399 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)

399 Comments

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. Samir Ragsdale

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

    Reply
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. 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
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. 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
  38. 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
  39. 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
  40. 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
  41. 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
  42. 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
  43. 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
  44. 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
  45. 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
  46. 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
  47. 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
  48. 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
  49. 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
  50. 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
  51. 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
  52. 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.

  53. 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
  54. 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
  55. 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
  56. 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
  57. Chloe

    Hello, and thank you in advance for your answer! I’m getting married this weekend and I am still on the fence about changing my name. If I choose to take his last name without hyphenating (keeping my maiden name and his last name), am I correct in my understanding that I would sign legal documents with both, but for pretty much everything else, I can choose which name to go by?

    I plan on going to graduate school in the next few years, and I want to graduate as with my maiden name. Would I have to use both names with schooling? I really want to keep my maiden name as what I go by professionally, but I know my fiancé would really love if I took his name. What kind of things would I have to use both names on? I’m not sure I understand what exactly I would be required to use both on.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      am I correct in my understanding that I would sign legal documents with both, but for pretty much everything else, I can choose which name to go by?

      You'd use your legal name on formal documents (e.g., legal, government, taxes) and you can choose to use either name interchangeable for informal, social situations.

      I plan on going to graduate school in the next few years, and I want to graduate as with my maiden name. Would I have to use both names with schooling?

      That's something you'll have to work out with your school. They'll have your full legal name on file, while printing your preferred name on documents. There's no guarantee they'll allow it or even be set up to implement such a request.

      I really want to keep my maiden name as what I go by professionally, but I know my fiancé would really love if I took his name.

      Consider a DBA in your maiden name for such purposes.

      What kind of things would I have to use both names on? I’m not sure I understand what exactly I would be required to use both on.

      Same as mentioned far above. Use your preferred name in informal situations and your legal name for everything.

      Reply
  58. Rinalyne

    Hello,

    How are you doing? I just got married 2 weeks ago and I checked my marriage certificate it is under my single name(Smith).I am on fiancee visa and will apply for adjustment of status. And I am confuse on what to write in the forms. I don't have any US documents yet like SSN, driver's license only the marriage certificate. So my question is, I can use a hyphenated surname , (my last name) smith-william (his) as I filled out the forms? or should I go back to the courthouse or bexar county to correct the name on my certificate or I should be fine? Thank you for your help.

    Reply
  59. Linda

    Hi, my daughter is getting married in March 2018. She would like to switch her middle and first name and then drop her last name and take her husbands name. We have always called her by her middle name instead of her first. Can she make this change when she gets married or will she have to make an adult name change to switch her first and middle name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      my daughter is getting married in March 2018.

      I take it you meant March 2019.

      She would like to switch her middle and first name

      Not possible through marriage. She'll have to go to court.

      and then drop her last name and take her husbands name.

      Yes, this can be done through marriage.

      Can she make this change when she gets married or will she have to make an adult name change to switch her first and middle name?

      Already answered above, but if she's going to court anyway, she could change all three names simultaneously.

      Reply
  60. God reigns

    Hi,
    Please i need help on how to change my maiden name to my husband's last name. i got married in Africa so i have a foreign marriage certificate. Please what are the steps i'l need to take to change my last name here in Texas. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      i got married in Africa so i have a foreign marriage certificate. Please what are the steps i'l need to take to change my last name here in Texas.

      The process is the same. Just use your foreign marriage certificate.

      Reply
  61. Mariana

    Hi, I was wondering if you knew the process to add back my maiden name to married name after 3 years of marriage. I was really young when I got married and just wanted to get rid of my long hyphenated name but this is something I regret now so I would like to go back and add my maiden name. We would also like to change my daughters name. Do we have to go to the court or?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I was wondering if you knew the process to add back my maiden name to married name after 3 years of marriage.

      We would also like to change my daughters name. Do we have to go to the court or?

      You'd have to file separate name petitions: one for you and one for your daughter.

      Reply
  62. Rose

    Hi, I am trying to find what paperwork I need in order to change or at least add to change my sons last name. Got married 3 years ago, son is 9 and wants badly to have the same last name as me and "Dad". His biological dad is incarcerated and has been for 6 years, my son does not know him but I do have minimal contact with him. Does he need to sign something saying its ok? Son only has my maiden last name currently, never had bio Dads and he is not on the BC either. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Rose. You'll have to go to your county district court to file a name change petition for your child. Normally, both parents are served notice of the name change petition unless one has had parental rights severed. You'll have to ask the court clerk or judge about waiving notification of an imprisoned biological parent.

      Reply
  63. Bhaskar

    Hi, my wife and I have been married for 12 years and have a certified marriage certificate from Harris county, TX. My wife now wants to change her last name to match mine. Can she still use the same marriage certificate and request for a name change or does she have to go through the whole petitioning process?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can she still use the same marriage certificate and request for a name change or does she have to go through the whole petitioning process?

      Your wife can use the certified marriage certificate. There's no need to petition.

      Reply
  64. Yuki

    Hello I am a Transgender individual who still hasn’t had My legal name change. My partner is also transgender and hasn’t had their name changed if we get married before legally changing our names would it be possible to later change our legal names First, middle and last? (Only he would be getting my last name so only his last name would change) also do you have information on how long the legal name change will take even if we don’t get married before?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      would it be possible to later change our legal names First, middle and last?

      First name change would have to take place through court petition. Going with a court-petitioned name change allows you and your future spouse to change any aspect of your first, middle, and last names.

      (Only he would be getting my last name so only his last name would change)

      This can be done just using the marriage certificate.

      also do you have information on how long the legal name change will take even if we don’t get married before?

      It's hard to say. You have to fill out your petition, get it notarized, have the fingerprinting done, get your hearing scheduled. That's a mix of things you'll have to do and what the court does. Hearing scheduling can vary from county to county. You can call ahead to get an idea of how soon they can schedule you.

      Reply
  65. Debbie Beresford

    I came to the US under my previous married name, I am remarried in Texas and applying for my greencard. What name should i use on the application? Also my name on my current married certificate has my previous married name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      What name should i use on the application?

      You can put married name.

      Also my name on my current married certificate has my previous married name.

      That's fine.

      Reply
  66. Mer

    My husband and I got married four years ago. I kept my original legal name (first,middle and last) and added his right behind my maiden. There is no hyphen. My question is.. do I need to change anything other than my drivers license(did this already). We haven’t run into any problems thus far and I’m still using my original name for things and sometimes with his following mine. Appreciate the help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      do I need to change anything other than my drivers license

      Social security card and passport, if applicable.

      Reply
  67. Lisa

    I am a Texas resident getting married in Florida. I am a widow. My current name is first name, late husbands last name. Can I have my name as first name, late husbands last name, new husbands last name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Lisa. I don't believe middle name change options extend beyond your maiden name.

      Reply
  68. Brenda

    I recently got married for the second time but have not changed my legal last name with social security or DMV. I was married before and kept my married last name and agreed with court to keep same as my children with my divorce. I am now needing to sign some legal documents with an attorney. Can I sign with my current last name since I have not changed it as of yet?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am now needing to sign some legal documents with an attorney. Can I sign with my current last name since I have not changed it as of yet?

      Yes, as that's still your current legal name.

      Reply
  69. jurea thompson

    at time of my divorce I elected not to change back to my maiden name. I now want to change it. How do I do that in the state of Texas

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jurea. If your divorce decree doesn't contain authorization for you to go back to your maiden name, you'll either have to contact the court for an amendment or petition the court.

      Reply
  70. Annonymous

    I got married in Dec 2012 and did not change my name at the time, but want to now. I'm also wanting to take his last name, but make it a non-hyphenated 2 last names. For instance: If I was Jane Mary Smith, I now want to be Jane Mary Doe Smith (want his before mine). Do I need a court petition for that? Do I need any extra documents for it being almost 6 years since I was married?

    Reply
  71. Mario

    Hi had a question me and wife got married about a week ago how would she change her last name to mine ??

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mario. If the marriage took place in Texas, order a certified copy of the marriage certificate from the county clerk's office that recorded it. The clerk's office that records your license is the same one that issued it. Your wife can use that certificate to change her name to yours.

      If the marriage took place out-of-state, the procedure is the same. Order a certified copy of the certificate from the recording office, then use it to facilitate the name change.

      Reply
  72. GB

    I got married in 2013 and he passed away in 2014. I had taken his last name. I never changed my last name back. I just recently got remarried and would like to take his last name. Is this as simple as taking my marriage license to social security and dropping my previous married name to my new married name? I'm supposed to get my marriage license back in the next few days.
    Maiden: First Middle Maiden
    Now: First Maiden 1st Husband
    Would like: First Maiden 2nd Husband

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is this as simple as taking my marriage license to social security and dropping my previous married name to my new married name?

      Yes, that's all there is to it.

      Reply
  73. Joann Sanchez

    I live in Dallas texas I am getting a divorce can my husband forced me to change my last name to my maiden name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am getting a divorce can my husband forced me to change my last name to my maiden name.

      No, he cannot.

      Reply
  74. Angela Jackson

    I remarried and kept my ex husband last name. How can I drop his name and add my maiden name instead

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Angela. If your divorce decree provided you the option to return to your maiden name, then use that. Otherwise, you'll have to get a court-ordered name change.

      Reply
  75. Pippa

    I got married Nov 2017. I have not changed my last name to my husbands. He is the the process of changing his last name to reflect his mother’s madian name. Once this is completed with the court, am I able to change my last name to reflect his new last name as his wife? I’m hopping I won’t need to do a legal name change with the court. Please advise. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Pippa. That's problematic, because his new name won't be reflected on your marriage certificate.

      Reply
      1. Pippa

        So after he completes his name change I will need to go through the same process to change my name with the court, is this correct ? I am still using my madian name, because he was not sure what he was going to do. Thanks for the reply.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          So after he completes his name change I will need to go through the same process to change my name with the court

          That's correct.

          Reply
  76. Kim Salinas

    I am looking to change my maiden name on birth certificate to my stepfather's last name. He is not a US citizen but my mother is. I am also married and have taken my husbands last name. Is this even possible? My biological father has never been apart of my life in any form or fashion yet I carry his last name as my maiden on my birth certificate.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Kim. You'd have to obtain a court order to change the surname on your birth certificate, even if it's the only document you plan to update.

      Reply
  77. Charles Mann

    Hello. My ex-wife recently got divorced and I noticed that she has changed back to my last name including on her bank account. Is she allowed to do that? Just wondering what would prevent her from using my name for other things.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My ex-wife recently got divorced and I noticed that she has changed back to my last name including on her bank account. Is she allowed to do that?

      Yes, assuming her divorce decree permitted it.

      Just wondering what would prevent her from using my name for other things.

      Nothing.

      Reply
  78. Patricia

    I am married and am getting divorced but I'm currently engaged . Can I change my last name to my fiance's last name before my divorce is even final ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I change my last name to my fiance's last name before my divorce is even final ?

      Only through a court order.

      Reply
  79. Carol Kuan

    Hi!

    I'm getting married June 2019. Since I was little I've always gone by my middle name as my first name is in Chinese and hard for people to pronounce. I would like to legally change my first name to my current middle name, use my maiden name as my middle name, and take my fiance's last name.

    Should I need to petition for a name change, would I do it before we get our marriage license or can I do it after? If after, can I put my "updated" name on the marriage license?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Should I need to petition for a name change, would I do it before we get our marriage license or can I do it after?

      It doesn't matter.

      If after, can I put my "updated" name on the marriage license?

      No, you'd put your current legal name.

      Reply
  80. Steph

    HI! My husband and I eloped just a few weeks ago and we are in the process of changing my last name. I was wondering if it was possible to take his last name and mine after his. So for example it would be My first name, middle, his last name, my last name rather than just simply adding his to my last name at the end? I don't plan on hyphenating our names because I just want to go by his last name but want both our names on my official documents in that order. I was wondering if I can do this with our marriage license or if l'll need to go to court to get it changed that way.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Steph. I don't believe a space-separated surname is possible using just your marriage certificate.

      Reply

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