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Common Questions About Changing Your Name After Marriage

When you get married, you have numerous options for what you will do when it comes to changing your name. The following are a few of the questions we most frequently receive from our clients on this issue:

Q: Can we both decide to change our names to a hyphenated version of our last names — or a new last name altogether?

Yes, both spouses may legally change their name to anything they want, but you will need to get a court order to make it legally official. This is true whether it’s a new name or a hyphenated name. This makes it a little more complicated than a wife taking her new husband’s last name, which does not require an official court order.

Q: How do I change my name to my spouse’s last name?

After the marriage, the spouse who is changing his or her name should begin using that new name consistently, and change his or her name on all forms of identification, accounts, important documents and professional licenses. You will need to get certified copies of your marriage certificate to be able to change your name on your driver’s license and Social Security card. Take the copy to your local Driver and Vehicle Services office and Social Security office, and ask them to make the necessary changes.

Q: Am I legally required to take my husband’s name?

No. You are free to keep your own name if you wish to do so. Your husband may also adopt your name, if that is your choice. But if both spouses wish to change their name, you will need to obtain a court order.

Q: How do name changes work for same sex partners?

Name changes in same-sex marriages work exactly the same as in heterosexual marriages. One partner may change his or her name without having to get a court order, but if both partners wish to change their names, they must get a court order.

For more information on getting your name changed after marriage, meet with a knowledgeable Minnesota family law attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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