653 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.

If you would like to change your name online, you can make use of our name change application to complete the required forms.

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)!

653 Comments

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. Katie

    Hi there! I'm in Georgia and I got married July 1st. I've been waiting for a weekday off from work to finally do all this name change stuff and the day has finally arrived! I'm a little confused though. On my marriage certificate, I'm listed with my original maiden name, just like it is on my birth certificate. Does my marriage certificate have to be in my new married name in order to change my name on other documents like social security and driver's license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Katie. The Georgia marriage license application should have provided a spot for you to specify a new last name after marriage. Without it, you can face problems changing your name due to marriage.

      Reply
  9. Kim

    Hi! I live in Pennsylvania and recently engaged. I plan to take my future husband's last name, but then I think this would be a great time to drop my first name. I never really liked my first name but love my middle name, and always introduce myself using the former. How do you think I should take this on? Last name change is easy but the first name change is what scares me. Please advise! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kim. In order to change your first name in Pennsylvania, you'll have to petition the court.

      Reply
  10. Anita

    My daughter was married in Illinois but has moved to Indiana she kept her maiden name and it is what appears on their license she wants to change it to her married name what does she need to do? Thank You!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Anita. Acquire a certified copy of her Illinois marriage certificate and use it to change her name with the various government institutions.

      Reply
  11. Margarita

    When changing my name in California after getting married what is the order if I am wanting to use my dads last name and my husbands last name. My First Name Husbands last name then Dads last name or First Name Dads last name then Husbands last name? Also wanting to know if I can use both as Last Names and not one of them as a Middle name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Margarita. You can use either last name first. And, yes, you can use both last names, but they must be combined or separated by a hyphen. Specify your name choice on the license when you apply.

      Reply
  12. Candelaria Carroll

    Hi I'm getting married this December. My fiance and I already got the marriage license last friday. Can I go to the social security office and DMV and already request a name change? We are trying to get things done and out of the way now so that when we get back from our short honeymoon we can just focus on work and college.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Candelaria. You'll have to do it after your married and in possession of a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  13. Becky

    My daughter got married in NC 10 days ago. We have a certified copy of the marriage license and certificate, which is one document and which only lists the couple's names before marriage.
    She wants to take her husband's last name as her own last name, and we are researching how to do this.
    So, here is the possible complication. When we adopted my daughter as a young child, we decided to "discard" the middle name on her original birth certificate and replace it with the last name on her original birth certificate ("N——–") and give her our own last name.
    Now that she is married, her preference would be to revert back to the middle name on her original birth certificate to use as her new middle name, followed by her husband's last name. Her second choice would be to use her maiden name as her middle name. In any case she does not want to use "N——-," her current middle name, at all.
    We understand that name-change procedures may vary from state to state and we don't want to make a mistake that will be a problem later on. We want to find out what is involved in each of the changes described above, and we hope you can help us!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Becky. It's unlikely she'll be able to revert back to her old middle name without going to court. Her second choice of maiden to middle would work though.

      Reply
  14. Cori

    I got married in March 2016 and have not yet went to change my last name. Is there a time limit to doing so? Im in california.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      have not yet went to change my last name. Is there a time limit to doing so? Im in california.

      No, there is no time limit.

      Reply
  15. Lisa

    Married in Oklahoma 12 years ago and maiden name is on marriage license. We live in Kansas where and how do I change my last name to my husbands.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lisa. If you haven't done so already, or a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the Kansas Department of Health. Take your copy to the SSA, DMV, and other government institutions to change your name.

      Reply
  16. Joshlyn

    We are in Pennsylvania and planning to get married. However, he would like to take my last name and it seems pa doesn't allow a man to take his wife's last name? Could we go to a state they allow it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Joshlyn. Perhaps for federal documents, but he'll face difficulty when returning home to update his driver's license.

      Reply
      1. Joshlyn

        Ok, he's a disabled veteran that's unable to drive so we only need his federal/ VA docunents updated and i guess PA is behind the times on this. We looked into PAs self uniting licenses to see and difference there as well because we do plan to move eventually.

        Reply
  17. Lyn

    I was married 22 years ago in Pennsylvania, dropped my birth middle name using my maiden name as my middle name and took my husbands last name, no hyphen. I changed my license, SS card, etc. to reflect this but now that I'm trying to get a passport, I'm told that I could not do that. Is this correct information?

    Reply
  18. ojochegbe shaibu

    Hi,
    i'm single.
    I hate my sure name and i'm about to change my sure name, if i do so, will it not affect my fucture ? becauce i'm a student an Olevel graduate before i start going further

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ojochegbe. It shouldn't impact much. You'll have to notify your school so that their records may be updated.

      Reply
  19. Rasheena

    Got married two months ago and I just haven’t got to change it yet been so busy do I have a time frame one changing my last name or will I get in trouble cause I haven’t changed it yet ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      o I have a time frame one changing my last name or will I get in trouble cause I haven’t changed it yet ?

      No, there's no time frame. You won't get in trouble.

      Reply
  20. Leah

    Hi just I want to ask… why national security system told me my marriage certificate was illegal…

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Leah. Did they give a reason? Was it not certified? Did they require a translation? Was additional documentation requested?

      Reply
  21. jeana halstead

    hi i just got marreid in september havent even recieved my license yet in rhode island
    DO i NEED TO CHANGE MY LAST NAME OR CAN I KEEP MY MAIDEN NAME?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jeana. Name change is optional. You don't have to change it if you don't want to.

      Reply
  22. Rivkah

    Hello. I’m getting married (NC) next month and want to legally add my husband’s name as my new last name, and make my current last name by second middle name (just adding his at the end). If I change it with ssa and the dmv, am I required to also change it on credit card accounts or existing mortgage accounts? Or is it my choice?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rivkah. I don't believe tacking on a second middle name is even supported in NC. Even if it were allowed, you wouldn't have to proactively change it on your credit cards or mortgage.

      Reply
  23. Carol

    Hi,

    I live in California and am applying for a marriage license. I haven't decided if I want to change my name, but most likely will in the future. If I put my husbands last name under the part that asks for my new last name, will it automatically change my name with local, state and federal agencies? Can I leave my current name and change it later even though the license and marriage certificate would have my maiden name?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I put my husbands last name under the part that asks for my new last name, will it automatically change my name with local, state and federal agencies?

      No, it's not automatic.

      Can I leave my current name and change it later even though the license and marriage certificate would have my maiden name?

      Yes.

      Reply
  24. Valerie

    Got married 17 years ago; I kept my maiden name, as I have an established professional reputation under that name. I am now seriously considering changing my SS to reflect my married name, as I am closer to retirement. Here are my questions: a) Must I change my DL to reflect the new, legal, name?; b) Must I change my name on my Bank [deposit] accounts (established years ago) to the new legal name?; c) If I am required to change the name on my Bank accounts, must I change my name with HR so the direct deposits are accepted by the bank? (which would then change my public [and published] Professional name, which is precisely what I am trying to avoid prior to retirement.)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      a) Must I change my DL to reflect the new, legal, name?

      Some states say that your driver's license must be updated if you change your name, but the consequence of not doing so is either vague or involves a small penalty fee when you ultimately renew.

      b) Must I change my name on my Bank [deposit] accounts (established years ago) to the new legal name?

      That's something you'll have to work out with you bank. It's possible for them to have your changed name on file while mainting your old name on mailings, checks, debit cards, etc.

      c) If I am required to change the name on my Bank accounts, must I change my name with HR so the direct deposits are accepted by the bank? (which would then change my public [and published] Professional name, which is precisely what I am trying to avoid prior to retirement.)

      Your bank may be able to accomodate deposits in both names. If not, you may want to consider opening up a separate business account under your old name as a DBA and have the direct deposits sent there.

      Reply
  25. Regi

    Hi
    I'm 66 yrs old and am getting remarried as a widow in Friday in California. I receive direct deposits from my employer and also receive my deceased husbands SS benefits. On our new marriage license I took his name, but am wondering if I should just continue with my old name on my legal documents like the bank and SS?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Regi. Taking your new husband's name is optional. Even though you specified a choice on your license, it's still optional. If you do make the change, it shouldn't be a problem to transition over your legal documents.

      Reply
  26. shawn -harris-botha

    hi i got married did miy licence i did them my mew maiden name everything but stil when i recieve my license my old maiden name are on my license is that a problem but on my id my maiden name changed

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Shawn. If you're referring to your driver's license, you'll have to contact the DMV or equivalent to determine why they didn't update your name.

      Reply
  27. Vicky

    Hi I got married to my husband in las Vegas 3 weeks ago we are both from the UK. I didn't see anywhere when filing out the paper work to put my new married name down. I have just received my marriage certificate and it has my birth name on it and not my husband's name. I would like to take my husband's name. Can I still change everything even if my marriage certificate has my birth name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Vicky. Yes, you'll still be able to take your husband's name. Nevada/Las Vegas marriage licenses applications don't provide a space to specify a new name, which is why it's not reflected on your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  28. Mshell

    We just applied for our marriage license and in FL., you have to wait 3 days before you can have it officiated, if you have not taken the pre-marital course, which we had not. In the process of getting our marriage license, it only shows my maiden name and I did not see any space for name change. I want to change my last name, would I just take the final marriage license to the SS office and tell them I want to change my last name or should this have been noted on the marriage license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to change my last name, would I just take the final marriage license to the SS office and tell them I want to change my last name or should this have been noted on the marriage license?

      You'd take it as-is.

      Reply
  29. Dev

    We got married in Chicago, my wife is from Europe, she needs to change her last name in her passport, so she went to the passport office in her country. They are asking for a certificate or a letter stating that you will have XYZ last name after marriage. Is it possible to get such kind of certificate? I know in the US we only need marriage certificate as a proof to change names after marriage. We spend money on the ticket and everything, she is there and we don't know what to do. Please advice. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible to get such kind of certificate?

      No. Illinois marriage applications don't provide a space to specify a new name, therefore the marriage certificate wouldn't show a new name either.

      Reply
  30. Lauren

    Hi,
    My husbands last name was something else and he changed it. But on our marriage certificate it was under the old name.
    Does it even count that we are married? Just curious …

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lauren. Your husband's name change doesn't affect the validity of your marriage.

      Reply
  31. Kim

    Hi, i want to change my last name to my new not married yet to be husbands last name. We want to get married in vegas. I'm from Chicago, illinois he's from Dallas Texas. I'm going to move to Dallas to live with my new hushusband. I want to know before we gert married next year june 2018, what do i neee to change my name to his. I won't be using my maiden name. I want to do everything i need to do before i get married. How do i change everything, my name to his last name, first time getting a passport, and passport card, drvers license, i have my chicago il social security card, and my new state id. Do i need to do everything for illinois or for texas. Applying for the marriage liscense and marriage certificate in vegas or also in il or dallas texas? I'm confused on what to do with us from different states trying to get everything in order before next kune 2018. Can uou help me please tell me what to do in order thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to know before we gert married next year june 2018, what do i neee to change my name to his.

      After you get married, obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate. Use that document to change your name.

      Do i need to do everything for illinois or for texas.

      It doesn't matter.

      Applying for the marriage liscense and marriage certificate in vegas or also in il or dallas texas?

      In Vegas. Specifically, the Clark County Clerk's office

      Reply
  32. Lindsay

    I was recently married and wasn't aware at the time that I was supposed to put my "new" married name on the license? I'm a bit concerned that I will now have to go and compete a name change petition to change my name on our marriage license. No one at the clerks office informed that I was to put anything other than my lawful name on the license. It's a bit confusing. Did we make a mistake and now more work for me to change it?

    Reply
  33. Senovia

    Hi, I got married June 7, 2017 and I hyphenated my last name (Maiden-His). Do I have to change my name on all documents? Also, will the DMV give me a hard time renewing my driver's license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to change my name on all documents?

      No. You don't have to change your name at all.

      Also, will the DMV give me a hard time renewing my driver's license?

      No.

      Reply
  34. Grace Inverary - Young

    Greetings, my husband and I got married in September 2017, he is an American citizen but I’m from another country , we haven’t filed any focus as yet is there a way I can change my name on my passport seeing I don’t have any if for America?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Grace. You can change your name on your passport using a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  35. Elisabeth

    My fiancé is in the military. And we are currently living in NC. But I have my permanent address listed in MI. We are going to get married in NC officially at a courthouse down here in January. I will be taking his last name on the marriage license. But I don't want to change my name on all my official document, SS card, Drive License, etc., until October when we have our family ceremony back in MI. Can I wait that long to change my name on all my official documents even though I will be switching it on the marriage license in January? I would rather wait until we are back in MI. But is that allowed. Or do I have to switch my name right away?

    Also, can I change my name from First Middle Maiden to First Middle Maiden Husbands? Would my Middle and Maiden then both be considered middle names if I don't use a hyphen? Like First MM Husbands kinda like George RR Martin has 2 middle names/initials? Or is adding a second middle name not allowed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I wait that long to change my name on all my official documents even though I will be switching it on the marriage license in January? I would rather wait until we are back in MI. But is that allowed. Or do I have to switch my name right away?

      You can wait.

      Also, can I change my name from First Middle Maiden to First Middle Maiden Husbands? Would my Middle and Maiden then both be considered middle names if I don't use a hyphen?

      That would likely require a court order.

      Reply
  36. Michelle

    Married in GA Feb 2017. No option for my married name on certificate. I have not went to SSA to change name but i did go to the dmv and changed my last name. Can i go back to the dmv and have it changed back to my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michelle. The DMV wouldn't process a followup name change without another authorized document, such as a court order.

      Reply
  37. Jowell

    Hello my name is jowell I recently got married on the 21st and I signed the marriage license wit my legal name but I want to change it to my husbands last name I gave the clerk the money for the name change but my certificate says my maiden name not my husband's the application for the license didn't ask for the new name I just want to know if we did it right cuz I do want my husband's last name but we r super confused if we did it right or not need help

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jowell. Not all states design their marriage license applications to ask for you to specify a new name after marriage. It will not prevent you from taking your husband's last name.

      Reply
  38. Renée R.

    I go by my middle name and never use my first name and would like to drop it. When I get married at the NYC city clerk’s office can I just write my middle name and my husband’s last name or would I have to petition to have that change later?

    Reply
  39. Brittany

    I live in CA and on my birth certificate my 1st name is misspelled….if I were to get married then have my birth record amended how would that effect my marriage license? my name is BRITTANY and my birth certificate has BRITTEN…Social security card has Brittany (which is what I have gone by my entire life). thanks in advance gor your help

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Brittany. Not all California county clerks will ask to see a copy of your birth certificate, so it may not even come up. If you can explain the misspelling and provide sufficient identification reflecting your correct name spelling, your license should match your properly spelled name.

      Worst case scenario, you can opt to amend your marriage license and certificate after you amend your birth certificate.

      Reply
  40. Mary Maise

    I got married last year but for got to trun my husbands green paper in to ss,office ,but then notice he put his step dad's name on it not hid real father, can I steal turn his green papers in ,I don't care if his step dad is on our papers, he don't care,

    Reply
    1. Mary Maise

      Just need to turn this paper in so I can do his taxes ,who cares about a dad on a marriage license,,,I did not marry his dad I marred him ,

      Reply
      1. Valera

        Hi Mary. Having his biological father's or stepfather's name on the marriage license/certificate doesn't mean much and shouldn't affect anything.

        Reply
  41. Lilly

    Hi I got married in Las Vegas and my marriage certificate and license have my maiden name. I live in Chicago and I was able to change my last name on my ID and SS card, I never did change it on my passport. Now that I want to change it, will I have a problem with that? Everything else but the passport reflect my married name. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now that I want to change it, will I have a problem with that? Everything else but the passport reflect my married name.

      No, it won't be a problem to change the name on your passport.

      Reply
  42. ces

    hi Valera,

    we are applying for marriage license in San Francisco, We opted for confidential marriage license. do i need to change my current last name to my fiance's lastname upon filling up the form? i am confused on what to put on the forms.
    thank you in advance!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do i need to change my current last name to my fiance's lastname upon filling up the form? i am confused on what to put on the forms.

      No, you don't "have to" change it. Name change is totally optional. If you do plan to change your name, specify it on the application.

      Reply
  43. erlinda alcano

    how will i correct and change my mariage certificate so that my surname in the birth certificate and my maiden surname in my mariage certificate entry match

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Erlinda. If there's an error in your marriage certificate, you'll have to contact the office that recorded it for a correction. You may have to submit an affidavit. If it's not an error, you'll likely need to submit a court order to force a correction.

      Reply
  44. Teresa Beard

    I'm in Alabama and I am about to change my name !! My documents are signed with my original name, is this right or did I sign my certificate wrong ?? Or do I just tell them myh husbands last name when I go down to the ss office ?? I keept asking them my name now and they said yes

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Teresa. You're fine. You don't have to tell them your husband's last name because it's already on the marriage certificate.

      Reply
  45. Mia

    I'm from Japan and I just got married 2 weeks ago at courthouse CA. That time, I didn't add middle name because Japanese don't have middle name but now I want to add middle name… it's been 2 weeks since we got married. Can I still add middle name? Or is it too late?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I still add middle name? Or is it too late?

      It is too late. Even if you were able to go back, you couldn't add a brand new name that had no prior reference.

      Reply
  46. Diane La Stella

    I was married in New Jersey on Jan 1, 2018. I was previously married for 39 years and became a widow and my legal name is Collins and my current Driver license & SS shows Collins. On the Marriage, the application it shows my legal name (Collins) and my name that was given at birth, (Famiglietti) But on the certificate of marriage is only is showing my birth name of Famiglietti. When I went to the DMV to change my name to my married name they were having a hard time with this. (I didn't get to change my DL yet since I needed a birth certificate from the state where I was born) I have it now. I have my previous marriage license. Do they need anything else to change my name to my new married name? Will Social Security have the same problem? Once my Driver License is changed how do I prove I was Collins so I can change everything else. Since Certificate of Marriage only shows my name at birth?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      But on the certificate of marriage is only is showing my birth name of Famiglietti.

      Correct. NJ marriage certificates only reference the maiden name.

      Do they need anything else to change my name to my new married name?

      No, your marriage certificate will do.

      Will Social Security have the same problem?

      No.

      Once my Driver License is changed how do I prove I was Collins so I can change everything else. Since Certificate of Marriage only shows my name at birth?

      What document do you believe will cause you further problems? If need be, you can reference an official document showing your prior name (e.g., insurance card, tax document, car registration).

      Reply
  47. Jenny

    I was married this past summer in New Hampshire and did not take my husband's name. I live in MA and want to take his name now. Do I have to petition for a name change or can I go to the SSA office with our marriage certificate (with my maiden name)?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jenny. It's possible you may have to petition the court as New Hampshire's and Massachusett's marriage applications ask applicants to optionally specify a new surname after marriage. It may very well depend on the flexibility of the clerk to accept your NH license as-is with this omission.

      Reply
  48. Britta Peters

    I live in Indiana and plan on getting married in June. My legal name is Brittany, but I go by a shortened version. Am I able to change that with my last name when we get married or are there extra hoops to jump through and charges to pay for that?

    Reply
  49. Jean

    I got married in CA five years ago and put my first name, middle name and his last name on the marriage certificate. I now live in Michigan and would like to have my maiden name back (for professional purposes) in addition to his last name (i.e., my first, middle, maiden name, his last name…no hyphen). How do I go about doing that?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jean. I don't believe that option is supported in Michigan without a court order.

      Reply
  50. Madeline

    Hi i am getting married next month & i wanted to know if i can drop my first name and have my middle name to my first name, his last name, & keep my last name as my second?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      i wanted to know if i can drop my first name and have my middle name to my first name, his last name, & keep my last name as my second?

      That's not possible through a marriage-based name change. You'll have to go through the courts to change your first name.

      Reply
  51. Kenzie

    Hey!! I’m getting married this month and I was wondering if I had to wait until the marrige license was official before I had to change my name? With our honey moon everything is under my married name, so I’m wanting to get it all changed before we leave. Is that possible? Or do I have to wait for everything to be signed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kenzie. You can change your name once you received a certified copy of your marriage certificate. That doesn't exist until after your marriage ceremony has occurred and is recorded by the municipality/county (i.e., whoever has jurisdiction in your state).

      Reply
  52. Rina

    Hi, I got married recently in January 2018 in NY, and decided NOT to take my husband's surname. We live in California. I am planning to change my surname now before I take my RN board exam. I am confused if I need to file a name change petition or just show our marriage certificate to government issuing agencies. The marriage certificate has my maiden name on it since I declined primarily to change my name. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rina. If your marriage certificate displays a "new name" section that lists your maiden name, you may have to petition the superior court to change your name to anything different.

      Reply
  53. Victor

    My wife and I recently got married (ceremony so far) and we've yet to file for our marriage certificate because I was planning on changing my name first and then have my wife change her name to the new name. From what I'm reading here can my wife and I file the certificate and write our new names down and then go to the DMV and SSA and change our names without having to go to the court to file paperwork and put out a newspaper ad, etc..?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Victor. Can you clarify what you mean by "file for our marriage certificate?" The certificate should just be a reflection of your marriage application and license, while not containing any modified information.

      If you're trying to change your name to something outside the bounds of what a marriage-related name change would permit, you'd both have to petition the court and go through the newspaper route.

      Reply
  54. Bridgett

    If I got married will I have to tell the doctor at my next appointment ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I got married will I have to tell the doctor at my next appointment ?

      Unless it affects your insurance status, you do not.

      Reply
  55. Shavon B.

    I have been legally married for 13 years, but I have never changed my maiden name to my married name. We were married in Louisiana, however, we currently live in Texas. I am now wanting to finish what we've started… and so my question is, can I start my name change here in Texas without going through Louisiana or will I be required to go through Louisiana to change my maiden name to my married name since Louisiana is the origin of our marriage?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      so my question is, can I start my name change here in Texas without going through Louisiana or will I be required to go through Louisiana to change my maiden name to my married name since Louisiana is the origin of our marriage?

      Where your marriage occurred doesn't matter. You can undergo the name change in Texas.

      Reply
  56. CB

    Can I visit a Social Security office in another state to update my name on my card or do I have to go to the office in my current state of residence?

    Reply
  57. Yasmine

    Hi!
    My question is when we say "name change" is that refer only to Last Name or the whole Name and Last Name? Reason, is that a client from other country got married and changed her name from (Xing Xing) to English (Ex. Mary) during the marriage ceremony. Can a judge or minister do that. They got married in KS. I thought that during marriage you can change you lastname to your husband or whatever name you want but when it becomes to name you have to petition court to change it legally. Your input is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Yasmine. First name changes require petitioning the court. Most states allow middle name changes (typically maiden to middle). Of course, surname changes are universally accepted.

      Reply
  58. Kimberly Rodriguez

    Hello I’m getting married in two months in California but we are moving to school for two years to Arizona two weeks later. After school we are planning to move back to California; my question is do I need to change my name in California before I move to Arizona since it won’t be my permanent residence or can I change my name in Arizona and keep my California license and address ??? Thank you

    Reply
  59. sara mayette

    hello i was woundering if i can get married in one state and get it all changed over in another state or do i have it get everything done in the state i get married in?we are in Bossier la and we are leaving in a week to move to ga

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can get married in one state and get it all changed over in another state

      Yes, of course.

      Reply
  60. Gabriela Gallegos

    Hello,
    I'll be getting married this May. I was wondering if i can change my first name when i'm going through the process of changing my last name. I've always been called by my middle name, so i would like to my middle name to be my first name and, first name be my middle name. Can i do that when i filing forms to change to my married name? Or is that something i need to file through court?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I was wondering if i can change my first name when i'm going through the process of changing my last name.

      You'll have to go to court.

      Reply
  61. Veronica

    Hello,
    I got married in California 20 years ago but now live in Texas. When we got married I signed the marriage certificate with my maiden name. I did not take on my husbands last name. I’ve been wanting to change it now to His last name. Do I have to go to court to get this changed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to go to court to get this changed?

      No, you should be able to change your name using your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  62. Heather P

    I want to mail the SSA my marriage certificate to have my name changed that way (instead of going in person to the SSA). Will the SSA send me the certificate back?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will the SSA send me the certificate back?

      Yes, your certificate will be returned once they're done with it.

      Reply
  63. Susan

    Hi,
    I got married in 2011, and I hyphenated my last name
    from Mendoza to Mendoza-Smith. My social security number and driver license are Mendoza-Smith. Recently, I just want to change it to my husband's last name to Smith. Can I change it to Smith? Where should I start?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Recently, I just want to change it to my husband's last name to Smith. Can I change it to Smith? Where should I start?

      Yes, you can change it back, but it wouldn't be a marriage-based name change. It would be a court-based name change. You'll have to file a name change petition with the proper court in your state or jurisdiction.

      Reply
  64. Christina

    My fiance wants to change his last name to his step dads before we get married. Can he just write it on the marriage license? Or do we have to pay to change it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Christina. Your fiance would have to go to court to change his last name to his stepdad's. Whoever will process the marriage license application will want to see identification to confirm the names, so placing another name on the license wouldn't work. Even if it were applied to the license, getting it changed with any federal or state institution is highly unlikely.

      Reply
  65. Ashley

    I recently got married and cannot take off of work to physically go to the ssa office. I know I can do this through the mail, but they do not accept photo copies. Does this mean I will have to send my drivers license through the mail? Of course I would send it certified, but I am still iffy about this. Has anyone tried getting their social security card name changed by mail? How long does it take and is sending my license safe?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I know I can do this through the mail, but they do not accept photo copies.

      Correct, no photocopies.

      Does this mean I will have to send my drivers license through the mail?

      Yes, that's the alternative.

      Of course I would send it certified, but I am still iffy about this.

      "Certified" only refers to your marriage certificate, not your ID. Certified copy, that is.

      Has anyone tried getting their social security card name changed by mail?

      It's a common practice.

      How long does it take

      It varies. It could take 2-4 weeks.

      and is sending my license safe?

      Perhaps USPS priority mail with signature confirmation and tracking would set your mind at ease? Alternatively, you can acquire a duplicate license from your state and send that instead. Or obtain a state-issued ID card and send that. Or send your passport.

      Whatever identity document you send will be returned to you.

      Reply
  66. Patricia Soderberg

    Hi, my husband and I were married 10 years ago and at the time I kept my maiden name. My husband changed his surname a few years ago because of some family issues. (He wanted to take his birth father's name instead of his step fathers) Now I would like to change my surname to his. I assume I have to go to court to do this? What court, where do I start? I live in Michigan.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now I would like to change my surname to his. I assume I have to go to court to do this? What court, where do I start? I live in Michigan.

      You'll go to circuit court. You can check out the Michigan name change article that goes into detail about what you'll need to do.

      Reply
  67. Kevin

    I got married in Rhode Island 2 years ago, and my wife signed her "new" married name, which was my last name. She never changed her name on anything else, she is still using the name from her first marriage. She just filed for divorce, still using her previously married name. Since she never changed her name on anything else, is our married legally binding? I hope not now that I know she was never really invested.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Since she never changed her name on anything else, is our married legally binding?

      Yes, it is.

      Reply
  68. BSB

    Hi there. I just applied for a marriage license today and was caught off guard that New York State does not allow two last names without hyphenation. In a panic, I chose to hyphenate my maiden name and my finances last name. Is it possible to change my new surname to only his last name on the license BEFORE we actually get married and get a marriage certificate? Or, when I go to change my surname with Social Security, can they just use his last name instead of both mine and his hyphenated? If not.. what are my options at this point to change my new last name to be just his? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      what are my options at this point to change my new last name to be just his?

      It's easiest to just apply for a new marriage license and have the old one voided.

      Reply
  69. Jackie McMillian

    I was married in 2012 in NYC but kept my maiden name. Now I would like to change it to my husbands last name WITHOUT changing my birth certificate. Can this be done? If so how?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jackie. If you didn't specify your husband's last name as a new surname on the marriage license application, you'll likely have to get a court-petitioned name change.

      Reply
  70. Bani

    My Husband would like me to add his name on , when we get married on the Lic. Certificated. But he doesn't care if I change it anywhere else. How does that work? Can I add a name change to the Marriage Lic. and then not change anything else?- Thanks !

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I add a name change to the Marriage Lic. and then not change anything else?

      Assuming you're in a state where the marriage license application provides a spot to specify a new name, you could add his. Your marriage license and marriage certificate will reflect this name. After you're married, you can just ignore it. Whatever new name is specified on your license/certificate is nonbinding.

      Reply
  71. Michelle

    I got married 18 years ago in Ontario, I’m using my married name for bank, mortgage and taxes but I never changed my documents e.g. drivers license etc… I just have my marriage license proving my married name but nobody has asked me questions about that is that fine?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michelle. It may not be causing you problems now, but it may later. It's like a crack in a glass that might (or might not) eventually splinter.

      Reply
  72. Jelisha

    I got married 2 years ago but did not change my last name. I used my maiden name on my marriage license and certificate. I now want to change my last name to reflect my husband’s. Do I have to file a petition or is there a way to change it using my marriage license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to file a petition or is there a way to change it using my marriage license?

      That depends. Which state will you be changing your name in?

      Reply
  73. Jelisha

    I got married 2 years ago in Washington but did not change my last name. I also kept my maiden name on my marriage license and certificate. I now want to change my last name to reflect my husband’s. Do I have to file a petition in or is there a way to change it using my marriage license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jelisha. You don't have to go to court. Just use your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  74. Victoria Longley

    I want to change my full name and I’m getting married I was wondering if I should legally change my name first or get married and do the full name change later

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to change my full name and I’m getting married I was wondering if I should legally change my name first or get married and do the full name change later

      I assume you're going to be changing your name through the court system. If you change your name before marriage, do you intend to change it again after marriage. If not, then it doesn't matter whether you change your name before or after marriage.

      Reply
  75. JoAnn

    Hi, I got married in VA three years ago, and after getting married, I didn't change my last name, I kept my maiden name, I did receive the certificate of our marriage, but now I want to change it to my husband's last name. What should I do? Is it too late?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      now I want to change it to my husband's last name. What should I do? Is it too late?

      Just use a certified copy of your marriage certificate to complete a standard name change through marriage.

      Reply
  76. Allison Robinson

    I got married in Maryland. I'm going to the Social Security office to change my name, and I have a certified copy of my marriage certificate. After I leave there, I'm going to the MVA to change my name on my driver's license. Do I need a second certified marriage certificate for the MVA? Will the SSA give me documentation that I can use to prove I changed it there?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need a second certified marriage certificate for the MVA?

      You don't need a second certificate. The SSA will not hold onto your certificate.

      Will the SSA give me documentation that I can use to prove I changed it there?

      You might be given a temporary card. However, if the MVA queries the SSA database, they may want to see your new name before processing your driver's license update. It can take around 24 hours for this sort of data refresh.

      Reply
  77. Sarah

    Hi Valerie – I live in California and am getting married soon. Is it possible to sign the marriage license to take my fiance's last name BUT not change it on my other legal docs? Can I just keep everything else as is and call myself Mrs. (husband's last name)? As long as my passport/ bank/DL/etc still match each other, do they have to match the name on my certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible to sign the marriage license to take my fiance's last name BUT not change it on my other legal docs?

      Yes, of course.

      Can I just keep everything else as is and call myself Mrs. (husband's last name)?

      You needn't change any of your documents. You can just use "husband's last name" informally/socially.

      As long as my passport/ bank/DL/etc still match each other, do they have to match the name on my certificate?

      You don't have to update these documents to match the name on your certificate.

      Reply
  78. Amber

    I was married in Arizona two years ago and I'd like to change my last name now. Even though my maiden name is on the certificate, I was actually never asked if I planned on changing my name, do I need to go through the court to change it or will my marriage certificate work?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Amber. I believe Arizona marriage license applications only ask for the current last name and not what you might change to. You wouldn't have to go to court. A certified copy of your marriage certificate will do.

      Reply
  79. Heather

    Hi. I was married August 5th here in Connecticut. I went to SSA yesterday and changed my ss card to heather, maiden name for middle name, husband's name. So now I wait for new card to go to DMV and change name on license. Then what? Am I legally changed? I know I still have to do passport, bank, etc. But is that really it? And I legally ditched my birthday middle name (absolutely my intention though)…
    Thank you :)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      So now I wait for new card to go to DMV and change name on license.

      Since your name change was processed by the SSA a day ago, you can go to the DMV anytime. If they perform an inquiry on the SSA database, your updated name should be visible.

      Then what? Am I legally changed?

      Yes, then it's really legally change.

      Reply
  80. Mary Bell

    Hello,
    We are getting married in a week, I'm from Brasil he is American. I do not want to change my name to his, to…… much trouble (2 citizen ship and politics). Can I only sign the married license with his last name and not all other docs. Or do I have too change then all in both countries. Please help

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I only sign the married license with his last name and not all other docs.

      If your marriage application provides an area to choose a new last name, you could specify it. However, you will have to sign your current legal name.

      Or do I have too change then all in both countries.

      You don't have to change anything, regardless of what's on the license.

      Reply

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