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.

Today we're going to answer the following question from every angle:

Can I change my last name if my marriage certificate has my maiden name?

Asked by many-a-married person

What's the problem?

Folks in California, Georgia, Oregon, New York, among others, have it easy. When they apply for a marriage license, the application has a clear 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 at a disadvantage?

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.

Once you've eased your concerns, you can fill out your name change forms with confidence using our online app to create your printable, auto-filled PDF forms.

They never asked me for my new name

Maybe the marriage license application asked for your new name, but you missed it.

  1. Did you forget?
  2. Did the clerk forget?
  3. What are you missing?
  4. Do you need to correct your marriage certificate?
  5. Does it even matter at this point?

If these are the questions you're asking yourself, you're in limbo. It's time to bring you out of the fog and get your name change back on track, minus obstacles.

Confused woman searching for missing married name
Searching for the new surname field on the marriage application.

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.

  1. Your marriage license only has your maiden name.
  2. Your marriage certificate only shows your maiden name.

If you're not married yet, you expect your marriage certificate to fall in line and show your maiden name after it's returned and recorded by the marriage clerk.

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

Note: Although we reference maiden name, it could be your current name or birth name instead. It's the same predicament: lack of a new designated surname.

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 applications for most states don't offer spots to specify a new name after marriage. But this won't stop you from changing your name.

Woman expressing happiness and approval
Relief over your marriage certificate working out after all.

For those predominate 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 when your marriage certificate will never show a new name field because of its inherent design.

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

Everything explained so far only applies if your state's marriage license application didn't offer a space to choose a new name after marriage. But what if they offered it?

Woman cutting tree branch in act of self-sabotage
Self-sabotaging your name change plans.

You have a problem if they asked, but you left it empty—whether on purpose by accident. If you made a mistake choosing your new name, you have a problem.

If you mess up your marriage license, it will mess up your marriage certificate as well. Avoiding these problems starts with a flawless marriage application.

1. I left my new name blank

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

Success vs failure, target split screen
Target your name change well when applying to get married.

Yes, you have missed your shot if your marriage ceremony has taken place. But you may apply for another marriage license if you're not married yet.

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

2. 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?

Success vs failure, assignment split screen
Be mindful when completing your new name pick.

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

Picking the incorrect name on your marriage license will cascade and get mirrored onto your marriage certificate. Avoid this ripple effect at the outset.

I signed my marriage license or certificate wrong

You should sign your marriage license with your maiden name if it's your current legal name at the time of signing. Bottom line, just sign your current name.

Woman worried that signed the wrong name (maiden name instead of married name)
It's unnecessary to worry if you signed your maiden name.

But it doesn't matter if you signed the wrong name, your maiden name, or your future married name on your marriage license or certificate. The fact is:

  1. It won't invalidate your marriage.
  2. It won't nullify your marriage license or certificate.
  3. It won't affect your name change in any real-world sense.

Applying the wrong signature to your marriage record is an annoyance and red herring that's not worth mulling over, assuming it's not an egregious blunder.

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 (SSA), DMV, and other government agencies will only use the new name shown on your marriage certificate when you update or renew your documents.

Worried husband trapped atop spider web
Getting stuck with the wrong name on your marriage certificate.

That's why the wrong name appearing on your marriage certificate is a problem. You're locked into your new name unless you revise it or go to court.

Next, we'll document a common failed name pick scenario.

1. Documenting your new name

For example, say you were to marry where the marriage license application asks you to choose a new last name. The form may even let you to adopt a new middle name.

Woman filling out name change on marriage license application with confidence
Serenity writing your new married name on the application.

On the application, you replace your middle name with your maiden name. You then take your spouse's current surname as your new last name. This is a common preference.

Arrive prepared to answer the new name question. Don't get caught flatfooted and panic respond. Your state may not ask for it today, but laws change and it may later.

2. Seemed like a good idea at the time

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

Young, irritated, frustrated woman standing and touching her cheek
Unease over your completed new name decision.

Now second thoughts, regrets, and doubts invade. Did you make a mistake?

3. Change of heart

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

Stressed woman holding defective marriage certificate
Struggling to accept your new legal name as declared.

Now you want to restore your middle name to its original state. And you want to hyphenate your last name in reverse order—spouse's first, yours last.

4. Dejected and rejected

The city or county clerk refuses to alter your marriage certificate. Next, you visit the Social Security Administration and DMV and ask them to make an exception.

Indignant government employee
Indignant government clerk denying your name change waiver.

But they both refuse. They will only honor your undesired new name that is shown on your marriage certificate. No exceptions, overrides, or waivers.

Fix your mistake

You have three options if you're not satisfied with the name you chose (or didn't choose):

  1. Apply for a new marriage license;
  2. Change the name on your marriage certificate; or
  3. Petition the court for a separate legal name change.

Next, we'll explain the pros and cons of each potential solution.

1. Apply for a new marriage license

If your marriage ceremony has not happened yet, you're in luck. You still have time to replace your faulty marriage license by applying for a new one.

Triumphant woman escaping name change bear trap
Escape the name change trap with a new marriage license.

You must pay the marriage license fee again, assuming they do not offer complimentary, reissued licenses. (A meager sum to secure the name you want.)

2. Change the name on your marriage certificate

Marriage certificate amendments are not for changes of heart. They're meant to fix mistakes and typos. Yet the clerk may sympathize and allow for the change.

Woman feeling hope with crossed fingers
Hoping for a successful marriage certificate correction.

It's a Hail Mary pass, as you're not guaranteed a successful outcome.

Even if you could change the name on your marriage certificate, it may well snag you. Because they might attach (instead of overwrite) amendments to the original marriage record.

  1. Everyone would still see the old record.
  2. And both documents would remain public records.

If a vital records clerk forgoes or straight up breaks the rules, other federal and state agencies might consider your amendment questionable. (Assuming they even notice.)

Caveats aside, most city and county clerks and recorders have vast authority to change marriage certificates and other records within their discretion.

You must petition the court for a name change when you've run out of options. This is the worst-case scenario that's worth avoiding if possible.

Judge granting name change court order
Judge granting a name change court order.

Court may be an expensive and time-consuming process, but at least you're guaranteed to get the name you want. Your court order will assure acceptance by every organization.

You could even change your first name while you're in court. Or opt for a brand new middle name or surname. You can't do that with a marriage certificate.

Note: A court order supersedes—not supplements—your 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. There are even ways to return to your maiden name while still married.

Criminal bandit imprisoned
Zero consequences for not changing your name.

You don't have to follow through with a name change even if your marriage certificate shows a new married name. Maybe you'll defer it and change your mind two, 10, or 20 years later.

Is there a loophole?

We've had intrepid readers report unlikely name change 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; through grit, luck, or a forgiving clerk.

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 in the comments section.

Do you plan to change your name?

Our online name change kit makes it easy.

Get Started

842 Comments

  1. Leann

    I got married in Las Vegas but my home is California. My marriage certificate only shows my maiden name. Will they accept my Nevada marriage certificate to do a name change how I want?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will they accept my Nevada marriage certificate to do a name change

      Yes, your Nevada marriage certificate will be accepted in California, even if it only shows your maiden name.

      how I want?

      I'm not sure what you mean by how you want. Your name change has to be within the boundaries of what's allowed by state law.

      Reply
  2. Jnny

    I got married in Vegas a few weeks ago but didn't state a name change in the marriage license application. I reside in Texas and want to change my last name to my husband's. Will this be an issue to change in Texas if my marriage certificate only shows my maiden name and not a name change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I got married in Vegas a few weeks ago but didn't state a name change in the marriage license application.

      That's normal for Nevada.

      Will this be an issue to change in Texas if my marriage certificate only shows my maiden name and not a name change?

      It won't be a problem.

      Reply
  3. Charlotte

    I'm kind of in the opposite situation. I got married in Oregon and my new name is on the marriage certificate but I want to change it. Can I go back to the office and have them change the certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I go back to the office and have them change the certificate?

      Amendments are reserved for typographical errors and factual mistakes. You can't retroactively change the name on your marriage record because you changed your mind.

      Reply
  4. Danijela

    Hello,thank you for all this useful information.

    We are married at North Carolina and we live at Virginia,noone didnt ask as about changing my name,I'm European and now what can I do to change that.

    One thing that I also don't understand,its diferent from Europe is that we get at 1 paper marriage certified,licence and 1 more thing.Very big and long paper.I didnt like it honestly how it looks ??but I love my husband very much.Thank you for answering

    Reply
    1. Valera

      We are married at North Carolina and we live at Virginia,noone didnt ask as about changing my name,I'm European and now what can I do to change that.

      That's normal. The North Carolina marriage license application doesn't ask for new names post-marriage. That won't stop you from changing your name though.

      One thing that I also don't understand,its diferent from Europe is that we get at 1 paper marriage certified,licence and 1 more thing.

      For NC and most states, you'll get your marriage license immediately or soon after you apply. Later, you'll get a certified copy of your marriage certificate. The certificate copy is automatically sent in some states, while others require a separate purchase.

      Reply
  5. Jeanette

    We just got married in Las Vegas and just noticed on the unofficial marriage certificate that only my first and middle name but not maiden name are listed to be changed to the correct new married name.

    I await the certified copy with hope, but it looks like even on the marriage license application only my first and middle name are listed without the maiden name. I think it is a clerk error and I did not notice at the window. I am so nervous about changing my name at the SS office and being denied. Yikes!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I think it is a clerk error and I did not notice at the window.

      That may indeed be a clerical error. If you did specify a new name on your marriage application, the marriage certificate should show it. You'll have to get in touch with the clerk to correct or amend your marriage record and reissue a new marriage certificate.

      Reply
      1. Jeanette

        Thank you! The unofficial marriage certificate shows the correct married name, but only shows my first and middle name without maiden name as the one getting married. I ordered the certified copy of marriage certificate and also the copy of marriage license, so we will know more when those arrive in about a week :)

        Reply
  6. Noelle

    I am applying for a new passport and have since been married and changed my name. I live and was married in Florida, which is one of the states that does not have a place on the application to designate your new last name. So our marriage certificate does not have my new last name on it, however, this certificate is supposed to be the supporting documentation of my name change for my passport. Do the passport folks just match up your social security # with your marriage certificate, and verify it that way?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do the passport folks just match up your social security # with your marriage certificate, and verify it that way?

      The passport office/agency may use your social security number for debt collection purposes, to verify identity, and to determine if you're on a list of persons ineligible to receive or renew a passport. There are other internal uses as well.

      For name change, your marriage certificate is what's used to effect a name change, even if it doesn't match the SSA. This is what allows someone to renew a passport in their current or premarital name even though they've changed their name on their social security card, driver's license, and other records.

      Reply
  7. Mariah

    I got married in Pennsylvania and now live in South Dakota and my new name isnt on my marriage certificate only my maiden name and they never asked will they accept my certificate for a name change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      my new name isnt on my marriage certificate only my maiden name

      That's the way it should be. Pennsylvania's marriage license application only allows you to specify your current legal name, not a new post-marriage name.

      will they accept my certificate for a name change?

      Your Pennsylvania marriage certificate will be accepted in South Dakota for name change purposes as-is.

      Reply
  8. Claudine

    Hello, I got my marriage license in Florida and they didn’t ask for a new last name change, I have my current legal name on it. Now I want a name change on my passport, social security and other documents would that be a problem?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now I want a name change on my passport, social security and other documents

      To be clear, you must use your marriage certificate to change your name, not your marriage license.

      would that be a problem?

      This won't be a problem in Florida. The state's marriage license application doesn't have an option to choose a new last name. That's why your marriage license only shows the name you had before marriage. This won't prevent you from changing your name using your eventual marriage certificate.

      Reply
      1. Claudine

        Thank you so much. I meant marriage certificate not the license. And in Florida the marriage license and the certificate is in one paper, I thought they would be in separate papers

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Thank you so much. I meant marriage certificate not the license.

          You're welcome.

          And in Florida the marriage license and the certificate is in one paper

          Yes, in some states the marriage license and marriage certificate are exactly the same document. It's just the status changes after it's been recorded.

          Reply
  9. Emma

    I got married in va and I'm not sure what category i fall under. Its got my real last name not my husbands so what is my next step? If its right then what do i have to do tp change my name for everything and what all do i have to change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Emma. Virginia is one of the many states that do not provide an option to choose a last name to appear on the marriage license or certificate. It's not a hindrance. Just use your marriage certificate as-is to complete your name change.

      Reply
  10. Trisha

    Hi I got married a week ago and i haven’t gotten my certified marriage certificate, but when I applied for the license, they said I didn’t need to decide then, I could change it anytime/
    So it says – Name desired after marriage: Name Not Designated.

    Can I still change my maiden name to my husband’s last name?

    This was in Reno, NV by the way.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      but when I applied for the license, they said I didn’t need to decide then, I could change it anytime

      Nevada's new marriage-related name change laws went into effect at the beginning of January 1, 2018. Before this date, the marriage application didn't provide an option to choose a new middle or last name after marriage.

      So it says – Name desired after marriage: Name Not Designated

      Not designated is essentially blank. Had you chosen something specific, it might bind you to that choice. According to the clerk who processed your marriage application and license, not choosing a name leaves your options open.

      This was in Reno, NV

      According to the Washoe County Clerk's office (where Reno, NV is situated), half the couples who come into the office leave the new name change after marriage field blank because they hadn't even considered what to choose.

      As mentioned at the beginning, Nevada only added the new name fields to their applications starting in 2018. Knowledge of it probably hasn't filtered its way down to the masses.

      Nevada's revised marriage statutes explain what you're allowed to change your name to, but goes no further. Nevada's court petition name change page doesn't provide much clarity. However, the Nevada DMV name change instructions throws a wrench in the gears by stating a maiden name to middle name change won't be processed unless that specific name sequence appears on the marriage certificate. It doesn't elaborate on a last name change.

      So, the vagueness of the Nevada's laws suggests you're probably okay and will be able to change your last name to match your husband's without jumping through extra legal/court hoops.

      I've seen no commentary or documentation to suggest not choosing a new name at the time of application will practically limit you when your marriage certificate arrives with no new name designated.

      If and when you go to change your name, please come back to report your experience and if you ended up facing resistance at the SSA or DMV.

      Reply
      1. Trisha

        Hi! I just wanted to reply back and let you know that I didn’t have a problem at all, even in Florida which is where I changed my SS card and Driver’s License. Hope it helps anyone who maybe wondering about this who got married in Reno, NV.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          I just wanted to reply back and let you know that I didn’t have a problem at all, even in Florida which is where I changed my SS card and Driver’s License.

          Great. Thanks for coming back to provide a status update.

          Reply
  11. Stef

    My marriage certificate is from Alabama. It has my maiden name. Will I be able to use this to support my name change to a married name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I be able to use this to support my name change to a married name?

      Yes, you're good to go.

      Reply
  12. Miriam Oden

    so I got married 6/15/19 in Hawaii but live in California my marriage license reads brides name: Miriam middle name and my maiden last name on line 1 on line 2 it ask for my middle name and the 3rd line reads new surname, so im sure lines 2 and 3 are ok but line 1 is freaking me out

    I feel like it should of just been my first name not my entire name, middle and last but I asked the clerk that filled it out and she said it was fine but it still doesn't look correct to me and im changing all my paperwork to my married last name today!! uuuuggghhh im stressing out

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Miriam,

      Just to be clear, this is what's appearing on your marriage record?…

      Line 1: First name, middle name, maiden surname
      Line 2: Current or new middle name
      Line 3: New last name

      If this is the case, I don't see a problem. This is very clean. In Hawaii, you can specify both a new middle name and last name when you apply for a marriage license.

      Having the middle and last names in separate fields makes it clear to various government and state institutions what your current, pre-marriage, legal name is and the new name you've chosen to change to.

      Line 1 is useful because it identifies your current legal name before any change. This provides a before and after pictures of your name transition.

      Reply
  13. Lucia

    I got married in NY and left the "New Surname" field blank. I would like to change my last name to my husband's, but I now reside in NC. What is the best method to change my last name in NC? Can I apply for a NC marriage license? Will Social Security accept the original NY certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I apply for a NC marriage license? Will Social Security accept the original NY certificate?

      No need to get NC marriage license. Your NY marriage certificate will suffice.

      Reply
  14. Erin

    Hi thanks for this helpful blog!

    I’m getting married in New York which allows the name change on the certificate. I live in New Jersey, which does not list new last names on certificates.

    If I do NOT state a name change on my NY marriage license, but later decide to change my last name, would I have to get married again? If I go to the SSA/DMV in NJ, will they refuse my name change request?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I do NOT state a name change on my NY marriage license, but later decide to change my last name, would I have to get married again?

      No.

      If I go to the SSA/DMV in NJ, will they refuse my name change request?

      No.

      Reply
  15. Kelly

    I want to use my last name and his,with no hyphen,can I do that? I put just his for new surname on the marriage license. The clerk at the office told me I didn't need to write my new name in,I could choose later. This is all so confusing!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to use my last name and his,with no hyphen,can I do that?

      Maybe. Which state did your marriage take place in?

      Reply
  16. Shawn

    I have a friend who will be married in California but resides in Texas. She is unsure of what to change her name to or even if she would like to change her name. Should she include a name change on her marriage license if she decides later on she would like to change her name?

    If she leaves the name change space blank, will she still be able to change her name later on as long as she has proof of marriage? Will she have to file a petition for a name change or will the marriage certificate suffice.

    Also, how long does she have to file her marriage license after it has been filed with the county. It's Santa Barbara. If you have any other helpful information for me to pass along that would be amazing. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Should she include a name change on her marriage license if she decides later on she would like to change her name?

      Yes, if she's sure of what she intends to change to.

      If she leaves the name change space blank, will she still be able to change her name later on as long as she has proof of marriage?

      Yes, since her name change will be taking place in Texas instead of California.

      Will she have to file a petition for a name change or will the marriage certificate suffice.

      The marriage certificate alone is enough.

      Also, how long does she have to file her marriage license after it has been filed with the county.

      I'm not sure what you mean by this. After your friend is married, the marriage certificate must be sent back to the issuing office for recording within 10 days following the ceremony.

      If you were referring to something else, please clarify.

      Reply
  17. Bexx

    So I got married in 2008 in Los Angeles. I believe at that time there was no spot on the application to enter in a new name. I've looked over my Cert. a dozen times and do not see a spot for it! Also when I then went to change my name on my DL in 2009 I first had to change my Social. All I did was take in my current ID at the time and a copy of my Marriage Cert. and got that changed. I'm hoping that when I go in for my REAL ID that the names not matching won't screw things up!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      So I got married in 2008 in Los Angeles. I believe at that time there was no spot on the application to enter in a new name. I've looked over my Cert. a dozen times and do not see a spot for it!

      That's because California's Name Equality Act of 2007 didn't actually go into effect until January 1, 2009.

      Reply
  18. Jane Smith

    I got married in MA. On the marriage certificate it had a spot for full maiden name and a spot for new last name but it didn’t specify full new name. I wanted to drop my middle name. So Jane Ann Doe becomes Jane Smith. The SSO and DMV issued me ID as Jane Smith. I am also applying for foreign visa and applied as Jane Smith. Having a passport with a different name will make me forfeit visa.

    When I got my passport renewed the issued it as Jane Ann Smith even though that’s not how I filled out application.

    I made an appointment with Passport agency. They told me I needed to fill out a different form and provide records from banks or other official institutions showing my name is Jane Smith, but the form says for assumed names used for 5+ years. My appointment is on Friday. Why Is Passport not recognizing MA name change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      On the marriage certificate it had a spot for full maiden name and a spot for new last name but it didn’t specify full new name.

      That's normal.

      I wanted to drop my middle name. So Jane Ann Doe becomes Jane Smith. The SSO and DMV issued me ID as Jane Smith.

      The SSA doesn't actually consider your middle name as part of your legal name. Dropping it doesn't mean much. The DMV will often mimic the SSA.

      My appointment is on Friday. Why Is Passport not recognizing MA name change?

      It could be a simple as the agent filling in your missing name, thinking the omission was a mistake. Although the SSA and State Department are federal, they operate under different guidelines.

      You can try to get your passport reissued due to a clerical error on the agent's part.

      Reply
  19. Hannah

    I’m confused. I got married in California almost 2 years ago and I was told I could change my name later. Now both husband and I are Texas residents and I want to change my name.

    Do I just bring my marriage license with my maiden name to a social security office in Texas? Does it matter that the license is from California and only says my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I just bring my marriage license with my maiden name to a social security office in Texas?

      Correct. Bring your marriage certificate. Make sure it's a certified copy.

      Does it matter that the license is from California and only says my maiden name?

      No, it doesn't matter.

      Reply
  20. Amy

    I got my marriage license in New York City 2 years ago, but I didn't change my last name. I now reside in New Jersey and just decided I want to make the change. I want to make my maiden name as part of my middle name and take my husband's last name. How do I go about doing this? Which state do I apply for the name change? Any help is appreciated. Thank you in advance!

    Reply
  21. Meredith

    I got married in Kentucky and my marriage license has my maiden name listed. I don't remember an option for a name change, but I could have missed it. Is it going to be a problem when I try to change my name in Ohio?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I don't remember an option for a name change, but I could have missed it.

      You didn't miss anything. There is no new name after marriage field on Kentucky marriage license applications.

      Is it going to be a problem when I try to change my name in Ohio?

      You won't face a problem.

      Reply
  22. Aidan D Hahn

    Hi we live in Maryland and my wife wants to change her last name to mine but we wrote her maiden name on the marriage license.
    Will it still be possible for her to change her last name at the social security office with that marriage license?

    Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      we wrote her maiden name on the marriage license

      Which is correct.

      Will it still be possible for her to change her last name at the social security office with that marriage license?

      Yes, Maryland's marriage application/affidavit only asks for the current legal name and no other.

      Reply
  23. Kathy

    I got a marriage certificate in Oklahoma and they misspelled the name to be known as. And i missed the typo. We aren’t married yet but he has to take an unpaid day off to go get it. Is there anyway for me to amend it without him there?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there anyway for me to amend it without him there?

      Contact the court clerk's office about getting it reissued. If they're the ones who made the mistake, it shouldn't cost you anything.

      They'll have to explain their internal procedures. You may be able to get this processed without having to go in office.

      Reply
  24. Ashley

    I am getting married in Massachusetts, I have not decided if I want to change my last name. On the Massachusetts marriage license form it ask what your married surname will be. Do I need to put my husbands last name or will my maiden name suffice to officially change it in the future? I am under the impression I could put my husbands last name and officially change my last name in the future when I choose.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am under the impression I could put my husbands last name and officially change my last name in the future when I choose.

      That's correct. Putting down your husband's last name leaves that option available to you down the road.

      Reply
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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.

  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. 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
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. 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

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