk when I wanted my maiden name to be my middle name. Do i need to do an amendment or how shall I go about this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Autumn. You can request an amendment with the county clerk's office you applied in.

      Reply
  39. Celest Zodiacal

    Hello, I got married in North Carolina, but on my marriage certificate it’s doesn’t state my new last name. I live in California will I be able to change my documents?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Celest. You'll be able to change your name fine. California understand that other state's design their marriage certificate differently and won't hold it against you.

      Reply
  40. Elvia

    Hello! I currently live in TX and plan on getting married in Vegas this fall. My name on my birth certificate and SS card is currently Elvia X Y Z, with X and Y both being my middle name. All of my records, passport, tax returns, DL, nursing license, credit cards, bank accounts, etc only list my name as Elvia X Z.

    I have never used middle name Y. It is actually my mom's maiden last name. Therefore, when I apply for my marriage license, do I need to include middle name Y or can I just leave it as Elvia X Z as that is what my DL shows and that is what I plan on showing them at the clerk's office?

    I do plan on changing my last name to my fiance's last name, and NV gives you the option to do so on the marriage license. Do you know if it is your new married name or your maiden name that shows up on the certificate?

    I basically don't want to run into trouble obtaining new records if I use Elvia X Z without middle name Y since it is on my birth certificate and SS card, but not on another other document I've had.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do I need to include middle name Y

      You needn't include it. Neither your social security card nor birth certificate is required to apply for a Nevada marriage license.

      can I just leave it as Elvia X Z as that is what my DL shows

      Yes.

      Do you know if it is your new married name or your maiden name that shows up on the certificate?

      Both will appear.

      Reply
  41. Frank

    Hello,

    Me and my wife got married in Michigan a few years ago. In our county on the clerk website it says you may sign the certificate with the name you intend to use. (Macomb county). My wife signed it with her first, middle names and my last name but she has not changed her name on anything else (Like SSN or ID). She now doesn’t really want to change her name. Is there a time limit she would have to change it by? Or can she just never change anything and stick with her original last name forever? Does this have any effect on the legality or our marriage??

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Frank. There's no time limit. She needn't change, ever. There's no legal consequence for not changing.

      Reply
  42. Lia

    Hi. I live and got married in CA. I don’t have a middle but my maiden name was added as my middle name and my husband’s as my new last name on the marriage certificate.

    However, I don’t want to use my middle (maiden) name and have it reflected on my SSI or driver’s license. I just want to use first and last name. The SSI office says they use the exact name on the marriage certificate. Can the married certificate be changed or amended?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lia. Unfortunately, your marriage certificate cannot be altered to drop a name.

      Reply
  43. Deedee

    Hello,

    I read through the comments and you have somewhat answered this above, but I want to confirm. My husband and I both married in California and changed our names to First Name (as given), Middle Name (my maiden name), Last Name (his last name) in the "new name" section.

    I am pursuing my name change as listed on the marriage license/certificate but we were not planning to legally change his name to add a middle name because that may complicate some trusts that he is involved in with his parents. My questions are:

    1) do we need to legally change his name to add a middle name and then follow through on changing his names on all documents to reflect the addition of a middle name?
    2) if not, will our marriage license still be valid if he never adds the middle name legally?
    3) are there any situations where it might get complicated that he has added a middle name on our marriage certificate but never filed for any name changes with any agencies?
    4) in your opinion, is it better to include his full name (including new middle name) on those trusts now that we have a document that does in fact have a change in his name?

    Thank you in advance for your time!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do we need to legally change his name to add a middle name

      Not mandatory.

      if not, will our marriage license still be valid

      Yes.

      any situations where it might get complicated that he has added a middle name on our marriage certificate but never filed for any name changes

      No.

      is it better to include his full name

      Use his current legal name, not the new name on the marriage certificate.

      Reply
  44. Rach

    Recently got married in Michigan signed my marriage license with my maiden name. Can I still change to my husbands last name? Will the marriage license with my maiden name work to change at social security office?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rach. Yes, your marriage certificate will work fine in Michigan. That state doesn't have a new married name spot when applying for a marriage license, so you're good.

      Reply
  45. Alina Bagley

    Hey, trying to renew my passport and now I’m all confused about legal names and stuff. My marriage certificate (5 years married) says my maiden name. No one told me shit about any of this process. But I did go change my social security name to my married name, just added my husband’s last name at the end. (I don’t know how they lay me do that…) but now I don’t know what to put on my passport application.

    I don’t have any proof of a legal name change that I know of… and it sounds like I can’t just go back and change my social back to just my maiden name… will that impede my passport application if my social and marriage certificate name are different???

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My marriage certificate (5 years married) says my maiden name.

      That's likely not a problem.

      now I don’t know what to put on my passport application

      You could change it to match, or keep your name unchanged.

      I don’t have any proof of a legal name change

      Your marriage certificate is proof of your name change event. It doesn't necessarily have to spell out your new name verbatim. It can be derived from the document.

      it sounds like I can’t just go back and change my social back to just my maiden name

      You technically could with the SSA. It's called a name correction. It's basically a name reversal. You'd use your marriage certificate. However, it's really only practical if it's the only document you've changed your name on.

      will that impede my passport application if my social and marriage certificate name are different?

      The names don't have to match.

      Reply
  46. GB

    Getting married in California (putting his last name on certificate), but relocating to Utah soon.
    Can I just change my last name when I get to Utah?
    Is there a time limit to a name change in Utah after marriage?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi GB. Yes, you can get married in California then change your name in Utah. No, there's no time limit.

      Reply
      1. GB

        Even though the new name is on the marriage certificate, would there be any issues that could arise if I just decided to not got through the hassle of changing it?

        From what I have read so far, seems to not be any issue for the most part, although not sure if that's the case in all states.

        Thanks for the help!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi GB. Skipping the name change is a non-issue in all states.

          Reply
  47. Jamie

    Hello! I have a unique situation and am looking for any kind of help that you could possibly give me. I got married in April 2018 in NJ. I took his last name as far as the marriage certificate goes, but I never actually changed my name on any other type of document like SS card, Driver's license, Passport, etc. All of those items still have my maiden name.

    I was under the impression that I could change my name on those types of documents at any point. However, sadly, I am now filing for divorce, and I used my maiden name on all of the paperwork because again, I never changed any of my official ID's to my husband's name.

    Should I be filling out using my married name or maiden name? There is an area that asks about "permitting the plaintiff to assume the use of the name of ________________ " (the name that you would like to assume after your divorce/dissolution).

    Do I need to write that I wish to assume the use of my maiden name or is that not necessary since the only thing that ever had my married name was my marriage certificate? I'm so sorry for my complicated situation.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I was under the impression that I could change my name on those types of documents at any point.

      Correct.

      I am now filing for divorce, and I used my maiden name on all of the paperwork because again

      This is proper, since you've never formally change your name.

      Should I be filling out using my married name or maiden name?

      Maiden name.

      There is an area that asks about "permitting the plaintiff to assume the use of the name of

      That's for folks who've changed their name and would like to have the judge restore a prior name. That section doesn't apply to you.

      Do I need to write that I wish to assume the use of my maiden name or is that not necessary since the only thing that ever had my married name was my marriage certificate?

      Not applicable. Not necessary. You could write in your maiden name or leave it blank. It's all the same.

      Reply
      1. Jamie

        I cannot thank you enough. You were so thorough and gave me all the answers that I was seeking. I appreciate your help so incredibly much.

        Reply
  48. Ana

    Hello, I’m getting my marriage license tomorrow, followed by a marriage ceremony at the courthouse in California.

    On the online marriage license application I repeated my maiden name as my “new name”. My question is: can I still correct it tomorrow with the clerk and add my husbands last name to mine?

    And if so, next question regards the technicality of my future last name. My birth last name is already hyphenated (X-Y). Can I ‘swap’ the second part of my last name (Y) for my husbands last name (R) crating X-R?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I still correct it tomorrow with the clerk and add my husbands last name to mine?

      The clerk may be willing to reissue you an updated certificate without charge, but be prepared for the possibility of reapplying and paying the license fee all over again.

      Can I ‘swap’ the second part of my last name

      Yes, you can.

      Reply
  49. Heidi

    I got married in Puerto Rico 8 years ago and because nobody changes there last names in PR I didn’t either. But now my husband and I have made the decision of doing so. I would like to know the steps we need to take from here.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Heidi. The steps are the same as if you just got married. Get a certified copy of your marriage certificate to effect a name change with the various government institutions.

      Reply
  50. Abby

    Hello, I got married last year in Michigan and decided that I wanted to keep my maiden name and that is how I signed my marriage license. Now we are having a child and I've decided I still want to keep my maiden name as my legal last name, but I would like to change my middle name to be my husband and son's last name.

    Can I use my marriage license as proof of name change for my MIDDLE name? Even a year later?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Abby. You can change your name as you prefer. The fact that a year has passed is immaterial.

      Reply
  51. Sino

    Hello. I have 2 questions,please assist? I'm originally from South Africa and last year got married in Ohio. My husband is a US citizen.

    Our marriage certificate came back with my maiden name. Since I didnt have anything with my husband's last name, I have been using my maiden name for all applications I make like SSN, permanent residence card etc.

    If I want to start using my husbands last name do I still need to go to court to petition a name change and go through that process? Do I just make new applications with my husbands last name and show my marriage certificate as proof even though it still has my maiden name?

    Reply
  52. Somer wells

    Hi I need help!

    My husband I got married in New York State. When we got married, I chose to keep my maiden name, because at the time, I was still in college and wanted my maiden name on my degree.

    Now that I am out of college, I would like to take my husbands name. I am wondering how to go about this. Am I going to have to petition the court to change my last name now, because I chose to keep my maiden name after marriage? Or can I just send my original marriage certificate with my husbands name and they can derive my new last name from his name?

    Reply
  53. Stacy

    My 80 year old Mom applied for a Real ID and this alerted us to the fact that both her first and middle names on her birth certificate have typos.

    She talked to the county and the contact there requested a clerical change, but the change was rejected because they said that was how her names were spelled on the original paper request they received.

    They said she has to complete an amendment which we are having problems with because of the fact that we have to provide two supporting documents. It turns out that her marriage certificate has her correctly spelled first and middle name but then my mom added yet another middle name that she claimed her parents gave her even though she never used/uses it and it wasn’t on her birth certificate.

    I am being told in the state of MN that I have to petition the court to get that second middle name off of the marriage certificate. Do you know if this is true?

    SSN card used to have everything correctly spelled first, only one middle name and maiden name and then it has correctly spelled first and married last name after she got married (they may have left the middle name off because new married name was so long?) Her current Driver’s license has correctly spelled first, one middle name and last name on it.

    I am unclear if having typos on her birth certificate and the extra middle name on the marriage certificate will cause her any other problems other than getting a Real ID or a passport.

    She does not like to travel and has only flown somewhere once in her life. Do we need to be concerned about correcting the birth certificate and marriage certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am being told in the state of MN that I have to petition the court to get that second middle name off of the marriage certificate. Do you know if this is true?

      That's likely where she's headed.

      they may have left the middle name off because new married name was so long?

      Maybe. If there's a lack of space, the middle name is the first to be sacrificed.

      I am unclear if having typos on her birth certificate and the extra middle name on the marriage certificate will cause her any other problems other than getting a Real ID or a passport.

      It's already causing problems with her Real ID. It may as well on her passport. For instance, if she's going for her first passport or it's older than 15 years old, she'll have to supply proof of citizenship, which is typically the birth certificate.

      Do we need to be concerned about correcting the birth certificate and marriage certificate?

      Option 1 is to complete a one and the same person affidavit where she swears that the name variations are all her. This is likely to not work, but is a Hail Mary you can offer to the DMV.

      Option 2 is to get a court ordered name change. But, in your mom's case, it's more of a name affirmation. She'll get a certified document from a U.S. court that confirms her name. That'll be the proof she'll need for everything (e.g., passport, Real ID).

      Reply
  54. Michelle Fenner

    Hi . I would like to know am I responsible for telling the DMV , social security and etc of my name change or will the automatically find out due to me changing my name on the marriage certificate

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michelle. Yes, it's your responsible to notify every agency, organization, or entity of your name change. They won't be notified automatically of what's on your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  55. Paul

    Hello

    My wife and I got married in Massachusetts in March. At the time she did not wish to change her name so on the marriage certificate in the section which says 'last name after Marriage' her name remained the same.

    The Mass.gov website advised when you update the certificate the name will change automatically and then you can contact the SSN office etc. but does not state how she can now change her last name after the event?

    How can we change her last name now? Will the marriage certificate still suffice with the SS office etc to change her name now?

    Thank you :)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How can we change her last name now? Will the marriage certificate still suffice with the SS office etc to change her name now?

      The same as always. She must obtain a certified copy of the marriage certificate from the city or town clerk where you got your marriage license to change her name with the SSA, DMV, etc.

      Reply
  56. LKA

    Hi, Married in NH but live in MA, used hyphenated last name on marriage license (maiden-husband name) and it’s on the certificate. Will it be a problem if I don’t legally change my name (SS, license, etc.) and just continue to use my maiden name instead or will I get in trouble? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will it be a problem if I don’t legally change my name (SS, license, etc.) and just continue to use my maiden name instead or will I get in trouble?

      You're definitely not going to get in trouble for not changing your name, regardless of what's on your marriage certificate. This fear/doubt seems pretty prevalent. We're gonna have to get an article up on the site soon to put this concern to bed.

      Reply
  57. EZ

    Hello,
    This a long one… About 10 years I apparently put my husband's last name on the marriage application in Georgia. However, our marriage reflects my maiden name.

    Well when I went to to SSA they gave me the option to change me name with any of the name combinations on the marriage certificate. I choose to hyphen maiden and husband's last name, not remembering or considering what was placed on the marriage application.

    Everyone has gone by the hyphenated name, such as taxes (both state and federal), dependent military ID, schools and student loans, and level 1 finger print card. I've only ran into issues with getting the state of Georgia to provide my hyphenated name on my driver's license, despite my paying Georgia taxes with it 🙄🙄…

    We are currently stationed in Arizona. Arizona goes by what's on the social security card when it comes to getting a drivers license. According to Georgia, if I were to transfer my Georgia drivers license to Arizona, then later back to Georgia, they would accept the hyphened name.

    This is ridiculously insane, as there is no record anywhere legally of me with just my husband's name, not even in a background check… In my case is a legal name change necessary, if the name not placed on my application is not my legal name? If seems like I would be changing my hyphenated name to my hyphenated name!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      transfer my Georgia drivers license to Arizona, then later back to Georgia

      This may be your path of least resistance. However, you may want to contact the office to determine if they'll accept a one and the same person affidavit where you swear that both names variations are yours.

      In my case is a legal name change necessary

      Not if you follow Georgia's DDS recommendation.

      If seems like I would be changing my hyphenated name to my hyphenated name!

      It's more of an affirmation than a name change. The courts understand why folks do this and will not scoff at it.

      Reply
  58. Jo

    I got married in NYC back in 2012 but I choose to stay with my maiden name, now I had a change of heart and I want my husbands last name but I don't know how to go about it. I read someplace I have to petition, in other places that I just go and change it. my marriage license has my maiden name. What are the steps to changing my last name to his now? What should I do next?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jo. You'd have to petition. It's the Civil Court in NYC or Supreme Court outside of NYC.

      Reply
  59. Laura

    I got married in NYC stated I wanted to take my husband's last name but the certificate put in his paternal and maternal last name. SS office only wrote paternal last name on my card but my passport shows both paternal and maternal last names. I only use the paternal last name. However I moved to Indiana and they state I cannot get an ID because my SS card and passport don't match. I don't really want to change my SS to both last names. Is there any way I can only use the paternal last name? Do I have to have a name change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Laura. Instead of using your passport, how about using a certified copy of your birth certificate?

      Reply
  60. Laura

    Hello,

    I will be getting married in September, and would prefer to use two surnames (two last names without the hyphen). When we filled out our marriage license (in NH), there was no option to give a compound surname unless it was hyphenated.

    If we get married with the license and certificate with the hyphenated name, will I still be able to change my name at the SSA, DMV, passport without the hyphen? Otherwise I'm considering just keeping my maiden name. Thanks!

    Reply
  61. Amanda Parks

    Hey i got married 7 yrs ago in Ga. my marriage license i put my new name as the “Surname” but on my Marriage certificate it has my born name. I wanted to get it changed on my SS Card. What do i do. They want me to mail it in because of the virus. So i want to be sure nothing holds it up..

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Amanda. If by the "surname" you mean your spouse's name, then your marriage certificate is fine. If the probate court clerk made a mistake with the name applied on your marriage certificate, contact their office for a correction and amendment.

      Reply
  62. Ellen

    Hi, Valera. I recently got married in PA and and my marriage certificate shows my maiden last name only. Pennsylvania did not ask me to put down the last name I want to use post-wedding in the marriage license application form, so I just wrote down my current legal name.

    Regarding the name change, I understand that I can just bring my marriage certificate, which shows my current last name only, to the social security office to change my maiden last name to my husband's last name. But, is changing my last name on the social security card considered a "legal" name change?

    I was just a bit confused whether or not the name change on the social security card would be considered a "legal" change. My marriage certificate, which is my legal document, is a historical document so it would still show my maiden last name even after the name change on the social security card. I was wondering whether I would need to file a name change petition to "legally" change my name.

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Pennsylvania did not ask me to put down the last name

      That's standard.

      is changing my last name on the social security card considered a "legal" name change?

      Yes.

      marriage certificate, which is my legal document, is a historical document so it would still show my maiden last name

      Right. Your certificate's a snapshot in time. It's not meant to change, no matter what happens to your name.

      I was wondering whether I would need to file a name change petition to "legally" change my name.

      You do not.

      Reply
  63. Sarah Nicole

    Hi!
    I married over 2 years ago in Colorado and cannot remember what the clerk asked me. I have the marriage license and certificate both stating my maiden name. I now want to change it to my husband’s last name. Can this be done by applying for SSI with new name or do I need to petition the court?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  64. Karma

    Hi,
    My fiancé and I plan to get married in NYC, he is still debating to changing his last name and hyphenate it with mine, so we both have the same hyphenated surnames.

    Will it cause a problem if after choosing the new name we decide both to keep our birth surname and never change it when renewing our passport, or with the social security of motor vehicles (because my birth surname is already an hyphenated one, we doubt names with 2 hyphens are accepted) offices?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will it cause a problem if after choosing the new name we decide both to keep our birth surname and never change

      Certainly. You can change your name on your marriage certificate without changing it on anything else.

      Reply
  65. Alaska Rain

    Hi,
    I got married in Las Vegas and there wasn't a spot to put "future name" or name after marriage.

    So my marriage certificate has my maiden name, my husband and I wanted to take his surname.

    Do we have to go through the courts at this time? We got married October of 2019 and we are both from AK.

    Reply
  66. Rachel

    So I applied for my married application in GA a few weeks ago, I have not gotten married yet. I do not want to change my name right now, but I would like the option to if i decide to later on.

    On the form where it asks "what will your new name be after marriage" I wrote my Fiance' last name. The clerk was rude and short with me and I was very confused with the process. She made is sound like if I didn't write his last name on the application now it would be more difficult if I decide to change it in the future. Is that accurate?

    Is my legal name after we are married now my Fiance's name or my birth name if I haven't gone to SS or any other places?

    Do I have to go to SS to legally change it or does the marriage certificate legally change it?

    At this point I don't want to change my name yet, but I might in the future. What should I do now? Try to reapply for another marriage licence with my birth name or not worry about it bc its not legally changed until I go through SS? …very confused and stressed about this.. please help….

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I do not want to change my name right now, but I would like the option to if i decide to later on.

      You don't have to change your name. But the option will remain to do it later.

      She made is sound like if I didn't write his last name on the application now it would be more difficult if I decide to change it in the future. Is that accurate?

      That is accurate. Think of it like a placeholder.

      Is my legal name after we are married now my Fiance's name or my birth name if I haven't gone to SS or any other places?

      Your legal name is still your birth name.

      Do I have to go to SS to legally change it or does the marriage certificate legally change it?

      The SSA doesn't get automatically notified. You'll have to initiate the change with them directly.

      At this point I don't want to change my name yet, but I might in the future. What should I do now?

      Select your new name on the application. It's nonbinding. Even if you choose not to go forward with it, you preserve the option.

      Try to reapply for another marriage licence with my birth name or not worry about it bc its not legally changed until I go through SS?

      The latter. Don't worry about it. It's there if you decide to use it.

      Reply
  67. Caitlyn

    Would the process be the same if my husband takes my last name? from Texas

    Reply
  68. April

    I got married in Lincoln, Nebraska, our marriage certificate application didn't ask what name I wanted to use for my married name. I want to use my stepdad's last name (different from my maiden name) and hyphenate it with my husband's last name. Is this possible? I'm just worried that SS and DMV won't accept my marriage certificate, since my stepdad's last name isn't reflected on the marriage certificate.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to use my stepdad's last name (different from my maiden name) and hyphenate it with my husband's last name. Is this possible?

      It's not possible through marriage.

      Reply
  69. Veronica D

    I was just recently married (August 16th 2020) in Las Vegas NV and I live in California. When I was online getting ready to place an order to have a copy of marriage certificate but I had noticed that my name was still my birth name. But when I filled out my marriage license I had put down that I wanted to change my last name to be the same as my husband.

    Why does it still show my birth last name and not my new last night? Will I be able to have it changed At SS, DMV, etc to my husband last name whenever my marriage certificate comes in the mail ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Veronica. Are you saying your new last name isn't showing in the online portal or the certified certificate they mailed you. If it's the prior and there's a space where it's indicated to show, you can contact the county recorder to find out what's up. If it's the latter, you can contact them to reissue a certificate to fix their clerical error.

      Reply
  70. Jillian

    Hi there,

    I got married last September in Rhode Island and I live in Massachusetts and I was about to start the name change process and realized that my married name is not on the marriage certificate. Am I going to have an issue with Social Security and Massachusetts in changing my name?

    I noticed on the marriage license it does have my first name by saying first middle and last name and then says birth name if (different) in the box next to it but the woman told me that was for people who had been married more than once Because she said to write my legal information on the certificate. I’m curious now if Massachusetts is going to give me problems with this or not. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Am I going to have an issue with Social Security and Massachusetts in changing my name?

      You won't have a problem. That's how Rhode Island designs their marriage license and certificate. It will be accepted fine in Mass.

      Reply
  71. Mackenzie

    I got married/ a marriage license in NC. The marriage license shows my maiden name and not my husband's last name. We live in CA and I now want to change my name. Can I use my marriage license as proof to change my name in CA, even if the new name is not listed on the license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I use my marriage license as proof to change my name in CA, even if the new name is not listed on the license?

      Yes, since you were married in NC. If you married in CA, it'd be a different story.

      Reply
  72. Laura

    Hi,

    I got married about 3 weeks ago in Wisconsin, but we live in Illinois. I just got our marriage certificate, and for my name it states, in both boxes my maiden name.

    I was planning on changing to my husbands last name. I believe we mentioned this to the woman who helped us get our marriage license and I don't recall any boxes saying to put my future last name or name after being married. Everything just said to put my current name, which I used my original (maiden) last name for since that was my name.

    Will this certificate be accepted by the SSA and DMV to change my name? Or will i have to do additional things to change my last name like petition or etc? Please help!

    Thank you,
    Laura

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will this certificate be accepted by the SSA and DMV to change my name?

      It will be accepted.

      Reply
  73. Leanna

    I recently got married in Wyoming, but live in Utah. I signed my marriage license with my maiden name. Will I be able to change my name in Utah with my marriage license? I would like to hyphenate my last name with his, but it's not clear if that's an option in Utah without petitioning a court.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I be able to change my name in Utah with my marriage license?

      Yes, with the marriage certificate.

      it's not clear if that's an option in Utah without petitioning a court.

      That's not necessary.

      Reply
  74. Irene

    I got married in California in 2008 (I know, long time, and just now I noticed!) I didn't change my last name to my husband's until later (2016 when I applied for US citizenship, I have dual).

    The reason I started digging is that I need to change my last name in my second citizenship passport as it's also has expired on top of new name. For that, they accept only 2 documents as a proof of name change – (1) marriage certificate (important note – it HAS to have new last name section, which I don't) or (2) court order. Either one has to be notarized with apostil and translation.

    I have tried researching which option is less work, I have asked consulate if I can get my marriage certificate amended to show new name and if they would accept that (they haven't responded yet).

    Court order from CA seemed like more work especially if it has to come from the same state I got married in, I now live on other side of the country in state of Georgia. But if no choice I'll have to pursue.

    Getting marriage certificate amended:

    Besides the fact that I need it to reflect my new last name I have noticed typos in both my husband's parents’ names and mine. Since we are immigrants our names are long and very easy to mess up.

    1) My question is – if I were to pursue marriage certificate amendment (even if they don't take it for my passport purpose, it's good to have it correct regardless) are my parents’ names typos enough along with new last name addition to get it approved? Your article says it's tough to get it and could get dismissed.

    1a) Does the amendment have to come from the same state I got married in?

    2) Other question is – if I to pursue court order does it have to be from the same state I got married in?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I need to change my last name in my second citizenship passport

      Which country?

      they accept only 2 documents as a proof of name change – (1) marriage certificate (important note – it HAS to have new last name section, which I don't)

      Most marriage certificates in the U.S. don't show the new name explicitly. It's derived by referring to the spouse's name. Are they explicitly saying it must show the new name or can it be derived?

      I have tried researching which option is less work

      Marriage certificate, if you can use it.

      Besides the fact that I need it to reflect my new last name I have noticed typos in both my husband's parents’ names and mine.

      Typos may be corrected, but not the inclusion of a new name

      are my parents’ names typos enough along with new last name addition to get it approved?

      See previous answer.

      Does the amendment have to come from the same state I got married in?

      Yes.

      if I to pursue court order does it have to be from the same state I got married in?

      State of residence.

      Reply
      1. Irene

        Thank you so much! Second passport is for Russia. I called CA clerk recorder office and they said they can't include the name change just like you stated above (only correct typos), so I'll have to go with to petition to court.

        OR try to present my current marriage certificate as is as a proof of name change and see what happens. But I still have to seek apostle and notarized translation.

        Embassy response was (I assume by your name Valera – you can read this, if not, I can translate):

        Если в свидетельстве о браке нет четкого указания на перемену фамилии, то Вам необходимо предоставить судебное решение (name change order) об изменении фамилии (полученное в Судебном департаменте штата). В нём должны быть четко указаны Ваши Ф.И.О (как в действующем российском загранпаспорте вместе с отчеством, переведенным на английский язык) и Ваши новые Ф.И. (как в американских документах).

        На это документе также должен быть проставлен "Апостиль". Апостиль проставляется в секретариате штата, выдавшего документ (в США Апостиль проставляют в офисах Секретарей штатов. Сведения об адресах Секретарей штатов, их контактных телефонах можно найти на сайте: http://www.secstates.com.).

        Оба документа должны быть переведены на русский язык (подробная информация на сайте Посольства РФ в Вашингтон: https://washington.mid.ru/ru/consular-services/, раздел "Перевод документов, перевод должен быть нотариально заверен в консульском отделе Посольства.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          so I'll have to go with to petition to court.

          Likely, as the California Name Equality Act had provided you the opportunity to choose a new name way back when. The embassy may be aware of this, hence their reply.

          OR try to present my current marriage certificate as is as a proof of name change and see what happens.

          You could and see if they'll accept the certificate as-is and allow your new surname to be derived solely from your spouse's last name block.

          Reply
  75. Kassandra

    Michigan- my husband and myself applied for a marriage license and we were told to sign our maiden name even though we both want to use a different last name. She said we will sign again after the wedding but at that point are we able to sign the name we choose or do we have to sign our maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      we both want to use a different last name

      You wouldn't be able to change to an entirely new name through marriage.

      but at that point are we able to sign the name we choose

      At no point.

      or do we have to sign our maiden name?

      You'd sign whatever your current legal name is at the time.

      Reply
  76. DL Lee

    I am a man who has had a legal first name change over 3 years ago. My social security card, state id, new birth certificate, other legal documents show that. We want a divorce and the marriage license carries the old first name. Does that make me still married under my new name, is a legitimate divorce necessary??

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lee. Your marriage record is merely a historical vital record. Name changes don't invalidate or give it special meaning. Your divorce under your new name will dissolve your marriage, regardless of what name appears on your preceding marriage certificate.

      Reply
  77. Amber Sawyer

    Hello! I live in North Carolina but was married in Virginia in 2016. I did not indicate a name change on the marriage license. Now I want to change my name as my first child is on the way. Will I need to petition the court in NC now for a name change?

    Reply
  78. Laila

    I got married in NYC 5 years ago and chose not to change my name, so marriage certificate shows my maiden name. I’ve changed my mind now that we have a child and wish to now take my married name. Do I have to now petition the court in my state of residence? Will I encounter any future problems with a marriage certificate that shows my maiden name but all other ID documents show married name (after I successfully change it)?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to now petition the court in my state of residence?

      Most likely.

      problems with a marriage certificate that shows my maiden name but all other ID documents show married name

      That shouldn't be a problem.

      Reply
  79. Esther

    So, I just got married and found out that my husbands name is wrong on his birth certificate, and now my marriage license is wrong and he needs to change his name too. What should we do in this situation?

    Reply
  80. Ellie

    I got married in OK 10 years ago and signed the license and certificate using my maiden name. I currently reside in TX and would now like to add my husband's last name to my maiden name via hyphenation. Would I need to petition the court due to the duration of time or what steps would I need to take? Thanks in advance for any and all assistance.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ellie. You'd just use your marriage certificate. There's no name change time limit procedural change.

      Reply

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *