Customs and Traditions

name change - help!

i've heard of so many women these days dropping their middle names when they get married, and moving their birth surname into their "middle name" position.  

today when i asked about this at the county clerk's office (MI), i was told that that's not possible - without legally changing my name on my birth certificate first (before the wedding!).  in other words, she told me i'd have to pay for a legal name change first, and change it on my birth certicate, so that i'm going INTO the marriage with my current last name moved over as my middle name.  

even if i move my current last name over, what would my last name be between now and the wedding?!!!!!!

i am so confused.  does anyone have any info about this?

Re: name change - help!

  • In Response to Re: name change - help!:
    Ditto pp about checking with your specific state's procedure and/or conferring with an attorney.  I think I could have changed my name to just about anything, but I have never heard of changing your birth certificate.  How does one go about doing that?  If a person gets a legal name change, I don't think they alter their actual birth record.  Weird.  Good luck with this. 
    Posted by bbyckes
    Yep, you do change your birth certificate to match. Everything should match your new legal name. You usually just mail the document changing the name to the vital records in your state. But every state is different.

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  • you could always just change your current last name to your middle name *after* you get married and take FI's last name as your own. This way you aren't left hanging w/out a last name.
  • Yes, I have heard every state is different. Some are more lenient than others on what you can do and not do.

    I never knew about changing your birth certificate too, I am going to have to check into that. I thought you just had to change your ss card to be "official."
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  • Er, sorry I wasn't clear. What I meant was that if you legally change your name you need to change your birth certificate. But if you are just getting married and can change it that way, then you usually don't.

    Planning Bio
    Married 9/15/11

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  • I am not aware of any state that requires/permits you to change your birth certificate when you change your name, except in the limited circumstances in which you are changing your gender at the same time.
  • All I know about the birth certificates is that if a person is adopted a new birth certificate is issued showing the new parents and the new name if it was changed as part of the adoption. 

    I am confused about the idea that a middle name is not a legal name.  If it isn't legal why does it appear on my birth certificate, Social Security card, and driver's license? And you have to provide it when you have background checks run.  Seems pretty legal to me.
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  • I was able to add his last name to mine.  I now have a 2 part last name.  Legally, I use both last names, but socially and for everyday, I just use his.  (In essence, I now have a two name last name.  I don't hyphenate.)  For example, if you are Mary Jane Smith and your husband is Bob Jones, you can now be Mary Jane Smith Jones.  Your last name, when you change, is Smith Jones.  (At least that worked in my state.  (I can choose to list my middle name or not, as I always have.)  I'm not sure about other states, but I DO know that latinos, for instance often use two legal last names, as does my husband.  Maybe it will be easier for you to take this path and only change your last name.  (To 2 last names.)  Changing the middle name may be the source of the problem.
  • I was nieve and always assumed that EVERY married women dropped their middle name and made their maiden name their new middle name....unfortunately the state of OK thought differently and weren't going to let me change my middle name. My dad was furious (being southern and very traditional) and after calling a few places they are going to let me change my name to what I want....they did say I might have problems getting a passport though....but i'll cross that bridge when I get to it. It was a pretty emotional process though.
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