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 June 21, 2023

What is a Maiden Name vs a Married Name

A newly married couple discussing the woman's name change.


Marriage can change everything. When people wed each other, they begin sharing bills, responsibilities, joys, sorrows, and everything else that life brings.

In many cases, the married couples will even share the same last name. Often, the woman in a marriage is the person who changes her last name to match her new partner’s name. She legally drops her maiden name, meaning that she takes on a new married name.

What is a maiden name?

When a woman gets married for the first time and assumes the last name of her partner, her previous last name is now her maiden name. Essentially, her maiden name is the surname of the family she was born into. Her married name is the surname of the family she has newly joined in marriage.

Do you know how to legally change your name?

A legal name change may sound complicated, but it really isn’t too difficult. You’ll just need to follow these steps to changing your last name:
Couple discussing the time to change a woman's maiden name to her married name.

  1. Make sure you have all the required forms, such as an application or petition, and any fees that you may need to pay.
  2. Find out if your state requires you to complete a background check.
  3. Some states may need you to publish your name change publicly, such as in the local newspaper. You may also be required to attend a name change hearing, where the judge will consider your application and any possible objections.
  4. Ensure that all your official documents reflect your new name! This includes driver’s license, Social Security number, passport, and birth certificate.
  5. Just to be safe, keep an old driver’s license, Social Security identification, or other official document that still shows your old name.

Can I change my last name at any time?

Certainly! You can change your surname for any number of reasons. Here are a few of the most common reasons people legally change their last names:

  • They don’t like their current name.
  • They are recently divorced.
  • Their name doesn’t reflect their preferred pronouns.
  • They believe their current name receives too much discrimination.
  • They are a dedicated artist, such as singer, actor or social media influencer, who wants a name that reflects their work.

Thinking of changing your name? LegalShield helps make it simple.

While the name change process isn’t too complicated at first, many issues can arise that could make it confusing fast. For a low, automatically renewing monthly rate, you can get access to an entire dedicated LegalShield law firm! Our legal plans give you access to vetted lawyers who are ready to help with the legal problems life brings. Get professional help with document review, a letter or phone call made on your behalf, consultation on an unlimited number of personal matters, and 24/7 emergency access for covered legal issues.

Sign up for LegalShield’s personal prepaid legal plan to get access to consultation and advice for most legal questions you might have.

Thinking of changing your name? Learn about the top seven reasons people change their names and why it might benefit you.


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 a third-party paid contributor. All information by authors is 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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