348 Comments

If you are in Texas and seeking a name change there are a number of things you need to have in mind. It's always important to know everything you need to effect a name change for whatever reason in the State of Texas. Here are a number of things you might want to know.

Marriage Name Change and Options Available

Firstly, remember the marriage certificate will be the main legal document you need to change your name after getting married. Once the ceremony is over, file your marriage license as soon as possible in the county court house. This gives you a marriage certificate's certified copy that will be sent to you via mail in about 14 days.

For those who might not have a marriage certificate copy, but want to effect a name change, the Marriage Certificate Request Letter can be used. You might also not have your birth certificate with you and the Birth Certificate Request Letter can be used as well.

Know that the marriage certificate might give you the right legal document to effect a name change, but the right government agencies must be notified thereafter. This includes the department of motor vehicles, IRS, Social Security office and other non-governmental institutions such as credit card companies, loyalty clubs and banks.

To apply for a marriage license in Texas the couple should apply in person using a proof of a social security number and photo ID issued by the government at the office of the court clerk. After it has been issued, the license remains valid for about three months, 72 hours after it has been issued. For couples who have gone through the Twogether course on premarital education, lots of counties within the state will have the license fees reduced with zero waiting time. Military personnel who are active also have their waiting time eliminated including Department of Defense employees and those who have received a judge's waiver.

Fees for a marriage license vary from one county to the other but fall within $30 and $75. A marriage license issued in Texas is valid across the state. After marriage, the license is completed by the officiant before it's returned for filing to the county. A certified copy of the marriage license can then be requested from the court clerk to use in name change processes.

Those married in the state of Texas can include the change of name on the marriage license while making the application. The wife or husband can seek a number of changes to their name.

Husband's surname

Through the certified marriage license you can request to take the surname of the husband, which is the most common name change in the state.

Maiden name usage

You are also allowed to go with the surname of your husband on all records and identifications but continue using the maiden name in your professional circles such as the workplace.

Hyphenation

It's also possible to request a name change by taking the surname of the husband and adding it into your own with a hyphen or simply add without a hyphen.

Continue using your name as it is

Another option in Texas is to just continue with your marriage life without seeking a name change.

Divorce Name Change

For a legal name change to be done in Texas after divorce you need to gather a number of documents, the most important being a certified copy of a Texas divorce decree as well as a proof of your age and identification. The Divorce Records Request Letter can be used by those who might not have a divorce degree copy yet. The Birth Certificate Request Letter can also be used if a birth certificate copy is not easily accessible.

After getting the divorce decree copy, read through to ascertain if there's a provision granting a name change. In case it's there, the document remains the best name change legal proof you need. Sometimes the provision for a name change might be left out from the divorce decree and you should communicate with the court that finalized the divorce to request for an amendment of the document. Remember amendments can sometimes be denied by different courts in the state; you need to change tact and continue with a normal adult name change petition in Texas.

Together with the name change petition, you are also requested to provide fingerprints, a legible set of them on a fingerprint card approved by the state. The verification of the petition needs to be done, where you must swear and sign that the information provided with the petition is accurate before a notary. Remember to have the order for name change prepared for the judge to sign. Apart from containing similar information as that in the petition, Texas requires the order to also clearly state the change of name is in public interest and beneficial to you. A hearing is then scheduled by the court. It's possible that the judge will request a repeat of the information you have provided in the petition prior to the signing of the order declaring your change of name.

Once the name change has been effected, ensure you have approached all the right government agencies to update your name, from the Social Security Office, IRS to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Nonetheless, you might want to know that changing your name with the Social Security Office comes first and once this has been approved, simply take the certificate you will receive to the Texas Department of Public Safety to have your driver's license name changed.

General Adult Name Change

If you don't have a divorce decree or marriage certificate, it's still possible to effect a name change in Texas. This requires a change of name of an adult petition be filed including an order that grants name change of an adult. It means you must prepare a Name Change Petition and Order for Texas without signing any document. Take the petition to be signed by a notary, who will have your identity verified and allow you to sign it before the he has signed the document again to verify that you signed the petition in his presence. The Texas Name Change Order should not be signed at this time.

The next process requires you arrange with the local law enforcement for your fingerprints to be taken on either an approved FBI fingerprint card or DPS. After receiving the fingerprint card, the Order and Petition, make two copies of each. Take them to the local county courthouse to file with the county's court clerk in your local jurisdiction. Filing the paperwork comes at a cost and once you have paid it a case number is assigned. A Texas Name Change Petition stamped copy will then be returned to you. Ensure you have the Texas Name Change Order's original copy to await the court hearing. You must know the court date assigned by the office of the clerk; to be on the safe side call a couple of days before the hearing to know everything is as scheduled.

On the material court date, have the Texas Name Change Petition's copy the clerk gave you including the original order of the Texas Name Change with you for the hearing. Expect the judge to ask a couple of questions; be as brief and honest as possible in your answers. Once the legal change of name has been granted by the judge, the Texas Name Change Order will be signed and you must file it with the office of the court clerk. Request a name change certificate after tendering to the court clerk the Texas Name Change Order in the same manner you filed the petition for the name change. At a small fee, the Texas Name Change Order certified copy, dully signed, can be provided.

Child Name Changes

Within the Texas Family Code are all the regulations needed to effect a name change of a child within the state. The name change can be requested due to custody proceedings, adoptions, among others, by managing conservators, legal guardians or parents. It's important for parents to file the name change petition within the county court where the minor lives before parting with some filing fees.

The first thing is requesting the petition for the name change of a child, including the order to change the name of a child and consent to change the name of a child. All these are found at the local county's district court and can also be downloaded online. The petition has to be filled with the signature of the guardians and parents of the child, has to show how they relate to the minor, child's legal status, case numbers to previous judgments relating to the minor, name change details, the reason for the name change, and the vital statistics of the child.

In case the minor is a sex offender already registered, the Sex Offender Update form needs to be filled out and a copy attached to the petition. The petition should then be signed before a notary public who also signs on the form before officially stamping it. The reason for the Consent to Change the Name of the minor has to be explained clearly to the child if above ten years of age, who then must add his/her current name and the name proposed before the signing of the form.

The document should be taken to the office of the district court clerk for filing. You'll be updated about a court date assigned to you including a corresponding case number. You must appear on the court as scheduled and if the judge is convinced the change of name is for the child's best interest, it will be approved. The name change order will then be completed by the court.

Request the court clerk for a certified copy of the name change order to use to change the name of the minor with the Social Security Administration.

Change of Name on Birth Certificate

Amendments on birth certificate are done by the Department of State Health Services in Texas with each application clearly reviewed by a professional if the name change can be done. In case the birth took place in the last 180 days, you should expect the name change to be effected within 20-30 days. Amendments cost $15 with an additional $5 if you want an expedited service. Estimated normal processing time for the birth certificate amendment takes 10-15 business days.

Name change on Social Security, DMV, Passport, IRS

After changing the name for whatever reason, you must notify the various relevant government bodies. In case of any name change, notify the Social Security Administration, whether you are newly weds, lately divorced or simply changed your name legally. Even those who have reverted to their previous names need to let the Social Security Administration know. File the Application for a Social Security Card Form SS-5, at the Social Security office in your locality and include the legal proof of the name change.

Once you have changed the name with the Social Security Administration only then can you request a name change with the Department of Motor Vehicles. 30 days after the name change visit the office of Texas Department of Public Safety with the current ID card and driver's license, including the proof of name change. Changing your name with the Social Security Administration is free, but a new driver's license after a name change will cost you $11.

Name Change on Non-governmental Institutions

Once you have a legal proof of name change you can change your name with just about anyone, including non-governmental institutions such as financial institutions, insurance providers, employers and other professional documents such as passports, credit cards and loyalty club membership.

Name Change Documents

To make the name change process easier you need all the documents required. These includes:

  • Certified copy of Texas marriage certificate for marriage name change
  • Certified copy of Texas divorce decree for divorce name change
  • Court order for general adult name change
  • Proof of identification (passport, driver's license or state ID)
  • Proof of age (decree of adoption, birth certificate or hospital record)

348 Comments

  1. Stephanie

    I am getting married in September and would like to take my future husband's middle name as my last name. Would this be permitted by using the marriage license? Or would I have to do a court petition?

    Reply
  2. Jamie

    Same sex couple. I want to take my wife's last name but I also want to keep my maiden name for work purposes. If I keep my maiden name and add her last name to it with no hyphen, will I be able to just use the dual last names at work and then just my wife's name for everything else (bank accounts, credit cards, etc.). I know that any legal documents would have to be signed with both.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jamie. Yes, you should be able to accomplish that by communicating your preference with your bank, credit card companies, etc.

      Reply
  3. Steven

    We got same sex married in May. My husband has decided to take my last name. Do we have to petition the court, or will the marriage license be enough. I'm sorry if you've already answered this question. I didn't see it in the thread. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Steven. A certified copy of your marriage record is enough.

      Reply
  4. Kaitlyn Delph

    I got married in 2009. I'm an idiot & didn't realize I had to actually go and change my last name on my social myself. So I stupidly changed my name on my license. Is this going to cause an issue with getting it changed on my social?I'm going on Thursday so I just want to be sure I have what I need when I go.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is this going to cause an issue with getting it changed on my social?I'm going on Thursday so I just want to be sure I have what I need when I go.

      No, it shouldn't be a problem.

      Reply
  5. Joseph Mayberry

    Is there a cost in Texas for my wife to change her last name? We were married in Oklahoma. We read that there was a $277 cost affiliated with this process. Help please

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Joseph. You appear to be referring to a court petitioned name change, which is different from a marriage name change.

      Reply
  6. Ashley

    Is there a fee in Texas for not changing my last name after a year of marriage?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a fee in Texas for not changing my last name after a year of marriage?

      No, there isn't.

      Reply
  7. Barbara

    I got married in 1997. I changed my SS card but not DL. Separated for 20 years. My license are in my ex husband and my children's names.have to renew shortly. Is there going to be a problem?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Barbara. You may be required to renew with whatever name is currently on your SS card.

      Reply
  8. Trina

    I was married on the 14th of July. I was getting my ss hangs application done and realized that our marriage lic still has my maiden name vs my husband's surname. Do I need to do anything to change that with the county? Or will the SSA know that I want my husband's name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Trina. You're fine. You don't have to change anything beforehand.

      Reply
  9. Dich-park

    Hi,
    My husband and I got married in France, in 2012, we live now in Texas, I have 2 kids from my previous relationship and I want my kids and I take my husband's name. My kids still minor. Did we have to go through adoption or have we another way to change my kid's name? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Dich-park. You'll have to go to district court to change your children's names.

      Reply
  10. Jeremy

    If i want to change my last name back to my birth name im Texas, what do i need to do and the cost?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jeremy. You'll have to go to district court to change your name in Texas. The filing fee varies, but can be as high as $300.

      Reply
  11. Yuri

    I'm getting married in September, is it possible for my future husband and I to create a new last name other than combining both of our last names?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      is it possible for my future husband and I to create a new last name other than combining both of our last names?

      No, not in Texas. Even the states that do allow creative name changes require some segment of the current or former name be applied.

      Reply
  12. Oyindamola

    hi, i got married recently in Texas, bt I have my ex husband last name on my marriage licence.. Can i have it changed to my maiden name on marriage licence, before changing it to my new husband name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Oyindamola. Unless it's an error, amending the certificate is unlikely to be accepted.

      Reply
  13. Richard Tutt

    I recently obtained a Global Entry that required fingerprinting and an interview for international travel. Would this be acceptable instead of having to go through the finger print process again?

    Reply
    1. Richard Tutt

      My wife and I have been married for almost 8 years. What would be the process for me to take my wife's last name? We do have a legal marriage license.

      Reply
    2. Richard Tutt

      I forgot to mention that we have been married for almost 8 years and I would like to take my wife's last name. We do have a legal, certified marriage license. What would be my process for changing my name to my wife's last name? Sorry, I have added a separate request below for this information.

      Reply
    3. Valera

      Would this be acceptable instead of having to go through the finger print process again?

      No, that's unlikely.

      Reply
  14. Philippa Dodson

    My same sex partner and I would both like to change our last names to my maiden name when we marry. Can we do that through a marriage certificate? If not, should we change both our names through the court BEFORE we marry or after?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Philippa. You'd have to go to court, which can be done before or after marriage. The order makes no difference.

      Reply
  15. Mireille

    I got marriage but didn't change to my husband name. It that the cause of me not receiving my social security card but my child's got theirs. I enter us as a dv2 , my husband is the dv1 lottery ( the winner ) . We got married in our country. He traveled first and I later came with our 2 daughters . Can someone please tell me why my social security card wasn't send? And what do I do? Thanks

    Reply
  16. Adriane Rhodes

    How do we go about having my future husband take MY last name here in Texas? I've heard some people have had to cause a stink over it (the cali man who took the dmv to court) citing unfair name equality. I'm hoping to avoid all that.

    Let me know.

    Reply
  17. Kevin

    How do I get my ex wife to change her last name when our divorce decree specifically states she must change it. She continues to use it on all of my children's documents and it's causing issues with my wife's name in medical and educational systems. Can I personally have her name changed to eliminate these confusions?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kevin. There's not much of anything you can do. She could choose not to change it.

      Reply
  18. Jessica

    My fiancée and I are getting married next month here in Texas (same sex couple) and we were not able to specify what our new last name would be on the marriage license. Both of us would like to take a completely different surname than our current surnames. Are we able to just list our new last name on the SS application and show our certified marriage certificate as proof for reason of name change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jessica. You wouldn't be able to change to brand new surnames unless you opted for a court-petitioned name change.

      Reply
  19. Lynsey

    I just recently got married and am preparing everything I need to get my SS and license changed. I do not want to change my first name, just the spelling and then will be taking his last name. What kind of paperwork would I need for that? Would that be considered a general adult name change or is it simpler if its just the spelling? Thank you for any help/advice.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lynsey. Changing just one letter of your first name would be considered a general adult name change which requires petitioning the court.

      Reply
  20. TexAfricanQueen

    Hi. I am African and got married over 10 yrs ago back home. So I have a foreign marriage certificate. I never got around to taking my sweetheart's last name but now I really want to; especially cause our kids are asking why my last name is different. We are now US citizens & live in Texas. How do I go about changing my last name to his?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi TexAfricanQueen. You'll use the certified copy of your foreign marriage certificate to change your name. If it's not written in English, you may be asked to attach a notarized and certified English translation.

      Reply
  21. MBH

    Hi,
    My husband and I are both Texas residents and got married in April. Our marriage certificate shows my maiden name. I would like to change my middle name to my maiden name and take my husband's last name. Will I need to petition the court to do this?

    Reply
  22. tammy

    Hi Valera! I divorced several years ago and did not change my name back to my maiden name. I'm getting married again, and I would like to use my original middle name and my new husband's last name.
    Currently: firstname maidenname exs-last name
    Wish: firstname middlename newlast name

    Does this require a court order or can I do this with the marriage certificate? Or is all I can do with the
    marraige certificate is firstname maidenname newlast name? Thank you very much!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Tammy. I do believe you'll have to go to court to change the middle portion.

      Reply
  23. Trisha L Johnson-Wood

    I was married about a year and a half ago in Vegas.. At that time, I hyphenated my name. I have since decided that was not the best idea. How can I change my name to my spouse's last name and un-hyphenate my name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Trisha. Since you've already legally hyphenated your name, you'll have to get a court order to reverse it.

      Reply
  24. Ness

    Hi, I got married in Texas last month and the marriage certificate only shows my maiden name. Nowhere shows my married name. Is this normal in Texas? If so, how do I get my name changed to my married name? Note: I'm a foreigner in the process of applying for a greencard.

    Reply
  25. Rose

    Hi, my fiancé and I want to hyphenate both our last names. We are aware that this would require him to go before the court and legally change his name. Should we start this process before or after we have the marriage license? Also, just to make sure, being a woman, to hyphenate my last name I would only have to sign my name the way I want it on the marriage license and it would legally be my new name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Should we start this process before or after we have the marriage license?

      Before, if you want to change your name through marriage.

      Also, just to make sure, being a woman, to hyphenate my last name I would only have to sign my name the way I want it on the marriage license and it would legally be my new name?

      Texas marriage license applications don't provide a space to specify a new surname, so you'd sign your current name. That won't prevent you from changing your name later.

      Reply
  26. Agonzal

    Recently got married and would like to change our daughters last name. Currently her last name is my husbands last name then my maiden name, no hypen, but would like to drop my maiden name and leave just his. Where to go from here?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Agonzal. You'll have to petition the court for a name change in your daughter's county of residence.

      Reply
  27. Nancy Lavkner

    I got married in Nigeria resently. I came back to Texas for awhile to take care if somethings. I only have a copy of our civil marriage (not the original because he needs original for immigration purposes). Is a copy of my marriage certificate good enough to change my drivers license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is a copy of my marriage certificate good enough to change my drivers license?

      It must be a certified copy.

      Reply
  28. Ari

    I have 2 middle names and one is spelled wrong on my Texas drivers license. I just got married and I want to take my husband's last name. And drop the misspelled middle name
    So it would go from first name, middle name, middle name maiden name to first name middle name new last name

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ari. You should be able to have your name change processed, but you may have to bring a certified copy of your birth certificate to prove the misspelling of your middle name.

      Reply
  29. John

    We just received our original marriage certificate in the mail. Do we use the original certificate or a certified copy to take to the various agencies to change the name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi John. If the original has been signed and recorded by the county clerk, you can use it.

      Reply
  30. John

    My wife wants to take my last name, but with a slight spelling alteration by dropping two double consonants. Is this possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi John. No, it's not possible for her to take your name with a minor alteration. She'd have to petition the court.

      Reply
  31. Anum Raza

    Hi i am wanting to change the spelling of my first name, however we are currently working on my husband's immigration stuff and they need a lot of stuff from me like my medical records which are in my original name. Is it possible to obtain all those stuff if i legally change the spelling of my first name and would it cause issues with my husbands case?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Anum. It shouldn't be an issue. As a precautionary measure, you can maintain documents, copies, and references in your prior name to respond to any possible name mismatch inquiry.

      Reply
  32. Kayla

    My husband and I married in 2013 in North Carolina, therefore we have a NC marriage license. Will this marriage license work to change my last name here in Texas?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will this marriage license work to change my last name here in Texas?

      Yes, it'll work perfectly fine.

      Reply
  33. gasper

    Valera, please how would my wife change her name in Texas?

    For example: her birth certificate has

    Mary Rice John as 1st,middle and last name.

    During baptism in church, she took the first name Elizabeth.So her foreign passport and official documents hasve Elizabeth Mary John.That is, her first name in her birth certificate became her middle name on her passport and documents. She never go/went by Rice but Mary as middle name and Elizabeth as first.

    We got married and i did Green Card application for her and she would like to go by my last name(Jones). USCIS says they will only honor the 1st,middle on her birthday certificate and then my last name for her on the Green card.That is Mary Rice Jones.Her green card has that name now.

    She wants to be known as Elizabeth Mary Jones.Can we use marriage license to change this or petition for it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Gasper. She'd have to petition for it. Such a first name change wouldn't be accepted just using your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  34. Jeremy

    Hello, I would like to change my first middle and last name at the same time as I get married. Is that possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I would like to change my first middle and last name at the same time as I get married. Is that possible?

      No, first name changes require a court petition.

      Reply
  35. Vee Jones

    Hello,
    When I divorced in 2010, I kept my ex-husband's last name for the sake of our small child. I am about to get married again, however, I would like to go back to my maiden name instead of my new husband's name. Is it possible for me to go back to my maiden without having to go the special court route and just do it as I would if I was taking his last name?

    Thank you so much for your help. This site is great!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Vee. I don't believe that's an option. If your divorce decree contained an order restoring your maiden, you could use that to change your name, before or after you remarry.

      Reply
  36. Lynn

    Hello, I am planning to get marry in Vegas in February 2018. I planned to have the name as: Maiden – Husband's last name. However, I wasn't planning to change the name on document such as driver license, social security, or passport yet for other reasons. Would that be a problem for not changing the name and keeping my maiden name for the time being? Is there a statute of limitation in Texas for a name change if I decide to change the name on these such documents later in the year?
    Thank you for your time!

    Reply
    1. Lynn

      the main reason for not making the changes on these documents is because i don't want people to know that i'm married. thanks again!

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Would that be a problem for not changing the name and keeping my maiden name for the time being?

      No.

      Is there a statute of limitation in Texas for a name change if I decide to change the name on these such documents later in the year?

      No.

      Reply
  37. Hal Right

    My wife and I are getting divorced in Texas, she signed a waiver, our divorce is uncontested. Can I request in the petition for divorce she change her name back to her maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I request in the petition for divorce she change her name back to her maiden name?

      That's unlikely.

      Reply
  38. Emily Rose

    I am due to marry soon. My fiance has had his name dragged through the mud by his ex wife and published online.We are interested in changing his last name to my middle name and my middle name to my last. Being in Texas, is this likely to incur an expensive process to change names?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Emily. It can be quite expensive. Nearly $200-300 for a court-petitioned name change, which must be paid separately.

      Reply
  39. Carmen

    I was just married in France to my French husband. We received a “livret du famile” official family book issued by the French government. Is this sufficient for my name change? I would just like to add my husbands last name to my full name . It will read my name last name his last name. I’m also a naturalized citizen. Do I have to change my name on my naturization certificate before I change it on my SS and passport? I will be moving to France soon so I need to have documents in order . Thanks for your help

    Reply
    1. Valera

      We received a “livret du famile” official family book issued by the French government. Is this sufficient for my name change?

      Hi Carmen. Although that's an official record, it's not a marriage certificate (a.k.a. extrait d'acte de mariage).

      Do I have to change my name on my naturization certificate before I change it on my SS and passport?

      No.

      Reply
  40. Brooke

    Me and my husband are going to get an Informal Marriage Declaration soon because we’ve been presenting ourselves and living together as married for a few years and figured we’d make our common law marriage official, how would I change my last name to his?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Brooke. It's not possible to change your name using a certificate of informal marriage. You'll either have to obtain a marriage license and subsequent certificate, or change your name through the courts.

      Reply
  41. A. Mills

    I was married before and had my name changed for Social Security and Drivers License here in Texas and my maiden name was put as my middle name. First Maiden new Last
    I am divorced and never changed my name back to my maiden name.
    Now I am getting remarried and would like to change my middle name back to my real middle name and drop my maiden name. First Middle new Last.
    We are getting married in Las Vegas and the application asks for the name on my ID which has my maiden name as my last name, and asks what I would like to change my name to (changing last name). So, am I stuck with my maiden name as my middle name forever since my real middle name is not on my ID?
    Can I change it back to my middle name at SS and DL if I present my birth certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi A. Mills. You'd have to obtain a court order to change your middle name back.

      Reply
  42. Sara

    Hi!

    I am in a same-sex relationship and we want to combine our last names to make a new last name.

    Ideally we would each have our First, Middle, Maiden New (with no hyphen).

    For example Bride A: Jessica Ann Roberts Robbins
    For example Bride B: Michelle Elaine Hobbins Robbins

    Is this possible? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sara. Such last name combinations aren't permitted in Texas using just the marriage certificate. You'd both have to file separate name change petitions with the court instead.

      Reply
      1. Sara

        Thanks for your help. With a marriage certificate could we both hyphenate our names?

        Reply
  43. Samir Ragsdale

    Is it possible to get remarried if my current wife doesn't carry my last name???

    Reply
  44. Vince Cobalis

    My son is a U.S. citizen, born in Texas. His fiance has a Russian passport. They live/work in Germany, but want to marry in Austin, Texas. She wants to take his last name. Can she use his surname when filing the marriage certificate? Does she need any other documents besides a passport (difficult to get copy of birth certificate). How does she change her name to take his surname?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can she use his surname when filing the marriage certificate?

      No, she must use her surname.

      Does she need any other documents besides a passport (difficult to get copy of birth certificate).

      Her foreign passport alone is sufficient to fulfill the ID requirements.

      How does she change her name to take his surname?

      By using a certified copy of her Texas marriage certificate.

      Reply
  45. Debra Primrose

    We were married in Texas 43 years ago. My maiden name on our marriage license is not correct, our parents wanted all 5 of us kids to have our step fathers last name to make school easier. Now I find out that was not legal to use our stepfathers last name without legal adoption. We are now retired in NM where the “Real ID Act” will soon be in force. What do I need to do to get an amendment with my real birth name on it?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Debra. Either you or your spouse would have to submit a notarized affidavit with the Texas county clerk's office that recorded your marriage license. You can contact the office to fax, email, or postal mail you a correction form.

      Assuming they're willing to approve the correction, you can obtain a new marriage certificate with the correction attached to the original as an addendum.

      Reply
  46. joy

    I am currently going through a divorce and my husband/ex to be is requesting that I change my last name back to anything but his last name. I have professional licenses and too many other items that would require a name change and simply do not want to go through the hassle of changing everything. Can he force me to change it?

    Reply
  47. Lorena Ruiz

    Hi,
    I currently only have a first name and maiden last name. I want to change it to First Name, Maiden last name as middle name, and husbands last name as my new last name. Is this possible to do or is it a more difficult process?

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lorena. It is possible through a standard marriage name change.

      Reply
  48. Vanessa

    Hi,
    I want to hyphen my last name with my boyfriends last name is that possible without getting married? And if it is will we have to file taxes as married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I want to hyphen my last name with my boyfriends last name is that possible without getting married?

      No, you'd have to petition the court.

      And if it is will we have to file taxes as married?

      No, you'd file separately.

      Reply
  49. MR

    Hi, couple years back I got married, but since then I haven’t changed my last name to his. Can I just leave it as is or do I have to change it? Would it affect me in any other way if I don’t change my last name to his last name? Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I just leave it as is or do I have to change it?

      You can leave it alone. You don't have to change it.

      Would it affect me in any other way if I don’t change my last name to his last name?

      No impact.

      Reply
  50. MD

    Hi,

    We’re residents of Texas and married in California (destination wedding) in 2002. At the time, I wanted to hyphenate my last name, so the CA marriage license is first name maiden-married last name. The same is on my SS card and DL, as well as all other nongovernmental entities. After 15 years of marriage, I’ve decided I’d like to drop the hyphen and use only my husband’s last name. Do I need to petition the courts to have this changed, or is there another route I can take. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      After 15 years of marriage, I’ve decided I’d like to drop the hyphen and use only my husband’s last name. Do I need to petition the courts to have this changed, or is there another route I can take.

      You would indeed have to petition the court.

      Reply
  51. Sondra Torres

    Hi, I’ve begun the process of changing my last name to my husband’s last name in the process I was also hoping to change my first name from Sondra to Sandra. Can I do this at the same time I’m chanig my last name? Or do I have to petition the court to change my first name seperate from changing my last name? I live in Texas.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sondra. You cannot change your first name at the same time. You'll have to petition the court.

      Reply
  52. Cynthia Garcia

    Hi I got married in Texas. And
    It's been three years since i got married and have been using my maiden name.
    But I want to change it to my husband's last name.
    Will I have any problems at the DMV office to change my name on my DL even tho it's been past 30 days.? I did not know I had a 30 day limit.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I have any problems at the DMV office to change my name on my DL even tho it's been past 30 days.?

      This won't prevent you from changing your name.

      Reply
  53. RP

    When I got married I removed my maiden name and kept my middle name as my middle name without giving it much thought. Now I would like to have my maiden name as my middle name. Is this possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now I would like to have my maiden name as my middle name. Is this possible?

      You'd have to petition the court for a secondary name change.

      Reply
  54. T Mack

    I was married in Texas but never filed with the court to change my last name (I figured that I would go and do it on my own). Is there a requirement to file paperwork with the court to LEGALLY change my last name (hyphenated)?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi T Mack. You don't have to go through the court when changing your last name through marriage.

      Reply
  55. Agatha Mara

    Hi, me and my boyfriend want to get married, but his ex-wife kept his last name. Can I still add his last name to mine even though she also has it? Can that bring us any problems?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I still add his last name to mine even though she also has it?

      Yes.

      Can that bring us any problems?

      No.

      Reply
  56. Alex

    I recently went to the SS office to change my last name, but was told since I had been married over two years (been married for 4 for that matter), that the SS system would not accept the name change. For whatever reason, I was told to go to the DMV to change it first. I am fully aware that the DMV requires my social to show the name change before they themselves can change it.
    The other choice I was given by the SS (if DMV was unable to do it) was to have it court petitioned…. I was never aware of this "regulation" or "rule" and I have never heard of anyone else having this issue before.

    Reply
    1. Alex

      I forgot to mention I live in Texas. I work at a bank, so I have a lot of customers who came in well after their date of marriage to change their names on their accounts (with social security # changed over to the married name). Do I in fact have to get a court petition for the legal name change due to marriage? Or was the SS office incorrect with information?
      (Mind you, the representative asked me if I had anything in the new name, which I held of on adding to ANY of my documents since I wasn't sure if I wanted to full take my husband's last name.)

      Reply
      1. Valera

        Hi Alex. You shouldn't have to go to court. You'll either need to show an identity document in your old name (expired or unexpired). If you have none, an identity document in your new name would suffice.

        Reply
  57. DJ

    Thank you for being so active on this thread!
    My fiancé currently has:
    FirstName MiddleName HerLastName

    We’re getting married soon, and she would like to have:
    She would like to have:
    FirstName MiddleName HerLastNameSecondMiddleName MyLastName

    Is it possible to have two middle names in the state of Texas? Is there a loophole like hyphenating the middle names together or initialing one and allowing the other to be a full name? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a loophole like hyphenating the middle names together or initialing one and allowing the other to be a full name?

      No, the middle name can't be hyphenated, space-separated, or initialized using a marriage certificate initiated name change. Such a name change would require petitioning the court system.

      Reply
  58. Alejandra Martinez

    Hello my name is Ale, I got married with a US Citizen, we did it in México then our certificate is from Mexico, in the certificate I have my maiden name, we already took the certificate to record it at the court house. I would like to change it to my husband's, we live in Texas, how can I do it? I already have my SSC with my maiden name….

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Alejandra. Yes, you should be able to change it fine using a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  59. Gabriela

    Hi. I am a legal resident and got married. How do I change my last name, and what steps do I need to take?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Gabriela. You'll use a certified copy of your marriage certificate to change your name. You'll need to use form I-90 to update your green card. Once that's done, you can get your social security card updated, followed by another other documents, such as a driver's license and state-issued ID.

      Reply
  60. Ronda Pederson

    Hi I was divorced 15 years ago and kept my husband's last name. I am now getting married again and instead of taking his name would like to revert to my maiden name. What do I need to do if getting married in a private ceremony but not before a judge.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am now getting married again and instead of taking his name would like to revert to my maiden name. What do I need to do…

      After you get married again, you can take your spouse's name or hyphenate, but returning to your maiden name requires one of the two approaches:

      1) If your divorce decree from 15 years ago contains an order to restore your maiden name, then you can use that document to change your name.
      2) If your divorce decree doesn't contain language that allows you to reestablish your maiden name, you'll have to petition the court for a name change.

      …if getting married in a private ceremony but not before a judge.

      Who officiates your marriage or how the ceremony is solemnized doesn't make a difference when it comes to changing your name.

      Reply
  61. Michelle Herzberg

    I was married in tx 1988 and still married! I want to change my maiden surname to my birth surname, they're different. The name on the license isn't correct. Can I do that and what documents are needed?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Michelle. You'll have to petition the court for such a surname change.

      Reply
  62. Alex

    Hi there! My fiancée and I are getting married soon and want to choose a new surname that suits us both and I will also be changing my first name at the same time. Would I need to petition the court for this change?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      want to choose a new surname that suits us both and I will also be changing my first name at the same time. Would I need to petition the court for this change?

      Yes, that sort of name change would require you to go to court.

      Reply
  63. Gabby

    Hi,

    I just got married last week and I want to change my last name to my husbands last name and keep my maiden name but I want to change that to my mother's maiden name. However, on the marriage certificate I have the current maiden name and not the new one I want to use. Do I have to petition the court to change my maiden name? And if granted do I need to change the name on my marriage certificate?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to petition the court to change my maiden name?

      Yes.

      And if granted do I need to change the name on my marriage certificate?

      No, at that point the marriage certificate no longer comes into play.

      Reply
  64. Megs

    Thank you so much for this blog. Is there a limit for the number of characters in a name? I will have two last names and will be going from 3 to 11 letters!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is there a limit for the number of characters in a name? I will have two last names and will be going from 3 to 11 letters!

      No, there's no limit. If you had an extraordinarily long name, some database systems might clip X-number of characters after a certain point. Eleven characters isn't enough to put you in the danger zone.

      Reply
  65. Lamont Hicks

    Me and my fiance will be getting married this weekend. I want to take her maiden name for my last name. We are in Corpus Christi, Texas and would like to know what exactly needs to be done for this process.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lamont. You'd have to petition the court for such a name change.

      Reply
  66. Lia

    My husband had a correction on his birth certificate after we married. On my marriage license it shows g.e.l. and now his drivers license shows e.g.l. is my marriage still legal ? Will I have rights as a wife, God forbid, my husband gets sick and I have to make decisions for him ? Or vice versa I get sick?

    Reply
  67. Omobolanle salawu

    I got married last month and I have change my last name to my husband last name, but right now I want to change my husband last name to my own last name, how would I go about it

    Reply
    1. Omobolanle salawu

      And I already change my driver license to my husband last name the question now is can I change my driver license back to my last name

      Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Omobolanle. Since you've already changed your name once, you'll have to go to court to change it a second time.

      Reply
  68. yvette

    Hello,
    I got married in April and since then changed my last name to my husbands on both SSN and DL. I now want to add my maiden name before his for many reasons. How would I go about this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I now want to add my maiden name before his for many reasons. How would I go about this?

      You'll have to start over with a new adult name change at your county courthouse.

      Reply
  69. Michelle

    Hi, I got re-married 2015. 2016 I had my TDL changed from (first, maiden, first husbands last) to my new married name (first, maiden, current husbands last). I never had my SS card, IRS, or anything else changed. I am now getting divorced and want to get my TDL changed back to how it was (first, maiden, first husbands last). Do I need to request a name change in the divorce papers since I never changed my SS card? After reading these comments, it sounds like the DL Office should not have changed my TDL without a name change with SS. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to request a name change in the divorce papers since I never changed my SS card?

      Yes, request it in your divorce papers.

      After reading these comments, it sounds like the DL Office should not have changed my TDL without a name change with SS.

      This inconsistency can vary from clerk to clerk.

      Reply
  70. Nasim

    Hi,Thank you in advance for sharing your time to answer our questions.

    I had citizenship interview last month and requested to add my husband’s last name to my last name.two days ago it was my oath ceremony and my neutralization certificate was issued but because they didn’t have my photo on it,they asked me to go back to the office (the same place I had my interview) with the photo in order to get my neutralization certificate on the same day.

    Now I have changed my mind and I like to keep my original last name without adding my husband’s last name.

    1.Do you think when I go there, they accept my request to NOT Change my last name and issue a new certificate as I wish?
    2.In case they decline my request and add my husband’s last name to mine,

    A) Is it legal to NOT change my last name on Social security card,driver license and keep it as it is?
    B) I plan to apply for my First US passport immediately as I have an overseas trip in 2 weeks.so there is no time to change name on driver license. I have already checked with post office, I should present my Neutralization certificate and also my old Driver license is acceptable.Can I request for having my old name (without new change,the same as my driver license ) while my Neutralization has the new name?

    I hope I didn’t confuse you.I really appreciate your help.

    Nasim

    Reply
    1. Valera

      1.Do you think when I go there, they accept my request to NOT Change my last name and issue a new certificate as I wish?

      You can certainly request it, but you'll likely have to file and pay for a replacement certificate.

      A) Is it legal to NOT change my last name on Social security card,driver license and keep it as it is?

      Your social security record should match the name on your naturalization certificate. Your driver's license should match as well.

      Can I request for having my old name (without new change,the same as my driver license ) while my Neutralization has the new name?

      That's doubtful, as it wouldn't match the name on your citizenship papers.

      Reply
  71. Savannah Ramirez

    My husband and I have been married for almost 8 years now and I still haven’t changed my last name to his. I want to change my last name now but on our marriage license I signed it with my last name not his. How do I change my last name to his last name? And am I still able to after this long?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How do I change my last name to his last name? And am I still able to after this long?

      It doesn't make a difference that your marriage took place many years ago. You can still change your name through marriage.

      Texas marriage licenses and certificates don't provide spaces to specify a new name post-marriage, so there's nothing for you to deal with there. Just use your certificate in its current state to change your name as you normally would.

      Reply
  72. C.S

    I divorced on Oct/2017 from my ex husband and remarried 30 days after my divorce in Nov/2017 to my new husband. Judge signed the divorce decree stating I could go back to my original name (maiden). Never went to SSA to change it though, but when I went to get my marriage license with my current husband I signed and used my maiden name for it…

    Is my current marriage valid since I never went to actually go change my ex husbands last name to my my maiden name at the SSA office or DMV? Will i get fined or have any legal action taken against me for doing it that way?……

    also I decided to keep my ex husbands last name due to our children and everything I have has his last name since I was 16 yrs old when we married, but I want to add my current husbands last name to it. Is that possible?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is my current marriage valid since I never went to actually go change my ex husbands last name to my my maiden name at the SSA office or DMV?

      Incorrect information shouldn't be knowingly placed on a marriage license application, but that doesn't mean it would invalidate your marriage. Unless the false information would have violated Texas law (e.g., underage marriage, bigamy), your marriage's validity shouldn't come into question.

      I want to add my current husbands last name to it. Is that possible?

      Hyphenation would normally be possible, but since your maiden name is reflected on the certificate, it could block you.

      You can inquire about having your marriage license application, license, and certificate amended with the correct name.

      Reply
  73. Nae

    Hello. My husband and I have been married for 17 years (here in Texas). I have finally decided to change my last name to his. My licence will expire at the end of this month, and I think this is the perfect time. Will there be a problem, since it's been so long? Do I just go to the SS office & DMV?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will there be a problem, since it's been so long? Do I just go to the SS office & DMV?

      You won't face a problem as long as you take a certified copy of your marriage certificate with you.

      Reply
  74. Bryant S Brazeal

    we are same sex couple that was married in Boston, MA in September 2010. At the time I didn't change my surname and now I want to take my husband's last name.
    we live in Galveston County, TX

    Reply
  75. Constanza Fishel

    when I married my current husband I had not dropped my ex husband’s name and it appears on my marriage license. Can I change the name that appears on my marriage license to my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I change the name that appears on my marriage license to my maiden name?

      No. Modifications are reserved for errors. This wouldn't apply.

      Reply
  76. Paty

    I am married and have two kids with my husband but we had them before we got married. We have been married 9 years now and I am thinking about changing my last name to my husbands but I wanted to know If when I change my last name do I also have to change it on my kids birth certificate or that can stay the same?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I wanted to know If when I change my last name do I also have to change it on my kids birth certificate or that can stay the same?

      No, you don't have to update their birth certificates.

      Reply
      1. Paty

        One more question i dont work but i have read that i need to let irs know also about last name change is that a must?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          When you update your name with the Social Security Administration, they'll automatically notify the IRS of the change. The IRS and name change article explains the importance of having the name on your tax filings match what's on SSA's and IRS's records.

          Reply
          1. Paty

            Do you think they will say anything to me being that since i dont work i havent been able to do taxes?

          2. Valera

            Do you think they will say anything to me being that since i dont work i havent been able to do taxes?

            Unlikely, as the purpose of the SSA notifying the IRS of your name change is to make sure records are up-to-date.

  77. Amber

    I changed my name with the social security office a couple of months ago (added husband's last name to my own). I was on vacation for a bit so I did not change my driver's license within 30 days. Is that a problem? Is there an extra fee or will I have to re-do anything?

    Reply
  78. Patricia N Rutledge

    I will soon be divorced in Texas. I want the divorce decree to give me the option to revert to my maiden name. Would I be obligated to change my name after the divorce? If so, is there a time frame limit for me to do it? I'd rather wait a couple of years until my passport is about to expire. My current legal name (in the US) is FirstName MaidenName HusbandLastName. I am contemplating retirement – is it advisable to I change my name back before I retire (i.e. less chance for problems with social security and pension)? I am also dual citizen and my other country's passport still shows my maiden name because that country requires a lot of paperwork (at the country) prior to change a passport's name. Eventually I'd have matching names in both countries. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Would I be obligated to change my name after the divorce?

      No, you can ignore what's in your divorce decree.

      If so, is there a time frame limit for me to do it

      Not applicable, as you're not obliged. Still, there's no time limit to change your name.

      I'd rather wait a couple of years until my passport is about to expire. My current legal name (in the US) is FirstName MaidenName HusbandLastName.

      That's fine.

      I am contemplating retirement – is it advisable to I change my name back before I retire (i.e. less chance for problems with social security and pension)?

      Doesn't matter.

      Reply
  79. Jen

    I was married to my late husband, he passed in 2015. I remarried in 2017 and took my new husbands last name. We are now divorcing. Can I change my name back to my previous last name from my late husband?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I change my name back to my previous last name from my late husband?

      Yes. Just ask the judge to include a declaration in the decree to reinstate your late husband's last name.

      Reply
  80. Whitney

    I'm sure that has been answered but I just wanted to make sure. We are a same-sex couple and on our marriage certificate, it has my maiden name. Is the marriage certificate enough (with her last name) for me to change to her last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is the marriage certificate enough (with her last name) for me to change to her last name?

      Yes, it's sufficient.

      Reply

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