503 Comments

Congratulations on getting married! Congratulations on getting through the ceremony and dealing with all of the details that that sort of thing entails! Congratulations on joining your lives and starting off on this new adventure! Congratulations on all of the other cliché things that people are saying are happening to you right now! You're probably sick of hearing them, but they are still true. In fact, at this moment it is likely that you are so sick of wedding stuff that you don't ever want to hear the words "wedding", "ceremony" "bride" "groom" "decision" or "but what about… " ever again.

You probably just want it to all be done.

You've probably (hopefully) had a fantastic time on your honeymoon and now you are ready to just settle into the business of your regular routine again. Sure you've got some thank you notes to write but that has to be it, right? And really, you can do those in the evenings after work.

Not so fast!

Before you toss your tired body on to your couch, kick up your feet and declare yourself done, are you sure that you've taken care of all of the details that go into getting married? After all, the wedding and the thank you notes are just a part of it. There are also some legal things that need to be taken care of. For one thing, if you didn't keep your name, you have to make sure that you have your name legally changed on… well, as exhausting as it sounds, everything.

How Exactly Do I Change My Name?

First things first: you need to get a certified copy of your marriage certificate. This can usually be done by visiting your local records office and requesting a certified copy. It shouldn't take long for them to get it printed out and stamped for you. You might order a couple of them, just to keep your bases covered. They aren't usually expensive to have printed out for you.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The fancy looking certificate that you signed at your wedding doesn't actually count as your marriage certificate. That is just for you to put up at home. The legal document you signed and turned in when you applied for your marriage license and that your officiant had to sign and turn in after the ceremony are what make your marriage legal and will result in the production of a marriage certificate. You probably already know that, but it seemed like a good idea to include that here, just in case.

The good news is that, in most states, all you have to do to change your name is decide what your name will be after you get married and include that on your marriage license. This isn't always the case, though. In some states you are still going to need to go in to the courthouse, with your certified marriage certificate, and meet with a judge to get the process finalized.

Once you've gotten your name legally changed and you have official and certified proof of the change you are ready to get rolling.

Changing Your Name: The Steps

There are three major steps involved in changing your name.

Step One: The List

First you need to make a list of everything that you have under your non-married name. This is going to get overwhelming and quickly. It is possible that you have things listed under your name that you've forgotten about. That's okay. For now, let's start with what you can remember.

Typically your list will include things like:

  • Your ID/Driver's License
  • Your Social Security Card
  • Your Passport
  • Your HR Information at Work
  • Your Bank Account
  • Credit Card Accounts
  • Your rental agreement/Mortgage agreement
  • The title and registration for your vehicle (if you have one)
  • Your Library Card
  • Your Gym Membership
  • Store Discount Cards
  • Magazine Subscriptions
  • Online Profiles
  • Any other thing you can think of

Step Two: Prioritize

Obviously it is going to be more important to change some of these things than others. Your legal identification (driver's license or ID card), and your social security card should be at the top of that list.

This is usually because, to have your name changed on other documents and accounts, you will need these things to display your new name as proof of your new "identity." In some instances the marriage certificate itself is good enough because it will contain your pre-marriage name. In other cases, however, like with gym memberships, prescriptions, etc—you will need a new legal photo ID to get that done.

Step Three: Take Action

While you are waiting to receive your new social security cards and photo IDs (this can take longer in some states than in others. In New York it can take a month. In Oregon it takes about a week), you can get the ball rolling with your employer and at places like your bank. These typically will accept the temporary ID issued to you by the DMV as well as your marriage certificate as proof of the name change.

When you have your new photo ID and social security card, you can start to change things like the name on your library card, your gym membership and the name on your credit cards.

How Long Does This All Take, Anyway?

This is going to take some time to complete, especially if you try to do it all by yourself. You can probably get to the DMV and the Social Security Administration in a day, depending on where you live and how busy these offices are.

It might also be worth it to change the name on your vehicle registration and title while you are at the DMV changing your name on your license.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You are allowed to mail in your marriage certificate and other information to the Social Security Administration to get a new social security card, it is just a longer waiting process for the new card when you do it this way.

From there it is mostly about how much time you have each day to devote to changing your name. You are going to have to pay a visit to your bank to have your name changed on your accounts and, potentially to order new checks (though this can be done at any time online). The same is true if you have a mortgage or auto loan—you'll have to pay a visit to those lenders to change your name with them.

Other things, like changing your name on your credit cards will need to be done through the mail or by faxing in a copy of your marriage certificate. You can do a few of these things each day so that it doesn't seem overwhelming.

Wow! That's a Lot of Work

It truly is a lot of work to change your name. Like planning a wedding, making sure you get it all done means being organized and making sure that you've got everything written down and a centralized location in which you can track your progress on each place in which you need to change your name.

The Good News

The good news is that changing your name doesn't have to be a completely overwhelming process. It's really just a matter of getting all of your ducks in a row and then just going down your list.

The Better News

There are some really great online tools that will help you streamline this process. This very website you're reading, for one, offers you a centralized online portal through which to track every thing you do not need to do live and in person. It offers you a simple step-by-step form in which to input your information and then you can print out the forms you need for each type of name change. It can even help you get through the submission process.

Hey That Sounds Like a Sales Pitch

It isn't. It is up to you to figure out how to do the work of getting your name changed. If you prefer to take care of all of the details yourself and feel more comfortable that way (type A's, we're looking at you), that's fine. It is definitely an option. If you don't have the time or inclination to do every little part yourself and in person, tools like our online name change service can be of major assistance in guiding you through the name change procedure.

To Sum Up

Changing your name is a huge process. Don't let anybody lie to you and tell you that it is easy. It is one of those things that, just when you think you've got everything done, you find a new account or a new piece of mail arrives that is still in your old name. It can be frustrating.

What matters is that you will get through it. Much like planning and carrying out your wedding, changing your name is something that you are more than capable of doing. It might not seem like it now but you had moments when you were sure you'd never get your wedding planned, right? You got through that! You can definitely get through this.

After all, what matters now is that you are married and you are starting a brand new adventure (stop gagging; it is true, you know that it is true and you love that it is true. It's okay to admit it)!

503 Comments

  1. Sonya Blizzard

    I got married in California just over a year ago and I have not formally gone thru the process of changing my name as I just can't seem to give up my last name. How do I go about changing and adding back in my maiden name to my middle name ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sonya. If your marriage certificate has your maiden as middle, then you'd use your certificate to change your name. If didn't specify this choice during the application process, then you'll have to petition the court for a name change. More info can be found on the California name change page.

      Reply
  2. Tran

    I got married to my husband on July, 2016, but I didn't take his last name. Now, I really want to change my name on very paperwork that I have, including my marriage certificate. I want my new name stated in my marriage certificate as well. I'm living in Virginia. Will my marriage certificate be changed with my new name on it? And will I have to remarry?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will my marriage certificate be changed with my new name on it? And will I have to remarry?

      It's unlikely you'll be able to modify your certificate. Amendments are for mistakes, such as typos.

      Reply
  3. Katherine Marie Belt

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    I got married 18 months ago and my marriage certificate reflects my new name. I also have a D.L. with my new name. However about a month ago I got a new S.S. card with my first name, former married name as middle (for business reasons) and new last time. I am now dropping my former married name from use.

    Is it possible to get a new S.S. card with my new name even though I just got one?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Katherine. You wouldn't be able to reuse your marriage certificate for a secondary name change. You'll need a new document signifying another name change event. You'd be looking at petitioning the court to get it done.

      Reply
  4. Sonya

    It says you can use your spouses name personally and your maiden professionally but doesn't say how to go about that ? I'm ca. If also says that I would of had to of put my maiden as my middle on my marriage certificate in order to do this – can we just get married again for $98 or no?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      H

      It says you can use your spouses name personally and your maiden professionally but doesn't say how to go about that ?

      What are you referring to here?

      I'm ca. If also says that I would of had to of put my maiden as my middle on my marriage certificate in order to do this – can we just get married again for $98 or no?

      You'd have to contact your county clerk/recorder's office, but I'm not aware of a remarriage option in California. You're likely looking at having to petition the court.

      Reply
  5. Nicky

    Hi I just got married in New York on my marriage certificate my husband last name was not hyphen beside my last name which I think was my error,however how can I go about adding his last name to mine and can it be done at any court house in NY or I have to go back to the court house where I got married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nicky. If you're referring to getting your certificate amended, you'll go to where your certificate is filed. If you're talking about petitioning the court, any will do.

      Reply
  6. Nicole

    Hello, I'm in Minnesota. When I got married 2 yrs ago I kept my maiden name but now I'd like to take my husbands last name. Can I still use my marriage certificate and just go to the SS office and DMV to change it? What if my maiden name is what I wrote on the marriage license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nicole. The name change would have had be specified on the marriage license application so that it would be reflected on the certificate.

      Reply
  7. Basit

    I'm in Maryland and got married in oct 2012 and legally changed my name in April 2015 is it possible to get certified copy of my marriage certificate with new name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      is it possible to get certified copy of my marriage certificate with new name?

      No, it's not possible. It's a historical snapshot, and cannot be changed unless there was a typographic mistake on the clerk's/office's part.

      Reply
  8. Kaitlyn Warf

    I got married in Punta Cana in December, and they sent me my marriage certificate. It has my maiden last name on it. Will this be a problem when I want to change my last name to my husbands last name?

    Reply
  9. Viki

    Me and my husband got married a few days ago and I just got the marriage certificate in the mail from the register of deeds but it has my maiden last name instead of my husbands. Not sure what went wrong, does this mean I have to file a petition to change my maiden name to my husbands last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Viki. It can depend on the state. For some, it's binding, others not. If the mistake was on the part of the clerk's office, you can request an amendment/correction.

      Reply
  10. Clara

    Hi! We applied and picked up marriage license last week. Now we have 90 days to get married. I took my husband's surname as my last name…. I really want to keep my last name as middle name and his last as my last name: first name, my last, his last.
    Can I still change it if we did not have ceremony yet? If I will wait over 90 days without ceremony, can I reissued marriage license and apply again and then add my last name as middle one? Thank you for your help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I still change it if we did not have ceremony yet?

      You may want to check end of the maiden to middle article for a list of states where this is not recognized.

      Some states require the new name be specified on the application, so you may need to get it reissued with your preferred name.

      If I will wait over 90 days without ceremony, can I reissued marriage license and apply again and then add my last name as middle one?

      You can get it reissued now; you don't have to wait until it expires.

      Reply
  11. Jennifer

    I already filed my taxes, but the IRS declined it because I used my married name and I haven't changed it at the social security office yet. Do I just go to the social security office and apply for a new card and they will submit it to the IRS or are there other steps I need to take?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jennifer. The SSA won't resubmit your taxes. If you update with the SSA, they'll notify the IRS of the name change. Afterwards, you'll have to refile in your married name. Alternatively, you can refile in your maiden name, which is what will currently match what's on file with the SSA/IRS.

      Reply
  12. Lisa

    I got married 2.5 years ago in Hawaii and took his last name. I have never changed my social security card, drivers license, etc. in Missouri. Is there a time limit to do so?

    Reply
  13. Shy

    Hello,
    I have been reading the comments to try and get an answer to my question but I'm not sure if I am correct.
    I got married in Hawaii 2012 and at the time I decided to take my husband's last name; but not in it entirety. My husband has two last names hyphenated, consisting of both of his parents last names.
    Example: (moms last name-dad's last name)
    On my marriage certificate I have firstname/middlename/husband'sdadlastname as my declared surname.
    So I did NOT pick up his moms last name.
    I never went to get a SSC or DL so I still have my maiden name. However, I want to take his full last name since our future children will also have that name. We now live in Virginia.

    Is taking his full last name possible?

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Shy. I don't believe Virginia recognizes that sort of partial hyphenation. You can contact the VA DMV, then SSA for verification.

      Reply
  14. Jody

    I got married 9 years ago in NV (we live in CA). I have recently decided I want to change my last name so that it's the same as my husband (and children). However, my marriage certificate contains my maiden name. Will I need to file a petition for name change with the court in order to change to my husband's last name? (I would like to move my maiden name to second-middle, and add his last name as my new last name.) Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jody. No, you don't need to go to court. Your NV certificate should be sufficient. If you were married in CA and your California certificate didn't show your new married name, then you probably would have had to petition the court. But even for that, it depends on when your marriage took place, and how the California marriage licenses/certificates were designed nine years ago.

      This is a point of confusion many have. They live in California, hear that they must specify their new, change-to name on the marriage license, which will ultimately be reflected on the certificate. If they didn't do this, then they'll have to petition the court. But, if a California resident gets married in another state, that rule doesn't apply. So they get their marriage certificate from, say Nevada, which doesn't reflect any new name choice, so they're left wondering if it'll pass muster. It will.

      Reply
  15. Karina

    Getting married in the next 15 days. On marriage license I chose to take: my first & husbands last name. I'm not sure I want to change any official documents yet (ss#, DL,etc)..
    Do I have to change my official documents? Or can I continue to use my maiden name as I have been without changes? I'm in CA. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Karina. You don't have to change any documents. It just gives you the option to do so later.

      Reply
  16. Nelly Ahoudji

    My spouse and I got married in Dec 2016 in PA (same sex couple). We both kept our maiden names on the marriage certificate. I am now thinking about hyphenating both names. How can I do that? Do I have to go to court or can I just change it at the SS office.

    Reply
  17. Melissa

    My fiancee and I are getting married in NY in April. I want to have a dual last name, so maiden name husband name without a hyphen. When I went to the NYC clerk's office today, I had filled out the marriage license with my new surname as above, but then they hyphenated it. I told the clerk I didn't want it hyphenated, and he said it could only be hyphenated. However, I know people who have gotten married in NY and have dual last names without a hyphen. Should I go back and get it amended without a new surname to make it easier to change to a dual last name after I have the marriage certificate, or does it not matter at all? Please help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Melissa. I believe the clerk gave your correct information. Hyphens are allowed, but I do not believe spaced names are. It's one thing to have a space reflected on your marriage license and subsequent marriage certificate, it's another getting it recognized when it comes to changing your name with the necessary institutions.

      Reply
  18. Ebony

    The new name change field was not law at the time of my name change, I got my SSC changed but not my license. When I went to Change it the law change (months after I was married) and now I have to get a court order to fix it (very expensive) is there a way around that?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ebony. Did you attempt to change it and had your request rejected? If so, did you explain the law wasn't active at the time?

      Reply
  19. Gregory

    Hello, thank you for any help you can provide!

    My wife and I got married in Rhode Island in 2015, and she kept her maiden name for business recognition. We now live in North Carolina, and want to change both our last names to a completely new last name (combining last names from our ancestors). Can we use our RI marriage certificate to prove our marriage and get new documents (social security, dmv, etc…) with our new desired last name? We each want to keep our current last names as new middle names, do you think this is possible? or do we need to go about doing the standard name change procedures for our state? or could we get remarried in North Carolina and fill out a new marriage certificate here with our desired names? Thank you!!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Gregory. You would both have to apply for a general adult name by change by petitioning the NC Superior court. You can read more about changing your name in NC, specifically the general adult name change section.

      Reply
  20. Alyssa

    Please help. When my husband and I went to apply for the marriage license, the County clerk asked for all kinds of information, SSN, DOB, parents maidens names etc and had us (very quickly) look over the information for no mistakes and now i am worried that i did not look over my SSN for any errors. Does the County clerks office authenticate that the SSN i gave them is an exact and correct match to me through the system? They did not ask me for a SS Card copy, they just wanted word of mouth..i used to have trouble remembering this number, so i just want to know that My SSN is authenticated.
    Thank you for helping!

    Reply
    1. Alyssa

      forgot to mention that i am pretty sure i know my correct number, just want to know if it is accurate and checked to my information and put my paranoia to an end.
      THanks

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Alyssa, it's not likely to be an issue that would result in the invalidation of your license and subsequent marriage. If you're concerned about it, you can contact the clerk to determine if they'd want you to provide verbal or written confirmation of the number. The SSN solicited during the marriage license application process is typically used to perform look-ups for delinquent child support payments.

      Reply
  21. Rebecca

    Hi. Got married a year ago. On my marriage license i intened on taking my husbands last name. After a year i havent gotten around to it and dread it. Changing home title, nurse licensure, dmv, banks credit cards is a lot of work. I wanted to keep using my maiden name. Can i legally do that in Massachusetts? Without doing a name change.

    Reply
    1. Rebecca

      I havent changed my ssc or dmv. Nothing yet. Can i keep using my maiden name?

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Rebecca. Changing your name is not required, regardless of what you intended at the time. You can do nothing and keep everything as it is.

      Reply
  22. Lexi

    Hi Valera,
    My husband and I are residents of New York but got married several years ago on the island of a wahoo in Hawaii. On the marriage certificate my declared last name was a hyphenation of my maiden name and my husband surname. I did this as a nod to my in-laws but have not, and do not intend to, change any of my official documentation such as Social Security card, passport, drivers license, names on financial accounts etc.

    Since I know these things can sometimes be state specific I'm wondering technically what my legal name is in case I have to sign future contracts such as loans or mortgages and also when I reapply for a new passport if they will insist on the hyphenated surname?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I'm wondering technically what my legal name is in case I have to sign future contracts

      Your legal name is not what's on your Hawaiian marriage certificate. It is your current name, or the name you had prior to getting married. For instance, if your name prior to marriage was your maiden name, then that's what you'll sign. That is still your legal name.

      also when I reapply for a new passport if they will insist on the hyphenated surname?

      No, they will not insist on it. They shouldn't even know about it, as you wouldn't need to present them with a copy of your marriage certificate. You'd only provide your marriage certificate with a passport renewal if you're changing the name on your passport as a result of marriage. Even if you did unnecessarily show your marriage certificate, they still wouldn't insist upon it.

      Reply
  23. Silvanus reeves

    I got married in Lousiana 3 years ago but I guess I was unsure of how to fill the paperwork and it has my maiden name in it but when I signed my marriage license i used my husbands last name. I still haven't changed any of my documents and now I want to. Will they change it even if my marriage license says my maiden name. I live in Georgia now.

    Reply
  24. Jennifer

    When I married 12 years ago I changed my name (just included his last name to my last name, no hyphen). I'm rolling over a bunch of older retirement plans and I need to fill out a Notice of Change of Name form. It asks the date of my name change and the court name. I live in the state of Washington (Seattle) how do I find this information out?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      It asks the date of my name change and the court name.

      Court name? What are they referencing?

      Reply
  25. Kristy

    Been married 12 yrs. I took Husbands name. Now 12 yrs later I am wanting to hyphenate with my maiden name. How do I do this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kristy. You'd have to petition the court for a general adult name change to change it a second time.

      Reply
  26. Kerry

    Hello, I am getting married and like all of my names and want to keep them but I also want to take his last name. Both of our last names are a mouthful and would not be a good combo to hyphenate. My plan is to take his last name, move my maiden name to my middle name and change my first name to include both my first and middle name. So instead of FN: Kerry MN: Lynn LN: Pennington it would be FN: Kerry Lynn MN: Pennington LN: Rolverston. Could I just change it all on the marriage license or do I have to go to court to legally change it this way?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kerry. You can change the last name as you'd like with your marriage certificate. Same with the the middle, as long as you're not in one of the following states: NJ, OH, PA, WA. First name change would require petitioning the court.

      Reply
  27. Chinnie

    Hi, my question is, how can I switch my middle name and first name on my marriage certificate. After we got our marriage certificate, we found out that my middle name is written as first name while my first name is written as middle name.
    Please what are the steps to take to switch them back to how it appears on my Green card but with my husband's last name as my last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Chinnie. You'll have to contact the office where your certificate is filed to inquire about getting it amended, how much it costs (if any), and if there's an affidavit requirement. If there must be an affidavit ask if they provide a fill in form that you can use or if you have to compose it yourself. If you have to compose it yourself, what details must you include.

      Reply
  28. Julie

    Hi. We got married in Belize and we live in Idaho. It will take two months to get our certificate, unfortunately. On the certificate, they put down what matched my maiden name, clearly! How do I change that after it arrives in the states? Additionally, can My husband begin the process of putting me on his work insurance before we have the marriage certificate using my maiden name and then update it later? I'm hyphening my maiden name to my husbands name. Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How do I change that after it arrives in the states?

      You'd have to contact their registrar for an amendment, which isn't guaranteed will be provided. It wouldn't be necessary to change your name anyway.

      Additionally, can My husband begin the process of putting me on his work insurance before we have the marriage certificate using my maiden name and then update it later?

      Yes.

      Reply
  29. Luciana

    Hi….I got divorced in NY and kept my husband's last name. I got married in CT again 3 years ago and still using my previous husband's last name. I want to use my actual husband last name. Can Social Security change my last name again. And what do I need to do that.
    Thanks for your help

    Reply
  30. Marie

    Hi, I'm filling out an application for a marriage license in the state of NY. I want to hyphenate my name on the marriage license but I want to keep my maiden name on all other legal documents, ie. Passport, driver's license, social security card. Is it mandatory that I report my new hyphenated name? If I want to change the name on the legal documents listed above will I be able to do so at a later time if I don't do it right after marriage. Is there a time restriction in the state of NY?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it mandatory that I report my new hyphenated name?

      No, you don't have to report anything; it's not mandatory.

      If I want to change the name on the legal documents listed above will I be able to do so at a later time if I don't do it right after marriage.

      Yes, you can do it later.

      Is there a time restriction in the state of NY?

      No, there's no time limit.

      Reply
  31. Vivian

    Greetings,
    My fiance is an American citizen and I am officially not yet. I am in the country under a J1 visa. We will get married in a couple of weeks. How should I sign my marriage licence and certificate then ? I know my US residency process will take several months, but we decided I will take his last name. Also, can I start the process to change my name at the DMV, bank, Social Security, etc, even if I don't have a green card yet? Lots of questions, but I want to do everything right. Thank you kindly.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Vivian. Sign your marriage license how it specifies. For the name field, use your current name as it will stand at the time. If it has a blank space for a new name, specify the new name you intend to change to. It's a good idea to change your name during the green card process.

      Reply
  32. Brandy

    I'm getting remarried in July but always kept my last name from my previous marriage. We had children and wanted to have the same last name. What name do I use for my marriage certificate? Do I use my madien name since I'm divorced or do I have to use the name that is on my SS card and drivers license?

    Reply
  33. Anastasiya Sherstiuk

    Hello, I'd appreciate your help. I've been married for 4 years now and hasn't changed my last name (IL). I have a fancy copy that we got at the day of marriage. As I understood, my first step would be to get a license and certified copies at the Clerk Office, correct? So after that I'd go to SS office and request a new card with new name, then DMV etc. First concern I have is I want to change my last name AND correct my first name (there is one extra letter that needs to go away), where would I do that and if it needs to be done before all this hassle with my last name or there is a way to do it simultaneously?
    Secondly, I'm a legal resident and not a citizen yet, so I do have some additional paperwork like work authorization card and green card and foreign passport. Is it possible and how complicated it is to change the name on all of those documents? Is there a different process? Will it affect my out of US travel (since I have a foreign passport with old last name)?

    Thank you very much for your help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      As I understood, my first step would be to get a license and certified copies at the Clerk Office, correct?

      Correct.

      I want to change my last name AND correct my first name (there is one extra letter that needs to go away)

      If there's a typo in your name, you can bring an identity document showing the correct spelling. Something such as a birth certificate.

      is a way to do it simultaneously?

      You can do the correction and changing of your last name together.

      I do have some additional paperwork like work authorization card and green card and foreign passport. Is it possible and how complicated it is to change the name on all of those documents? Is there a different process? Will it affect my out of US travel (since I have a foreign passport with old last name)?

      USCIS handles names changes on your work authorization and green card. It's not difficult to do. They provide forms for such cases. For your foreign passport, you'll have to consult your country's procedures. As far as travels, your marriage certificate can be used to bridge your old and new name. Carrying your birth certificate with you may also help to bridge the names.

      Reply
  34. C

    In California, what would happen if I were to get married and not get all of the name changes? For example, if I changed SS and license and bank, but didn't change it at work?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi C. If you didn't change it at work, it can lead to a mismatch with the IRS when your employer submits tax-related documents. The name they report wouldn't match what the SSA and IRS have on file.

      Reply
  35. C

    Hi I got married 2 weeks ago in Vegas we are both from the UK it was a same sex marriage on the marriage certificate, I would like to take my husbands name but the certificate shows both our names with our separate last names can I just use my certified cirtificate for proof? and take that to my bank ect.

    Reply
  36. Ashleigh

    We live in Illinois, but are getting married in California. I still have my California license but will change after marriage as I don't have time to get a new license before our wedding next week.

    Do I need to put my maiden name on my certificate since I won't be changing my SS or license in CA but in IL or do I need to put my new name? I'm super confused. I was told illinois won't recognize my marriage certificate if it doesn't have my maiden name?

    Please help

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ashleigh. When you apply for your marriage license, put your new name on the part of the form that asks for your new name. It'll be mirrored on your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  37. Shadybrook

    Aloha…. I'm currently seeking information about marriages in Vegas and name changes in Hawaii. I live in Honolulu Hawaii but getting married in Vegas. I've heard that Hawaii doesn't recognize legal name change when Married in Vegas. Therefore you must petition with the Lt. Gov of Hawaii for legal name change after the marriage in Vegas… is this correct? Can you shed more light for me please? I'm Planning on an October Wedding in Vegas and trying to figure this out ahead of time and save me some headache!! Thank you for any insight you are able to provide!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Shadybrook. I've not heard of this, nor found any reference to it.

      Reply
  38. Carol Davis

    How do I get an original marriage licence if I was married at the court house.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Carol. Contact the office where you license was recorded, which is typically the same that issued it. If you specify the state, I can provide more detail.

      Reply
  39. Emily

    Hi, I am in NYS, recently got my marriage license, and have not done the ceremony yet. At the time of applying for the marriage license, I haven't decided to change my surname, or do a hyphenated last name yet. Will I still be able to make the change on the day of the ceremony?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I still be able to make the change on the day of the ceremony?

      No, it has to be done on the application, before you're issued the license.

      Reply
  40. Erica Lowe

    When I filled out the marriage license I hyphenated my name with my husband last name (lane-smith) and I want all my legal documents ( SSA, etc.) to have the hyphenated name but on my driver's license, credit cards, bank accounts, and etc. can that just be my husband last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      HI Erica. Perhaps you can work it out with your bank, but it's unlikely to work with the others.

      Reply
  41. Rebekah

    Hi! I live in Georgia and got married a year ago, May 2016 here in GA as well. I haven't changed my last name and I would like to do that soon. When we applied for marriage license I informed the clerk from the courthouse that I would take my husband's last name but when I received my marriage certificate it has my maiden name still.So it's my first name and maiden name. What do I need to do now in changing into my husband's last name? Do I just go to SSA or do I need to do another process to request for a name change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rebekah. Georgia ask this on the application, so not having it reflected on your certificate can be a problem. If the clerk made an error, you can request an amendment. Trying to use your certificate without the change reflected may not go through.

      Reply
  42. Terry

    Hey Just got married in nys..didn't take my husband last name..he is about to peption for me..will it be a problem when I go for my interview at immigration..or should I try and change my last name to his..just worried please help

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Terry. Name change is optional. Not changing it wouldn't cause a problem.

      Reply
          1. Valera

            So it's ok then

            Yes, as name change is optional.

  43. Elena

    Hello,
    I live in NY but was just married in NC on the 16th of may and I am pretty sure I screwed up the last name. When I filled out the license information I put my maiden name and then my maiden name again.Will I need to have my license amended before I can change my last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Elena. If there's a typographic error in on your marriage record, you can contact the country register of deeds about obtaining a correction/amendment.

      Reply
  44. Melanie

    Lived in Florida since 1989, married in Vegas in 1999. After marriage I went to SS and got a new SS card with my married name only. However at the DMV I hyphenated my name with the two (at the time my mother was ill and did not want to go through changing my name on her documents). I file my taxes under the married name. My Passport, W-2 and nursing license come under my hyphenated name.One bill/title/insurance under my maiden name, some under my married name and some under my hyphenated name. Anyway, will I have any problems at the DMV because of the new REAL ID compliant check since my SS card is different than my passport, current DMV license and registration. Or because it is hyphenated I am ok to carry on as usual? Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Melanie. There's a possibility you may be able to carry on considering you have supporting identity documents reflecting your hyphenated name, but you may also face a problem with the name mismatch with your social security card. Consult the Florida Real ID and the supporting gather go get website for further information.

      Reply
  45. Genesis Torres

    Hi, I got married 2 years ago in New York. I did not change my last name at the time , but now that I am done with school I am ready to change it . The problem is i moved to New Jersey. What is the process that I have to do to be able to change my last name ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Genesis. Get a certified copy of your marriage record, then go to change your name with at a New Jersey SSA office, then MVC, passport office, etc.

      Reply
  46. Georgia

    Hello I live in Florida and I recently just applied for my marriage license. Where it has the name of the Spouse, on my driver's license is what they used. Was I supposed to put my intended last name in that section and will that affect me from changing my name over to my husband's name? Do I need to get that fixed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Georgia. Your only option is to put your current, legal last name, and not the name you want to change to.

      Reply
  47. Jenifer Y Cano

    Hello , i got married 2 years ago and i wanted to keep my original last name and then my husband and now im.going to make the name change at social security and dmv but the only problem is that in the documentnof my.marriage document it say my name and my husbands last name ,, can i fix that at social security

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jenifer. The Social Security Administration doesn't have anything to do with what's on your marriage record. You'll have to take that up with the office that recorded it. Also, not all states specify new names on their marriage record, so it may not even be necessary.

      Reply
  48. Jessica

    Hi, I got married in California in 2014 and didn't change my last name to my husbands name. I want to change it now. We are having a baby and I want us all to have the same last name. I live in Kansas. Both CA and KS told me I need to do a change of name form, but that will be 300 bucks and change my birth certificate. Can I just write my new name on my marriage certificate and go to the DMV and SS office to obtain new ID's? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jessica. The SSA and DMV wouldn't accept a marriage certificate that's been doctored.

      Reply
  49. Lucas

    Hello, my name is Samantha but I go by Lucas (I'm transgender) and I'm getting married in July to my fiancee. He's taking my last name. But I was wondering if I could use my name I want to be called on the marriage application for the marriage certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lucas. First name changes require petitioning the court. Only surnames and, for the most part, middle names can be changed as a result of marriage.

      Having said that, you specifically asked about using the name you want to be called on the application. Well, most officials who issue licenses require the name you specify on your application to match what's on your provided identification. If the names do not match, they'll likely not approve your application.

      Reply
  50. Deisy

    Hello, i got married two years ago but in my married license I appear with my maiden name and now that I want to change it to my husbands last name in my social security they told that I have to appear with my husbands last name in my marriage certificate, I call where I got my marriage license to have my last name change and the told me that they cant that my name in my marriage license have to stay with my dads last name. I live in austin TX. What can I do?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Deisy. The issuing office wouldn't amend your marriage record unless there's a mistake. You'll have to get a court petitioned name change.

      Reply
  51. Liana

    Hi im liana lives in arizona.im married for 12years but not happy with my husband.and im using my husband last name.i uae it also on passport.my ex husband name is diaz.i want to change to lewis were my last when im not yet married.can i change diaz to lewis?what will i do?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can i change diaz to lewis?

      Is Lewis your maiden name or current husband's name? If it's your maiden name, then petition the court for a name change. If it's your current husband's surname, then use a certified copy of your marriage record to change your name with the various government institutions.

      Reply
  52. Maria Torres

    I got married on August 2011 and haven't change my new last name. Im I going to pay for taking long time to change it?

    Reply
  53. Jennifer

    Hello. I got married in Mexico in 2012 where there are no new names specified on marriage licenses. When we started living in California, I never changed my name but now that we've started a family I want to change my last name as my middle name ( I currently don't have a middle name) and take my husbands paternal last name; My husband has two last names (paternal & maternal) separated by a space (no Hyphen). Before I initiate any changes I want to clear some confusions I have.

    1. I've read that since it's been over two years since we got married I would need an identity document with the new name (his paternal last name) to get a name change with ssa. I've never used his last name on anything and dmv doesn't give a dl without ssa name change first. What would I use as an identity document?

    2. I've also read that ssa will do the name change with just my husband's paternal last name but DMV won't because they use what's on the marriage license which is both last names specied as paternal & maternal. Is this true?

    3.If DMV indeed won't use only the paternal last name, would I have to get a court order name change, take this to the ssa (and won't have to worry about the identity document with new name) then have no issues with DMV?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      1. I've read that since it's been over two years since we got married I would need an identity document with the new name (his paternal last name) to get a name change with ssa.

      I've never used his last name on anything and dmv doesn't give a dl without ssa name change first. What would I use as an identity document?

      You'll need an identity document in your old name, not new name. It can be expired or unexpired.

      2. I've also read that ssa will do the name change with just my husband's paternal last name but DMV won't because they use what's on the marriage license which is both last names specied as paternal & maternal. Is this true?

      This may be the case. DMV's are more stringent than SSA. The prior is state-level while the latter is federal-level, so the regulations are different.

      3.If DMV indeed won't use only the paternal last name, would I have to get a court order name change, take this to the ssa (and won't have to worry about the identity document with new name) then have no issues with DMV?

      A court order alone would be sufficient for the DMV and SSA.

      Reply
  54. Brenda

    Hello, I got married two years ago in Oklahoma and signed the marriage license with my husbands last name. However, I have continued to use my old name because I have children with that name and my new husband is not offended for that reason. Is there any legal consequences for keeping my old name even though I signed his name on the certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there any legal consequences for keeping my old name even though I signed his name on the certificate?

      No, there are no legal repercussions.

      Reply
  55. Aimee

    Hello,

    I am a UK citizen and have just married my husband who is a US citizen (I am here on a fiance visa). On our marriage certificate, it does not show my new name. Do i have to do an extra step now to officially change my name or is my surname automatically changed to my husband's surname following marriage? We got married in Texas.

    Thank you in advanced.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      On our marriage certificate, it does not show my new name.

      You don't see a new name on your marriage certificate because Texas marriage license applications don't provide a space for you to specify a new name.

      Do i have to do an extra step now to officially change my name or is my surname automatically changed to my husband's surname following marriage? We got married in Texas.

      You don't have to do anything extra. Your marriage certificate is sufficient as-is. Also, name change isn't automatic. You have to initiate the process yourself.

      There's a separate page that goes into further detail about changing your name in Texas.

      Reply
      1. Joe

        My wife has the same question. She is from Brazil and wants to change her name on her green card and in order to do so they need a copy of the marriage certificate. Wisconsin Marriage certificate has her maiden name on it. At the time we filled out the application it asked for current name so she listed her current (maiden) name but there wasn't a place for a new name. Should we send the current certificate of marriage for the name change for the green card or do we have to have it changed on the certificate or marriage. Hope that makes sense….. thanks

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Should we send the current certificate of marriage for the name change for the green card or do we have to have it changed on the certificate or marriage.

          The current certificate of marriage is what you need to send.

          Reply
  56. Heidi

    Hello,

    I got married May 2017 in the Bahamas, but I am looking to move forward changing my name here in Ohio. Any tips on how I can request a certified copy of our marriage license, as I THOUGHT we had already arranged and paid for that to be sent to Ohio to be registered in our home county.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  57. Diana

    Hello, my husband and I just recently got married in Virginia. On our marriage license and certificate there was no option for me to write my name with my new last name. Not sure if that's how the forms are done in VA or if it was an error on my part or the courts. But I'm confused if I am able to take that to the social security office and change my name or if I need to go back to court to have it amended or get permission from the court.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Diana. You can take your certificate as-is to the SSA to change your name.

      Reply
  58. Elisha

    I'm from Saskatchewan and planning on getting married july2018 my fiance Wants to change his last name to his mothers maiden name and I would be changing mine to that would he have to change it before we get married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Elisha. He would have to change it before you marry if you intend to change it due to marriage.

      Reply
  59. Sheneka Lundy

    I married in Maryland and did not change my last name to my husbands(kept madian name which is what's on my marriage license) Now 11 years later I reside in GA and I want to change my last name to his. How do I go about doing this and what documentation do I need.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sheneka. Obtain a certified copy of your Maryland certificate of marriage from the city or town clerk that originally issued you your license, then take it to the SSA and other various government institutions to change your name.

      Reply
  60. Jeff

    Hi, my wife and I recently got married back in December in Louisiana. We have not changed her last name yet, and now we have moved to Texas. We want it to be her name/her middle/my last name. Now that we live in Texas, we are trying to switch cars, licenses, etc. all to Texas residency as well as change her last name. What do we need to do first? Will we need to get her Driver's License done first, and if so can we register the car at that time too? We just aren't sure exactly what needs to be taken care of and in what order.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jeff. SSA first, which can be done in Louisiana or Texas. Then update the name with the Texas DMV and have them perform the registration simultaneously.

      Reply
  61. Jasmine Fontaine

    I live in New Jersey. I am getting married in August 2017. I want to take my mothers last name as my middle name as I do not currently have one, drop my last name completely and use my husbands last name as my last name. Is this a nightmare situation that I will have to go to court for in NJ?

    Reply
  62. Sara

    I got married in GA in 2012. I waitied changing my name due to kids from a previous marriage and a little laziness. Can I still do a name change or will have have to do a legal name change through the court. It is a little confusing because the SSA doesn't seem to have date limitations, but the DMV says within 60 days.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sara. There's no date limitation. The DMV wants you to notify them within a certain amount of time after changing your name, but since you haven't changed your name it isn't applicable anyway.

      Reply
  63. Lisa

    I live in Texas. I just got divorced in April of 2017 and I'm getting remarried in September of this year. I haven't yet changed my social security card or my driver's license back to my maiden name which I was granted by the judge after the divorce. do I need to do this so that I can have my maiden name on the marriage certificate? or can I just have my final divorce decree showing that my name goes back to my maiden name.

    Reply
    1. Lisa

      I want my name to be my first/maiden/my new husband's last name. I don't want my previous married name.

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Lisa. When you fill out the Texas marriage license application, it'll ask you to specify your current surname and maiden name. For current surname, you'll have to put your ex's surname. If you're asking about changing your last name to your new spouse's, then you don't have to go back to your maiden name first. You can just use your marriage certificate to effect a name change.

      Reply
  64. Pinakin Purohit

    Hi, When we got married, on the marriage certificate my Wife has her Maiden Name (Name she was given at birth) now we want the marriage certificate to have her new name, which takes after my (Her Husbands) last name. How to proceed? We leave in San Jose, CA. All of her SSI card, US passport and DMV card has her new name.

    thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Pinakin. You wouldn't be able to change a marriage certificate after it's been recorded unless there's a mistake on it.

      Reply
  65. Rochelle

    Hello,

    I got married about a month ago in Vegas. On the application it didn't say to use the name you want to have after you get married (husband's last name). So on the marriage certificate it is my birth name. I live in Arizona. It states to go to SSN office first, which I did. I ended up changing my middle name to keep my maiden name and changed my last name to his name (my first, my maiden, his last). At SSN they didn't see it as an issue and accepted it. I went to the MVD to change my license and after I got home I realized that only my last name changed. It showed my first, my birth middle, his last. Obviously it doesn't match my SSN card but that's how they issued it to me. I attempted to go back to MVD and change it but they are telling me I can't because of the marriage certificate and that SSN doesn't have anything to do with it. I asked what the solution was and they stated I either change my SSN (again) to match my drivers license or file a petition. Is this correct? Or what can I do to get my drivers license match my new SSN with my maiden name used as middle name and my last name used as his last name?

    Thank you in advance!

    Reply
  66. Julia

    Hi me and my husband got married in January 2017 in laguna hills, california. I wasn't planning on changing my last name at the time of our marriage in the court, but the clerk suggested i did and i can change all my legal documents when i wanted. So since that wasn't the plan, me and my husband said okay and i took his last name as Perez. But here is my issue, in his culture he technically has two last names, Mancillas Perez, so we just went with perez since it was the very last one. Now i would like to change it to Mancillas since that is his dads last name and perez is his moms last name. How would i go about doing that? if there are any different steps.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Julia. Since Perez is already on the current marriage certificate, you'd have to get a court-ordered name change to go with Mancillas.

      Reply
  67. Hannah

    Hi,
    Me and my husband married in December 2001.
    And I kept my maiden name since.
    Is it possible to use the marriage certificate to change the last name to his?

    Thank you,

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Hannah. Yes, you can still change your name using your certificate.

      Reply
  68. star

    hello, when changing my name is there a way I can only make it to where it says my married name and NOT include or ever say my original name? I want too officially be my fiancés last name no more traits of my current last name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      when changing my name is there a way I can only make it to where it says my married name…

      Only says it where? Are you referring to some document or certificate? If you're asking if you have to hyphenate, then the answer is no.

      Reply
  69. Adrianna

    Hello, My husband and I got Married in 2015 in Ohio and I kept my maiden name. We live in Indiana and I want to change my last name to his for our 2 year anniversary. Is Indiana a state where I can simply use my marriage certificate from Ohio and take into an Indiana social security office? Or would I need to go through court?

    Reply
  70. Jodie

    Hi!
    Me and my wife got married back in October of 2015.
    I told them I would be taking her last name but never got the chance to do so, mostly because of legal stuff because I was sixteen.
    Will I still be able to change my last name now that I am eighteen, even though it's been almost two years?

    Reply
  71. Karen Palasek

    I used my Catholic Confirmation name as my middle name when I applied for a marriage license in CT., and that name appears on the license. My birth certificate has only a first name and a surname. Can I get the marriage license revised to match my legal birth certifiacte?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I get the marriage license revised to match my legal birth certifiacte?

      You might be able to. Contact the office that recorded it for amendment instructions.

      Reply
  72. Ela Abejo

    Hi, my name is Ela, I have to recently gotten married at the court at Clovis California, and after getting married, I didnt change my last name, I kept my maiden name, I did recieve the certificate of our marriage, but now I want to change it to my husband's last name?! what should I do?! isn't it too late to do so?!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ela. If you specified a new name on your California marriage license, then you can change it to that. If you didn't specify a new name at that time, you'll have to get a court-petitioned name change.

      Reply
  73. Autumn

    Hello.

    If I hyphenate my maiden name with my soon-to-be's last name, do I have to change all the legal stuff? I.e. license, ssn, bank, employer, credit cards, etc…

    Thx!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Autumn. Hyphenating your name is optional. You're not obligated to follow through with a formal name change.

      Reply
  74. Jen

    Hello! I am curious if there is a timeframe in which you must change official documents in Minnesota after changing your last name due to marriage. Thank you!

    Reply
  75. Dora Ross Geran

    No I have not just remarried…I have used Ross and Geran interchangeable for no reason I just did. Now I see that I should used my married name. I am 87 y.o and my husband has passed my daughter put that picture of the two of us long ago. I just do not want to let the picture go, if possible..Long ago I had the white head and my daught going through our past pictures put that on as a joke that I liked. She did not get any fun because I did not show disaproval??Now it is nice to see younger faces oppose to now.Ugh!!!!I shall fill out the requested info and see where we go from there.I also have so many facebook accounts ,,not knowing why and how to get it down to just my one picture.Help..All of the accounts keeps me confused and when I am told that is not the right account then I go and start another one .Sorry to be so uneducated regarding using a computer..I just get by…enough that I can ask questions and usually taken to the site I want. What is so import to me is my church services. I am a shut-in except doctors appoints and grocery being taken via my son-in-law…Not my favorite way of transportation. . Shall see if I can get back on facebook with my one picture..Shall if my request is legal. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Dora Ross Geran

      I am not too fussy about what little bit of information is out there, except my banking and such info as that …I am a rather dull person,at this age. Info such as I wrote is important to me. Maybe I am nieve?

      Reply
  76. Marilyn

    Hi:)
    My husband and I have been married for going on 13 years in the state of N.J. At the time I did not take on his last name. Our marriage certificate reflects my maiden name as my last name instead of his. I have since decided that I want to change my last name to his and it was a mistake not to do that in the first place. Is it still possible to do that and if so what is the process? Will I have to go to court? Will I have to change the certificate first?? etc., etc. Sorry, so many questions. Thank You

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Marilyn. Yes, you can still change your name using your marriage certificate. New Jersey marriage licenses and certificates don't even provide spaces to specify new names in the first place. At least the ones designed in the past few years.

      Reply
  77. Ashley

    Hi, me and my husband just got married here in Arkansas and I put my maiden name on the marriage license instead of his last name. I am wanting to change my last name to his on all of my documents ( ID, social, etc.). Will I be able to do that even though my maiden name is on the marriage license? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ashley. As far as I know, the Arkansas marriage license application doesn't provide a space to specify a new name after marriage, so the marriage certificate containing your maiden name would be sufficient to change your name. Did you experience otherwise on your application.

      Reply
  78. Lindy

    I was married in NY state in 1993 and took my husband's last name at the time. I continued using my maiden name for work, and changed all my official documentation to read FIRST-MAIDEN-NEW LAST NAME. However, my marriage certificate and driver's license actually just say FIRST-MIDDLE NAME-NEW LAST NAME (no middle name to maiden name switch). And it was so long ago I no longer remember how I was able to change my passport and social security card (and all my credit cards, etc) without having actually legally changed my middle name to my maiden name at the time of my marriage. I tried to get the DMV to change my middle initial to my maiden name middle initial but they wouldn't do it without it being reflected in the marriage certificate. Now, because of travel and the TSA, I want my name on my driver's license to match that of my passport, etc but have no idea how to go about it. It already reads the way I want it to read on everything but my driver's license. Do I need to go to court or somehow file a legal document to make this change?

    Reply
  79. addys

    i got married in las vegas but i live in maryland and i want to change my maiden name to my husbands last name but my marriage certificate has my maiden name what should i do to change my name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Addys. As far as I know, NV marriage license applications don't have a spot to specify a new last name, so you should be good to go with your marriage certificate as-is.

      Reply
  80. Chim

    Good day. I live in Wisconsin and had been married for over a year ( July 2016 ) I didn't change my last name then. Now, I wanted to change my last name to my husband's last name. Can I still do this, even after a year of being married? If yes, what would be the first office I need to contact, would it be SSN OFFICE? Thanks for your help

    Reply

Leave a comment

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