What are the surname options?

Every person has the right to adopt any name by which he or she wishes to be known simply by using that name consistently and without intent to defraud. A person's last name (surname) does not automatically change upon marriage, and neither party to the marriage is required to change his or her last name. The parties need not take the same last name.

One or both parties to a marriage may elect to change the surname by which he or she wishes to be known after the marriage by entering the new name in the appropriate space provided on the marriage license. The new name must consist of one of the following options:

  • The surname of the other spouse
  • Any former surname of either spouse
  • A name combining into a single surname all or a segment of the pre-marriage surname or any former surname of each spouse
  • A combination name separated by a hyphen provided that each part of such combination surname is the pre-marriage surname, or any former surname, of each of the spouses

The use of this option will provide a record of your change of name. The marriage certificate, containing the new name, if any, is proof that the use of the new name, or the retention of the former name, is lawful. The local Social Security Administration office should be contacted so that its records and your social security identification card reflect the name change. There is no charge for this service.

Whether you decide to use or not use this option at the time of your marriage license application, you still have the right to adopt a different name through usage at some future date. However, your marriage license cannot be changed to record a surname you decide to use after your marriage.

If you plan to use your married name at work, be sure to have your Social Security records updated to reflect your change of surname, avoiding complications in payroll. It's easy and it's absolutely free. To do so contact any Social Security office. You will need documentary evidence showing both your old name and your new name.

Once you obtain a marriage license from our office, we will provide you with the paperwork required to change your name on your driver's license.

Show All Answers

1. Is there a waiting period?
2. How long is the license valid?
3. Is a pre-marital physical exam required?
4. Where can a marriage take place?
5. What about the ceremony?
6. Who can perform a marriage ceremony?
7. Where can I get copies of my records?
8. What are the age and consent requirements for minors?
9. What are the surname options?