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How does taking last name through marriage work?

Taking a new name through marriage is a tradition that has been practiced for centuries. In the modern era, the process has become much simpler, but it can still be confusing for some people. If you are considering changing your last name through marriage, it is important to understand the process, and what steps you need to take to make it official.

The Basics of Changing Your Last Name Through Marriage

If you want to take your spouse’s last name, you have a few options. Depending on where you live, you may be able to simply sign your marriage license with your new last name. In other places, you may need to go through a legal name change process in order to change your name. Regardless of where you live, the process is generally simple and straightforward.

Changing Your Name on Your Marriage License

One of the simplest ways to change your name after marriage is to simply write your new last name on your marriage license. This is a great option if you want to take your spouse’s last name, but you don’t want to go through a separate name change process.

If you choose this option, make sure you check with your local marriage licensing office to find out if this is permitted in your state. Some states require you to take your spouse’s last name through a separate legal process, even if you write it on your marriage license.

Legal Name Change

If you live in a state that requires you to go through a separate legal name change process, don’t worry – it’s a fairly straightforward process. The first step is to file a petition with your local court. This petition should include your current name, your desired name, and a reason for the name change.

Typically, a reason as simple as “marriage” is sufficient, but you may need to provide additional documentation to support your request. The court will then process your request and issue a name change order if everything is in order. You will then need to use this order to update all of your official documents and identification, including your driver’s license, social security card, and passport.

Updating Your Identification

Once you have your name change order, it is important to update all of your official documents and identification as soon as possible. This includes your driver’s license, social security card, passport, and any other documents that include your legal name.

Keep in mind that some organizations may require additional documentation to verify your name change before they will update their records. This can include certified copies of your marriage license and name change order.


Changing your last name through marriage is a process that is steeped in tradition, but it is also a personal choice. Whether you choose to take your spouse’s last name or keep your own, it is important to understand the legal process involved, and what steps you need to take to make it official. With a little bit of planning and organization, you can seamlessly transition to your new name and start your life as a married couple with everything in order.


How does the last name work when you get married?

When two people get married, one common decision they face is how to handle their last names. Traditionally, women have taken their husband’s last name upon getting married, but in modern times, couples have many more options to choose from.

In most states, a person can choose to take their spouse’s last name, hyphenate their last name with their spouse’s last name, use two last names without a hyphen, or even move their maiden name to their middle name and take their spouse’s last name. The decision often depends on personal preference, cultural tradition, and practical considerations.

Taking the spouse’s last name is the most common option. It involves legally changing your last name to match your spouse’s last name. This option is straightforward and helps create a sense of unity and family identity. It can also simplify certain aspects of life, such as filing taxes or opening a joint bank account.

Hyphenating your last name involves adding your spouse’s last name to your own, separated by a hyphen. This option allows you to keep your original surname while also showing your connection to your spouse. This choice can sometimes result in longer and more complicated names, but it is a popular choice for those who identify strongly with their original last name.

Using two last names without a hyphen is similar to hyphenating, but instead, you simply add your spouse’s last name to your own without the hyphen. This option can be less awkward to say and spell, but it can cause confusion on legal documents that only allow for one last name.

Moving your maiden name to your middle name and taking your spouse’s last name is another option. This option allows you to fully take on your spouse’s last name while still keeping your original name as a remembrance.

The decision on how to handle last names when getting married is a personal one for each couple. It’s essential to know all of the available options before making a decision. It may also be important to consider how the chosen name change may affect future legal documents, professional certifications, and other aspects of life.

Do you keep your husband’s last name after he dies?

After the death of a husband, a widow has the choice of keeping her husband’s last name or changing it to her maiden name or another name of her choice. Legally, a widow is under no obligation to keep her husband’s last name. The decision is solely hers to make depending on personal preference, family traditions, and other cultural considerations.

Most women, however, choose to keep their husband’s last name after their demise. This is usually for sentimental reasons, to preserve the name and essence of the man they loved. The decision to keep the last name can also serve as a way to respect the union and commitment they had with their late husbands. Many widows regard their husband’s last name as part of their identity and choose to keep it to preserve their legacy and honor their memory.

On the other hand, some widows may decide to revert to their maiden name or choose a different surname altogether. This decision may be influenced by a desire to reclaim their former identity, to differentiate themselves, or to start a new chapter in their lives. Choosing to change the last name after the demise of a husband can be a personal choice that reflects the widow’s sense of autonomy and independence.

In some instances, the decision to keep or change the last name may be dictated by practical or legal considerations. For example, if the widow has children and shares custody with her late husband’s family, keeping the same last name can make it easier for the children to adapt to the loss of their father. Similarly, if the widow has established her professional reputation using her husband’s name, she may opt to keep it to avoid confusion or disruption to her career.

Whether a widow chooses to keep her husband’s last name or not is a personal decision influenced by various factors. There is no right or wrong choice, and the only important thing is that the widow feels comfortable with the decision and is true to her own sense of identity and autonomy.