Is it legal to use maiden name professionally?

UPDATED: Jan 12, 2011

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Is it legal to use maiden name professionally?

I changed my name on my SS card, license, etc. to Firstname Maiden Married. I would like to use Firstname Maiden professionally. But the HR department will not let me go by anything different than what is on my license or SS card. I have even considered getting a legal court order to change my name back, but I would prefer not to go to this extreme. Don’t many women use their maiden names professionally? How can this be done?

Asked on January 12, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, District of Columbia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you could use any name you  like professionally--married, maiden, even made-up--with the one caveat that when signing legal documents (e.g. tax returns, contracts, papers to incorporate or register a business) you would need to use your legal name. However, for being contacted, customer relations, business cards, etc., you can legally use any name. That said, your company has a right to set it's own policies; if they've determined that you can only use your legal name, that's all you can do--it is legal for them to set the terms and conditions of employment, including specifying what  name an employee may use in connection with their work. This is a case where the issue is not legal rights, but company policy.

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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