How to Change Your Name if a Marriage Certificate Does Not Have Your Married Name

by Brenna Davis

    Most people who change their name when they marry change their name on their marriage license, which makes the name-change process much easier. If, however, you didn't initially change your name and now you want to, you'll typically need to file a legal petition, asking for a name change. Name-change laws vary from state to state, so consult the law in your area before attempting to change your name.

    Step 1

    Ask the clerk of court in the county where you reside for a name change petition. Different states use different courts to process name changes. Generally speaking, you should ask the court clerk in the same court where you obtained your marriage license.

    Step 2

    Fill out the form completely and return it to the clerk along with a certified copy of your marriage certificate. In some states, providing a copy of your marriage license may absolve you from the requirement to advertise your name change. Pay the filing fee.

    Step 3

    Advertise your name change in a local paper if you are required to do so. The clerk will generally tell you if you must advertise the name change when you return the name change petition. After the name change has been advertised, the clerk will forward the petition to a judge to sign a name change order.

    Step 4

    Give the name change order to your state's office of vital records, Social Security Administration and Department of Motor Vehicles. This will complete your legal name change, but you must still change your name with your financial institutions to avoid confusion and difficulty accessing your accounts.

    Tips & Warnings

    • If you have a passport, change your name on your passport by providing a copy of the name change order and marriage license.

    References & Resources

    About the Author

    Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.

    Photo Credits

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