How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lucy, Esq. Your Own Question
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27621
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Lucy, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My husband and I live in DC and would like to shorten /

Customer Question

Hello - my husband and I live in DC and would like to shorten / combine our last names. E.g., He's Watersonski, I'm Jones, we'll both be the Water Jones. Can we go through social security since its a change due to marriage or not since 1) he's also changing his name and 2) we're shortening a name, not just taking one or the other full name
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Family Law
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Also as one additional question - if we don't change our names and have a baby while living in Washington DC, would we be able to give the baby the last name "Water Jones" or would it have to be the full last names "Watersonski Jones"
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 month ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. Congratulations!

If you BOTH noted on your marriage license that you intended to use the shortened name going forward, you can provide take copies of the marriage certificate and your identification down to Social Security to get new ID cards issued, and you'll be able to change the name on your driver's license/other documentation just with the marriage documents. Check with each agency before contacting them to see what documentation they need - some want an original marriage license, and some keep it, so you may need more than one.

Name changes made due to marriage that are not noted on the marriage certificate must be made by going to the local family court and filing a Petition for Change of Name. In that scenario, you wouldn't be able to get new ID in your married name without a court order, even though the change was due to the marriage.

There are no laws regarding what a parent can name a child. The child does not need to share a last name with either child. You're allowed to write whatever you like on the birth certificate.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok - thanks so much. For the court ordered change, is it generally an easy thing to get through or should I get a lawyers assistance? If lawyer - what type of lawyer should I look for? Thanks again!
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

It's generally pretty easy. You have to post notice of the proposed change in the newspaper for a few weeks, and then you have to go to court and represent that you're not changing your name for any inappropriate purpose, such as to defraud your creditors. You and your spouse can file at the same time and ask that your hearings be at the same time. Your marriage certificate - and the fact that the name your changing to is clearly a combination of the two - means that the judge should essentially rubber stamp it.

The instructions are available here:

Here is the form:

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

Did you have any other questions about this?

Related Family Law Questions