(Closed) Name changing procedure…Did I make a mistake??

posted 10 years ago in Names
Post # 3
192 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

Yes, on the marrage license you were supposed to sign your new married name. I think if you contact your county clerks office they should be able to direct you on what to do now. I was not told I needed to sign my married name on the license until I went to actually sign it with my pastor. Good luck.

Post # 4
68 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

I agree with wubz.  You should have signed your new name on your marriage license.  Starting at the county clerk’s office would be the right place to get this all figured out.

Post # 5
2 posts
  • Wedding: January 2018

Every state has a different form and different rules.  In Washington, you sign your maiden name (and the form tells you to do this).  I guess the logic is that your new name isn’t valid until AFTER you sign the certificate, so you can’t use it TO sign the certificate.    

Each state also has different rules about what changes are valid with the certificate and which require a legal name change (taking husband’s new last name vs. hypenating, etc.) 

Post # 6
1116 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

In Washington state, I had to sign my full maiden name on my marriage license and certificate.  They were very clear at the auditor’s office and on the paperwork that everything having to do with the marriage union, I was to sign my maiden name.  To me this makes sense, because it shows your legal identity/name before the marriage, in addition to your husbands name, which you can choose to take or not.  If you signed your future name, it almost looks like you’re related already! :/ Really, your name changes legally when you file the paperwork with SS and the DMV, etc. not the day you get married….

The procedure is probably a little different everywhere, but when I changed my name at Social Security and DMV, I had no problems.  I just took my drivers license, SS#, and a certified copy of the marriage certificate to both.  The certified copy is something you have to request from the auditor and pay for, only a few $.  We did it when applying for the license, and they mailed the certified copy to us within a week of the wedding.

So in short, I think you’re probably fine, but since others have different opinions/experiences, it’s worth checking on.  Have a closer look at your paperwork to see if it gives any more detail, and if you’re still confused then call the office that issued your marriage license.

Good luck!  


Post # 7
2434 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Didn’t your licence have one section for "name" (being your current/maiden name) and another for "name after marriage" (being your husbands last name or your hyphenated last name or whatever you wanted to change it to)? 

That’s what ours had in NY.  (I haven’t done it yet) but the SS office will change your name to whatever is on the license as "name after marriage". 

My sister goofed and didn’t hyphenate on the license so the SS office wouldn’t let her change from "maiden" to "maiden-married".  She didn’t bother to fight it.

But I agree with others that say call up the county clerk and ask.

However, I don’t think it’s odd for those offices to want to see your marriage license- they have to have proof you were married to justify/legally change your name. 

Post # 8
5398 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

It depends on the state because in California you have to sign with your maiden name.

Post # 10
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

As with any legal document, you sign the marriage license with your current legal name.  Some states have a place for you to also put your *intended* new name.  But at the time you signed, your legal name actually was your maiden name.  After all, the process of getting married does not automatically change your name – that’s why you have to file the rest of the paperwork. 

The marriage certificate serves as the legal paperwork that allows you to change your name – in lieu of a name change petition.  (A divorce decree will also work.)  When you go to the SS office, they will have a form that requires you to put your current name, and the new name that you are requesting.  Showing your marriage license will give them your husband’s last name, which is all the rest that should be necessary.  It works this way because actually you can’t change your name to just anything – you can add your husband’s name, with out without hyphen, or substitute your husband’s name for yours.  You can’t change your last name to something completely different with the marriage license (for instance, in the case where you and your husband both decide to take a new name that doesn’t match either of your old names).  That would require a name change petition.

As far as what you do now, you need to get a certified copy of your marriage license (that would be from your county clerk; the copy you got at the wedding isn’t official).  You take that certified copy to the Social Security office to request your new card, and then to the Department of Motor Vehicles for your new drivers’ license.  You will also need to make sure as soon as you ger your new DL and SS Card, you go into your Human Resouces department at work and file a name change (they will want copies of your new ID) so that your payroll stuff doesn’t get messed up.  HR should take care of changes on your health insurance and such.  You will also need to get to your bank with a copy of your marriage license before you start trying to cash checks written to your new name! 

There is a form for name change on your passport; basically if you’ve had your passport longer than a few months you have to apply for a new one.  If you’re going to be travelling, make sure the name on your ID matches your plane tickets!  Everybody else (credit cards, auto and homeowners’ insurance) it seems that you just have to call or make the change online.  It takes a lot of time and effort.  Five months later I have my new SS, DL, all changes at work, bank, and one credit card.  Oh, and I finally ordered new checks.  I hope I can make time before Christmas to get a new passport photo and get that paperwork sent off.

Post # 11
25 posts
  • Wedding: November 2007

NovBride08~ I’m from S Cali too, and I had the exact same concern when I went to change my name. The way you did it is correct. The marriage license does not have your changed name, it only has your maiden name. No worries!!

Post # 12
329 posts
Helper bee
  • V
  • 10 years ago


You don’t have to sign your married name anywhere. They need the certificate for you to prove that you’re married and that you have the right to change your name not because they wanna see your new name.

Don’t worry. 

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