You have the option of going the "conventional" way and listing your "maiden" name first, or you may enter your new last name first, followed by your previous last name. As a sign of togetherness and equality, some couples elect to alter both spouses' surnames to hyphenated surnames.
The choice of whether to use your "maiden" or your "married" name as your legal surname is up to you. Some women prefer to keep their "maiden" names as a mark of respect to their past lives while others feel that using their "married" names shows that they are now committed to their husbands.
As long as you are not acting in violation of any law by using your former names, you can write them as you please. However, many people find it helpful to write out their full legal names for identification purposes. This is especially true if you plan to get jobs or licenses that require a legal name and address on file.
People often wonder about the difference between their "maiden" and "married" names. Their "maiden" names are what they were given at birth while their "married" names are the ones that they take upon marriage. If a woman gets divorced, she can once again use her "maiden" name if she chooses to do so.
Some people choose to retain the same surname after marriage, while others go through a process of legal name changing.
Most states allow you to use your spouse's last name, hyphenate your last names, use two last names without a hyphen, or change your maiden name to your middle name and use your spouse's last name. We believe it is critical that you are aware of all of your name change possibilities prior to your wedding day.
There are several ways to combine your married names: you can keep your own first name, take the other person's first name, or make something new up. The choice is yours. As long as both of you agree on what name to use, there should be no problems combining your married names into one new name.
For example, if your husband's name is John and your new married name is Johnson, you would say "I take your name" or "I adopt your last name." If you want to keep your own name but not your husband's, say "I take your name" or "I adopt your last name" depending on which name you're keeping.
Names have power over us; they can either connect us together or pull us apart. It is important that you understand the relationship between the two people who will be carrying your married name. Are they joined in marriage or separated by divorce? Will they like each other? Should their names be combined? Only you can answer these questions. But whatever you do, don't marry someone under the impression that your name will automatically be changed to his or hers.
You can select a new surname on the marriage application. It even allows you to select a new middle name. On the application, you divide your spouse's birth name from your middle name with a space. Your maiden name is hyphenated with your spouse's present surname. For example, if your married name is Smith and your husband's last name is Jones, then your married name would be Smith-Jones.
There are several ways people choose their married names. You may want to consider how you would like your new name to reflect yourself or your spouse. For example, if your name is Brown and your spouse's name is White, then you could take the last names of your spouses first names: Brown-White, Brown-Blair, etc.
You also have the option of taking the first name of your spouse plus his or her last name (for example, Clinton-Bush). Or you could use one of the many available free online name finders to see what names are currently available before choosing one.
Once you have found suitable names, make sure they aren't already in use. There is no guarantee that an available name isn't already taken by someone else. If this is the case, you will need to come up with another name.