How to Legally Change Your Name in Nevada

Nevada name change after marriage, divorce, or court petition

Going through a legal name change in Nevada might seem complicated, but it's easier than you'd think. This article will show you how to navigate the various ways to legally change your name. Whether through marriage, divorce, or court petition.

How do you change your name after marriage?

Name change after marriage in Nevada is the most frequent kind. It's the core focus of our website and online name change kit, so it makes sense to start here.

Nevada's many marriage name change options
Nevada's lavish name change smorgasbord is a horn of plenty.

The laws of Nevada make it easy to change your name after marriage, granting this power to every newlywed. No court order required.

Whether you're a wife planning to take your husband's name, a husband taking his wife's name, or a same-sex couple, Nevada allows this using your marriage certificate.

Your options are substantial. You can change your middle name, last name, or both together. We'll detail every possible new name sequence and combination in a moment.

How do you change your middle name?

Switching out your middle name is optional. The following six choices are available when applying for your Nevada marriage license.

Option 1—the obvious—replace your middle name with your maiden name. This is a popular way to keep your heritage intact while honoring your spouse.

Option 2—hat tip—replace your middle name with your spouse's current or birth surname. A unique approach of inclusion while giving up little.

Option 3—complete dominance—hyphenate your middle name with your current or birth surname. Sacrifice nothing.

Option 4—sorta compromise—hyphenate your middle name with your spouse's current or birth surname. This still keeps their name in the mix.

Option 5—abandon ship—wipe out your middle name, slide in your spouse's middle, then tack on their current or birth surname with a hyphen.

Option 6—flanking maneuver—trash your middle name, slip in your spouse's middle, then rope in your (yes, your) current or birth surname with a hyphen. Crafty.

Option Zero—impossible honorable mentions—while you've got many middle name change avenues, several paths are off-limits. For example, you can't:

  • Drop it outright (replace it with nothing)
  • Change its spelling
  • Use your middle initial
  • Combine names with a space (double-barrel)
  • Combine names without a space (making them flush)
  • Revert to an in-between name change (e.g., name change 2 of 3)

Note: When hyphenating, your name may go first or last.

How do you change your last name?

You can change your last name after marriage using a certified copy of your marriage certificate. The choices are as generous as your middle name options. Let's explore your opportunities next.

1. Return to your maiden name

Peter Allen: 'Everything old is new again'
Bring your old handle back to glory.

Thought your only choice was taking your spouse's name or hyphenating? Oh, no. Go retro. Revert to your maiden name. Guys too.

2. Take your spouse's surname

Traditional name change: don't rock the boat
Keep it old school, take your partner's name as-is.

Embrace the traditional route by taking your spouse's last name as your own. You could even take their last name at birth, if different.

3. Hyphenate names (current and birth)

Hyphenate your names

This next one's a surprising. You can hyphenate any combination of last names. Even going back to the beginning.

Confused? Try this. Draw four squares on a sheet of paper. Write your current surname in one box. The one you held at birth in another. Do likewise for your spouse.

Nevada hyphenation combos
Download this image as a printable PDF hyphenation template.

You can create hyphenated variations using any two squares. Even if both belong to you. Yes, you could transition solo. Whichever names comes first or last is your choice.

Warning: You can't join names without a hyphen. For instance, you can't use a space. Petition the court if this doesn't work for you.

Here's a demonstration of your last name change options using the following examples:

  • Your surname: Cook
  • Your birth surname: King
  • Your spouse's surname: Reed
  • Your spouse's birth surname: Ward
Last nameDescription
CookNo change
ReedSpouse's surname
WardSpouse's birthname
Cook-KingAdd your birthname
Cook-ReedAdd spouse's surname
Cook-WardAdd spouse's birthname
King-WardHyphenate both birthnames

Can I change my first name too?

You can't change your first name through marriage; that requires a name change petition. What's written on your marriage certificate must match your proof of identity.

How do I apply for a Nevada marriage license?

Before getting married in Nevada, apply for a marriage license, then change your name afterward. Let's discuss what that entails…

Marriage license precedes name change
Marriage license first, name changes last.

You may apply for a marriage license at any Nevada county clerk's office. It costs $60 to $77. There's no blood test or waiting period. Your license will expire after one year.

By the way, you can't marry your first cousin, get married by proxy, or enter into a common law marriage in Nevada.

Yearning for a Reno or Las Vegas wedding? The Clark County Clerk and Washoe County Clerk offices are open from 8am to midnight PST. Other counties close at 5pm.

Commercial wedding chapels sell licenses too, but you must get married in their county. Otherwise, you can marry anywhere in Nevada.

Warning: Limited or 24-hour commercial wedding chapels may only sell marriage licenses when their own county's clerk's office closes for the day.

Bring at least one identification card

Bring proof of ID when applying

Bring photo ID showing your age, such as a driver's license, passport, military ID, or Real ID card. If divorced or widowed, bring proof of divorce or your spouse's death certificate.

Documents should match your name change intentions. For instance, if birth names are in the mix, yet your ID doesn't show that, bring supplemental proof that does.

Choose your new name on the marriage application

Choose your new name when applying
Designate your preferred married name when applying.

You must specify your new name on the marriage license application. Don't get pressured into making a rush decision. Decide early to lock in your preferred name.

You must notify the Social Security Administration (SSA), NV DMV, and passport acceptance facility of your name change, as it doesn't happen automatically.

Marriage license to name change

How do you go from a Nevada marriage license to changing your name? Let's discuss the sequence of events and turnaround times.

Marriage name change timeline
License, ceremony, and certified marriage certificates first, social security office last.

Whoever officiates your wedding must return your license to the county recorder's—not the county clerk's—office within 10 days after your ceremony.

Afterward, order a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the county recorder to legally change the name on your social security card, driver's license, passport, etc.

Note: Buy certified copies of your marriage certificate in advance when applying for a marriage license. You'll automatically get them by mail.

How do you change my name after divorce?

Changing your name after a divorce in Nevada is easy. You'll be in court to finalize other legal matters, so ask the judge for a change of name too.

Free as a bird, old name after divorce
Divorce let's you get your name changed back to any prior legal name.

When the court grants your divorce, they will allow you to return to any prior name. This includes any name you held between birth and the present day.

Use a certified copy of your divorce decree as your legal name change document when notifying government agencies and third parties.

If your decree is missing your name change, you forgot to ask for it, or you've changed your mind, contact the courthouse to seek an amendment to your decree.

Ask the judge to restore your maiden name
Change your name by court petition if hopeless via divorce.

A separate name change petition must be filed if the court denies your amendment request. If you're not a Nevada resident, file in your own jurisdiction.

How do I petition for a name change in Nevada?

Petition to change your name through a Nevada district court if you can't do it through marriage or divorce. You can complete the adult name change process yourself (paperwork to court hearing) without hiring a family law attorney.

Court petitioned name change
A court petition is the Swiss Army knife of legal name changes.

Note: If you're getting married and planning to change your name through court petition, consider just doing the latter to avoid an unnecessary double name change.

Petition for change of name

File a petition for adult name change with your resident county clerk of court. Step 1 is the Civil Cover Sheet asking your name and DOB. Step 2 is the Petition for Change of Name.

Explain the reasons for pursuing a legal change of name on your paperwork:

  • Liking the way it sounds is a valid reason.
  • Evading debt, taxes or arrest is a poor rationale.

You must swear under penalty of perjury that your name change isn't for fraudulent purposes. Newspaper notice of your petition helps weed out bad actors before the hearing.

The filing fee to change your name in Nevada costs between $200 and $300, paid with cash, check, credit card, or money order. Ask for a waiver if you can't afford the filing fee.

Note: If you plan to cite a gender change on your birth certificate or other documents, ask the court to also change your gender marker in your petition.

Getting fingerprinted

Getting fingerprinted
Use a Nevada law enforcement or private fingerprint service.

Give the court a copy of your fingerprints if you have prior felony convictions. Tell the truth or they'll dismiss your case.

It costs $20 to get fingerprinted at most Department of Public Safety sites, including your local police department.

Publish the notice of your legal name change

Newspaper name change publication
District court can waive the publication requirement for safety reasons.

Your notice of petition for a name change must be published in your local county newspaper at least once. There are two exceptions to this rule:

  1. You're changing your name for gender identity purposes.
  2. The court has firm proof that publication would endanger your safety.

Once publication is complete, the newspaper will either send the Affidavit of Publication to the district court or ask you (the petitioner) to get it and register yourself.

Submit the name change order to a judge

Judge's name change order
Petition, publication, and hearing done. Your signed order comes last.

A judge can't sign your name change order until 10 days after newspaper publication of your Notice of Petition for Change of Name. (Enough time for someone to object to your case.)

The court approves most legal name changes without a hearing, so long as you file a Request for Summary Disposition & Declaration in Support when opening your case.

Once the judge signs your court order, the clerk of court will either call you to pick it up or mail it out. Get certified copies to change your name with government agencies.

Finally, change your name across documents

Once you've got your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order, you're ready to finish the name change process across federal and state agencies.

My new ID
Make your name change official by updating government ID.

How do I update my social security card?

Use social security form SS-5 along with your name change document to change the name on your social security card.

Either mail it or visit your nearest Social Security Administration office. Your new SS card will arrive by mail within two weeks. Your social security number will stay the same.

How do I update my driver's license or Real ID?

Update your social security card before your driver's license. Space them out at least 48 hours, as the DMV relies on the SSA finishing first.

Visit the DMV in person. Bring proof of name change and identification. For Real ID, bring documents proving Nevada residence.

Note: You can change the gender marker on your driver's license or REAL ID to M, F, or X without showing a court order or new birth certificate.

Nevada name change conclusion

The big part of your legal name change is complete. Time to update everything else: credit cards, online and social media accounts, doctor's offices, and car, health, and life insurance.

Check your mail pile and email inbox for more ideas. Keep certified copies of your name change documents safe. Nongovernment entities can use photocopies.

Our name change kit helps you change your name, either before or after marriage.

Start Your Name Change


  1. I divorced in 2019, but I did not take my maiden name back. Now I want to either add my maiden name to my current middle name or use my maiden name and my fiancé's last name when we get married. The clerk wouldn't allow me to do this on my license. What are my options?

    • Now I want to either add my maiden name to my current middle name

      In Nevada, you can add your maiden name to your middle name with a hyphen, but not a space.

      or use my maiden name and my fiancé's last name when we get married.

      You can hyphenate your maiden name with your spouse's last name.

      The clerk wouldn't allow me to do this on my license. What are my options?

      These new name choices are possible through marriage in Nevada. The Nevada county clerk should have allowed it unless the identification your provided didn't show your name histories.

      If your photo ID only showed your prior married name (which you didn't change after divorce), they would have no reference to your maiden name. That is where a certified copy of your birth certificate would have come in handy.

      You can return to the county clerk's office with sufficient documentation showing your name timelines and ask for an amended marriage license. Or you may have to apply for a brand new license.

  2. My marriage certificate has my maiden name. Can I still use it to take my husbands name or did my marriage certificate need to show the new name? I got married in 11/2019.

    • Hi Nadia. You can still change. Nevada doesn't have exclusionary language in it's statues like some states do. Leaving the new name fields empty when you applied for a marriage license limits your choices to the basics: take your spouse's full last name or hyphenate.

  3. Hi
    I married in 2019 and my license has the wrong names, originally I wanted to drop my middle name and change it to my last name at birth and take my husbands middle name. My license dropped my birth last name and just replaced it with my husbands last name. I have yet to change it, how do I go about doing this ?

    • my license has the wrong names… snip …I have yet to change it, how do I go about doing this

      If it's wrong because the county clerk/recorder made a mistake, you can contact them for a corrected marriage certificate. They'll cross-reference your marriage license application, license, certificate to confirm this.

  4. Hello. I'm a Hispanic woman that have 2 last names which is normal in Latin America. Can I just eliminate only 1 of my last names keep the other and then use my fiance last name ? My fiance only has 1 last name. Thanks

  5. I have been married for almost five years. I just decided to take my partners last name. Will the marriage certificate work for this at the SSA if on the marriage certificate it has my maiden name? How do I go about changing my last name?

    • Will the marriage certificate work for this at the SSA if on the marriage certificate it has my maiden name?

      Yes, as Nevada's new name change rules postdate your marriage. Your marriage certificate as-is will suffice.

      How do I go about changing my last name?

      You'll change your name using your marriage certificate the regular way. First with the SSA, then DMV, etc.

  6. I said when I was doing the marriage license application that I'd take my husband's name but now I want to hyphenate. How do I get them to change the new name on my license?

    • How do I get them to change the new name on my license?

      You say "license" instead of "certificate." Have you actually gotten married yet?

        • Hi Diane. You can't edit your marriage certificate after the fact to change your name. Amendments are reserved for mistakes, such as typographical errors.

    • Hi Nola. I'm assuming you're referring to your "marriage certificate" not your "marriage license?" (License is pre-marriage, while certificate is post-marriage.) Your out-of-state certificate will work fine in California for name change purposes.

  7. Hi. I need some clarification. I got a marriage license in Las Vegas, but didn't say what my new last name was supposed to be. I didn't know I had to choose right there so I left it blank. Now I know I want to hyphenate and change my middle name. Will I still be able to? Thanks.

        • Hi Robin. Since you haven't gotten married, you should consider going back to the county clerk and getting a new marriage license with your preferred name. The clerk may be willing to issue you a corrected license without charge. Otherwise, you'll have to apply from scratch and repay the application fee.

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