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

247 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.

247 Comments

  1. Paulina

    Got married in Alaska back in 2015, didn’t change my name when they asked me because I was too nervous. Now I’ve been dragging the whole changing my name thinking is gonna be too difficult. Now we reside in Colorado and need to know what to do, I’ll be applying for my American citizenship within next year so I would like to have my married last name. Help!?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Paulina. You can change your name during the naturalization process. It's simple. Just make the request at the proper time.

      Reply
  2. Jeanne

    I want to apply for residency in Mexico and I'm married to a Mexican citizen. In order to apply, our names on the marriage certificate need to match exactly the names on our passports, which they don't (no middle names, and my name is now hyphenated). Can we get married again in the US using our full names? Would we need to get divorced first?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can we get married again in the US using our full names? Would we need to get divorced first?

      Some U.S. states permit couples to get a remarriage license to remarry their current spouse. For example, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York allow remarriage.

      Reply
  3. Dee

    I got married 5 years ago and I am now deciding to change my last name. I want to surprise my husband with all completed process of changing my name. Obviously my marriage certificate has my maiden name. What is my first step in changing my last name?? Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Obviously my marriage certificate has my maiden name.

      First, does your marriage certificate have a space where you specified a new name after marriage and you're now trying to deviate from that choice? If so, that could be a problem. Let's assume that's not what you're facing, and move onto your next step…

      What is my first step in changing my last name?

      You'll still use a certified copy of your marriage certificate to prove your name change event. Because your marriage took place over two years ago, you'll have to include an identity document (e.g., driver's license, passport) along with your social security application.

      Reply
      1. Dee

        Yes, this is my issue. Im finally deciding to change my last name. Thank you, so I will get my marriage certificate ( with added ID) and move on to the social security part.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Yes, this is my issue. Im finally deciding to change my last name.

          If your marriage certificate has a new name after marriage specified, that's what the SSA would accept. You couldn't switch to a new name choice.

          Reply
          1. Steph

            Hello, I got married in Indiana. I was told to sign the marriage certificate with the new last name, if I was taking his last name. The marriage license in the mail and it says my maiden last name on it still. Can I still take his last name or is it too late?

          2. Valera

            I was told to sign the marriage certificate with the new last name

            They were mistaken.

            The marriage license in the mail and it says my maiden last name on it still.

            That's to be expected in Indiana.

            Can I still take his last name or is it too late?

            Yes, you're fine.

  4. Luz

    I was married in Vegas 2012 and never changed my name, I reside in AZ and want to give my husband a surprise with the name Change, can I still do that?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I reside in AZ and want to give my husband a surprise with the name Change, can I still do that?

      Yes, there isn't a maximum time limit to change your name.

      Reply
  5. Maureen

    Hi. I was married in Vegas 3weeks ago but live in IL. When we apply for marriage license we left the name change part blank but would like to change it now. What are my next steps?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Maureen. The steps to change your name are the same. Just use a certified copy of your marriage certificate as your documented name change event and you'll be good to go.

      Reply
  6. Ryan

    I got married in TN and my certificate states my maiden name. I don’t remember a place asking for my new last name. Will I be okay to change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I don’t remember a place asking for my new last name. Will I be okay to change?

      You didn't miss anything. The Tennessee marriage license application only asks for your current name and birth name, not a new name post-marriage name. You're fine to change your name using your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  7. Megan

    Hello,

    I was married in Santa Barbara, CA in 2015 and at the time was a CA resident. I chose to keep my maiden name. My husband joined the military in 2017 and we now live in CO. Would I be able to change my last name to his at a Social Security agency here in Colorado?

    Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Would I be able to change my last name to his at a Social Security agency here in Colorado?

      Yes.

      Reply
  8. Manda

    I got married this past weekend in Ohio. I don’t recall ever seeing anything about putting in a new last name. Our abstract of marriage has my maiden name, is Ohio one of the states that doesn’t allow you to enter in a new last name? Or do I need to get the marriage certificate fixed before I can go through the process of changing my name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      is Ohio one of the states that doesn’t allow you to enter in a new last name?

      Yes, it is.

      Or do I need to get the marriage certificate fixed before I can go through the process of changing my name?

      No, you're Ohio marriage certificate is fine as-is.

      Reply
  9. Kim

    I just got married and I live in MD but on my marriage license it still has my last and not my husband. I don’t remember seeing a spot for me to take my husband last name will this be a problem for me to change

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kim. You won't have a problem changing your name using your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  10. Quasia

    I married my husband last week and I didn’t take his name, now I want to take his last name. How can I go about this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Quasia. Which state did the marriage take place? Or was it a foreign marriage?

      Reply
  11. Mariette

    Im from the UK and got married in Florida on the 20th august 2019, we went to the court house on the 17th August and filled out the application, we got back to the UK on the 27th August and yesterday the 4th September we received a stamped copy of the application we filled in, is this the marriage certificate?

    and does this automatically mean i have taken my husbands last name? because it says my spouses name then my name (before being married) then my maiden name, was i suppose to put my husbands last name when i filled out my name? because it doesnt say anywhere on the application ( that i could remember) about changing my last name? im really confused and upset about the fact i dont think i have his name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      we received a stamped copy of the application we filled in, is this the marriage certificate?

      It wouldn't say marriage application. It should say marriage license and show the date it was recorded.

      and does this automatically mean i have taken my husbands last name?

      No, name change isn't automatic.

      was i suppose to put my husbands last name when i filled out my name?

      No, in Florida you'd put your name before marriage.

      im really confused and upset about the fact i dont think i have his name?

      You just need to obtain a certified copy of your recorded marriage license from the circuit court to change your name.

      Reply
  12. Cathy

    I live in CT and recently got married in NY. At the time I choose my maiden name as my new surname (I was previously married) but have decided to take my new husbands name. Even though the marriage certificate has my maiden name as my new surname I was able to change it to my husbands name at SSA and DMV. I just applied for a name change for my passport. Since SSA processed my name change do you think I'll have problems with my passport?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Since SSA processed my name change do you think I'll have problems with my passport?

      No, you'll be fine.

      Reply
  13. Laurie Barrow

    I got married but it has my maden name and i want to add my married name i live in indiana. How do i do this ? And do u know how much it will be ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I got married but it has my maden name and i want to add my married name i live in indiana. How do i do this ?

      You'd use your marriage certificate.

      And do u know how much it will be ?

      Nothing, since you won't be petitioning the court.

      Reply
    2. Steph

      Hi Laurie
      I got married in December in Indiana. We just received our marriage license in the mail about a week ago and it only has my maiden name on it. I was told the other day it had to say maiden name and what the new name would be changed too. Do you know if this is true? Your the only other person on here from Indiana like myself.

      Reply
      1. Valera

        Hi Steph. Indiana marriage applications ask for your current legal name, not what you'll want to change it to. The certificate will mirror this.

        Allowing someone to sign a new name on the certificate would be problematic administratively because there would be no oversight from clerk's part to make sure you're not choosing something invalid and for pure legibility reasons.

        If you're not asked for your new name when applying, it won't appear on your certificate. You can still change your name fine.

        Reply
  14. Maly

    If I got married in CA already, but left my "new married name" section blank on my CA marriage license, can I get a new marriage license in NV (with my already husband of course) and use that to get my DMV and other legal docs to change my name to my husbands last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I get a new marriage license in NV (with my already husband of course)

      No, Nevada will not issue you a marriage license or remarriage license for this scenario.

      Reply
  15. Amanda

    I reside and got married in Pennsylvania. There isn’t a spot on the license for new name in my state. I went to social security office and got my name changed. I dropped my birth middle name and moved my maiden name there. In Pa this says it allowed.

    The clerk at the social security office told me people at the dmv had turned women away because of this and forced them back to their maiden middle name. I called penndot. Of course one guy I spoke with didn’t know a thing because he told me I had to designate it on my marriage license. No not in Pa.

    I called back for another person. She said all I needed was my new social security card. Why is this such a hassle to do something legal. My state is so far behind with the times.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      There isn’t a spot on the license for new name in my state.

      Correct.

      I went to social security office and got my name changed.

      To be expected, the SSA doesn't have a problem with this.

      The clerk at the social security office told me people at the dmv had turned women away because of this and forced them back to their maiden middle name.

      Those PA DMV clerks might want to read their own PennDOT website that explains how a maiden name to middle name change is permitted.

      I called penndot. Of course one guy I spoke with didn’t know a thing because he told me I had to designate it on my marriage license. No not in Pa.

      True, it doesn't exist.

      I called back for another person. She said all I needed was my new social security card. Why is this such a hassle to do something legal.

      This person is up-to-date.

      Reply
  16. Katherine

    Hi,
    I hyphenated my last name + husband's last name. We received our marriage certificate recently. I've had a change of heart and would like to fully take his last name and drop my last name. Can I do an amendment to drop my last name? Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Katherine. You could with the SSA, assuming you've already changed your name with them, as they'll consider that a name correction. But, you'll probably face resistance with your local driver's license office.

      Reply
  17. Regina Ham

    I got married in Arlington, VA in August 2018. I didn't see a box for a new surname. I want to go and get my name changed now but I'm freaking out I filled the wrong form out.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I got married in Arlington, VA in August 2018. I didn't see a box for a new surname.

      No such box exists in Virginia.

      I want to go and get my name changed now but I'm freaking out I filled the wrong form out.

      You're fine. Just use your marriage certificate as-is.

      Reply
  18. Jen Scott

    Got married in California to a man I have been with for two decades…my children all have a hyphenated version of his and my maiden last names. On my wedding certificate I chose to take the same hyphenated name as my children…that was five years ago, and I never changed my name on my social security card, medical cards, etc.

    Now I need to get a Real ID through the DMV. Since I never filled out any paperwork to change my social, birth certificate, etc., is my true last name still my maiden name (which I hope, I really no longer wish to have a hyphenated last name), or by changing my name on my marriage certificate is that now my true legal last name I must use with the DMV.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      is my true last name still my maiden name (which I hope, I really no longer wish to have a hyphenated last name)

      Your maiden name is still your sole legal name.

      or by changing my name on my marriage certificate is that now my true legal last name I must use with the DMV.

      You can safely ignore what's on your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  19. Charlene

    We got married in 1993. I am trying to get my TSA & our marriage license shows my maiden name not my married name. I never noticed that before. According to the TSA website your current name has to match all documents. What am I going to do?

    Reply
      1. Valera

        Hi Charlene. California's Name Equality Act wasn't until 2007, which is why your marriage certificate only shows your maiden name.

        Reply
    1. Valera

      According to the TSA website your current name has to match all documents. What am I going to do?

      Your married name can be derived from your marriage certificate, which is common.

      Reply
  20. Haley

    I’m getting married in Vegas soon and was wondering about the name change designation on the marriage application. Is it a requirement to fill in my requested name change at the time of application? If I leave it blank will I be able to change my name in the state of Nevada with just my marriage certificate showing my maiden name? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it a requirement to fill in my requested name change at the time of application?

      You don't have to fill it in.

      If I leave it blank will I be able to change my name in the state of Nevada with just my marriage certificate showing my maiden name?

      Nevada is interesting, because you can indeed leave it blank and maintain the option to change it later using your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  21. Andrea teuss

    On my marriage certificate does it say my new name and husbands or my maiden name

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Andrea. It varies by state. If you specify the state where your marriage took place I can tell which name could appear.

      Reply
  22. Jenna

    I was married in Las Vegas Nevada in 2008 and my marriage certificate only shows my maiden name. I am unable to get a passport because I cannot prove that my married last name is legally my last name. I guess I will need to petition the court for a name change. My drivers license and social security card both show my married name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My drivers license and social security card both show my married name.

      Did you present these documents along with your marriage certificate?

      Reply
  23. Sandy

    I married in Texas. At the time when I applied for my marriage license my driving license had my middle name misspelled. The county clerk went by the name on my DL so now my marriage license has my middle name misspelled.

    The ceremony has already taken place, I called the county clerk office back and they informed me that they are unable to correct the spelling of my middle name on the marriage license.

    I was able to get my SS and DL updated to correct spelling of my middle name and my new married last name. I am still in the process of updating other documents. One is my passport, which leads me to these questions.

    Will there be a problem when I submit my application for passport for a name change? Is this a common thing? How likely will they decline me?

    If I they decline me are there ways submitt other docs to show the correct spelling? Thanks so much for addressing all these concerns. Best regards.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will there be a problem when I submit my application for passport for a name change?

      You shouldn't face a problem considering your driver's license currently has the correct spelling.

      If I they decline me are there ways submitt other docs to show the correct spelling?

      Current passport, social security card, voter registration, among others.

      Reply
  24. Gabby

    We went to get our Marriage License, and when I told them that I wanted to make my maiden name my middle name, they told me they couldn’t do that? I don’t currently have a middle name. We live in Oklahoma, and I have a friend who did this. I signed the license with my future last name, but does this mean that I won’t even be able to make my maiden name my middle name at the SS office?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      but does this mean that I won’t even be able to make my maiden name my middle name at the SS office?

      You may be able to since the SSA doesn't even regard your middle name as part of your legal name. Your maiden name is also referenced on your prior SSA record, so your name history can take it into account.

      Reply
  25. Erika

    We just got married on Friday in VA, I don’t remember there being a spot to place my new name and the clerk asked if I was changing it and I told her yes and just said don’t forgot to get the license with you to the DMV etc but now I’m getting mixed answers on what to do….

    someone is saying to fill out paper work for s name change at the courthouse and some are saying just take the license to the Social Security Administration office and they will be able to change my name and get new card etc and then I can go to the DMV…could someone clarify?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      We just got married on Friday in VA, I don’t remember there being a spot to place my new name

      You didn't miss anything. Virginia's marriage license application doesn't have a new name after marriage field.

      the clerk asked if I was changing it and I told her yes and just said don’t forgot to get the license with you to the DMV etc

      Do as the clerk suggested: use a certified copy of your marriage license (actually your certificate) to change your name as you normally would.

      Reply
  26. Chelsea Sano

    I'm a resident and married in CA. On my marriage certificate I kept my original middle name and just added my new last name. I never filed the name change. However now I don't want my original middle name I would rather have my maiden name as my middle name. Would it still be possible to make this chane?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Chelsea. California's name change rules for marriage are fairly explicit. You can't shift from what's on your marriage certificate without getting a court order. The name you decide on when you apply does lock you in.

      Reply
  27. Norma

    I was born and live in MA. I was married in RI and my marriage certificate does not have my married name. When I had to renew my driver's license and wanted a Real federal ID, I had to use the initial of my birth middle name which I have never used in 50 yrs. I was really blindsided on that.

    Ever since I was married I used my maiden name as my middle name. Unfortunately, I never got a passport which would have helped. I don't want a different name on my license than is on everything else, so I had to pay $165 to have my maiden name be legally my middle name. The only other option I might have had would have been to apply for a passport before my license expired.

    Reply
    1. Carolann

      That is really shameful on the part of the Commonwealth (and other states) to do this, and unfortunately you're not the only one who's had this happen. It makes one want to ask, "Why did you allow me to have this name all these years, and now you're changing the rules, and I have to foot the bill?" Aaarrgh!!

      Why are they the decider of names? Are we in the USA? Oh, and don't we all feel so much safer? It seems to me that using a maiden name as a middle name is a much better way to identify someone than the average Ann, Marie, or Lynn middle name ever could. Sigh.

      Reply
  28. Taty

    Hello, can you please help me ,my husband and I got married last year, but only this year we find out misspelling on my husbands last name, local Illinois clerk said what there is no law for correction, my green card and ssn with right husbands last name but I was worry if our marriage still legal? And how can we change that mistake, thank you

    Reply
  29. Jassy

    Hello, I have a friend whose been married for almost 25 years. However, the name entered in the marriage certificate is Ma. Theresa but in her birth certificate her legal name is only Theresa. Also, she has known in the community as Ma. Theresa, likewise, in all her documents and information.

    Does it mean that I my friend is not legally married with her husband since it could be a different person. Since in her birth certificates name is only Theresa, could it be possible that if she will get a copy of CENOMAR there is a possibility that she is not married.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Does it mean that I my friend is not legally married with her husband since it could be a different person.

      Unlikely, as she'd likely able to prove identity. Many marriage certificates display identifying attributes, such as age, date of birth, or place of birth. A misspelling wouldn't invalidate a marriage or marriage record.

      Reply
  30. Grace

    I recently got married in Wisconsin and I'm trying to figure out how to go about getting my name changed. I just received copies of our marriage certificate but I notice that it has my maiden name listed in both boxes.

    I looked back at the application I filled out to request the copies and the only spot where I could see where I would've put my married name is at the top when it asks for "current name". I put my maiden name because that is still my current name!

    Will the copies of the marriage license I have not be valid for changing my name with SS and the DMV? We applied for the license in office and I know that we would've stated that I planned on changing my name if that question was offered to us. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I just received copies of our marriage certificate but I notice that it has my maiden name listed in both boxes.

      As it should.

      I put my maiden name because that is still my current name!

      You did the right thing. That was your only option.

      Will the copies of the marriage license I have not be valid for changing my name with SS and the DMV?

      The SSA and DMV will accept your marriage certificate.

      we would've stated that I planned on changing my name if that question was offered to us.

      That option isn't offered in Wisconsin. It's a non-issue.

      I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do!

      Use your marriage certificate as it stands and you'll be fine.

      Reply
        1. Jennifer

          Did you have an issue when you went in or did they accept it? I have the same problem.

          Reply
  31. Dawn

    I got married in Texas (Travis County) in July and at the time wasn't sure if I wanted to change my name. Looking back, there isn't a spot on either the application of the marriage license itself for the married name. So to change my name now do I just go to the SS office with the name change form and my marriage license (certified copy)?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Looking back, there isn't a spot on either the application of the marriage license itself for the married name.

      That's correct. You didn't overlook anything.

      So to change my name now do I just go to the SS office with the name change form and my marriage license (certified copy)?

      That's right.

      Reply
  32. Annielou F Ponce

    I did a online marriage application on November 3 2019 . I answered all the questions but got confused on the part that says last name and birth name i put my birthname on birth name part and last name part

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Annielou. Last name without another qualifier should refer to your current last name. Birth name is the name you were given at birth.

      Reply
  33. Raffy

    I got married in Missouri, when the person filling up the marriage license asked me if any name change would happen. I said, No. I wasn’t ready for this question, but after getting married. I realized I wanted to take my husbands last name. But my marriage certificate is with my maiden name.

    Question, can I still change my name on legal documents with my husbands last name? Or have to file for a name change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I still change my name on legal documents with my husbands last name?

      A certified copy of your Missouri marriage license alone is sufficient.

      Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Candice. No, there's no new name spot in Colorado. You didn't miss anything.

      Reply
      1. Candice

        Great thanks! Also, is there any time period you have to start the process of changing your name after you get officially married. Can you do it whenever?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Candice. You can start as soon as you get your marriage certificate. You could even wait decades later. It's up to you.

          Reply
  34. Stephanie

    Hello and thank you in advance for your wealth of knowledge about this topic. I am getting married in the Bahamas and reside in Missouri. I am wanting to have:

    Stephanie 'Maiden Name' 'Married Name' (without a hyphen).

    Will I then be able to use either last name without changing it legally?
    If not, what are my options to be able to use both how I choose…if any?

    Reply
    1. Stephanie

      Also, do you know if there will be a spot on the marriage certificate to decipher this, as we are told we do not have to obtain a marriage license before we get to the Bahamas??? Therefore I have seen no documents…

      Reply
      1. Valera

        Also, do you know if there will be a spot on the marriage certificate to decipher this,

        There won't be.

        Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Stephanie. You should be able to take on your preferred name using your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  35. Kris

    Hi! I scrolled through all the comments and didn't find this one. Thanks for responding to everyone!

    My situation: married in California very recently, still reside there. Didn't pick a new last name at the time, but now would like to take my partner's. Do I need to go to court, or will our marriage certificate with my maiden name suffice? It sounds like California might be pretty strict if you miss it on the form the first time?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kris. Since you left the new name portion of your marriage application blank, you'll have to go to court.

      Reply
  36. Christi

    Hi there, I got married in Pennsylvania. They asked me if I want to change my name and I said I wasn’t sure and asked if I could do it later. They said that would be fine. Now I decided to take my husbands name, the certificate states my maiden name. I had no issue with the social security office or DMV to change my name.

    I read online Different opinions on if I have to petition a name change or just have to change my social security card and drivers license.
    I just want to do this correctly since we will travel abroad to visit my family for christmas. (I have a green card, so am not a citizen. I don’t know if that makes any differences) I just want to make sure I have all documents for reentry.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Christi. No need to petition. Your name change went through without a hitch.

      Reply
  37. Stefanie

    Hello! I got married in New York a year ago and I wrote my husband's last name as my new surname on the marriage certificate. We're taking an international trip soon and my passport is about to expire, but I am still unsure if I want to take his last name (I have not changed my name on any other documents). Can I renew my passport in my maiden name (the name I am currently using)? And if not, is it possible to change my marriage certificate to remove my husband's name from the "new surname" line? You slightly touched on this in a previous comment from 8/15 expressing that it "could be a problem" referring to deviating from the name listed on the marriage certificate…Thank You!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I renew my passport in my maiden name

      Yes.

      is it possible to change my marriage certificate to remove my husband's name from the "new surname" line?

      No, but unnecessary in your case anyway.

      "could be a problem" referring to deviating from the name listed on the marriage certificate

      That was related to someone trying to change their name to something other than what was listed on their certificate. You're trying to maintain your existing name, which is perfectly valid.

      Reply
  38. Katie

    Hi I’m getting married soon from Guam. I recently received my marriage license but it has my current name on it. Is that correct? What is the process of changing my last name once married?
    I know I filled in the new name portion of the application.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I recently received my marriage license but it has my current name on it. Is that correct?

      It's correct. You didn't omit anything.

      What is the process of changing my last name once married?

      It's what you'd expect. Use a certified copy of your certificate to change your name with various entities, governmental and nongovernmental.

      Reply
  39. Rita

    Hi I got married in Yerevan, Armenia. However I live in Canada, Ontario.
    I signed with my maiden name & now want to change my last name to my husband's last name. Would there be a problem? And what are the legal steps to take. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rita. You should be able to change your name fine. Use your Armenian marriage certificate.

      Reply
  40. KIT

    Hi, I got married in San Francisco, California 2014. Now I live in Sacramento.

    I noticed my first name and middle name are slightly different on my marriage certificate (missing part of the first name), naturalization certificate/SS card/Passport (without middle name), and driver license (contain full first and middle name) .

    It seems to me that the marriage certificate is very important. Should I use the exact name on it when getting the REAL ID since I have to provide full name and residency proof? Do I have to update the name on my naturalization certificate to match the marriage certificate? I am so confused!

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I noticed my first name and middle name are slightly different on my marriage certificate

      If your marriage certificate is wrong, why not have them correct it?

      Should I use the exact name on it when getting the REAL ID

      You shouldn't match your certificate if it has a spelling error. Try getting it fixed.

      Do I have to update the name on my naturalization certificate to match the marriage certificate?

      Not if you don't want to. You don't have to change your name just because your certificate tells you to.

      Reply
      1. KIT

        Hi, sorry I didn't make it clear. There is no spelling error. It is correct on what I have written on the marriage license application. And I decided not the use my husband last name.

        The scenario:

        last name=A
        first name=B+C
        middle name=D

        The problem is on the marriage license application , I put middle name=D , first name only B. However my naturalization certificate/passport/SS card/birth certificate=A+B+C. Driver's license=A+B+C+D.

        I read all the comments and not able to find anyone has the same problem that I can refer to.

        I am confused and frustrated on which document is the most important of all that I should follow to make name change.

        Please help me!

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Kit. If all your important documents are updated to your correct name, which appears to be the case, then you're fine. You don't need to correct your marriage certificate unless it's bugging you. It doesn't appear to be giving you any problems, so you can dismiss it.

          Reply
  41. Ali

    I got my marriage license in November 2019 (last month) in Queens, New York. I was not sure if I wanted to change my last name at that time so I left it blank, but now I want to change it to my fiancé’s last name. We are getting married in 2 weeks. Can I still change it? Do I have to go in person again to change it? And will my fiancé need to go with me to change it? My fiancé lives in a different state.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I still change it? Do I have to go in person again to change it?

      Yes, go back and apply for a new marriage license.

      And will my fiancé need to go with me to change it?

      Contact the city or town clerk to determine if they're willing to reissue you a marriage license with only one in attendance. If not, you'll both have to attend and apply all over again from scratch.

      Reply
  42. Star

    Hi, got married in Colorado. We didn't realize the clerk made an error leaving out one letter of my new last name, until I had to go get my ID & ss card, I needed to get them asap so I didn't have time to figure out how to fix it. So, years later & I want to fix it. Do I need to go to court & also pay? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Star. Contact the county clerk and recorder's office and have them issue a corrected marriage certificate.

      Reply
      1. Star

        Ok, so even if it's been like 5 yrs they can still fix it? I don't mind re doing my ss & driver's license again, as long as I can fix it. Thanks!

        Reply
  43. Samantha

    I got married in NYC and had my new name printed by the city clerk on my marriage license. When I got the marriage certificate in the mail, it only shows my maiden name. Is their their error and what can I do?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is their their error and what can I do?

      It appears to be. You can contact the city clerk for a corrected certificate.

      Reply
  44. Maya

    I got married 2 years ago in California and listed my husband’s name as my “desired” last name on my marriage license. But I later changed my mind and decided to stay with my current name. Am I in trouble? Does a marriage license legally change your name??
    I haven’t used the new name anywhere or updated my name with any other agency.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Am I in trouble?

      No.

      Does a marriage license legally change your name?

      No.

      I haven’t used the new name anywhere or updated my name with any other agency.

      If you haven't changed your name with any institution, your name hasn't practically changed.

      Reply
  45. Yomi

    Hello, I'm getting married in Michigan next month. I have my marriage license and the clerk told us to sign the marriage certificate part with our desired surname after marriage. Is that what will show on our final certificate?

    And if I indicate a new name on the certificate, can I keep my maiden name on all my documents and records? I'm not ready to go throught he axle of name change now.

    I will also like to know if I can use the licences as a proof of marriage and keep my maiden name on all other documents (eventhough I use my husband last name on the certificate). Please guide me on this, I'm very confused. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is that what will show on our final certificate?

      Yes. It should show your prior name as well.

      can I keep my maiden name on all my documents and records?

      Yes, and the option to change later remains opens.

      can use the licences as a proof of marriage and keep my maiden name on all other documents

      Yes, it's proof of marriage.

      Reply
  46. Carolina

    Hello! I got married in Georgia and our marriage certificate only has my maiden name. On the application I specified that I wanted my name hyphenated. I want to change my name on my passport, DL, and so forth. On the application for the passport it states to send in the marriage certificate and on the application to fill in the name as I want it to appear. Do I just fill out my last name hyphenated or will that be a problem?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      On the application I specified that I wanted my name hyphenated.

      When you say "application" are you referring to the marriage license application or passport application?

      Reply
      1. Carolina

        Marriage license application. There was a space that they told me to put my name how I wanted it after I was married.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          If you hyphenated on your application, that's how it should appear on your certificate. Perhaps it's time for you to contact the probate court to find out what went wrong and to get a proper certificate issued.

          Reply
          1. Carolina

            Thank you. So I wouldn’t be able to write it out hyphenated on the passport application and send in the marriage certificate?

          2. Valera

            Hi Carolina. You can, but if the probate court issued your marriage certificate with your new name missing, you're entitled to a correction.

  47. Rachelle

    Hi Valera,
    I recently got married in California and did not change my last name at that time. Our marriage certificate does not show my new last name. Could I still go to the DMV and SS offices and change my last name for those locations?

    Your website has been so helpful. Thanks you!
    -Rachelle

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Could I still go to the DMV and SS offices and change my last name for those locations?

      Unfortunately, you can't use your marriage certificate at this point. You'll have to petition the court for a name change instead.

      Reply
  48. Janet L Smith

    I got married two days ago in Louisiana. My birth name is Janet Lynn Smith. When i was married (1989-2010), I was Janet Lynn Gibson. After i was divorced, I eventually changed my name to Janet L Smith, first with Social Security and then on my passport and driver's license.

    Notice that the middle name is just "L", not Lynn. Last week when the clerk made up my marriage license, she used Janet Lynn Smith from my birth certificate, not noticing that my driver's license is only "L". I absolutely will NOT take my new husband's last name, Jones. It's too much trouble to change names everywhere.

    Will the fact that my marriage certificate (to come) will show Lynn instead of L cause me any problems with Social Security or any other governmental agency when i retire and go to collect Social Security payments as wife of Michael Jones?

    Btw, the clerk advised that i will need to alert Social Security to the fact that I am married, even if there will be no name change

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Last week when the clerk made up my marriage license, she used Janet Lynn Smith from my birth certificate, not noticing that my driver's license is only "L".

      You can ask that the certificate be corrected and reissued due to the clerical error.

      Will the fact that my marriage certificate (to come) will show Lynn instead of L cause me any problems

      The SSA maintains a history of name changes. The "L" won't throw anything off. You'd be able to verify your identity even if it did.

      the clerk advised that i will need to alert Social Security to the fact that I am married, even if there will be no name change

      That's true if you have current benefits that would be affected by marriage. If not, there's nothing to notify.

      Reply
      1. Janet L Smith

        I called a few days later, and the clerk told me that they issue the certificate in the name that is on your birth certificate, no matter if you've changed it five times since then (which really seems like a good policy to avoid confusion). So there's nothing to correct.

        I'm glad that I don't have to go to the Social Security Administration office.

        Thanks!

        Reply
  49. niky

    Just got married dec 2019,here in CA, didn’t change my last name. My question is can I use my husband last nme now, to update my dmv and ss? Should I just bring my marriage certificate as a proof that we got married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Niky. Unfortunately, no. You had to specify your new name choice when applying for your marriage license.

      Reply
  50. Anna

    I live in California but am getting married in Las Vegas and want to have 2 last name with no hyphen. County Clerk's online application does not provide this as a drop down option. It only offers Maiden name, Married name, Maiden-Married, or Married-Maiden. If I simply select to not change my name at this time will I be able to change it to how I want later in CA?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Anna. Yes, with the SSA, but you'll likely have problems with the DMV, as California's Name Equality Act doesn't apply to out-of-state marriage certificates.

      Reply
  51. Kristen

    Hi, I got married in San Francisco in 2015 and chose to keep my maiden name and left the new last name section blank. Now I'd like to change my last name to my husband's and we currently live in Illinois. Will Illinois except my marriage certificate to change my name since it doesn't have my new name on it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will Illinois except my marriage certificate to change my name since it doesn't have my new name on it?

      Yes, that would work fine.

      Reply
  52. Alex

    Hello, I have a marriage certificate from California where I did write in a new name to take my husband's surname and to drop mine completely. I never changed it through SSN, DL, etc. I now live in Texas and I had a change of heard and want to keep my maiden name as my middle name and drop my middle name which is just an initial anyway. Am I able to do this? And how?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Alex. The SSA would use the new name on your certificate. TxDSP would want to have a name match with the SSA. So, you're effectively bound by that certificate.

      Since you're not a California resident, it wouldn't hurt to try to convince the clerk in your home state to let it slide, but it's unlikely to be effective. The alternative is to petition the court for a name change.

      Reply
  53. Tracey Giannola

    I got married in November and signed my marriage certificate with my maiden name hyphenated to my husbands name. I would prefer to NOT change my name. I need to renew my passport.. If I do not change my name to be hyphenated will this cause issues for my passport renewal?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I do not change my name to be hyphenated will this cause issues for my passport renewal?

      Not at all. It's fine to renew in your maiden name. You can renew it again any time afterward if you decide to make the change.

      Reply
  54. Ana Hamilton

    I recently was married in Utah and I signed my marriage certificate with my maiden name. I'm Worried now that when I go to change my name with SSA and the DMV they won't accept my married name since it's not on the marriage license. How can I get my last name changed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I recently was married in Utah and I signed my marriage certificate with my maiden name.

      That's standard in Utah.

      they won't accept my married name since it's not on the marriage license

      They'll accept it.

      How can I get my last name changed?

      Use your certificate as it stands and you'll be fine.

      Reply
  55. Kaitlyn

    I got married 2018 in California. Only to find out a year and a half later that my first name is missing a letter on the official marriage certificate. I have been issued a new SS card and DL with my correct spelling first name and new last name. What worries me is renewing my passport. I have to send my marriage certificate in with the application and I don’t want it to be denied because a first name spelling error.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kaitlyn. You can contact the county clerk to issue you a corrected marriage certificate. If the clerical error was on their part, it should be free.

      Reply
  56. Ruby g

    I got married in 2013 in texas and they never told me to sign with my husbands last name can i still change my last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ruby. In Texas, you're meant to sign with your current last name, not your husband's. It's not a problem.

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Ruby. In Texas, you're meant to sign with your current last name, not your husband's. It's not a problem.

      Reply
  57. Erika

    I got married on 2007 in Los Angeles, CA and didn't change my name then. I Want to change my last name name, is it ok to do so with just my marriage certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Erika. Yes, using your marriage certificate will work fine. The California Name Equality Act of 2007 didn't go into effect until January 1, 2009, so you didn't have to choose a new last name when you applied.

      Reply
  58. Rach

    Hello – I am in NYC and about to apply for a marriage license. I am still undecided on whether or not I will take by fiances last name. If i select to change my name on the marriage license, does that mean I MUST change my name on SS, license, insurance etc? Or will none of these agencies know I changed my name unless I tell them?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If i select to change my name on the marriage license, does that mean I MUST change my name on SS, license, insurance etc?

      It's not mandatory.

      Or will none of these agencies know I changed my name unless I tell them?

      They won't know unless you alert them.

      Reply
  59. Natalie

    Hello – I got married in CA but reside in NV. When filling out my marriage application, I put his last name as my last name but left the middle name blank (I was not given a middle name at birth). I would like to put my maiden name as my middle name and keep his last name. Will SSA and DMV accept this change or do I need to petition the court? If I need to petition the court, would it be the CA court or NV court?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Natalie. You should be able to make the change fine. If you did have to petition, it would be in your state of residence.

      Reply
  60. 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
  61. 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
  62. 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
  63. 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
  64. 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
  65. 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
  66. 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
  67. Monica

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

    Reply
  68. 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
  69. 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
  70. 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
  71. 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
  72. 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
  73. 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
  74. 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
  75. 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
  76. 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
  77. 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
  78. 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
  79. 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

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