Can a woman take on a man’s last name legally without marrying him?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a woman take on a man’s last name legally without marrying him?

My daughter and her fiance are living together. He wants to marry her but she has doubts. They both have children from previous marriages. She has a house, great job, retirement, child support, and a great relationship with her ex-husband. The fiance comes into the relationship with nothing of substance. Although, he just started a new job with decent pay, he is constantly in court with his ex over custody issues. Could she take on his last name to add to her previous last name? She was considering having a type of

Asked on July 14, 2017 under Family Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Anyone can legally change their name to essentially any name they want: we could all take the last name "Trump," for example, and hope to get a job in the Administration (or depending on your political bent, take the name "Clinton" to show political affiliation). So your daughter can change her name to his or to a hyphenated version of HER NAME-HIS NAME if she wanted. It takes a few weeks or months, some paperwork, and a small fee; she can contact the clerk of the county court for instructions. If she does change her legal name, she should change her license, bank accounts, etc. to match it, so avoid confusion later.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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