Marriage name change is customary and not required by law, however, over the past decade the number of newlyweds who go on to take their spouse’s surname has remained steady. While there are no official statistics sources quote that around 80% of brides going on to change names. You have a number of options available…
The traditional choice
The traditional choice is still most popular, with one of the newlyweds swapping their surname with their spouse’s. It’s the most straightforward type of change. and your marriage certificate is the only proof you’ll need to get started.
Maiden name becomes a middle name
Increasingly popular with brides, they choose to move their maiden name to become a middle name. So if you were Sarah Anne Jones and married Alex Jackson, your new name would be Sarah Anne Jones Jackson, or the previous middle name can be dropped to be Sarah Jones Jackson (middle name is underlined in these examples). All state DMV’s allow this except for Washington, where a legal name change is required. When you file for your wedding license you may be required to state your preferred married name so it can be printed on your wedding certificate and used as proof of your new name. Please read our dedicated section on making your maiden name a middle name after marriage.
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Using both married and maiden names
The next most popular choice is to change names on all records, such as identification, accounts and memberships, but retain use of your birth surname in some situations. It’s common to be known by a birth name professionally no matter how many years after the wedding. If you choose this path just ensure any travel arrangements made with work are booked under the same name that currently appears on your identification. You may also need to let your workplace know if changes need to be made for payroll, banking, health insurance and any other companies your workplace may deal with on your behalf.
Joined or double-barrelled names
Falling in popularity are joined names, where either spouse may add the other’s surname to their own. The two surnames may be separated by either a space or a hyphen. This was once seen as the best of both worlds and very popular in the 80’s. Fewer newlyweds now choose this because they often become the only person in the family with this name and it is not usually passed onto children. This is a straightforward request and well understood by all organizations. The only complexity would be in a small number of states where the DMV only allows a married name that is printed on the state marriage certificate. If you are in a state where you must nominate your future name at the time of applying for your wedding license, then you are limited to only having that name going forward.
Something totally different
If you want a name that’s different from the options listed above then you need to file a petition with the court for a legal name change. See our dedicated legal name change section for more information.
How do I change names after marriage?
Once you’ve decided which way to go the process is simple. Start by filing for a name change with the SSA. Once you have received correspondence from the SSA confirming your name has been changed, then go on to change names with the DMV. A few state DMVs have a special form to complete, however all state DMV’s require you to visit a branch in person. Get the forms for your DMV and all other state and federal agencies in our name change kit, starting from $35.
Now get your name updated everywhere else! Consider insurance companies, utility providers, phone accounts, travel rewards, banking, credit cards, subscriptions and more. If you don’t fancy calling each one and waiting on hold we can provide you with each company’s name change process plus ready to send forms, letters and emails. Just sign and send! Just click below to get started.