How to Use My Maiden Name Even Though I Legally Changed It to My Married Name

By Heather Frances J.D.

Whether you can use your maiden name when it is no longer your legal name depends on how you want to use it. In many areas of life, there is no requirement to use your legal name. For example, you could use virtually any name on social media sites without anyone even knowing it isn’t your legal name. However, this informal use will not work for every situation since most banks and government agencies require you to use your legal name. For these uses, you must legally change your name.

Legal Name Change While Married

Each state has some method of formal legal name change such as a court petition, but the process varies greatly from state to state. Some states provide name change forms and instructions to simplify the process for the applicant. Each state also has its own requirements for filing fees and publication of notices of your new name so you should be sure to follow the process for your state.

Legal Name Change Upon Divorce

If you are getting divorced, your name can also be formally changed as part of the divorce action. Again, this process may vary by state law, so you should consult your divorce attorney or divorce forms for guidance on how to change your name as part of the divorce. In some states, it may be as simple as noting your name change request in your divorce complaint so the judge will include it in your divorce decree.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Usage Method of Name Change

Some states, such as California, allow a person to change her name merely by beginning to use a new name, thereby avoiding the formal process of name change. This process is called the usage method or common law method of name change. Even though a state may allow this method of name change, most government agencies still require a court order as proof of the name change, so this may not be the best option for you, even if you live in a state that allows it.


Once you have changed your name back to your maiden name, you will need to notify all of the agencies and businesses that use your married name. This may be the same set of agencies and businesses you notified when you changed your maiden name to your married name. For example, you should notify your state’s department of motor vehicles, the Social Security office and your banks. Most agencies will require proof of the name change, such as a court order or divorce decree specifying your name is to be changed.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Operate an LLC Under a Personal Name


Related articles

Name Change Requirements in the State of Illinois

In Illinois, you can change your name when getting married or divorced, but you can also change your name for other reasons. If you want to change your name outside of a marriage or divorce procedure, or you want to change the name of a minor child, you’ll have to go to court and complete paperwork and notification requirements before the name change can be finalized.

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

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.

How to File a DBA on Your Own in Iowa

When you operate a business under any name besides the registered name or your own name if you are a sole proprietor, it's sometimes referred to as using a "doing business as" or DBA. In Iowa, this type of name is called a fictitious name or trade name, depending on what type of business you have.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Change Your Last Name Without the Court

Whatever your reasons for changing your last name, state laws offer several ways for you to do it. Often people want to ...

The Law for Resuming Your Maiden Name in Ohio

In Ohio, you do not have to change your name when you marry, but if you do change it, the married name becomes your ...

Legal Name Changes in Texas After a Divorce

If you changed your name when you married, you get to choose whether or not you want to change your name back when you ...

How to Change the Name on a Social Security Card After a Birth Certificate Was Changed

Prior to changing your name on your Social Security card, you must first file all the appropriate paperwork to change ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED