Can I take my husband's name three years after our wedding?

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Question:

My husband changed his name right after we got married three years ago. Our marriage certificate has his old name. Now we are expecting our first child and I want to hyphenate my name with his. It seems no one will let me take his name without legally changing it in court -- a process that will cost about $300. I have changed my business cards at work to reflect the new name, but without a Social Security card, I can't get a new license or anything else. What can I do?

Answer:

Because you didn't change your name when you first married, you'll probably have to use a court process to change your name -- especially because of the difference between your husband's current legal name and the name that's on the marriage certificate. The "usage" method isn't any longer an effective way to change your name and have it recognized by government agencies and other institutions. So you're going to need to bite the bullet and file the court papers to change your name.

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