Your Questions About Changing Your Name for Marriage Answered

Your Questions About Changing Your Name for Marriage Answered

Whether you’re choosing to take his last name or create your own unique surname as a family, changing your name for marriage can be a complex topic. While exact rules and procedures vary from state to state, here are your general questions about changing your name for marriage answered.

Do I need to change my name when I get the marriage license?

You need to decide if and how you want to change your name when you obtain the marriage license. While it varies from state to state, most marriage licenses will ask for both your maiden and new name, should you choose to change it. Your married name will not be legally binding until you receive your marriage certificate, not your license. The marriage license becomes a certificate when it is signed by an officiant -- which then renders your marriage legal.

I signed my marriage license with my new name and now I’ve decided that I want to keep my maiden name. What now?

If you sign with a new name and then later decide to not change your name, this is perfectly legal. However, know that this may cause some confusion with inconsistency in government records later down the line.

What should I do if I’m getting married out of the country?

Destination weddings are all the rage these days, but they can make changing your name after marriage a pinch more complicated if you’re getting married overseas. You’ll need to legally wed by getting the marriage license signed so it becomes a certificate at least 6 months in advance of your destination “I do’s.” This will give you the time you need to change your name on all government documentation, including your ID, social security number, and passport. If you’re getting married internationally, ensure that the country’s government documentation will be recognized in the U.S.

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