Change Back to My Maiden Name While Still Married. Without a Divorce!

Young woman doubting her name change, thinking of changing back to her maiden name

Reversing your name change within your existing marriage is tricky. If you're grappling with this dilemma, know that you're not alone. Does a quick fix exist? Let's find out.

Right question, wrong answer

We've gotten thousands of name change questions throughout the years. Sprinkled amongst them are interesting edge cases. At first glance, they're not what they appear.

Here's a curious example:

  1. I want my maiden name back!
  2. Can I change back to my maiden name without a divorce?
  3. How do I change back to my maiden name while still married?

The first appears to be folks pursuing divorce and wanting their maiden name restored. Simple enough. Just ask the judge to restore it within your divorce decree. Done!

The last two questions are ambiguous. Are they separated or getting divorced, yet haven't finalized it? Are they getting antsy, wanting to get their old name back early?

But what about someone who:

  1. Is happily (or unhappily) married.
  2. Regrets their name change.
  3. Wants to get back their maiden name.
  4. Isn't interested in divorce, remarriage, or court orders.

Online queries (ignoring the nuances) will often yield two common solutions:

  1. Get divorced. (Sigh!)
  2. Petition the court for a name change. (Ugh!)

These suggestions aren't wrong per se. But they might be overkill.

You just want a reset!

Does it come down to regret? You feel sorry you changed your name. You want your maiden name and identity back. Your reasons could be personal, professional, or a mix.

It doesn't matter. You're tired of litigating your decision. You just want things undone. Maybe you'll change it again later. Maybe not. But, let's just start over.

Just petition the court. Right?

Bernard Baruch: "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

Conventional wisdom suggests you've got one shot at name change through marriage. Undoing it means petitioning the court for a second name change:

  1. Court forms
  2. Hefty filing fees
  3. Courthouse hearings
  4. Local newspaper publication
  5. Soul-crushing headache and time wasted
Play on words of Nathan Hale's famous quote: "I only regret that I have but one name change to offer for my marriage."

No wonder people bury their name change sorrows as lessons learned. It's too late. Take your medicine. Wallow in self-loathing. Because the fix is too much trouble!

But is there an easier way? A secret corridor? Yes!…

Name correction to the rescue

It's always great to share a bonafide name change trick. Not a loophole. But a real, sanctioned, unambiguous solution. Its existence is remarkable, dating back to 2011.

And now, without further ado…

The SSA offers a lifetime return policy on name changes. You can return your married name for your maiden name (or any prior name held). Or exchange it for another new name.

And here's the kicker…

You can use your marriage certificate to get back your maiden name on your social security card. You don't need to get divorced or petition the court.

Yes, you can reuse the same marriage certificate used to change your name after marriage to undo that regretted name change. The cert giveth and taketh away.

This remedy works well for those who use our online name change kit to complete the name change process. Same as an initial marital name change.

Correction, reversal, undo, revert, flip-flop, u-turn

The SSA calls this a name correction; it's more of a name reversal or reset. Name reversions for marriage resemble regular name changes and follow the same procedures.

Social Security Program Operations Manual System name corrections protocol, established April 11, 2011

You can return to your maiden name for marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships using your marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership certificate.

Starting the name reversal process

The process for getting your maiden name back is the same for initial marriage name changes. See our social security card name change guide for what to do. The basic steps are:

  1. Mail the SSA form.
  2. Include your identification.
  3. Include your marriage certificate.

Deadlines and time limits

There's no deadline or timeline to undo or redo your married name change. You can pursue it right after you've changed your name or years later. The procedure remains the same.

Paraphrasing SSA POMS: "There's no deadline to reverse or redo your marriage name change."

Start over or forge a new path

The allure of a name reversal is the flexibility and breathing room it offers. You're not limited to a single name change retraction. You can seek consecutive revisions.

For instance, if you're struggling with uncertainty, you can revert, get your new SSN card, then either stop or plow ahead with yet another fresh name change.

Maximum do-overs

The SSA allows unlimited social security card name reversals and revisions. But over three changes within the same marriage will raise red flags.

If the field office thinks something fishy is going on, they'll consult the regional office. Impetuousness isn't a crime; you're okay as long as your pursuit is legit.

Vast name change reversal options

You're not relegated to just returning to your maiden name. You can change to any of the following names, whatever your current name is:

  1. Birth or maiden name
  2. Any prior name
  3. Spouse's last name
  4. Hyphenated last names
  5. Space-separated last names
  6. Part of spouse's compound surname

We'll elaborate on each of the above with the following examples.

1. Birth or maiden name change example

Let's say your maiden name is Rose Garcia, married Jordan Moore, changed your name to Rose Moore, then back to Rose Garcia. This rollback sequence works.

2. Any prior name example

Imagine you're on your second marriage; both times, taking your spouse's surname. Name reversal lets you return to any prior last name: maiden or ex-spouse's.

3. Spouse's last name example

Suppose your name was Ryan Lee, married Josh Clark, then hyphenated to Ryan Lee-Clark. Now you wish to just take your spouse's surname as Ryan Clark. You can do this.

4. Hyphenated last names example

Let's say your name was Ann Hall, married Ari Smith, then hyphenated to Ann Hall-Smith. You can reorder surnames, drop the hyphen for a space, or restore your birth name.

See our extended article covering the pros and cons of hyphenating your last name after marriage. (Whether you may come to or from this direction).

5. Space-separated last names example

See the prior hyphenated example, then swap out hyphen with space. Same result.

6. Part of spouse's compound surname example

If you were Jane King, married Mark Allen-Hill, then changed your name to Jane Allen-Hill, you can later shift to Jane Allen or Jane Hill. The dropped part must be a whole word.

Will this truly work? Reassure me!

The strategy of reversing your name change is well-documented and approved in POMS RM 10212.150: the SSA's operations manual.

Old Russian proverb: "Trust but verify."

There's even a documented example of this "I want my maiden name back" scenario in POMS RM 10212.160H:

Ruth Gonzalez changed her last name on her SSN card to her husband’s surname, Scott, when they married years ago but has never used that name. She is requesting a change in SSA records back to her maiden name, Gonzalez.

Her marriage document shows Ruth Gonzalez married Lou Scott. The new name requested (in this case the maiden name, Ruth Gonzalez), can be derived from the marriage document.

In addition, Ruth submits her driver’s license in the new name (Ruth Gonzalez). Ruth's legal name and identity have been established following RM 10212.150C, and the name correction can be processed.

Name correction example quoted from POMS RM 10212.160H.

But we were still skeptical. Maybe these sources were outdated or deprecated. So we contacted several SSA field offices at random, posing this hypothetical:

If someone changed their last name through marriage, will the SSA let them return to their maiden name using the same marriage certificate?

Name change undo query posed to SSA agents.

Responses from SSA agents fell into two buckets:

  1. No, you need a court order to change your name again.
  2. Yes, it's doable using your marriage certificate.

When we brought up the relevant POMS article, nos shifted to either:

  1. Hold on, let me look that up.
  2. Hold on, let me speak with my supervisor.

Soon after, every no concluded with either:

  1. Yes, it's possible after all.
  2. Yes, this works. I hadn't heard of this before.

Don't take a chance; plan for success

Considering that several SSA agents weren't aware of name reversal protocols, do yourself a favor and include a note referencing the pertinent POMS articles when filing:

I'm submitting a name correction for my current marriage per POMS RM 10212.150 and RM 10212.160H.

Example notice to SSA field office agent.

You can go further by printing each POMS article and attaching it to your paperwork.

Caveats, fine print, and gotchas

Reversing your marriage name change with the SSA is easy. But this technique is only guaranteed to work with them. For instance, your state DMV might not agree.

When should I use this?

Name change undo, redo, reversal, or switcheroos work best when the only agency you've updated is the SSA. This allows you to start with a clean slate.

When should I rethink my name do-over?

You may have gone too far down the rabbit hole to turn back once you've updated many IDs, such as your driver's license and passport.

This is the downside and danger. Changing your name with one government entity only to have another scoff. They may even want you to reverse your reversal.

Name change reversal concluding thoughts

Undoing the name change on your social security card for your current marriage is doable. The SSA paperwork is the same. If you're yearning for a reset, here's your chance.

If you're looking for an efficient way to complete your name change undo, redo, or reversal, our online name change kit can help guide you along the way.

We've helped thousands change their names, both before and after marriage.

Get Started

78 Comments

  1. Vanessa L.

    What if I'm getting divorced? Can I use my marriage certificate to do my name change or do I wait until the divorce is finished?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Vanessa. When do you anticipate your divorce will be finalized? And how many forms of ID do you need to update?

      Reply
  2. Marge S

    Hi. I changed my last name into a hyphenated name (my maiden and my spouse’s name). I do now regret the decision and would like to change to just my spouse’s name since we have a child and it seems like everything would just be easier if we all had the same last name. However, I did change my NJ Driver’s Lic. But I did not change my US passport, which doesn't expire until Aug 2022.

    If I mail in all the required documents to the SSA and am granted a name do-over, do you think I will have trouble with my passport and/or my NJ Lic? Should I do my passport second and then my license, so that I have 2 documents with my new name?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Marge. Your passport will be fine. You could face trouble with your driver's license, because you're lacking a subsequent name change event. You may want to email the NJ MVC and ask them if they'll allow a subsequent name change if your social security record will reflect the change.

      Or if they'll accept it if your SSA record shows your new name and you can present a passport with the proper name. So two points of supporting documentation. The latter would require you to wait for the return of your updated passport.

      Getting a response by email would provide you a hard copy response instead of a phone reply.

      Reply
    2. Dani

      Hi Marge,

      I basically did the same thing in NJ. I have my license with the new hyphenated last name, but I would like to just have one last name. I was wondering what was the outcome for you at the DMV?

      Reply
  3. Marijo

    What if you were married twice? I like to still go back to my maiden name

    Reply
    1. Marijo

      I should been clearer I live in Michigan I got married 28 years ago in Fl to my second husband I always wanted my maiden name but was to told had to use my husband’s. Even when divorced my first husband wanted my maiden name but since I had two boys the judge didn’t grant it. So would this process work after all these years and does Michigan allow it?

      Reply
      1. Tyrone Jones

        Hi Marijo. You should be fine as long as your marriage document shows your maiden name.

        Reply
        1. Marijo

          I was told cannot in State of Michigan only if I were to get a divorce. Thank you anyway.

          Reply
          1. Tyrone Jones

            Hi Marijo. When you say Michigan are you referring to a local SSA office or the DMV?

          2. Marijo

            I was told cannot change in Michigan without court order and then there’s fees for fingerprinting and to be printed In paper and not court fee. I get a divorce if he give it to me but I can’t afford this either 😞

          3. Tyrone Jones

            Hi Marijo. It's not clear which entity you're referring to. The SSA, DMV, or another office?

          4. Marijo

            For the Pom Rm # you said to use States Foreign marriage or foreign recognized same-sex marriage.

            But SSA said I have to have a court order to change back to my maiden name said that was standard for any state. This what you’re stating would only be good for newlyweds or who probably never accepted their spouse name but to claim they let you take our maiden name back is false.

          5. Tyrone Jones

            States Foreign marriage or foreign recognized same-sex marriage

            There isn't a reference to foreign marriage in the POM ID or the article. Are you sure you're referencing the same ID?

            what you’re stating would only be good for newlyweds or who probably never accepted their spouse name

            There is an example referencing a name correction where the marriage (and accompanying name change) took place several years prior.

            This isn't an often used procedure. Name reversals are uncommon in practice, even though they're their use cases are documented.

            It may not be sufficient to reference the POMS ID alone or assume it's common knowledge. The full operations reference and supporting example page may be worth printing and including as attachments.

  4. Julie

    What if I never changed my Driver's License or Social Security card to my un-hyphenated, only spaced after, married name?

    Ex: "Jane FaTeeRay Doe". Maiden name FaTeeRay. I also got my passport and work license under my maiden name. The only place that still has my unhyphenated only spaced married name is the marriage certificate and my insurance companies, who will not change it, for what reason I'm not sure.

    In order to change insurance, titles, etc to my maiden name, (which I have been going by in employment, credit, everything else for over 15 years now), do I still use this "trick"? (Confusing bc my SS Card was never changed.) Please let me know.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Julie. Your insurance companies go by their own internal rules. You'll have to resolve this with them directly.

      You can appeal to them citing your predicament as a name correction instead of a change. Explain how your name hasn't changed on your social security card, driver's license, credit bureaus, etc.

      If they deny your request, you can ask for their rationale and name change requirements in writing. You may want to dispatch your follow-up correspondence in writing as well.

      You could also contact your state insurance commissioner for advice, assistance, or to file a complaint.

      Reply
  5. Sam

    When you change your name with SSA again, does that become your official legal name? Some DMVs state that you must get a court order to change your name again if it has been changed due to marriage the first time.

    For example: If Sara Smith married John Doe and initially changed it to Sarah Smith Doe (first, middle, last) and then realizes she wants to be Sarah Smith-Doe, she can use the bylaws with SSA using the same marriage license to become Sarah Smith-Doe. Then the SSA gives you a new identification card.

    To me, that seems like even if your name is now Sarah Smith-Doe with SSA, the DMV won't accept the new social and the same marriage license for a new drivers license? Also will the passport office give the same push back?

    Is it possible to be hyphenated with SSA, but not on the passport and driver's license? I imagine professional degrees will have issues because of the inconsistency.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      When you change your name with SSA again, does that become your official legal name?

      Yes.

      Some DMVs state that you must get a court order to change your name again if it has been changed due to marriage the first time.

      Correct, assuming a name change took place with both the SSA and DMV.

      To me, that seems like even if your name is now Sarah Smith-Doe with SSA, the DMV won't accept the new social and the same marriage license for a new drivers license?

      If the only entity changed was the SSA, that makes things easier. If the driver's license was also changed, undoing the name change will likely require a court order.

      Also will the passport office give the same push back?

      Same situation. The end of the article mentioned how this approach becomes more difficult once you've begun to update an array of ID beyond social security.

      Is it possible to be hyphenated with SSA, but not on the passport and driver's license?

      Social security card and driver's license must match. The passport can be renewed under a current name, even if it deviates from the new married name.

      Reply
  6. Danielle

    When I got married, I changed my name to my husbands last name. Now, I'd like to hyphenate it to include my maiden name. Can I use the reversal process to switch back to my maiden name and then go to the social security office to hyphenate it with my marriage certificate?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Danielle. You can return to your maiden name. Whether you can hyphenate depends on if there's an explicit new name after marriage block on your marriage certificate. If yes, that's the only name change they'll accept. If no new name section exists, you can hyphenate.

      If your marriage certificate supports this, you don't have to perform two subsequent name changes. You can go straight to hyphenate.

      Reply
  7. Melissa

    Hi we got our marriage license and I hyphenated my name. It’s the same day and I don’t want to hyphenate my name anymore I just want to keep my maiden name. How do I do this? We didn’t even have the wedding ceremony yet I just don’t want to change my name and I want to keep my maiden name. What do I do?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Melissa. You don't have to change your name, even though your marriage license and certificate says you'll hyphenate.

      If you still don't want your license and certificate to show the hyphenated name, you may contact the office that issued it to modify and reissue it. They may be willing to do this without additional fees. Otherwise, they'll require you to submit a new application, fees and all.

      Reply
  8. Izzy

    I called my local social security office (NC) and I asked if they could do this and they laughed at me. I was told that I have to go to court, file a petition, get finger printed, etc. this is ridiculous. I just wanna feel like my own person.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Izzy. As mentioned in the article, this isn't a well known provision. You may be better positioned citing the pertinent POMS ID and marriage example so that they're aware of this stipulation.

      Reply
    2. Han P

      I was told originally it wasn’t possible by the first person I spoke with. I came back the same day after researching, got a new person to talk to, and after citing the official policy that applied to me (just google POMS 10212.155), specifically “ Change from spouse’s or partner’s surname to numberholder’s prior name (e.g., maiden name)”, I was able to fill out the form with just my original marriage certificate and my ID (which still had my maiden name, the only thing I had changed since getting married was my social). I should have my new card in 2 weeks according to the person who actually helped me at the office.

      Reply
  9. Kathleen

    Hi. My husband and I are separated but staying married. I knew as soon as I agreed to take his name it would be a regret of mine but I didn’t think that it would be that big of a deal to change it back even if we did stay happily married. Apparently I was wrong. I live in New York. Any advice on what to do? Thank you.

    Reply
  10. Alice Cook

    I'd like to change back to my maiden name (staying married). In addition to SSA, DMV and passport, will I also need to notify bank, retirement accts., insurance, employer etc.?How do I ensure that my bank and retirement accounts will have my name. Additionally, will my husband need to change my name as beneficiary on his insurance and retirement accounts?
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Alice. You should update all mentioned documents, including bank, insurance, and retirement accounts. But keep in mind the caveat mentioned in the article that if you've changed your name beyond social security the reversal process using your marriage certificate may be out of reach. Your situation will likely require a court order.

      Reply
  11. Kelly

    I’d like to legally change my name back to my maiden name, not divorcing. I never changed it on my driver’s license, only with SSA. Can I use this kit and do this in person at a SSA office? I’m assuming they need the actual marriage certificate, and I don’t feel comfortable mailing that.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Kelly. Yes, you can do it in person with a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

      Reply
  12. Jasmine

    I still have my old social security card with my maiden name, how would I go about changing my name on my drivers license back to my maiden name without divorcing or showing a divorce certificate?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Jasmine. It's more likely than not the DMV will need to see a new name change event document authorizing your new name change. That means obtaining a court order.

      Reply
  13. Ariana

    Hi, I haven't officially changed my name with the social security office yet, however when filing my marriage certificate, I did put my spouses last name. I want to keep my maiden name, or hypehnate it. Because I haven't changed it with the social security office yet, how do I go about keeping my maiden name? And what is the cost? (In California)
    Thank you so much!!

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Because I haven't changed it with the social security office yet, how do I go about keeping my maiden name?

      Take no action, and then your maiden name will remain your legal name.

      Reply
    2. Christal

      DO NOT hyphenate your name!! This will turn into a TOTAL NIGHTMARE! I hyphenated mine 29 years ago and am attempting to get his name removed so I can just go by my maiden name… of which I never gave up!

      We have a wonderful marriage, but his family is very contentious and I am sick of dealing with them and refuse to die with "their" name attached to mine. Plus back in the 1990s, there was no issue as to how many characters your name contained; but now that we are in the 21st century, this has become another nightmare as companies do not permit as many "characters", so they take it upon themselves to abbreviate your name… which they usually drop the first part of the hyphenated name, thereby making you go by his name and NOT your own!

      Even though this website states you can revert back to your maiden name via a marriage certificate, I just came from the local SSA office and they treated me as if I was a criminal attempting to do something illegal. The rude clerk informed me that I have to have a court order stating my name has been legally changed back to my maiden name; but when I spoke with a different clerk yesterday at the same office, she told me all I needed was my marriage certificate, birth certificate, and driver's license… then stated I did not need a court order! The clerk today basically accused me of being a liar and attempting to commit fraud! Just PLEASE weight the pros and cons…which in my case it has become such a nightmare that this process is destroying my peace of mind!

      Reply
  14. JackieMay

    Any information about changing just my middle name and I haven't made any other document changes? I got married and let's say my original name is Jackie May Johnson and got married changed to Jackie May Washington. But now I want my name to be Jackie May-Johnson Washington.

    I haven't changed any of my records. The only document that says my married name is my marriage certificate/license. Haven't changed my SS card, license or anything.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi JackieMay. Does your marriage certificate explicitly list your new married name, separate from your current name or maiden name?

      Reply
  15. Christina

    Hi,
    I got married 6 years ago and changed my last name to my husband's. I dropped my given middle name and my maiden name is now my middle name.

    Example:
    Given: Last, First & Middle>> Van, Christina Kay
    New Married Name >> Higgins, Christina Van

    I've changed my DL and SSN to my new married name years ago. But now I regret it and want to change it to add back my maiden name to >> Van Higgins, Christina

    My marriage certificate states, "Bride's declared surname: Higgins". Am I able to change my last name VAN HIGGINS with SSA office or would I need to pay for a name petition?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Christina. You'd use your marriage certificate to change it with the SSA. The potential problem point is the driver's license office. Even though they'll query the SSA database for a name match, they don't follow the same name reversal rules as the SSA.

      That's why folks are often able to execute exotic or complex name changes with the SSA only to have the DMV question or reject it. It's also why reversals become difficult once you venture outside the SSA universe. You might end up having to petition just to satisfy the DMV.

      Reply
  16. Hercules

    I changed my first name two year ago, about five years after I got married. All my documents reflect this change, except my marriage certificate. But now I want to revert back to my maiden name. I am not divorcing my husband! Just want my new first name and my maiden name. Will this service help me?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Hercules. Did you undergo two name changes? One through marriage and another through court petition to change your first name?

      Reply
  17. B

    I’m not divorced but want to go back to my maiden name. I still have my SS card with my maiden name on it and my license are almost ready to renew. Can I just use my maiden name card to renew and change my last name on my license or do I still need to go through the SS administration?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Can I just use my maiden name card to renew and change my last name on my license or do I still need to go through the SS administration?

      If you've already changed your name on your social security record, you'll want to change it back there before handing your driver's license. The reason is the driver's license office will perform an electronic verification against the SSA system and will detect the name mismatch. Having your old social security card with your prior name wouldn't help.

      Reply
  18. Tiniqua W

    Hello, I changed my name due to marriage with the social security administration and with the DMV. Is it possible to change my name back to my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Tiniqua. Yes, with social security. But the DMV may not allow it without a court order.

      Reply
    2. A.

      Is there a way that I could get some evidence because when I went to the Social Security Administration they told me that there is no way I could get my maiden name back while being married.

      They told me I have to have a divorce although Google says that I have a unlimited time to change my name if I wanted to and that I can go back to my maiden name while being married but for some reason either the people are not update on their protocol or the law they're all telling me no I have to get a divorce.

      What can I do so that I can reverse it back to my maiden name correct my maiden name to my social security card because I regret change in my name when I got married

      Reply
      1. Tyrone Jones

        Hi A. You can return to the SSA with printouts of the two POMS sources cited in the article. Or mail your paperwork with the references attached.

        Reply
  19. Diana M Juarez

    Hello, I am not divorcing but I want my maiden name back. I did change it with SS and passport, and DL in Texas. Do I need a court order to do this?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Diana. Court order is more sensible since you've changed your name well beyond just social security.

      Reply
  20. 2 LAST NAMEZ!

    Went to SS office today with documentation in hand ready for a fight. Rep. didn't even ask to see anything but photo ID. No hassle at all. I chose 2 last names with no hyphen. Next up…DMV!

    Reply
  21. Marie

    Today I changed my last name on my license to my spouse’s at NJ DMV, but after I left I regretted it. Could I go back tomorrow and ask them to amend the new license to reflect a hyphenated name? I did not yet change my social security card or passport, and haven’t received a hard copy of the new license yet. Thank you for your help.

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Marie. It doesn't hurt to try, but they'll likely require another name change document, which doesn't exist.

      Reply
  22. Kiki

    I am married but I want to change back to the name I had prior to getting married. I need to change all of my credit cards, passport and driver's license. I live in Maryland is that going to be an issue?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Kiki. Yes, that will likely be an issue since you've gone all the way with your name change. Reversals work best when you've just crossed the edge with your social security card instead of updating everything.

      Reply
  23. Kathy

    My husband ms ex wife took back her maiden name (in Oklahoma) when divorce was final, many years ago. Recently she has had some legal issues and we discovered she is now using my husband name again. Are both legal or should she be using name court granted her at divorce?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      should she be using name court granted her at divorce?

      The maiden name granted to your husband's ex in the divorce decree is nonbinding. She isn't required to change her name to match.

      Reply
  24. Angela So Cali

    I'm in California and would like to get my maiden name back with social security. I changed my name to my husband's when I got married in mid 1990's but don't want to pay for a costly divorce just to get my maiden name back.

    I have never used my married name and my drivers license, credit cards and everything has my maiden name. How can I get social security to change my married name back to my maiden?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      How can I get social security to change my married name back to my maiden?

      You would use a certified copy of your marriage certificate to rollback your name change. The instructions in the social security name change guide explains the process.

      Reply
      1. Angela So Cali

        Thank You so much, I’ll do it as soon as I get my official copy of the marriage license.

        Reply
  25. Bobbi McClenning

    I only got the I.D. when I got married never changed the social. I'm not divorced after 10 yrs separated but I am trying to get my I.D. Now with maiden name, all food stamps and medical are under maiden name, but my I.D. isn't. How do I get the DMV to let me get a I. D. with maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Bobbi. The procedure from over a decade ago is unlikely to be the same as today. You were able to update your ID before your social security card. These days the order is reversed: SS card first, then ID (i.e., driver's license or state-issued ID).

      You'll have to contact the DDS and ask them the procedure to match your ID with your current social security record. It needs to be resolved eventually as when it comes time to renew your ID, it won't match your social security record.

      Reply
  26. Linda J.

    Well, I was happily married for forty-two years, then widowed. I have been thinking about reverting to my maiden name. I think I can with SSA, but will it work with the DOL? I do have my husband's death certificate, our marriage certificate, an old passport with maiden name, current passport with married name, and birth certificate. Do I have a chance in Washington State?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Linda. The SSA does have a carve-out for widows, but I don't believe WA DOL does.

      Reply
  27. Deb

    I was with my husband for 24 years, we've been separated for 6. At first we didn't divorce because it was costly and we had one minor child still at home.

    He currently has many health problems and says he would like to stay married so that if he passes away I can receive benefits, to sort of make up for the years of not being able to help financially.

    We have an amicable relationship at this point. I have been in a relationship with someone for over a year and would like to change my last name to his. We have no plans to get married. Is it possible for me to do that without divorcing?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      I have been in a relationship with someone for over a year and would like to change my last name to his. We have no plans to get married. Is it possible for me to do that without divorcing?

      Yes, but you would have to petition the court for a name change. You could use a marriage certificate, as it would only apply to your current marriage. You've ruled out a divorce decree, which leaves a court order as the only viable name change document available.

      Reply
  28. Eunice A

    I got married a couple years ago and my name was changed to my husbands last name on my SS card and driver’s license. I want to revert to my maiden name without divorce. Is this possible? (Without the court order)

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Eunice. Yes, for your social security card. But it may be a problem with your driver's license.

      Reply
  29. Amari

    Hello, I haven't changed my married name to my maiden for years. How long will the process take? What are the legal fees to get started? Any information will help. Thank you.

    Reply
  30. Denise

    Why is it so difficult to change your married name back to your maiden name on your Social Security and license while still married? I'm in the state of North Carolina and I've contact the courthouse and everyone who I spoken to said no you cannot change your married name back to your maiden name while still being married.

    You have to have a divorce but why would I need to go through all that process just to change my name back if I'm continue to be with my husband?

    All I want to do is have my maiden name back my identity and I don't think it it's none of no one's business why but of course they're going to ask questions, but why is everybody making a big deal out of it??

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Denise. Those who work in the courthouse are not social security employees. They're taking a macro view of name change where the prime methods are marriage, divorce, and court orders. Expecting them to know the nuances of social security, driver's license, or passport name change procedures is too much to expect.

      The courthouse isn't the go-to for your situation. They're only concerned with name changes via court petitions. That's their lane.

      Reply
  31. Nancy

    I am widowed 3 years now and want my maiden name back. How do I do this? I don't understand why using my name has to be so difficult and costly. I was born with that name?

    Reply
    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Nancy. When you're widowed, you could use your marriage certificate to restore your maiden name.

      Reply

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