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 May 20, 2022

Not Changing Your Name After Marriage?

Young couple leaving wedding ceremony

Updated Aug. 29, 2023

So, you’ve officially tied the knot. You’ve been on your honeymoon and now you’re wondering whether you should change your name or not. Spouses neglect to change their name for a number of reasons. Some even choose to compromise and hyphenate their last name and include their partner’s last name due to status and to express commitment to the new marriage. In this blog, we’ll discuss why not changing your name after marriage isn’t as bad as it may seem and what you can do to make things easier for yourself if you end up deciding to take your spouse’s last name.

Can I keep my name after marriage?

Before getting married, many people begin to ask themselves if when not changing their name after marriage is acceptable. When you marry you are free to keep your name or take your new partner’s name but one thing is clear—it’s absolutely your choice in most states and countries around the world. It’s come down to a matter of preference and personal choice.

Many people keep their last name because they end up marrying later in life or their career is already at full speed and it could be risky—career-wise and financially speaking—to take the plunge and choose a completely new name (possibly seen as a new identity altogether). Personal branding is a powerful tool in today’s society. In simple terms, name recognition brings power and many people just aren’t ready to give that up.

What do you call a married woman who keeps her maiden dame?

There are several options for what you, and those around you, can call you when you do decide to keep your maiden name after marrying. You can go by “Ms.” or use “Mrs.” as in “Mr. Jackson and Mrs. Smith.” You can also go by “Ms.” if you’d prefer your title not to be associated with your marital status. The key thing to remember is that it’s your personal decision. Before making your decision, be sure to become familiar with the reasons why people change their name.

Is there a deadline for name change after marriage?

No, your marriage license doesn’t expire so there is no deadline for a name change after marriage or time limit you must adhere to in order to be able to change your name after marriage. In fact, many spouses and newly married couples choose to wait to “see what happens” after they get married.

Can I keep my last name and add my partner’s?

This, again, is your personal choice and comes down to what you, and often your new spouse, decide together. It may be advantageous to hyphenate your name adding your spouse’s afterward, but no one can say for absolute certain. Many new spouses choose hyphenation because it may seem to them to be the “best of both worlds,” since they won’t lose their own name (personal brand) and they have the opportunity to use their spouse’s at the same time.. We’ve put together a useful guide that will tell you exactly what it takes to change your name.

Why is it important to take your partner’s last name?

It’s interesting to note that in a series of Google Consumer Surveys, the New York Times reported that over 70% of women in the United States chose to take their spouse’s last name. As mentioned above, a spouse’s last name can be important for many factors and not just as a status symbol in society. Many recently married spouses make this decision because it solidifies the connection and commitment between the couple. Simply put, it is a gesture that leaves no room for doubt.

How do you legally change your name after marriage?

The process to legally changing your name after marriage is quite simple if you have all of your documents gathered in advance.

Follow these steps to ensure you can legally change your name without the hassle of extra red tape:

  1. When you apply for your marriage license, be sure to request and purchase certified copies in advance (it may be a good idea to purchase three copies, to start)
  2. Store your certificates and marriage license in a safe place (this could be a safe or secure box in your home)
  3. Update your Social Security card
  4. Update your Drivers License or State-Issued Identification Card
  5. Request a new U.S. Passport and Travel Documents
  6. Change the name on your bank accounts or open a joint bank account with your new spouse
  7. Lastly, don’t forget to change your name on your credit cards and with your current employer (and insurance agent)

Let LegalShield help you change your name

We know that changing your name can seem like a challenging process. If you’re ready, LegalShield can help you change your name today.

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (“PPLSI”) provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to PPLSI members through membership-based participation. Neither PPLSI nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation, or advice. The information available in this blog is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations. The blog post is not a substitute for competent legal counsel from a licensed professional lawyer in the state or province where your legal issues exist, and the reader is strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel for your specific legal matter. Information contained in the blog may be provided by authors who could be third-party paid contributor. All information by authors are accepted in good faith, however, PPLSI makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of such information.


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