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name changing confusion...what's my name?!

I got married around a month ago, and I decided that I would make my maiden name my new middle name and take my husband's name. So for example, I go from Jane Mary Doe to Jane Doe Johns according to social security administration. (I live in Ohio btw)  Go to the license bureau and give them the letter from the SSA and marriage certificate saying I changed my name on my SS card.  I fill out the paperwork, and the clerk gives me a print out of what will go on my new license: Jane M Doe Johns, with my last name being Doe Johns.  I said I dropped the M and she said I can't make my maiden name my new middle name (even though my MIL has it that way)  She wasn't very nice so I just went with it, and didn't think it was a big deal that I technically had two last names on my license. I apply for my new passport (leaving the country next week so had to expedite and overnight it..quite pricy) to say Jane Doe Johns, just like my social security card (sent in marriage cert). Then, I had my ID scanned for a background check...On the screen, it came up with two last names and the person asked if I was missing a hyphen and I had to explain that my name  needed to be Jane Doe Johns. Went back to BMV and they explained that with the REAL ID Act, ohio ids must show whatever was on our birth certificate plus new last name or have a legal name change done. So the name on my license can't be changed without going through probate court. No thanks

CN: Technically I have a (slightly) different name on my OH license (last name = maiden name + married name) than my social security card and passport (maiden name as middle name, married name as last name). Any clue as to what my legal name is? How much does it matter? I have no idea what to do now because I definitely did my homework on the name changing process and didn't realize that what I wanted to do was so complicated in Ohio. 

Re: name changing confusion...what's my name?!

  • I would say this is a question for SSA or DMV.
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  • I thought I was going to do the same thing but then I found references on the internet about the Ohio law you refer to. It's like this in a handful of other states. In order to drop your middle name and go to your maiden name, you would have to go to court and do a legal name change. This is why I decided to just drop my last name and take his.

    SInce you already have your passport (and those aren't cheap) it might just be easier to change your name legally through the court system and then pay the BMV to update your license. Everything would match and it would be how you wanted it.

    Good luck.


  • I'm in OH, and changed my name to First Maiden Married with zero problems.  People at the BMV generally have no clue--they tell you what they THINK the law says, not what it really is.

    If you had your SS card with First Maiden Married, that's all you needed, and that's what the BMV should have put on there.
  • Also, not only does the Real ID Act not take effect until 2013, Ohio has a pending resolution against enforcement.  The BMV person was wrong (no surprise there).
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