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

Sad Bunny Costume

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?

This concern is one of the more frequented questions we get from folks that use our online name change application.

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? How does this affect your social security name change? 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.

Do you plan to change your name?

Our online name change kit makes it easy.

Get Started

617 Comments

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  1. Abigail

    I just got married in Illinois how would I go about changing my last name to my married name

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Abigail. There's a dedicated Illinois name change page. The procedure is the basically the same for all states. Use a certified copy of your marriage certificate to change your name with various government and non-government institutions.

      Start with your social security card, then driver's license, then passport, and so on.

      Reply
  2. Tina

    Hi Tyrone,

    I listed on the marriage license application that I wanted my new surname to be my husband's, and my maiden name become my middle name (TM to TMP). However, today we received our marriage certificate from GA (we live in SC) and the certificate only lists my maiden name (TM). I was told by the clerk the name change happens after you are married (as TM was printed on the marriage license), so I expected my requested name would appear on the certificate.

    Since it's not, am I able to change my name with the SSA with my certificate as is, or does TMP need to be on the marriage certificate in order to move forward with changing my name with all institutions (and as an official name change doc)? Will the office change the mistake or will I be forced to go through the lengthy and costly process of changing my name through the courts and newspaper as I've read online?

    Also, I am looking to potentially travel internationally in December. If I legally change my name to TMP prior to traveling, will I be able to travel with my passport that says TM? Should I buy my ticket with TM or TMP?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tina. You may want to give the probate court a call to find out if there was a clerical error and getting your certificate corrected and reissued gratis. They'll reissue if it's a mistake on their end.

      As for travel, just book your ticket to match the name on your passport. If you update your SS card and driver's license, but not your passport, the ticket should still match the name on your passport.

      If you can't get your updated passport in time for travel, you should consider waiting until after traveling to update that credential.

      Reply
  3. Sara

    Hi,

    I have seen you helped a lot of people the same question I am going to ask, but the reason of mine is to help others who faces the same issue in Maryland.

    Last week when we filled up the Marriage License Form at Circuit Court there were no humans to ask any questions because of COVID. So we filled the marriage license form and dropped off in a box.

    In the form we didn't find any option for changing the name, so when clerk called back my partner didn't ask the question of changing name. So next day he called the clerk to confirm that we didn't see the option of changing the name after marriage, so the clerk said "I will send you the information no worries". Then on the day of ceremony before vows I asked her again and she said she will send us the documents. After couple of days we received the Certificate of marriage which still reflects the name I had before marriage because no one asked any name change request nor we gave them any New name information yet, right?

    So I find out your website where you were right about that we are not alone, we were thinking we did something wrong or there is some error from the clerk? However you explains that it depends on the state you live in, in Maryland you don't find the option of changing name on the marriage license form the time you applied neither you have name change option at the ceremony nor clerk asked us these questions any time of the process.

    The name I had before the marriage reflects the marriage license, ceremony vows and marriage certificate. Confusion starts now….. I have checked multiple times the website of circuit court they did not explain how you are able to change the name, they just stated on the website that after marriage for changing name go to social security and DMV, submit the application along with the certified copy of marriage certificate.

    We also find a yellow page form with the certificate which we have to fill and mail out to the circuit court, I think it’s for the request of the certified copy, in the form it still asks that print your name “which you had before marriage”. The package doesn’t contain any information about changing the name.

    Definitely, people will confuse how come we can change our name if our marriage certificate reflects our old name (which we had before marriage).

    However you explained on your website that marriage license/certificate itself is the authentic document to change your name because it has your husband’s name, if you want to change your last name, right? What if someone what’s to change her first name also along with the last name as husband name. example…

    i.e husband name: Daniel Joseph & wife name: Sara Angel (before marriage)- Now I wanted to change as “Alisha Daniel”

    I really appreciate your support and time you take to read. God bless you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      you explained on your website that marriage license/certificate itself is the authentic document to change your name because it has your husband’s name, if you want to change your last name, right?

      Exactly.

      What if someone what’s to change her first name also along with the last name as husband name.

      Not possible through marriage using your marriage certificate. Gotta go to court for that. Completely separate.

      Reply
  4. Emily

    Hi I recently was married in Tennessee our marriage license only has my maiden name on it. I don’t remember seeing a spot to change my last name. We live in Ohio. Will I be able to change my name at ss and dmv using the license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Emily. New name spot doesn't exist in Tennessee. You'll be able to change your name fine.

      Reply
  5. Melissa Hession

    Hello!

    I got married back in March of 2020 and I did not change my name to my spouses name and kept my maiden name. I live in California and want to change my last name to his. How do I do this? Is it too late?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Melissa. If you did specified your new name on your marriage license and it's reflected on your marriage certificate, use that to change your name as your normally would. If you didn't specify it at the time, you'll have to petition the court.

      Reply
  6. Shiela

    Hi
    I got married in Toronto Canada 2016. My marriage certificate only reflects my birth name. I live in PA and would like to now take my husband last name. How should I go about this?

    Reply
  7. Cori Bernal

    I was married in 2020 and my name on my marriage certificate matches my birth certificate, but I was able to change my social security card and driver's license to reflect my husband's last name. Am I able to remove my husband's name from my name legally?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Am I able to remove my husband's name from my name legally?

      What do you mean remove? To reverse your name change? To your name before marriage? If so, you could request a name correction or reversal from the SSA.

      The procedure is the same as changing your name. You'd use your marriage certificate as the validating document. But, you'll almost certainly face trouble when trying to undo your driver's license name change. For that, you'll have to get a court order.

      Reply
  8. RS

    Hi there! I was born in Russia and for the first 15 years of my life went by a name such as John Dough. When I was 15, my parents became US citizens and changed their last name to Doe. At the time, we had my birth certificate in Russian translated and notarized showing name of John Doe, which is what I go by now and have for some time.

    When I got married, in NJ, the municipal township put John Dough as my name at birth even though I go by John Doe. When my wife wanted to adopt the name Doe, SSA told her the marriage certificate would have to be amended to show Doe.

    The township sent a letter to the NJ State department to amend the license to show Doe, but they're asking for evidence of the name change. Given I was underage at the time and adopted my parents' name change (Doe), any idea what I can provide?

    I understand my wife can go to the court and do the name change that way, but then I think the marriage license will always be an issue for anything we need?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, it has been a frustrating time.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      they're asking for evidence of the name change.

      How about your birth certificate? Short of that, your wife would have to get a court-ordered name change.

      Reply
  9. Katlyn Hogan

    I got married by the court in NY and now I’m having my wedding next year on my marriage certificate it has my last name because the clerk gave me wrong info I told her didn’t want to change my last name yet but I will next year she told me to put down that I’m keeping my last name. Is there any way I can change my last name now?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there any way I can change my last name now?

      Apply for another marriage license and get your marriage solemnized again. It'll override your prior marriage certificate.

      Reply
  10. Amanda

    Hi there! I got married in California and forgot to put my new married name. I live in Florida. Do I have to file for an amendment?

    Reply
  11. Gee Vee

    Hi! We live in CA but eloped in Las Vegas on Halloween. My birth name is Gee Vee but I changed it to Gee Vee (new middle name) Cee (husband's last name) on the marriage license. I'm regretting taking his last name. Can anything be done to revert back to my birth name? Do I legally have to change my DL, SS card, passport? If I have children can I give them my birth last name (Vee)? Or is that a bad idea since both my husband and my last name is technically Cee? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I legally have to change my DL, SS card, passport?

      You do not. Ignore you marriage certificate and your name stays the same.

      If I have children can I give them my birth last name (Vee)?

      No, it has to be your current legal last name.

      Reply
  12. Robert

    I recently got married in Jamaica. When we received our marriage certificate, it shows my wife's maiden name only. Is that going to be a problem here in the states to change her last name to mine on all her important stuff, like driver's license, social security cards, etc.?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Robert. Your Jamaican marriage certificate won't pose a problem for your wife changing her name.

      Reply
  13. Mary

    So I missed the change the surname box on my marriage license in New York. I wasn’t 100% sure nor did the clerk ask to confirm it. Am I screwed with switching my name on all other documents or should having my certificate of marriage be good enough? I don’t want to waste money on hitch switch.com if it won’t work. Please help

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mary. If necessary, you can apply for a New York remarriage license and start over.

      Reply
  14. Berenice

    My husband and I got married October 2019 in Oaxaca Mexico we are from California our marriage certificate doesn’t have a spot for new names so When i called SS office they said I’d have to petition the court, after reading this blog i feel like i don’t need necessarily need to go that expensive long route. Correct me if I’m wrong?

    Also since i was married in Mexico do i need to do anything here to make the marriage be legal here in the U.S? In my wedding package i had paid to make the marriage legal which some people i talked to had said they didn’t think that was an actual thing that i had to do but since covid happened their offices closed apparently so they refunded the money I had paid for the legality Please help I’ve been going around in circus with covid most offfices being closed it’s made it harder to get all this figured out.

    Do i need to make marriage legal here?

    Can i still use my husbands last name without going through petitioning the court? And when SS offices open up just start there to change my name and then everything else?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Correct me if I’m wrong?

      You shouldn't have to petition. Foreign marriage certificates are valid.

      do i need to do anything here to make the marriage be legal here in the U.S?

      If it was a legally performed marriage in Mexico, it's valid in the U.S. A certified copy of your marriage record would show that.

      In my wedding package i had paid to make the marriage legal

      I'm not sure what this is referring to.

      Do i need to make marriage legal here?

      If your marriage in Mexico is invalid, you can get married in the states.

      Can i still use my husbands last name without going through petitioning the court?

      Informally, yes. Formally, you'd use a certified copy of your marriage certificate. But, it appears the validity of your marriage is in question.

      when SS offices open up just start there to change my name and then everything else?

      Correct.

      Reply
  15. Monica Cardenas

    Hello, I got mArried in CAlifornia in 2002, On the license and certificate it has my maiden names, and now that i want to change it to my husbands, do i need to go thru court to change it? or will it be ok going to the social security office then dmv? Wi;; i have a problem? Thanks you

    Reply
  16. Terri

    I am in Arizona, we were married 1 year ago and I did not put a new name on our marriage certificate because we wanted to wait until we had a wedding with our family back east before I changed my name. Can I go straight to changing my name through social security or do I have to petition for a name change now? If I have to petition for a name change will this affect my birth certificate, I do not want it reissued with the name change.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I go straight to changing my name through social security or do I have to petition for a name change now?

      Go straight to social security using your Arizona marriage certificate.

      If I have to petition for a name change will this affect my birth certificate, I do not want it reissued with the name change.

      Not applicable, but even if you had to petition, it wouldn't affect your birth certificate unless you wanted it to. Meaning, if you had a court ordered name change, you could use it to update the name on your birth certificate.

      Reply
  17. Veronica

    Hello,

    On my Marriage License and Marriage Certificate it shows my name exactly as my birth certificate, they never asked if i wanted to change it to my husbands last name, its been 10yrs and Now that we have kids, i want to change it to his, will it be ok to just go to social security office? How do i go about this? Thank you so much!
    Im in California and Married here aswell..,
    i got married in the court house btw..

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Veronica. You'll likely have to go to court as the Name Equality Act was in effect at that time. Are you certain you weren't asked? You can contact the county clerk to confirm this by having them look up the application record.

      Reply
  18. Bill (Peterson) Burden

    I just got married in Pennsylvania (same sex couple). The marriage license application did not ask for my new surname, so I completed it with my surname from birth. As a result, my marriage certificate shows my surname from birth.

    Do I need to petition the court now to complete a legal name change? And if I complete the process though the court, is it okay that my marriage certificate will show my surname from birth?

    I will get a new social security card and driver's license that show my married surname, but my marriage certificate will have my old surname. Is this the correct procedure?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      The marriage license application did not ask for my new surname

      Standard in PA.

      my marriage certificate shows my surname from birth.

      That's the correct formatting. You're good to go there.

      Do I need to petition the court now to complete a legal name change?

      No need. Name change through marriage using your marriage certificate would work.

      And if I complete the process though the court, is it okay that my marriage certificate will show my surname from birth?

      Not applicable. Even if you had to go to court, your marriage certificate wouldn't come into play.

      I will get a new social security card and driver's license that show my married surname, but my marriage certificate will have my old surname. Is this the correct procedure?

      That's correct.

      Reply
  19. Dominique

    I got married and changed my middle name and last name with social security. My middle name had one letter wrong since birth so I changed it with social security at the same time as my last name. No problem. Went to the DMV and they would not allow me to have my middle name changed. We live in Connecticut. What would I need to do?

    Reply
  20. Courtney Cummis

    Hello, I got married in TN and live there as well. I don't remember there being a spot for a name change when filling out my application but I am wanting to take my husband's name. My license is changed and so is my bank account, but trying to change it on my vehicle and at work is proving difficult since the marriage certificate reads my previous last name and not the one I'm opting for. What do I need to do?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I don't remember there being a spot for a name change when filling out my application

      There isn't any.

      trying to change it on my vehicle and at work is proving difficult since the marriage certificate reads my previous last name

      Your marriage certificate is good enough for federal and state agencies, but not for your workplace? They're asking for something that doesn't exist.

      Reply
      1. Courtney Cummis

        Do I need to provide my marriage license AND my driver's license with my new last name on it when changing my name on my vehicle and at work?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Courtney. For work-related name changes, a copy of your marriage certificate should suffice. If you can provide additional ID (i.e., driver's license), that wouldn't hurt.

          Reply
  21. J

    I go by my middle name. When I married (nearly 24 years ago), I dropped my first name and used my middle name, maiden name and married name. Have never had a single problem in all these years, but today I was denied a real ID. I live in TN and my marriage license is in Tennessee.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi J. The problem is you don't have a name change document that proves your name change. You were able to get an unconventional name change 24 years ago that probably shouldn't have been authorized. It wouldn't be allowed today.

      Unless they're willing to make an exception for the length of time you've had your name changed, a new name change document will be requested. Specifically a court order.

      Reply
  22. Veronica

    Hi my husband and I got married in California 2007. I signed our marriage license with my maiden name. Since then I was able to change it at the social security office and dmv I put my maiden name as a middle name and added his last name as my last name in 2015. However someone recently told me that my name is what is on my marriage license so I’m confused because I was able to change it at the social security office and dmv I showed them my marriage certificate and they said nothing about me signing with my maiden name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Veronica. You're fine because the California Name Equality Act of 2007 didn't actually go into effect until January 1, 2009.

      Reply
  23. Lizzy

    I live in CO and my wife and I also married 2 years ago and are now going about the name change process. Our request was denied due to the names not being correct on the Marriage Certificate. I relooked at the form, and it does not ask for a new name anywhere, so both of our birth names are listed.

    Before getting rejected, I had no idea I was supposed to have a married last name on the form anywhere, and I don’t recall the clerk asking what our new last name would be. I am not sure what the next step is. But apparently the marriage license didn’t work for us with our maiden names. :-/

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I relooked at the form, and it does not ask for a new name anywhere, so both of our birth names are listed.

      Colorado's forms don't list new names, so you didn't miss anything there.

      I had no idea I was supposed to have a married last name on the form anywhere

      You weren't.

      I don’t recall the clerk asking what our new last name would be.

      They wouldn't, as it wouldn't be applied to the application, license, or recorded marriage certificate.

      I am not sure what the next step is.

      Which entity rejected your name change?

      Reply
  24. Autumn Manry

    Hi, I got married in Louisiana and I didn't sign my married name on my marriage license. I want to go change my name with the social security office and dmv. Will my signing my maiden name stop me from being able to?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Autumn. Signing your maiden name was correct. You won't face any problems.

      Reply
  25. Jasmine

    Hi there. My fiance and I will be getting married in Maryland in the near future. Is it possible for my fiance to take my last name and make his current last name his middle name after marriage without having to petition?

    Thanks for all your help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jasmine. Yes, your fiance can take your last name and replace his middle name with his current last name.

      Reply
  26. Monika

    I got married in MA in 2018 and now in TX. my marriage certificate has my maiden name. I didn’t want to change it at that time so used my maiden name on SSN, PR etc. now I want to change my name with my husband’s name.
    So do i need to file petition or can I change it on marriage certificate? What will be the easiest way?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Monika

      How can I change my name with my married name on SS,PR and passport? Just need to show marriage certificate but it has my maiden name.

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Monika. You're alright using your marriage certificate, since you're in a state where that doesn't list your new name on their marriage certificates.

      Reply
  27. Jane

    Hello again, I wrote a comment yesterday about trying to use my maiden and husband's last name both as my new surname. I want to use my maiden name professionally (and to buy an office, and practice dentistry under), and I will use his name socially. However, I'm not sure if I mentioned that my marriage certificate was issued in NY and I wrote his name as my new surname at that time (not thrilled about it there). Do I need to change the NY marriage certificate first? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jane. In your previous comment you inquired about using dual last names, without a hyphen. You wouldn't be able to amend your marriage certificate for non-typographical errors. At best, you can apply for another marriage license and remarry. But NY doesn't permit space-separated surnames either.

      Reply
    2. Kirsten

      Your legal name is your maiden name until you decide to change it with Social Security and on your driver's license. Just because you wrote it on your marriage certificate doesn't mean you're obligated to change it, it's optional for if/when you want to take your husband's name. Your name didn't automatically change.

      Reply
  28. Jackie

    Hi,

    My husband and I have been married for over a decade. We are just realizing his middle name is incorrect on our marriage license. We were married and live in California. How do we go about correcting this error? Thanks!

    Reply
  29. Alice

    Hello from California!

    Earlier this year, I petitioned for a name change to change my first name for personal preference and my last name to reflect my partner's last name because we were planning on getting married this year.

    The petition has been approved and I've received paperwork from the court to change my name, but the issue is none of the government agencies are open so I can't go to the social security office to get my name changed. So legally, on my license and social security card, my birth name is still showing.

    We just decided to get married in a few months and are planning to apply for my marriage license and certificate. My question to is – will it matter if my marriage certificate shows my original birth name? Since I will eventually get my name legally changed on my documents (social security card, license, etc) and my new name will be eventually be what I go by.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      will it matter if my marriage certificate shows my original birth name?

      It won't matter, since you'll still be using your court order to change your name later.

      Reply
  30. Amy

    Hello, I need some advice.
    I’ve got married 16years ago and I put my maiden name on a marriage certificate. However, I want to change my last name to my husband name now. I went to the county marriage certificate office, but they said they can’t change my last name.

    Right now, my social security card has my husband’s last name, driver’s license and marriage certificate have my median name. How can I change all of my name to my husband’s last name?

    I am a permanent resident and have a green card. I want to change my green card name to my husband’s last name, but my driver’s license name is my maiden name, so I cannot apply for a name change… Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Amy. Form I-90 is used to change the name on your green card. You'll use your marriage certificate for that. It may have your maiden name, but your new name can be derived from your husband's. Same goes for your driver's license.

      Reply
  31. Want my maiden name!

    Hi- I got married in Oregon (July 2018). At the time of completing the marriage license application, I thought I wanted to changed my last name to my spouse's last name, so I completed the license with the name change.

    However, I never went through with contacting SS, banks, changing my drivers license, etc. I've decided I would prefer to just keep my maiden name.

    Do I need to somehow change my last name back to my maiden name? Or, should I not worry about it because it's only changed on my marriage license and I never changed it with SS or the DMV?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to somehow change my last name back to my maiden name?

      No need.

      Or, should I not worry about it because it's only changed on my marriage license and I never changed it with SS or the DMV?

      Correct. Just ignore the new name on your marriage license.

      Reply
  32. Rachel

    Hello, my husband and I recently married in California. We were both planning to change our last names to his mother's maiden (he currently uses his 1st stepfather's last name), but at the civil ceremony we were told we can't do that there and would have to go to the clerk's office to get a name change. Since we couldn't change our last names then, we put our current names on our marriage certificate.

    My questions are, do we both have to petition for a name change, or can I use our marriage certificate after he changes his name to get mine changed as well? Also, will we have to amend our marriage certificate after we change our names to show our new names?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do we both have to petition for a name change

      You'll both have to petition.

      or can I use our marriage certificate after he changes his name to get mine changed as well

      Your marriage certificate is no longer good for name change purposes.

      will we have to amend our marriage certificate after we change our names to show our new names?

      You don't have to. You couldn't even if you wanted to.

      Reply
  33. Tonya Hanna

    Hi. I got married in Hawaii in December. I hyphenate my last name.. mine then his. i haven't done anything else to change my name. My marriage certificate has the new name on it. I no longer want to change my last name and continue to use my maiden name. do I have to change my marriage certificate?
    Thank you
    Tonya

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tonya. You don't have to change your name. You can ignore what you specified on your certificate.

      Reply
  34. Victoria Mendes

    Hey there, my husband and I got married last December in Indiana. We filled our marriage application online and there was no additional field asking what my name would be after marriage, so my marriage certificate is with my MAIDEN NAME. Did we make a mistake? Should I have told the clerk that I wanted to change my last name to my husband's name?

    Does anyone know how it is in Indiana?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Victoria. You didn't miss anything. You didn't make a mistake. Your marriage certificate is as it should be. You can still use it to change your name to your husband's. They'll deduce your last name from your husband's name.

      Reply
  35. Kisha

    Hi.
    I got married in October of 2019 in NC. There was not a place that I recall to put what I wanted my married last name to be. My marriage certificate has my original last name on it. I am wanting to change my name now.

    Will I have to go through the courts to petition a name change since it is not indicated on my marriage certificate? I am extremely confused on this entire process.

    Also is there a way to keep my maiden name as a second middle name or will I have to get rid of my first middle name completely?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My marriage certificate has my original last name on it.

      As it should.

      Will I have to go through the courts to petition

      No, you can use your marriage certificate.

      keep my maiden name as a second middle name or will I have to get rid of my first middle name completely

      You'll have to replace it completely.

      Reply
  36. LC

    Hello,
    After I got married, I went through a name change and hyphenated my name due to my profession (my last name-husband's last name). We're going to be moving and I would like to just have just my husband's last name (drop mine in the hyphenation). Can I go through SSA with my marriage certificate or do I have to go through a petition of name change?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi LC. If you've only changed your name on your social security card, you can opt for a name correction using your marriage certificate. If you've changed it on other documents (e.g., driver's license, state ID, passport), using your certificate won't work. In those instances, you'll need to petition.

      Reply
  37. Helen

    Hello,my name is Helen. Two years ago I got confidential married in CA. Now I change my first name in court. How I can change my first name in married certificate?

    Reply
  38. Jessica

    I got married about 2 months ago and changed my name through the SS office. I have name change regret. Am I able to change it back? The only place it changed was SS and marriage license has my old last name on it. I may not have access to the marriage license in this marriage though… please help. TX

    Reply
  39. Emily

    Hello,
    Looking for advice on a specific name situation, please! My husband and I were married in 2020. He has a hyphenated last name (2 last names). We BOTH want to take only 1 of his last names. Unfortunately, we did not have the time to change his last name before getting married, so his hyphenated name is on the marriage license.

    Will we have to go through the court to change his last name, then get it changed on the marriage license? Afterwards, then I can change my last name, without a court hearing, by having proof of the marriage license. Is this the correct way to go about this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will we have to go through the court to change his last name

      You'd both have to go to court. To be certain, could you share the state where you got married?

      then get it changed on the marriage license?

      That's not likely to fly, as most amendments wouldn't outright replace your old certificate. The amendment (which is unlikely to be approved) would be attached to the old record.

      Afterwards, then I can change my last name, without a court hearing, by having proof of the marriage license.

      See previous answer.

      Reply
  40. Mayra Arroyo

    Hello, My name is Mayra. I just got married in Las Vegas this year, and my marriage certificate only has my maiden name. Will I still be able to change my last name to my husbands' using only the certificate? I live in Washington state.

    Thank You!

    Reply
  41. Faye

    Hi. My husband legally changed his name (first, middle and last) three years after we got married. Is there a way to have his new name reflect on the marriage certificate? Or do we carry around the court orders forever to show that he's my husband?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Faye. You can try and request an amendment, but it's unlikely to be accepted.

      Reply
  42. Sarah

    Hello!

    So I got married at the end of last year in Savannah, GA. I put my husband's last name on my license application under the designated surname for my name after marriage, but my actual marriage certificate/license has only my first name and maiden name. Was it supposed to have my new name? Can I still change my name with social security with my maiden name on the license? This is such a confusing process. Any help is much appreciated! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sarah. It should have appeared on your certified copy. You'll have to contact the probate court to determine what happened. Since you're just taking your spouse's surname as-is, your certificate should still be fine for use.

      Reply
  43. Savannah

    Hi! I have been married for over two months and at the time I chose to keep my maiden name. But. I live in Oregon where they actually specify. Do I need to file an actual court change if I have decided to take my husbands name or can I just change my social security and drivers license and go with it? Thanks!

    Reply
  44. Kristen Harmel

    I am a California resident and recently got married in Jamaica. My marriage certificate contains my maiden name but I want to take my husbands name. I was not given the opportunity to indicate my new name on the license or certificate.

    Can I use my current certificate from Jamaica to obtain the name change in CA or will I need to do a court petition for a name change?

    Reply
  45. Cyn

    I was married almost 4 years ago, my marriage license has my first name and married name, but no middle name, I wanted my maiden name as my middle name. I have not taken it to social security or the DMV so everything is in my maiden name still. What do I do? I’d like to get me documents in my new name now.

    Reply
  46. Jackie

    Hi! I recently got married in Georgia. On the marriage license, it asked me what my married name will be. I chose to hyphenate at the time.

    We are now married, and we have received our marriage certificate. But it still lists my maiden name and not the married name that I opted for at the time.

    Now that it’s time to change my name with SSN, I decided that I would like to have my maiden name as my middle name and have my husband’s last name as my last name.

    Am I stuck with hyphenating, or is there hope? Is there a way to amend the marriage license, or could I apply for a name change with SSN using the marriage certificate and hope for the best?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jackie. You should be able to use your marriage certificate as-is (assuming that's what you were sent) to get your name changed with both the SSA and Georgia DDS.

      Reply
  47. Mossa M. Shakalu

    hello,
    after 20 plus years of marriage, I just realized that there is letter mistake on my first name. how can I correct this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mossa. A letter mistake in your real name or on your marriage certificate? Or some other document?

      Reply
  48. Susana Fernandez

    I currently live in Rhode Island and was married in Las Vegas, Nevada on September of 2013. I am now trying to get the ball rolling to change my last name but I checked my marriage certificate and it has my maiden name on it. Will I still be able to change my last name in RI

    Reply
    1. Valera

      ill I still be able to change my last name in RI

      Yes, in 2013 Nevada hadn't yet updated their statutes to specify new name change rules. At that time, the marriage license application only asked for your current name, not what you'll change to. You're good to go changing your name using your certificate as-is. The fact that you live in Rhode Island isn't a factor.

      Reply
  49. Kim

    My partner and I were wanting to both change our last name when we get married, in Tennessee. We were told today when we picked up the marriage license that we could only choose either of the last name that we currently have and if we both wanted to change our name that we would have to file a name change with the court after the marriage.

    Is this true? Or can we do the name change when we submit the marriage certificate? I could not find anything online that stated this.

    (When her and her ex got married, in Iowa, they were able to chose what ever last name they wanted. We assumed it would be the same here.)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kim. You wouldn't change your name at the point you obtain your marriage license or certificate. You'll use the certificate as proof of your authorized name change event. Then you could independently take each other's names.

      Reply
  50. Shelby

    Hi! I got married December 21st, 2020 in Jackson Hole Wyoming. When we filled out our paper work, I am almost positive there wasn't a spot to put the "new name" I wanted. However, even though I don't recall seeing a designated spot, at the very end of the paperwork that I had to fill out, the very last spot that it asked for my name, I filled it out with my husbands last name because I thought that would at least let them know that's the name I wanted.

    When I got the copy of our marriage license back, it of course to my surprise had my maiden name on it and I am pretty disappointed as I had expected to see my new last name. I do live in Georgia- will I still be able to get my DL, SS, etc changed or will I have to petition this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      When we filled out our paper work, I am almost positive there wasn't a spot to put the "new name" I wanted.

      There isn't.

      the very last spot that it asked for my name, I filled it out with my husbands last name because I thought that would at least let them know that's the name I wanted.

      You should have filled in your maiden name.

      to my surprise had my maiden name on it and I am pretty disappointed

      They caught the error and corrected it on your behalf. This can actually be helpful in removing potential confusion regarding your future name change. It's a positive.

      will I still be able to get my DL, SS, etc changed or will I have to petition this?

      Your Wyoming certificate will work fine as-is. No need to petition.

      Reply
  51. Sujaira Aranda

    Hi I got Married December 18th 2020 in Louisiana and i wasn't sure if i wanted to change my name so all my paper work on the marriage license are my maiden name and Now i decided i do want to change my last name So would i have any problems at the SS office or Dmv with me changing my last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sujaira. You won't have any problems. The Louisiana marriage license application, license, and certificate should only reflect your legal name at the time of application. It will not display your new name preference. This will not prevent you from changing your last name with federal and state organizations.

      Reply
  52. Nisha

    Hi –

    I live in NJ, but my fiance lives in NC. We are having an Indian wedding in November due to postponement, but decided to get court married in March to capture our original wedding date. Although we will be married legally, I don't consider our official wedding date to be until November and don't want to change my last name with the government until November as well. I don't know how the process works in NC courts – whether they'll ask me to change it on the spot or not.

    Can I change my last name on the marriage certificate in March but wait until October/November to change it legally with the SSA?

    And also, my driver's license is expiring in April and I was thinking of getting a real ID but it would be in my maiden name and for the state of NJ rather than NC. Should I wait until I'm married to get a Real ID or should I just get a regular license right now then get another license (real ID) after my name change/state change and all that? Also would I get penalized if I changed my name for everything and not my driver's license?

    I'm super confused, and would really appreciate any insight!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I change my last name on the marriage certificate in March but wait until October/November to change it legally with the SSA?

      1) You won't be assigning your new name on the certificate. 2) You can wait until November fine.

      Should I wait until I'm married to get a Real ID or should I just get a regular license right now

      It doesn't matter. But you'll have to make sure your SSA card is updated first. Current delays in SSA processing times (sometimes up to 60 days) could push off your driver's license name change.

      then get another license (real ID) after my name change/state change and all that?

      You can. It's extra work for you, but doable.

      Also would I get penalized if I changed my name for everything and not my driver's license?

      No.

      Reply
  53. Ketan Shah

    My spouse middle name is with her ex on drivers license so on the marriage certificate we have with her ex.

    e.g
    My Name: John Duval
    Spouse Name: Michelle Rodoff Glover on drivers license with her ex.

    On marriage certificate now it with her ex as the clerk told me will go with the name on drivers license.

    How can I get it fix? If I go and change her drivers license will ask for marriage certificate so not sure from where to start. Please help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How can I get it fix?

      There is no fix, as it's not an error. The clerk would only have accepted the name on the current ID at the time.

      If I go and change her drivers license will ask for marriage certificate so not sure from where to start.

      This wouldn't prevent your spouse from changing their name. You may be concerned about something that's not an issue from the perspective of the driver's license office.

      Reply
  54. Marie

    Hello! I am from the Philippines and I got married recently in PA. Before getting married, I was here with nonimmigrant visa and now in the process of green card application. My marriage certificate shows my maiden name. I do not recall if there was a spot on the form for the new name when my husband and I applied for the marriage license. I would like to update my SSN information soon, will this be an issue?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I do not recall if there was a spot on the form for the new name when my husband and I applied for the marriage license.

      There wasn't.

      I would like to update my SSN information soon, will this be an issue?

      It won't be a problem.

      Reply
  55. Geri Austin

    My Fiance and I live in CA, we are getting married in WI in April. We are wanting to take his step father's last name, as this is the name he goes by but isn't legally changed too. I tried to contact the local clerks office here in CA but they told me to contact WI, haven't received a response yet.

    Are we able to change to his step father's last name with our marriage license in WI or will we need to file with the courts in CA?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Are we able to change to his step father's last name with our marriage license in WI or will we need to file with the courts in CA?

      Not possible through marriage. You'll have to go to court in your state of residence, which is California.

      Reply
  56. Chelsea

    I changed my name on the marriage certificate to my husband’s last name. But within the last few years I’ve never changed my social or Id last name to his. I never did because I realized I liked my name better. 😂 anyway, would I get in trouble eventually if I don’t change my Driver license and Social to his last name? I still have my maiden name on all my things. How does that work?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Chelsea. You won't get in any trouble. Changing your name is optional, regardless of what's on your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  57. Jaymi Barnett

    My wife and I were married in PA in 2020. We are a same sex married couple. On our marriage certificate it says our current last names and we would like to take my maiden name as our married name.

    We are the first same sex couple in area and can't seem to get a straight answer for this as our lawyer claims I have to file a precipae to resume maiden name after divorce and say my wife has to file a name change petition. I feel this is over kill when we were just married.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jaymi. You and your wife wouldn't be able to take your maiden name through marriage. Only our current last name as-is. You'd both have to petition the court to change your names to your maiden name.

      Some states are more flexible allowing previous surnames, but in Pennsylvania it's based on what's current at the time of marriage.

      Reply
  58. Leeah

    Hello! I got married almost five years ago now and at the time I wanted to take his last name and keep mine, so both is what was put on our marriage certificate (with a space in between, no hyphen). I've changed my mind and just want my last name, but I had already had my driver's license changed to include both since I had to change it a few months after marriage when I turned 21, and I used our marriage license to change that.

    Should I be able to change my driver's license back to just my family name now using my social security card, or would I need to petition the court for the change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Leeah. You'll almost certainly have to petition the court. If you tell me which state your name change has taken place in, I can peruse the driver services statutes to determine if there's a carve out available in your case. It's highly unlikely, but worth examining.

      Reply
      1. Leeah

        Thank you for the information! That sucks, I wish the process was easier.

        I am in New York State.

        If I don't get it changed but continue to just use my last name, do you think that'll ever be an issue?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          I am in New York State.

          NY won't allow a name reversal without a court order.

          If I don't get it changed but continue to just use my last name, do you think that'll ever be an issue?

          It can become an issue if you later intend to get a Real ID. In that case, you'll have a mismatch with your social security record. Real ID is optional though.

          Reply
          1. Leeah

            Okay, thank you!

            Would it ever cause issue with renewing my Passport? My passport has only my family name.

          2. Valera

            Hi Leeah. It's a non-issue with your passport.

  59. DK

    Hey there!

    My wife and I got married 4 years ago, we both wrote my surname on our marriage certificate but decided to keep our last names. Now I want to take her surname, is there any easier way to go than the whole court path? We're in Michigan. Thanks for your help!

    Reply
  60. Kierra moore

    Hey so I just got married in Tennessee last week. The documents me and my husband signed didn’t ask if I wanted to change my name. I realized now that I put down my maiden name and was wondering the easiest route to change my last name.

    Any advice will be appreciated! I’m living in Virginia right now moving to fort Campbell, Kentucky in a few weeks since he’s in the army

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kierra. You needn't do anything special. Just use your marriage certificate as-is.

      Reply
  61. Pam

    Hi Married in NY a long time ago… Just realized that my marriage certificate show my maiden name as my assumed name that I have been using for over 50 yrs and not my birth name! Is this a problem? if so what do I need to do about it?

    I don't know why I did not put my birth name down as my maiden name and used my assumed name… Hopefully this is not a problem when I or my spouse apply for social security or anything else!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Pam. It's not a problem. The Social Security Administration has operating instructions in place for folks who've been using the "wrong" name for an extended period of time. Your name usage and identity is historically well established and won't be an issue.

      Reply
  62. Melrose Geronimo

    So if it says “New name not declared” it’s okay? The registrar had to fix mine and didn’t ask about my new name and put not declared.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Melrose. If the registrar changed your marriage record after the fact, you should be fine. Is there something I'm missing? Is there something left blank? If so, please specify which state your marriage took place in.

      Reply
  63. Delizete

    Hello,
    I got married in Arizona 10 years ago and there, apparently they keep your maiden name too on your marriage certificate. I was able to change my SS and Driver's License in here, but I am originally from Brasil and need to change all my documents there too to my husbands last name.

    Unlike USA, Brasil doesn't accept your marriage certificate as proof of your identity if it doesn't state your husband's last name on it. What's your advice on how to change my maiden name to my husbands name on my marriage certificate.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Delizete. I think you're mixing up having your husband's name shown as your new surname instead of your husband's name simply appearing on the certificate in isolation. Most name changes are derived, meaning it's pieced together. You may be concerned about something that's not an issue.

      Reply
  64. Daisy

    Hello,

    We just found out that my husband's middle name actually never really existed. We needed his birth certificate for something and realized that his name is eg. "Mark Smith" instead of "Mark Caro Smith" as he always believed. He always used his middle name and even his parents were surprised when we found out his middle name is not in his birthday certificate. We also noted that none of his legal documents have the middle name in it.

    However, in our marriage certificate he has a middle name since he filled up our marriage application with his (not real) complete legal full name. We just got married and now I feel like I am married to someone who probably doesn't even exist and will probably face troubles because of that. Is it a kind of mistake that we can get fixed at the registrar office just by showing his birth certificate and explaining the situation?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it a kind of mistake that we can get fixed at the registrar office just by showing his birth certificate and explaining the situation?

      Yes, a simple certificate amendment request should suffice.

      Reply
  65. Rafa

    Hello,

    I’m originally from Mexico. My name on my birth certificate is as follows:
    First: AAA
    Middle: None
    Last: BBB CCC, two surnames with a space between them (no hyphen).

    I have been living in California for the last 31 years and all my documents, including my marriage certificate (I got married in 2000), and my California IDs are as follows:
    First: AAA
    Middle: CCC
    Last: BBB
    Back in 1989, the DMV let me use my second surname as my middle name.

    I became a PR last year (yes took me that long!) and I got my PR and SS card couple months ago, both have my full name as is on my birth certificate (AAA BBB CCC). I want to have my SS card with the name I have been using before (AAA CCC BBB). My question is, will my marriage certificate suffice the name change?

    Reply
  66. Alyssa

    My husband and I got our marriage license through our local Town Clerk in NY. While filling out the paperwork I asked the clerk how I go about changing my last name, she said I do it after we get married. I then asked if I should be filling the paperwork out in my maiden name or the name I want to take, she said I had to fill it out in my maiden name.

    Fast forward after we got married I return to the Town Clerk and ask to change my last name (as she had led me to believe this is how it was done). The same woman then screamed at me asking “why I changed my mind” and “why did you check the box to keep your maiden name”.

    On my certificate I saw a box checked saying I was keeping my maiden name. I never checked the box and was misinformed while filling out the paperwork for the license. After being reduced to tears, another town clerk worker that witnessed the event met me outside and comforted me and told me I should try Social Security and see if they could help.

    I went and explained the situation and was given a new Social Security card with my husbands last name. I then went to change my name at the DMV and even though I had the new social security card, they refused because the marriage certificate had the box checked to keep my maiden name.

    My license is expiring next year and I don’t know what to do because now I have a new social security card that doesn’t match my marriage certificate or birth certificate. This was not my fault, all I wanted was to take my husbands name. Is there anything I can do or am I completely screwed for the rest of my life?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Alyssa. You can apply for a remarriage license, then using the subsequent marriage certificate to change your name with the DMV. The remarriage license is the same as a regular marriage license. Think of it like renewing your vows and remarrying your spouse, but with official paperwork. You also needn't apply at the same town clerk's office. The alternative to that is pursuing a court-petitioned name change.

      Reply
  67. Claudia

    I am in NY and will be marrying my fiance in two weeks. I am also pregnant and the baby will have his last name. On my marriage application I checked that I would keep my maiden name.

    I planned on keeping my maiden name for legal/professional reasons and use my married name informally amongst friends and family. I have family that lives abroad and I plan on taking the baby with me.

    Will me not having the same last name as my child affect going through customs and immigration in other countries? Also if I change my mind and want my name changed to his later on, even though the license says I'm keeping my maiden name, is the marriage event itself make me eligible for a name change later on?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will me not having the same last name as my child affect going through customs and immigration in other countries?

      No. You can bring your marriage certificate with you to link the names, but that shouldn't be necessary.

      is the marriage event itself make me eligible for a name change later on?

      That could be a problem when you need to renew your driver's license. If you feel this may be a possibility, you can request your marriage license be amended and reissued under the most likely married name variation you'd seek.

      You're not obligated to go through with it, but this leaves your options open. Of course, you'll want to do this before you get married.

      Reply
  68. Aisha

    I received my certified marriage certificate in 2019 in Savannah, GA. On the license application, I elected to hyphenate my name with my husband's name. Our marriage certificate only shows my first and maiden name because that's the way they do it here.

    I never officially went to SSA or DDS to change my name to my husband's. Now that I'm receiving different accolades, my husband questions why I hadn't changed my name yet. When we were married, he added me on his insurance with the hyphenated name. Since he is now realizing that I never changed my name with SSA or DDS, I want to do it now to put him at ease. Will this be an issue with it being years later?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will this be an issue with it being years later?

      No, there's no time limit with name change. The procedure doesn't change.

      Reply
  69. Samantha

    Just recently got married in the state of Florida having read the column its understood, i hope I'm correct that my marriage certificate is a legal document which allows me to change my name. So when filing for my adjustment of status i can legally file using my married name

    Reply
  70. Nicole N.

    Hi there,
    I recently got married, but my Texas marriage license only has my maiden last name (I live in California). Is that normal/common for someone who wants to change their last name?

    Can I still use my marriage license to change my last name to my husband’s for my drivers license and social security card? If so, will this then be considered my new legal name?

    Thanks,
    Nicole

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is that normal/common for someone who wants to change their last name?

      Yes, it's standard in most states.

      Can I still use my marriage license to change my last name to my husband’s

      Yes.

      will this then be considered my new legal name?

      Your marriage "certificate" is the authorizing name change document. Your chosen name will be your new legal name.

      Reply
  71. Vy

    I just got married last week in TN and we live in Florida. We did a pre-application and I remember it not giving us an option on a new name. We went and got our license and yet again, we were not asked and the papers we signed showed us nothing of a new name. We just got our certificate and it still shows my maiden name.

    I did go back and look at the form again. The only thing it listed was surname (optional). I’m wondering if I need to file in court for a name change or can I just update with my new name using the marriage license as proof of marriage?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Vy. You don't need to go to court. Your certificate is usable as-is.

      Reply
  72. Marta

    Hi- I got married in January in Las Vegas. I have my maiden last name on the marriage certificate. I live in NY and I would like to change my last name to my husbands. At this point do I have to file a petition at the court or at social security?

    Reply
  73. Tina

    I was married in Tennessee in 1998 and my marriage certificate shows my maiden name, not the hyphenated name I took when we married. I remember at the time I was able to update my social security and drivers license with my hyphenated name which is a combination of my last name then his last name.

    We now live in CA and I need to get a Real ID and to show proof of name change it doesn't look like they are accepting the marriage certificate as proof of name change. I had uploaded the document and was planning on taking it in person with the other required documents to the DMV. So, I don't know the reason for rejecting the marriage certificate.

    I am trying to anticipate and correct the problem before going there since I live in the mountains nowhere near the DMV and it takes forever just to get there in addition to long lines. I don't want a wasted trip if I can figure this out before going. I hope you can tell me if there's something else I can do or if in person the DMV will accept my TN marriage certificate as proof of name change.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tina. If you have an expired passport book or card with your married name, you can use that as your identity documents. Then you're done. If you don't have that, you can provide a certified copy of your birth certificate and another document containing your married name: social security card, W-2 form, or pay stub with social security number.

      Reply
  74. Emily

    Hi, I got married in MA two years ago and used my maiden name + my husband's last name as my new last name on my marriage certificate. I haven't gone to SS, DMV, etc to inform them of the change the past couple years. I ultimately decided to just keep my maiden name on my official documents. Is there anything that I need to do on my end to keep my current name (i.e. get a new marriage doc, go to court, etc) ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there anything that I need to do on my end to keep my current name (i.e. get a new marriage doc, go to court, etc)

      There's nothing you need to do.

      Reply
  75. Nicky

    Hi there,

    Hoping to get some help as my name change situation has really been stressing me out.

    I got married in Washington, D.C. in Oct 2020.

    My legal name is Alexandra Nicole. I am known by, and go by Nicky. On the D.C. marriage application, due to being so frazzled, I put Nicky.

    I want to change my name to Nicole. Have I shot myself in the foot by putting the wrong name on the marriage license/certificate? Do I need to file to change the name on the marriage certificate to be my legal name? Would love some insight before I move forward. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Nicky

      It cut out additional information but my middle name is my mother's maiden name and I have my father's last name. On the license/certificate I put Nicky + last name. I want to change my name is Nicole + mother's maiden name + husband's last name.

      Reply
      1. Valera

        I want to change my name is Nicole + mother's maiden name + husband's last name.

        Same situation. You'll want to request an amendment for missing information.

        Reply
        1. Nicky

          Thanks very much for your help. Just so that I have all the answers I am seeking: Social Security would not accept my marriage certificate as it currently is for name change?

          When requesting an amendment for the marriage certificate, would it be in my best interest to put my legal name or my desired name? I imagine my legal name so that it matches my SSA and then I have proof of identity?

          Thank you!

          Reply
          1. Valera

            Social Security would not accept my marriage certificate as it currently is for name change?

            They might not, as it wouldn't match your legal name on file. Also think beyond social security. You'll have other credentials you'll want to update as well.

            would it be in my best interest to put my legal name or my desired name?

            Only your legal name is allowed.

    2. Valera

      Do I need to file to change the name on the marriage certificate to be my legal name?

      You can contact the DC Marriage Bureau about amending your marriage record.

      Reply
  76. Sayali

    I married in Nevada and live in CA. In the application I chose to add my husbands' paternal last name. The clerk added both of his last names to my name and I want to change it. Having both of his last names makes me feel like one of his sisters. I haven't gone to the Social Security office to legally change my name yet because of this. What can I do?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sayali. You can submit a correction request form with the county clerk's office. They'll have them available. It's not guaranteed it'll be accepted though.

      Reply
  77. Sondra Smith

    I have been married twice. I kept my first marriage name and once I got married the second time I wanted to hyphenate my two last names. (I have one kid from first marriage and two from second marriage. I went to dmv and put my married name and explained that I didn’t change my social. They produced me a license. I never changed my name but now I can’t renew my license, what do I do. Help

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sondra. You can update your social security card then try again with the DMV. When they check the SSA database, your name will match.

      Reply
  78. Ms. Douglas

    I got married in March in Las Vegas and I change my last name to my husband name but now I want to add my last name back
    What’s the steps I have to take to change it ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ms. Douglas. To be clear, are you asking to undo your name change entirely? Or are you trying to append your prior last name to your spouse's last name? Did you change it on any document other than your marriage license/certificate, such as your social security card or driver's license?

      If I can get a sense of how far down the name change path you've gone, I can suggest ways to come back from the brink.

      Reply
  79. Tia

    I got married in February 2018 in Nevada I live in Oregon I’m in the process of changing my last name and Was told what I needed to provide the social security administration with I supplied all the documents but today when I called to ask how long it typically takes to get my new social security card with my new last name they told me I can’t get one because it’s been over two years since I got married and that I would have to get my driver’s license changed with DMV first with my new last name before getting a new social.

    DMV told me that isn’t true and I need a new social with updated name first. Social security office said it was a law that Oregon passed over ten years ago saying I had to change my name within 2 years of getting married I NEED HELP! Not sure what to do about this.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tia. I don't know what two-year rule that agent was referring to. SSA has an internal two-year standard for whether or not you can use your marriage certificate for ID-purposes. That still wouldn't preclude you from changing your name.

      Since it's been two years since you've changed your name, you'll have to mail out your social security form, marriage certificate, and ID. Had you changed it within two years, you wouldn't need to include ID.

      Please review the social security name change article which goes into greater depth what you'll need to do.

      Reply
  80. Desiree

    Hi,

    We got married in Hawaii and I put my maiden name on the marriage license/Certificate instead of changing it to my husband's. Now, I am living in Texas and would like to change my last name to my husband's. Do I need to amend the marriage certificate in order to change my name in Texas? Not too sure how to move forward in my situation. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

    Reply

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