Can I use my husband’s name without legally changing my name?

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Can I use my husband’s name without legally changing my name?

After my divorce I did not change my name back to my maiden name for business purposes. Can I add my new husband’s name without a hyphen and without legally changing my name?

Asked on July 18, 2011 under Family Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Two completely different issues:

1) Can you use you new husband's name without legally changing your own? In a non-legal context, yes: that is, you can have friends and associates call you by the new name, put it on your business cards, list yourself in the phone book that way, etc.--but for contracts, mortgages, tax returns, and other legal or official documents, you need to use your legal name, whatever it happens to be.

2) Can you use the new name without hyphenation? You can use the name however you like, either informally (see above) or legally if you change it. For example, you could make your new husband's name your last name, use your prior name as your middle name, and by the first and middle name (except when signing a legal document); or you could hyphenate if you chose; or anything else you liked.


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