In the United States, a legal name change can be obtained through a court order and any US citizen has the right to change his/her name … If you’re considering getting a legal name change, here are seven things you should know. If you decide to change your last name when you get married, you don’t need a court order. . “It might seem obvious, but we get several inquiries a year for people needing to make a legal name change because of a misspelling.”. That was only the beginning.”. “The biggest thing to keep in mind about any name change is that it is a process, rather than a one-stop shop,” says Anna Phipps, VP of Experience at HitchSwitch, a name change service geared towards newlyweds. You can change your name as you see fit. My daughter has the same last name as her dad and I don't want to have a different last name than her. My issue is I have a ton of certifications in my maiden name; therefore, if I hyphenate my last name with my maiden and married name (Holcombe-Matthews) can I use either or last name on legal documents. Anyone is free to keep their own name, hyphenate their name with a spouse's name, take their spouse's name, or come up with a completely different name altogether. The federal courts have ruled again and again that changing your name at will or, by “common law” is every citizen’s right under the U.S. Constitution. You also can’t change your name to commit fraud, evade law enforcement, or avoid paying any debts you owe. If you have legal documents like a will or trust, you’ll want to look into changing them as well. When we went to get our marriage license a few days before the wedding, my soon-to-be-husband and I discovered that in our state, we were required to declare any name changes on the license, which we needed that day; if I waited until after the wedding to decide, I would have had to go through the standard (and fairly involved) court process of a legal name change if I wanted to take his name or hyphenate. I have to say, “Wait, go back! The first way is to get the consent of the mother. There is no decision that a married woman can make about her name that won't have someone, somewhere judging her for it — if she keeps her maiden name, she must be a man-hating feminist, and if she changes her name, she must be a slave to the patriarchy, right? This implies joining your last name and your groom’s last name with a hyphen. Except that’s not what happened. According to latest statistics, roughly 10% married women hyphenate their last names. So, you can get away with a lot regarding names, as long as it is not intended to defraud anyone. I already changed my name. When you hyphenate, the hyphen makes it obvious that you’ve chosen to combine names (although, to be fair, some people have hyphenated names given to them by their parents). To be fair, most people in the world don’t blink an eye at my hyphenated name, but once in a while people — especially if they have to get me to spell out my name or enter it into a computer — will act as if I chose my extra-long, punctuation-having name just to make life harder for them. However, some states require women to legally change their name … You can use a hyphenated last name in informal social settings (on social media, amongst friends, etc.) As with many facets of life, the only solution is to do your own thing and not care what other people think. 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