591 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)!

591 Comments

  1. Elena

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  2. Melanie

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  3. Genesis Torres

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  4. Georgia

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  5. Jenifer Y Cano

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  6. Jessica

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  7. Lucas

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply
  8. Deisy

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  9. Liana

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can i change diaz to lewis?

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

      Reply
  10. Maria Torres

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

    Reply
  11. Jennifer

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

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

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

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

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Reply
  12. Brenda

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      No, there are no legal repercussions.

      Reply
  13. Aimee

    Hello,

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

    Thank you in advanced.

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

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

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

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

      Reply
      1. Joe

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

        Reply
        1. Valera

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

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

          Reply
  14. Heidi

    Hello,

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

    Thanks.

    Reply
  15. Diana

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  16. Elisha

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  17. Sheneka Lundy

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  18. Jeff

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  19. Jasmine Fontaine

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

    Reply
  20. Sara

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  21. Lisa

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

    Reply
    1. Lisa

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

      Reply
    2. Valera

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

      Reply
  22. Pinakin Purohit

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

    thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  23. Rochelle

    Hello,

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

    Thank you in advance!

    Reply
  24. Julia

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  25. Hannah

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

    Thank you,

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  26. star

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply
  27. Adrianna

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

    Reply
  28. Jodie

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

    Reply
  29. Karen Palasek

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

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

      Reply
  30. Ela Abejo

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

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  31. Autumn

    Hello.

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

    Thx!

    Reply
    1. Valera

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

      Reply
  32. 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
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. 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
  38. 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
  39. 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
  40. 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
  41. 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
  42. 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
  43. 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
  44. 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
  45. 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
  46. 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
  47. 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
  48. 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
  49. 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
  50. 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
  51. 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
  52. 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
  53. 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
  54. 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
  55. 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
  56. 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
  57. 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
  58. 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
  59. 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
  60. 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
  61. 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
  62. 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
  63. 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
  64. 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
  65. 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
  66. 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
  67. 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
  68. 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
  69. 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
  70. 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
  71. 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
  72. 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
  73. 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
  74. 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
  75. 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
  76. 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
  77. 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
  78. 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
  79. 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
  80. 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

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