How to Get Through the Name Change Procedure

940 Comments
Hello My Name Is (Blank) Sticker

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 updating 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)!

940 Comments

  1. Carter

    Hello, I am getting Married in 2020 and rearranging my name Completely. My last name will be my first name and I will take my Husbands Last name. Should I change anything before the Marriage or can I do the entire switch at once? We will be married in Florida. Thank you :)

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My last name will be my first name and I will take my Husbands Last name. Should I change anything before the Marriage or can I do the entire switch at once?

      You'd have to go to court for that sort of name change, so it wouldn't matter when you'd do it.

      Reply
  2. KR

    To keep this short. I did not change my last name when I married. We have a child together and they share the same last name. I am now a widow and I want to change my last name to my married name and to share the same last name with my son. I have no idea on how to go about this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I have no idea on how to go about this?

      You'd use a certified copy of your marriage certificate. Approach it like a typical married name change.

      Reply
  3. Stephanie

    I got married in June, I received new SS card in August. I have not changed anything to my new name yet, Is there a deadline?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I have not changed anything to my new name yet, Is there a deadline?

      Some DMV's do require notification within X-number of days, but the penalty is typically a minor late fee upon renewal. Some are toothless, having no penalty.

      Reply
  4. Frank

    So the Social Security Office will accept a certified marriage certificate to change name even if the certificate does not specifically state the new name in print?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Frank. Every state's marriage certificate design is different. Some will display a new name after marriage, some do not. It depends on how the marriage license application is designed.

      If a person got married in a state that doesn't ask for a new name when applying, then the marriage certificate will show their current name. That doesn't stop them from changing their name.

      Reply
  5. Michelle

    I got married 11 years ago in Nevada but never changed my last name. My husband changed his last name this year and now I want to change my last name to his new last name. Can I do this without a court order? I would also like to make my maiden name my middle name (I currently do not have a middle name). Is this possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My husband changed his last name this year and now I want to change my last name to his new last name. Can I do this without a court order? I would also like to make my maiden name my middle name (I currently do not have a middle name). Is this possible?

      At this point, both name changes would require a court order.

      Reply
  6. Nicole

    I just moved to Illinois after getting married there. My driver's license is still for my Indiana address (where I moved from). I plan to change my surname to my husband's.

    Can I change my name and state of residence all at the same time in Illinois? Or do I need to either change my ID to Illinois first, using my maiden name, then change my name…or alternatively change my name in Indiana then switch to Illinois with my married name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I change my name and state of residence all at the same time in Illinois?

      You can do both simultaneously.

      Reply
  7. Denise

    I changed my last name on my marriage certicate and now wish I hadn’t.. can I still use my previous last name on all other documents?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Denise. You're not required to commit to a name change specified on your marriage certificate. Do nothing and your current last name remains intact.

      Reply
  8. Sarah

    Hi, I just got married in January and received my marriage license in the mail yesterday. But as I was reading through this article I realized that when I went to file for my marriage license the lady at the office didn't ask me what last name I was going to take. I am going to be changing my last name to my husband's but now I want to know since I didn't put that in the marriage license, will that be an issue?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I just got married in January and received my marriage license in the mail yesterday.

      Marriage license or certificate? In some states it's the same document. In others, you'll be mailed the original marriage license back, but it's not the same as the certificate you'd use to change your name.

      But as I was reading through this article I realized that when I went to file for my marriage license the lady at the office didn't ask me what last name I was going to take.

      Some states ask this, some do not.

      I am going to be changing my last name to my husband's but now I want to know since I didn't put that in the marriage license, will that be an issue?

      If the option was available to you when you applied, it could be an issue. If not, you needn't worry about it.

      Reply
  9. Shasha Cruz

    I am getting married next summer 2020. My question is, I have section 8 wanna know if I will loose it? Because I really only wanna change my name but not legally sign papers stating we r married. So in essence we will be married in the eyes if god but not legal on paper.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am getting married next summer 2020. My question is, I have section 8 wanna know if I will loose it?

      It's based on income, so it could be affected if your overall household income is reevaluated.

      Because I really only wanna change my name but not legally sign papers stating we r married.

      If you apply for a marriage license and have it solemnized, there will be public record papers showing you're married. Are you opting for a common-law marriage instead?

      Reply
  10. Meg

    Hello! I am from abroad and I do not have any official documents here in the US with my name, I just got my European passport. I will be marrying a U.S. citizen in two weeks so basically I would like to change my last name and have it hypernated with those of my husband-to-be. Are you sure that all I need to do is to put mine-his last name on the marriage licence in order to have a name changed? As I will be applying for a Green Card and social security, so I will need to prove my change by using a marriage certificate but I just read somewhere that normally putting husband's name on the marriage licence is not legal as while filling the information on the marriage licence we are not yet officialy married so I cannot sign it with my new name. I am confused. Could you please help me out with that?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Are you sure that all I need to do is to put mine-his last name on the marriage licence in order to have a name changed?

      Not all states have a spot to put a new name on the marriage application. Either way, you'll be able to change your name with your marriage certificate.

      so I will need to prove my change by using a marriage certificate but I just read somewhere that normally putting husband's name on the marriage licence is not legal as while filling the information on the marriage licence we are not yet officialy married so I cannot sign it with my new name

      You'll sign your new name on your marriage license. Your marriage certificate may or may not allow you to sign your married name. Regardless, you'll use your marriage certificate to complete your name change after you're married.

      Reply
  11. kim

    Hello me and my fiance got our marriage license in NJ and we are doing the ceremony in may at the court house but it did not say where to put my new last name on the marriage license as i want to change it my fiance's last name i asked the clerk they said i wouldnt change it on the marriage license so where would i be able to change my last name to my future husbands?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kim. You don't need to change your name on your marriage license or marriage certificate. They're not designed that way. Just use your marriage certificate to change your name to your husband's. It won't be a problem. You can review the dedicated New Jersey name change page for more information.

      Reply
      1. kim

        so 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?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Kim. You'll have to go the extra step to change your name with the proper federal and state agencies.

          Reply
  12. Jocelyn Tayag

    Hi! I got married Last January and now residing here in chicago iL with my husband. I am now filing my adjustment of status from tourist to greencard status. In my marriage license and marriage certificate my last name is still my maiden name. What do i need to take my husband's last name particularly when filing for the ff:
    SSA, DMV, Bank accounts etc. Can i take my husband's last name automatically afte r our marriage? Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What do i need to take my husband's last name

      Use your marriage certificate.

      Can i take my husband's last name automatically afte r our marriage?

      Name change doesn't happen automatically. You have to notify the necessary institutions.

      Reply
  13. Ma. Asuncion A. Martinez

    Hi , good day , how i can change my name in marriage certificate, my real name in livebirth was Maria Asuncion but in my marriage certificate was Ma. Asuncion, .. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      how i can change my name in marriage certificate

      To correct a mistake on your marriage certificate, contact the office that recorded it about correcting your record.

      Reply
  14. Sandy

    Hi, so I have a bit of a weird situation. I got married in Texas in 94, and since then I was using my then husbands last name. I got divorced in 2000 and kept my married name. Everything is in my married name DL, Green Card, SSN, my mortgage, my Passport. Now i been trying to get a new passport and i was told from the german Consulate that I need a Name Declaration. And with out that they would not be able to put my married name back on my passport. The last name that i been using for the last 20+ years. I right now live in Florida. How can I even get one of these Name Declaration after all these years?

    Reply
  15. Brandie

    Hi there. I am getting married in about two months. I have recently added a Dr. title to my maiden name. How does this impact my name change? If I use my maiden name professionally, do I need to hypenate my name on my marriage license? Is it possible to change my name altogether to my new last name and still use my maiden name professionally? I’m not sure how this works since I earned my degree with my maiden name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I have recently added a Dr. title to my maiden name. How does this impact my name change?

      It doesn't. Titles are not part of your legal name.

      If I use my maiden name professionally, do I need to hypenate my name on my marriage license?

      No.

      Is it possible to change my name altogether to my new last name

      Some states will allow a name combined from current or prior names, but not something entirely new.

      and still use my maiden name professionally?

      You could do this anyway.

      I’m not sure how this works since I earned my degree with my maiden name.

      If there's a state licensing board you're concerned about, contact them about name change policies and if they require credentials be reissued under a new name.

      Reply
  16. crystal kinder

    need help my s.s is in my born name and kinder is my marriages name . my x also rip up my id s.s card everything where i have to go the this please my name is crystal lee kinder thats on my id and my w2s and he rip up my w2 to, my born name is wolford thats just on my s.s card.. i work for a year at u.c.i midwest in dayton ohio on tory street here my number [removed]

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Crystal. It's not clear what you're asking or needing help for.

      Reply
  17. Kati West

    Good afternoon! I got married 5 years ago and did not change my last name. I used my maiden name on my marriage license. I now want to change my last name to reflect my husband’s. Do I have to file a petition with the county court or can I use our marriage license "as is" to change my last name with the SSA? We got married in Colorado and still reside here. Thank you in advance!

    Reply
  18. Gina

    Hi! So when I apply for the marriage license if I list my fiance's last name as my new last name does that mean it is now my legal last name? Do I have to change all my documents etc right away?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      So when I apply for the marriage license if I list my fiance's last name as my new last name does that mean it is now my legal last name?

      It gives you the authority to change your name. It's nonbinding. It doesn't ultimately matter until you change your name on official documents.

      I have to change all my documents etc right away?

      No, you can take whatever time you need.

      Reply
  19. Rachel

    Hello!
    I got married in January of 2018 and did not change my name but wrote my maiden name on the wedding certificate. We got married in Georgia. I now want to change my maiden last name to match my husbands but am in the military stationed in Germany. Will I be able to mail in a certified marriage certificate and change my name that way?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I be able to mail in a certified marriage certificate and change my name that way?

      Yes, that's a usual procedure for SS cards. Driver's license will have to be done in person. Were you referring to some other form of ID?

      Reply
  20. Gina

    Hello!

    I'm currently in the process of changing my last name to my husbands, but I had a question about signing the documents. When I sign, should I sign using the new last name or my maiden name? The documents that I am working on are the ss-5 for social security and the passport application. Help!

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      When I sign, should I sign using the new last name or my maiden name?

      Sign with your new name.

      Reply
  21. Draga

    I got married last week in Paris. My husband and I are both US citizen. I took my husband last name. What I need to do to change my last name in New York State?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Draga. Use your marriage certificate. New York will accept foreign marriage certificates.

      Reply
  22. Nancy

    Hi I got married 7 years ago in California and on my marriage license added my husbands last name to mine without hyphenating it. I was told I would be able to use either one legally this way and not necessarily both but when I went to change it at the dmv they made me use both. It’s way too long how can I change it to just my husbands last name now?

    Reply
  23. Meggan Jackson

    Hi, I just got married for the second time in SC and too my husbands last name. I have changed my SS card to my new last name and now need to go to get my SC license ( I currently have a maine license). In order to get a real id do I need both marriage licenses to prove names changes scence birth or just the most recent one?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Meggan. You just need to bring the most recent one.

      Reply
  24. Alisha

    I was married in August. On the marriage certificate I did change my last name to my husbands. Do I have to use his last name and change it with Social Security and DMV or can I continue to use my Maiden name and change nothing? I live in Minnesota.
    It would just be easier for work purpose if I was able to keep my Maiden name the same.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to use his last name and change it with Social Security and DMV or can I continue to use my Maiden name and change nothing?

      You don't have to change anything.

      Reply
  25. Mia

    Hi There, I got married in VA in 2015 and kept my maiden name on my marriage certificate, I wasn't aware that I should have changed to my husband's name then.

    Now, in California, I'm interested in finally changing my name and I thought I could just take my marriage certificate & license to the SSA and start with a new social security card. Do I have to go to the superior court and apply for a name change there before everything else? I was just told about this from a friend yesterday.

    It seems like such a long and arduous process and if I do have to do this I might just stick with my maiden name. Thanks for the help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I wasn't aware that I should have changed to my husband's name then.

      Virginia's marriage application, license, and certificate don't provide spots to show a new name, so you didn't miss an opportunity there.

      Now, in California, I'm interested in finally changing my name and I thought I could just take my marriage certificate & license to the SSA and start with a new social security card.

      You can. Just take your Virginia marriage certificate as-is to change your name. You may want to review the dedicated Virginia name change article.

      Reply
  26. Nikki

    Hi! I’m getting married but I want to change my first name and take his last name can I do the on the certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to change my first name

      You cannot change your first name through marriage. You'll have to get it done in court.

      Reply
  27. Kathryn

    My husband an I married 2 years ago, but I chose not to take his last name at first because I was undecided (I'm a writer and already had recognition under my maiden name). Now I am ready to take his last name, but the process seems muddy! I don't have any formal documents of my new name. I live in Ohio. Any instructions?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kathryn. You just need to use a certified copy of your marriage certificate from two years back to change your name. That document authorizes various federal and state institutions to process your name change request.

      Reply
  28. Nina Templeton

    I want to change my first name when I get married. But they say I need to apply for a legal name change through the court. Why can’t I change it through marriage like I could through divorce

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to change my first name when I get married.

      Why can’t I change it through marriage like I could through divorce

      You can't change your first name through marriage or divorce. It's just the ways the laws are set up.

      Reply
  29. Diane Descalso

    I change my name on my marriage certificate and now I don’t want to change my name legally….
    Can I go back and change my marriage certificate to my original name?
    I live in California.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I change my name on my marriage certificate and now I don’t want to change my name legally

      You don't have to change your name to match your marriage certificate. Changing your name is voluntary.

      Can I go back and change my marriage certificate to my original name?

      You cannot change the name on your marriage certificate unless it's a clerical error, which this is not.

      Reply
  30. Torri

    I'm in Florida. We are both wanting to hyphenate after marriage. For example, me:first middle his last-my last and
    Him first middle his last-my last. Is this able to be done without a petition to the court?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Torri. You may both change your names without going to court.

      Reply
  31. Rebecca Stoddard

    I recently got married but I am going out of the country in a couple of months. I was going to wait to get my name changed so I don't get caught up in customs with one name on my passport and my new name on my driver's license ect… I was then told to change my name as soon as I can because if I wait too long it will cost $$$. Is there a short window in which I can change my name after getting married? If I do change my name, will it cause me trouble at the airport?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a short window in which I can change my name after getting married?

      No, there is no time frame to abide by.

      If I do change my name, will it cause me trouble at the airport?

      Book your tickets to match the name on your passport. Keep a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you to explain any name difference.

      Reply
  32. Victoria flores

    I got married in April of 2019. My marriage certificate does not have my new last name…I wanted it on there. Do I got to get a new certificate with my new last name? Also am I able to change all my important cards (dl & bank card) with the current certificate with my maiden name? I live in PA.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My marriage certificate does not have my new last name?

      That's normal for Pennsylvania and most other states.

      Also am I able to change all my important cards (dl & bank card) with the current certificate with my maiden name? I live in PA.

      You'll be able to change your name fine using your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  33. Vanshita

    Hello, I have change my name in each document Vanshita. But in my school certificate my name is Vanshita nee basanti Devi School board say's nee means alias.

    Now I'm married I want in my marriage certificate only Vanshita basnet Basnet in my husband sir name. Is this effect in my future document Is this legal also?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now I'm married I want in my marriage certificate only Vanshita basnet Basnet in my husband sir name.

      Depending on what state your marriage took place, your marriage certificate may or not show a new married name. Most states will show your pre-marriage name on the certificate.

      If your marriage license application didn't provide an opportunity to choose a new name after marriage, then your certificate wouldn't either.

      You can't modify your certificate in such instances, but you can still use it to change your name.

      Reply
  34. Lex

    Hello, I live in IL and was married two years ago. I am now planning in changing my last name. Instead of taking my husbands last name or hyphenating it I would like to make a new last name that is a combination of the two (Smith+Jones=Smone). Would I still be able to do this with just my marriage license or should I go through a legal hearing to have it changed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Instead of taking my husbands last name or hyphenating it I would like to make a new last name that is a combination of the two

      Illinois is not one of the few states that allow combination names. You'll have to go to court. You can review the Illinois name change page for what to expect when changing your name by court order.

      Reply
  35. Nohea

    Hi there,

    I live in Oregon and got married in Oregon in May 2019. On the marriage license/certificate I had put that I wanted my husband’s last name after we were to be married: First Middle Hisname. We are now married and our license/certificate was filed by the judge that married us… my questions are:

    1. Did my name automatically change when the license/certificate was filed or do I still have to take proactive measures to change my name legally? (ie. driver’s license, social sec., etc)

    2. I haven’t updated my driver’s license, social security card, or anything else and don’t want to change my last name anymore. Do I still have to because I had put it down on the marriage license/certificate that I was going to change my name after marriage?

    3. My husband left the “name taken after marriage” box blank on our marriage license/certificate when it was filed and now wants to change his last name to my name: First Middle Myname. How can he change his last name to my (maiden) name when our certificate has already been filed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Did my name automatically change when the license/certificate was filed or do I still have to take proactive measures to change my name legally? (ie. driver’s license, social sec., etc)

      Name change isn't automatic. You have to file the paperwork.

      I haven’t updated my driver’s license, social security card, or anything else and don’t want to change my last name anymore.

      You're not obligated to follow through.

      How can he change his last name to my (maiden) name when our certificate has already been filed?

      Short of requesting a marriage certificate amendment (which is unlikely to be approved), he'd have to petition the court.

      Reply
  36. Tram Le

    Hi,

    I am Vietnamese, living in VN, my husband is US, how to change my last name to his ?
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tram. Is there a specific document you're looking to update?

      Reply
  37. Gwen

    Hello-Question-was married a few months ago in NYS which indicated that I could not add my husband's surname to mine unless I hyphenated it. I went to SSA who said since they are federal I could make it what ever I wanted. So I took my maiden name as a middle name and husbands surname. This does not match the nys marriage certificate and I am attempting to establish my new primary residence in NH, but have current residency in MD. I prefer the SSA name but am not sure how I make this change given the marriage certificate says something else. Does the name on SSA require a court order name change in either MD or NH?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Does the name on SSA require a court order name change in either MD or NH?

      If you've already changed your name with the SSA in New York, you're done. There's no need to go to an SSA office in Maryland or New Hampshire. If you're referring to something else, please do clarify.

      Reply
  38. Angela

    Recently I have been getting mixed information about this whole name change and I've never been so confused! I have been married for 6 years and never used my marriage name. I have continued to use my maiden name. Is that ok? Everything is under my maiden name. I'm from Boston, MA.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I have been married for 6 years and never used my marriage name. I have continued to use my maiden name. Is that ok?

      You're fine. It's a nonissue.

      Reply
  39. Anne

    Hello,
    My wife and I got married in 2017. We were married and reside in California. At the time we filled out the marriage certificate/license she was not ready to change her last name to mine. She now wishes to change it to mine. Is there a simpler way for her to do that in CA or does she have to go through the traditional long name-change process?

    She is contemplating moving her maiden last name to be her middle name and dropping her middle name, would that make a difference? Also, we are same-sex couple (I don't think that makes a difference but just wanted to mention it in case it does).

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a simpler way for her to do that in CA or does she have to go through the traditional long name-change process?

      No, since she didn't choose a new name when applying for a marriage license, she'll now have to go to court to change it.

      She is contemplating moving her maiden last name to be her middle name and dropping her middle name, would that make a difference?

      Unfortunately, it wouldn't make a difference.

      Also, we are same-sex couple (I don't think that makes a difference but just wanted to mention it in case it does).

      It wouldn't make a difference. California is interesting because it provides a great deal of name change flexibility. However, the downside that catches many people off guard is when they choose to not specify a name change on the marriage license application and that non-choice is reflected on the marriage certificate.

      This causes a great deal of confusion and ambiguity. Does not choosing a new name leave room to maneuver or does it close all doors? In California, it closes all doors. You're left with having to petition the court.

      Reply
  40. Pat

    When I got married I kept for divorced husband's last name. It was fine with my new husband and I did it for professional, personal, and family reasons. It has created some issues.

    My biggest problem is societies reaction. Although I never used my new husband's last name nor "hyphenated" my name, I started seeing companies I do business with hyphenating my name. I told my husband maybe I should just change my name and "hyphenate" it, but after reading the problems and hassle of making a name change, I am totally disgusted with the outside pressures.

    Everywhere I turn people have my name listed with my current husband's last name or with my deceased husband's name and current husband's name hyphenated. What the heck to do? I am who I am and I dearly adore my current husband and was considering changing my last name by hyphenating, but do not want to go through the hassle, if it is just going to create more problems.

    I reside in California. Have you come across this scenario? Society is just not willing to accept that my last name differs from my current husband. Help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Have you come across this scenario?

      I don't recall a situation quite like this garnering much commentary in the comments section of these pages. It's odd that people would hyphenate your and your husband's names unprompted.

      Let's cover the business aspect of it. If you're having trouble managing incorrect use by others of your hyphenated name, you could register a DBA of that hyphenated name.

      Going through the process of hyphenating your name to satisfy the mistaken interpretation of others does seem to be a great use of your time.

      However, if you like the hyphenated name, there's nothing stopping you from making the transition. It wouldn't be as straightforward as a regular marriage name change, as you'd have to go to court, pay the fees, publish your name in the newspaper, and attend a court hearing.

      If that's the road you're looking to go down, you can review the name change in California page that explains the court process.

      Reply
  41. Tangie

    Hi I got married back in 2011 is it to late for me to change my name? I was a teenager when I got married I thought the certificate was all that I needed.😩

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I got married back in 2011 is it to late for me to change my name?

      It's not too late. You'd still use your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  42. Krista

    Hi. I am going to be getting married in Ohio in December, but live in NY. I want to take the last name of my fiancee. Will that be an issue in Ohio? Does Ohio's form have a place to indicate what I would like my surname to be after marriage?
    Many thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will that be an issue in Ohio?

      No. But, on an unrelated note… If neither you nor your soon-to-be spouse live in Ohio, you'll have to apply for your marriage license in the county where your marriage will take place.

      Does Ohio's form have a place to indicate what I would like my surname to be after marriage?

      No, it only asks for your current name. You can't specify a new name after marriage.

      Reply
  43. Joyanne

    Hi there, my fiancé and I live in Tennessee, but we will be getting married in Las Vegas next month. There is a form on Nevada's marriage application to indicate if I will take a new last name. At this point in time, I'm not sure that I want to change my name, but I may change it down the road. If I do decide to change my name in a few months, will I need to initiate that in NV, or TN? Will it be a problem if i indicate that I *don't* plan on changing my name, but then do so anyways at a later date?

    Any guidance is appreciated!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I do decide to change my name in a few months, will I need to initiate that in NV, or TN?

      In your state of residence, Tennessee.

      Will it be a problem if i indicate that I *don't* plan on changing my name, but then do so anyways at a later date?

      No, you'll still be able to change it if left unspecified.

      Reply
  44. Austin Lauritzen

    I want to change my last name. My dad had an affair and got divorced and it has all been nasty and I no longer want to be associated with him at all.

    I am also getting married in 1 month and realized I don’t want my wife to have to change her last name to my current last name then change it again whenever I finally decide to change my name.

    If possible I would like to either just both change our last names at the same time when we sign everything and are about to get married or to do it before the wedding so when we are married she can just change hers to my new last name.

    Where do I begin and what do I need to do? How soon after we changed our names would we need to get a new passport and ID and everything. What are the steps I need to take to change my last name before we get married that way we will just have my new name after the wedding?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Where do I begin and what do I need to do?

      Petition the court for a name change.

      How soon after we changed our names would we need to get a new passport and ID and everything.

      There's no deadline.

      What are the steps I need to take to change my last name before we get married that way we will just have my new name after the wedding?

      Court petition, but you'll have to time it properly. You'll have to file the paperwork, get your case scheduled, likely publish your new name in the newspaper for a set period of time, etc.

      You may want to look over the court ordered name change page that delves into this further.

      Reply
  45. Emily

    Hi I am recently engaged. My future husband is in the military. Shortly after getting married in Ga ( Wheres he’s from and I currently live .) I will be moving to where he’s currently stationed for secondary schooling ( He lives off base. )

    Before , I go through the process to get a Military ID I would like my name to be changed . Do I have to do this process in GA 1st then move to where he is and do it all over for Drivers license etc. ? Or can I move then start said process where he is with just the marriage license from Ga ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Emily. You can initiate your name change before after moving, as long as you are married and you can present a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  46. Mj

    Hi, Is it normal that my marriage certificate is still my maiden name? Or should have change that when I apply for my marriage license

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it normal that my marriage certificate is still my maiden name?

      It depends on the state. It's normal for most states. If you specify where your marriage took place I can tell you for certain.

      Reply
  47. Christina

    Hello! My husband and I were married in MI in 2016 and I did not take his last name. Now that we are expecting a son we want to combine our last names to create a new one to carry both last names on by our son. Just to be clear we do not want to hyphenate but rather put the two names together back to back. Can we both use our marriage certificate to do this kind of change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Christina. What you're seeking is possible with the Social Security Administration, but you're likely to face problems with other institutions, such as the SOS. The first problem is using a space instead of a hyphen. The next is your husband is likely to hit a roadblock trying to change his name through marriage in any way.

      Reply
      1. Christina

        We weren't planning on using a space either. It would just be our current last names combined into one whole new name. Does this change anything? From Lumm and Mueller to LumMueller.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          It would just be our current last names combined into one whole new name. Does this change anything?

          This wouldn't make a difference.

          Reply
  48. Magda

    Hi,

    We got married in 2013 and I never changed my name. Now, my husband changed his name legally and now I would like to change my name to his new legal name. How do we proceed to make that change on the original marriage certificate so then I can change my name. I also need to make the same change on our daughters birth certificate, his new legal name needs to be recorded there. Any ideas? I have been searching and can not get far….we are in Illinois.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How do we proceed to make that change on the original marriage certificate so then I can change my name.

      It's unlikely you'll be able to make such an amendment. You can contact the county clerk's office that recorded your marriage record if such a modification would be allowed, but it's unlikely.

      I also need to make the same change on our daughters birth certificate, his new legal name needs to be recorded there.

      That's handled by the Illinois Department of Health.

      Reply
  49. Gabriel

    Hello! Me and my wife we got married in Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, last Saturday. When we applied for the marriage license, I told them, that my wife wants to take my last name, but from there said that will be on the marriage certificate.

    On the wedding day, at the court I told the judge to put on her last name mine; she said, she is not the one who is doing this, but on the certificate will be changed. I called the Vital Bureau Records, and from there they said it’s not possible to change it; that I have to go to the consulate for that ( I’m a US citizen, my wife is Romanian); right now I’m confused. We didn’t get the marriage certificate yet; it’s not ready, maybe just next week.

    I would like when I will apply for her immigration status, everywhere in the documents to appear my name. So actually, where is the 1st place where they suppose to change it?! Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      When we applied for the marriage license, I told them, that my wife wants to take my last name, but from there said that will be on the marriage certificate.

      This appears to be a minor misunderstanding between you and the Cook County clerk. Illinois marriage license applications, licenses, and certificates don't ask for a new name after marriage. Your wife's new last name will be derived from your last name as shown on the eventual marriage certificate.

      So actually, where is the 1st place where they suppose to change it?!

      The certificate won't need changing. Your wife will be able to change her name just fine using the marriage certificate as it will appear.

      Reply
  50. Jenifer

    Hi. My fiancé and I are getting married in MA. I really want to get his last name but I cant afford the name change in all documents for now. Just for change my name in my Green Card will be $540. My question is, if I decide keep my maiden for now, can I take my husband’s last name 2 years from now?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My question is, if I decide keep my maiden for now, can I take my husband’s last name 2 years from now?

      Yes, there's no time limit.

      Reply
  51. Gabriela

    I got married last month and planning to change my last name to my husband's last name, but here in Texas they hyphenated his both last names (Dad & Mom's last name) Last-Last I don't want to use his mom's last name only his first one. Is that possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Gabriela. The SSA would allow it, but TxDPS might give you some trouble. If your husband's legal last name isn't really isn't hyphenated, you can seek a correction of your marriage record.

      Reply
  52. Tonya

    I was married for 24 years and then we went through divorce and I kept his last name because I have full custody of my then, minor children. I got married again 2.5 years ago and now that my youngest is almost 17, so I would like to add my husband’s last name and keep my previous married name too, professionally speaking. If I do that without a hyphen can I choose when to use each name or do I need to use both names always?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      so I would like to add my husband’s last name and keep my previous married name too, professionally speaking.

      For business purposes, you may want to look into filing a DBA in your preferred name.

      If I do that without a hyphen can I choose when to use each name or do I need to use both names always?

      You could use either name informally and in social settings. You must use both names for official purposes, such as taxes, filling out a job application (for background checks), or a loan, bank, or credit card application.

      Anything that might query the legal name attached to your social security number should use your full name.

      Reply
  53. Glorianne

    Is there a time frame for changing your license (I'm in NJ) after going to the Social Security office for my new name? I'd like to get the process started, and was hoping that the Real ID would be available by now. Since the Real ID is being tested in certain locations, can I just change it for Social Security and wait until the Real ID is available to get my new license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a time frame for changing your license (I'm in NJ) after going to the Social Security office for my new name?

      It's generally a good idea to space out your SSA and MVC name change by at least 24 hours. If the MVC electronically queries the SSA for your new legal name, the 24-hour wait could provide enough time for updates to propagate.

      Reply
  54. Jessica

    Hello,
    i just got married in Arizona and have an Arizona marriage license. i am moving to Colorado in a week and was wondering can i change my last name in Colorado at their social security office?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      was wondering can i change my last name in Colorado at their social security office?

      Yes, you can change your name at any social security office.

      Reply
  55. lulu

    hi,

    I added my husband's last name on the marriage certificate but i dont want to change it in real life (I don't want to change any of my IDs or SSN, or literally nothing) Would I have any problems? especially when travelling internationally?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I added my husband's last name on the marriage certificate but i dont want to change it in real life

      You don't have to change it.

      Would I have any problems?

      No.

      especially when travelling internationally?

      Your fine as long as the name on your ticket matches the name on your passport.

      Reply
  56. Leann

    Hello! I'm getting married in 3 weeks. My fiance and I live in Florida. We both want to change our last names to his maternal grandfather's last name as he didnt really know his father.

    Can we both just change our last names once we receive our marriage certificate? Or does he need to file for a name change with the court first?

    If he needs to file a name change and it isnt complete before our wedding date, will there be an issue in changing my name to his new last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can we both just change our last names once we receive our marriage certificate?

      No, that wouldn't work.

      Or does he need to file for a name change with the court first?

      Correct.

      If he needs to file a name change and it isnt complete before our wedding date, will there be an issue in changing my name to his new last name?

      If his court-petitioned name change isn't complete before you're married, he wouldn't be able to show ID in his new name when applying for a marriage license. In that instance, you'd have to petition the court for your own name change.

      Reply
  57. Anne

    Hi! I got married in August in VA. I went to change my name at SSA and did First Name, Middle Name, Maiden Name, His Last Name. I have now decided I want to drop my Maiden Name and just have First Name, Middle Name, His Last Name. Can I do this at SSA with my marriage certificate?

    Reply
  58. Krystin

    I got married Oct 5th. When we filled out the marriage license I chose to hyphenate (maiden name – husbands name). I haven’t updated any of my IDs yet with my new name. My question is this, do I legally have to go by my married name now? I’m due to leave the country in February, am I able to book my ticket in my maiden name and use my passport with my maiden name in it??

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do I legally have to go by my married name now?

      You can stick with your maiden name for as long as you prefer. You're under no obligation to change.

      am I able to book my ticket in my maiden name and use my passport with my maiden name in it?

      Yes, that would be most appropriate.

      Reply
      1. Krystin

        Ok so I was just filling out paperwork to register to vote by proxy back home in England. One of the questions was “has your name changed since leaving the UK”? I selected “No” as technically I haven’t completed any of the processes to update my name since getting married. Currently the only document that has my new name on it is my marriage certificate. Am I correct in looking at it like that document gives me the right to legally change my name but until I do, I haven’t changed my name and my legal name is still my maiden name… or am I totally wrong 😂

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Am I correct in looking at it like that document gives me the right to legally change my name but until I do, I haven’t changed my name and my legal name is still my maiden name

          That's right.

          Reply
  59. Rose

    Hi, i got married 2, almost 3, years ago in Texas, but i signed with my maiden name. How can i change it my last name to my husband's ? Do i just take the marriage certificate to the dmv ? Would it be valid to change it, since i signed with my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      but i signed with my maiden name. How can i change it my last name to my husband's ?

      You can't, and it's not necessary.

      Do i just take the marriage certificate to the dmv ?

      Yes.

      Would it be valid to change it, since i signed with my maiden name?

      Yes.

      Reply
  60. Paulina

    Hi,

    I got married in California few months ago and when we were filling out the marriage certificate I said I don’t want to change my last name however now I changed my mind and would like to take my husband’s last name.
    Do I have to go through court to change my last name to his?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to go through court to change my last name to his?

      You do if you live in California.

      Reply
  61. C.S.C.S.

    Hello Valera,
    Thanks for all the information you provide.

    I recently got married a few days ago – the license and certificate both have my maiden name.
    I’ve since decided to tack on my husband’s last name with a hyphen. Ex: MaidenName-HisSurname. Do I need to request a new marriage certificate that reflects my desired hyphenated name or will the DMV/SSA just put two and two together and realize the hyphenated name I want to add belongs to my husband?

    We reside in Maryland. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to request a new marriage certificate that reflects my desired hyphenated name

      You don't need to request anything extra. The SSA and DMV will derive your hyphenated name from your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  62. Andy Chen

    Hi, we just got went to San Francisco City to get our marriage license and we also the the ceremony there. My wife hyphenated her last name and my last name at the end. We made a mistake and both decide to use her last name as the middle name instead. For example Betty Chow-Chen.

    Is it possible to drop the hypenated and just have Betty Chow Chen. So Her original last name would be the middle name instead. So we won't have two last name. Today is the day two. We went on December 27, 2019. Today is December 28, 2019. Is it too late to change it?

    Reply
    1. Andy Chen

      Thank you much for your advise. Hopefully, its not too late and its easy process? thanks again and greatly appreciate it. Happy holidays.

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Andy. Unfortunately, it's not possible to amend the marriage certificate because you prefer another name choice.

      Reply
      1. Andy Chen

        Hi Valera,

        So we have to request the name change/can we request to correct the marriage certificate? We can't change it back? what would you recommend if we want to change to just one last name? please advise, thanks again Valera, greatly appreciate it. I didn't have a chance to call the City Hall today. It has been 3 days now.

        Reply
        1. Andy Chen

          Will i have to file a petition with the courts to do so, to correct and drop the hyphenate last name? haven't gone to get her change her SSI or driver license yet, one again its day 3 now. Hopefully, its an easy process to correct it back? please advise, thanks Valera. :) Happy New Year!

          Reply
          1. Valera

            Will i have to file a petition with the courts to do so, to correct and drop the hyphenate last name?

            A court petition wouldn't be used to modify the certificate, but to initiate a brand new name change, independent of marriage.

        2. Valera

          Hi Andy. While California is quite generous with what you can change your name to after marriage, it's equally strict on altering your marriage certificate after marriage. It's not possible to amend it the way that you think. At best, you can contact the county clerk and plead for a modification and reissued certificate, but it's unlikely.

          Reply
          1. Andy Chen

            Thank you so much Valera for the quick respond. Greatly appreciate it. I see, so the only possible way is to petition the court right? We should get her new SSI change first? I thought we can modified it since its still fresh? When you mean reissued certificate, meaning we have to change the marriage date? They did the ceremony on December 27 also.

          2. Valera

            I see, so the only possible way is to petition the court right?

            True, if she wants to change her name to something other than what's on the marriage certificate.

            We should get her new SSI change first?

            If she's already changed her name on her SS card, they'll want another document showing a new name change event. Such as a court order. She could request a name reversal, but that wouldn't achieve the ultimate end goal.

            I thought we can modified it since its still fresh?

            The certificate? You could request a modification for clerical errors. Unless you can convince the clerk that it's an error and not a regretful choice, the certificate can't be changed. It doesn't hurt to ask, as long as you understand that the odds are not in your favor.

            When you mean reissued certificate, meaning we have to change the marriage date?

            If you can get the certificate amended (unlikely), then they'll issue you a new certified copy with the amendment attached.

            They did the ceremony on December 27 also.

            The likelihood of an amendment being approved or denied doesn't depend on how soon the marriage took place. A valid modification would be honored for a marriage that took occurred yesterday or a decade ago.

          3. Andy Chen

            Sorry about that, so its too late to change it now? There is no way to change it huh? My wife will stuck on two last name with the hepend? We really regret it. Having two last name is really not a good idea. Does it mean my wife, Betty will stuck with the two last name right? Betty Chow-Chen forever?

          4. Valera

            Sorry about that, so its too late to change it now?

            If she wants to change her name to differ from what's on the certificate, she'd have to petition the court for a new, separate name change. Once approved, the court order would supersede the certificate.

            Does it mean my wife, Betty will stuck with the two last name right

            If she's already (and only) updated her social security card, there are procedures in place to request a name correction or name reversal using the marriage certificate. It's like an undo. Beyond that, she's not stuck. She'll just have to file a court petition and go through the motions.

          5. Andy Chen

            Hi Valera,

            Thank you so so much for your quick respond, and very helpful advise. I will try to see tomorrow. or maybe after new year. By the way, do you think the City Hall of San Francisco will automaticlly send us the official marriage license? or do we have to request for it? They only gave us like a survior one at the ceremony. By the way, I just wanted to take this quick opportunity to thank from the bottom of my heart for your advise. You're the best in this post, God bleed you!

          6. Valera

            do you think the City Hall of San Francisco will automaticlly send us the official marriage license?

            You have to contact them and order a copy for $15. It's typically available to order 10 business days after they receive your returned marriage license.

            I just wanted to take this quick opportunity to thank from the bottom of my heart for your advise.

            You're very welcome.

          7. Andy Chen

            Hi Valera,

            Happy New Year! We contacted the San Francisco Country Clerk Office and spoke with Deputy County Clerk. She told us that once we are married and we can't not take out the hyphenated last time. Once again, my name is Andy Chen

            My wife name is Betty Chow-Chen. We got mixed information, a person from http://www.cdph.ca.gov said we can amendment and correct the error and can take out the hyphenate. On the other hand, the lady from SF County Clerk said that we have to go throw the declaration of name change throw the superior court which will cost us about $900. Please advise, thank you.

          8. Valera

            Hi Andy. The county clerk can sign off on amending a clerical error. The San Francisco clerk is refusing because what you're requesting isn't fixing a clerical error, but a change of heart.

  63. Jessica

    I got married in nevada , my husband is from mexico and has both his parents last name Hernandez , dads last name and Chairez from his mom maiden last name they told me i have to take both last names . So im stuck with both how can i just leave his last name Hernandez Only

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jessica. It's all or nothing with the last name. The alternative is to petition the court.

      Reply
  64. jasmine

    hi i got married in 2017 in qld.
    im now trying to change my last name to my husbands last name.
    we applied for a marriage certificate and it just came in the mail and it has my maiden name on it still in the name section. can i still use this to change my name im so confused we wrote his last name on the certificate on line and now its arrived in the mail still my maiden name :( soo stressfull! im trying to change all my id. will this marriage certificate still work

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jasmine. Could you clarify what you're referring to with "qld"? Queensland, Australia?

      Reply
  65. Aneta

    hello, my husband and i got married 8 years ago in IL and now with 2 kids i finally want to change my last name and take his. Do i go through a normal last name process or do i need to go through the court?

    Reply
      1. Aneta

        Thank you for confirming. "name to be shown on card" on the SS application is my new (husband's) last name, correct? what about signature? also sign with a new one or previous maiden name?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Aneta. Name to be shown on card would be your new name. Sign your new name as well.

          Reply
          1. Aneta

            Thank you – that's very helpful. One last question, Since i've never specified my husband's last name on the marriage license when getting married, is there any proof of name change docs i need to include with the SS application? or is application itself enough along with the other docs (current SS card, proof of identity & citizenship)?

          2. Valera

            Hi Aneta. The certified copy of your marriage certificate is proof of your name change event. It doesn't have to explicitly say your "new name is" because they'll be able to derive it from your husband's last name.

  66. Macy

    Hi, I got married back in 2019. I've been meaning to change my last name to my husbands but I haven't done so yet. We got married in Kentucky. Is it too late to change my last name? I'm scared it will be.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it too late to change my last name? I'm scared it will be.

      It's not too late. There is no name change time limit.

      Reply
  67. Vanessa

    I recently got married in Florida. When filling out the license in the courthouse, I asked the clerk what name I should put on the license and she specifically told me to put my current name that matches my ID. I’m now worried she gave me incorrect information and will have trouble changing my last name to my husbands.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Vanessa. The clerk gave you the correct information. You won't face a problem changing your name.

      Reply
  68. Lizeth Villafuerte

    Hi! I got married on December 2019 in Connecticut. I wasn’t aware that I could use my new name on my marriage certificate so it still has my maiden name on it. What’s the process now for me to change my name? Thank you for your help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I wasn’t aware that I could use my new name on my marriage certificate so it still has my maiden name on it.

      Are you certain? I'm not aware of this option or such a change in marriage license or certificate paperwork.

      Reply
      1. Lizeth Villafuerte

        The name on my marriage certificate is still my old name not my new married name. Can I still change my name through the social security administration or do I have to get a court order to change my name?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Lizeth. You should be able to change your name using just your marriage certificate. No need for court.

          Reply
  69. Nattaly

    Hi ,
    I got recently married in Chicago . We applied online for license and just went to pick it up and signed later . We did not see option there for new last name after marriage .
    Would I be able to still change my last name even I didn’t fill it out in my marriage license aplication?
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nattaly. You didn't miss anything. The option doesn't exist. It won't stop you from changing your name the regular way though.

      Reply
  70. Jennifer

    I got married to my husband in 2006, and on the marriage certificate it has my maiden name. I would like to officially take his last name now. Will I have to go to court to have my name changed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jennifer. Assuming you weren't given the option to choose a new name when you applied to get married, then you can use your marriage certificate to effect a name change. No need for court.

      Reply
  71. Tiffani Jayne

    I got married in Florida but live in Kansas. I didn't put my new last name on the marriage license, therefore it isn't on the certificate, am I still able to change my last name to my husband's even though it isn't on the certificate? Or do I need to have Florida amend the certificate?

    Reply
  72. Rachel

    Hello I livening Colorado and we got married several days ago. Our certificate has my maiden name only. I don't see a space where I could have indicated my preferred new name. I'm concerned that I may run into a problem when I attempt to change my maiden name to my married name, since my marriage license only has my pre – marriage name. What do you think? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I don't see a space where I could have indicated my preferred new name. I'm concerned that I may run into a problem…

      You didn't miss anything. Colorado has no such space. You'll be fine to change your name the usual way.

      Reply
  73. Andreea

    Hello,
    My husband is Brazilian and has two last names so after the marriage I decided to take only one of his last names. Long story short, I am trying to register our marriage abroad and I am not allowed since I didn't take both his last names. Would I have to go to court to add the second last name?

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Andreea. What country are you trying to register your marriage in?

      Reply
      1. Andreea

        Hi Valera, I'm trying to register my marriage in Romania and I went to the Romanian consulate after putting together all the paperwork, but they informed me that I need to add both last names from my husband.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Andreea. In this case, you would have to take both last names. What works in Brazil isn't valid in Romania.

          Reply
          1. Andreea

            Thanks! I was just wondering if in that case, since I only took one last name 3 years ago, in order to add the second last name do I need to go to court?

          2. Andreea

            Hi Valera,

            So any idea if I would have to go to court to have this thing solved or is there another way. This was my initial question.

            Thank you

          3. Valera

            Hi Andreea. You'll have to contact the consulate to ask if they require a court order and in which jurisdiction.

          4. Andreea

            Hi Valera, I live in the US, so this is all happening here. In order to add a second last name from my husband, do I need to go to court?

          5. Valera

            Hi Andreea. You may have to go to court. You'll have to contact the consulate to determine if they'll accept a U.S. court order.

  74. Bonnie

    Can i change my name at the dmv first or do I absolutely have to do the social security office first? I reside in illinois. Thank you in advance

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Bonnie. You must update your social security card first. This is confirmed on the Illinois SOS Cyber Drive:

      The Secretary of State's office verifies Social Security numbers with the Social Security Administration prior to issuance or renewal of a driver's license or state ID card to verify name, date of birth and Social Security number. If records cannot be verified, the driver's license or state ID card will not be issued.

      Reply
  75. Tasha

    Hi,
    I got married in Las Vegas in 2010 and there was no section to change my name to my husbands name so it just shows up as my maiden name. Do I have to change my name officially through court before going to DMV and all the other places. I live in NYC.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to change my name officially through court before going to DMV and all the other places. I live in NYC.

      No, you'll use your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  76. Anouk PS

    My husband change his last name since we've gotten married in Florida. I never changed my last name to his former last name, and I now want to change my last name to his new last name. How can i go about doing so?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Anouk. You'd have to apply for a court ordered name change. You wouldn't be able to do it using your marriage certificate, as it doesn't list his updated name.

      Reply
  77. Nikki

    I live in California. I have two first names, one middle, and one last (A B C D). When I marry, I would like to drop my second first name and middle name, and then hyphen my last name with my spouse (A D-E). Is this possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nikki. Changing your first name isn't possible through marriage using your marriage certificate. In California, such a name change will have to take place by petitioning the Superior Court.

      Reply
  78. Liz

    Hi,
    I think I've read too many articles and have confused myself… My husband and I got married in Arizona five years ago. We now reside in Ohio and I'd like to change my last name. Do I need to petition to the court for a name change since it's been so long and because I signed our marriage license with my maiden name? Thanks for any help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Liz. You don't need to petition any court. Just because you waited a few years to change your name, doesn't mean you've run out of time. You can change your name through marriage the regular way. You can review the Ohio name change page for more specifics.

      Reply
  79. Victoria

    My husband and I got married at the courthouse in California in July of this year. We’ll still be living in California for a few years because he’s in the Marines. I didn’t change my last name at the time and kept my maiden name, now I regret it, is there a way I can change it now? We still plan on have a wedding later in the future. Is there a way to do it with having to go to court? Please help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I didn’t change my last name at the time and kept my maiden name, now I regret it, is there a way I can change it now?

      Realistically, there's no name change through marriage option available. You had to make your choice when you applied for your California marriage license.

      We still plan on have a wedding later in the future. Is there a way to do it with having to go to court?

      Unfortunately, no.

      Reply
  80. Shellie

    I live in Pa. Getting married. does it matter how I fill out my marriage application in regards to how I sign my new name after I am married? example i use my first name, middle inital,last name.

    We got the license and it has my middle initial which I dont want. I want my middle name spelled out on my marriage cert because it is actually my maiden name. They told me i cannot do that and have to fill out the app exactly how my state license reads which does not have my middle name spelled out.

    I did call a clerk back and she said i could go back and she would change it hersefl and update the records to reflect. Will this cause any issues with my ss by me wanting my middle name spelled out? Would really appreciate your help

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will this cause any issues with my ss by me wanting my middle name spelled out?

      It's a nonissue. The SSA doesn't even consider your middle name as part of your legal name, but they're still perfectly willing to add it to your social security card.

      Reply

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