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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 118789
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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How does one verify if a name change occurred at time of

Customer Question

How does one verify if a name change occurred at time of marriage. Should a copy of the marriage certificate reflect that? I am looking into the marriage between my parents. Trying to figure out on behalf of my mother if in fact her last name was changed to my father's. He passed some years ago.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
The surname that would be used after marriage should be on the marriage license itself. Legally a marriage name change is called a common law name change in that no actual court process was required to change the name. The surname the spouse will use upon marriage is listed on the marriage certificate filed with the clerk.
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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Long story short, my father was one of those that always took care of things and basically told my mother "sign here". He passed some years ago and my mother now in her 70s is questioning a lot. I requested a copy of their marriage certificate her name appears first name and maiden name. On her residency application her maiden name was listed as her middle name and my fathers last name as her last name. For many years this is how she has used it, not thinking this might be incorrect. This has her fearful that it is all incorrect when it comes to documents of Social Security, Citizenship, bank accounts, homeownership and so on. Is a Family Lawyer the type of lawyer that could help review these things and tell us what needs to be done to correct what might n?ed correcting/
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your reply
You need to understand that the "married name" is a common law name change, it is not one approved by the court. As long as she has a marriage certificate showing they were married, she has a right to use EITHER her maiden name or her married name, both are legal names and the marriage certificate shows that she would be entitled to use both. So, nothing really should have to be corrected, especially if her maiden name and married name both appear. Legally a married woman who has not had a court name change, using their spouse's last name is ***** ***** alias or "also known as" common law name. So if you have the marriage certificate and the residency document showing both names she should be able to use those to show she is the same person.