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Old 04-05-2002, 09:15 AM
Kiki Kiki is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,820
Sign your marriage license with your current last name or new last name?

I just read and replied to this thread and it got me thinking about signing my marriage license.

The first time I got married we signed the marriage certificate after the ceremony and I used my husband's last name even though I hadn't had my S.S. card or drivers license changed. I figured that we were married so it was ok for me to use his last name. Was that wrong?

I'm getting married again in a week and a half and just wonder what name I should sign. Should I do as I did the first time and sign after the ceremony using my new husband's last name or should I use my current last name? I really hate the thought of my ex-husband's last name being on my current marriage certificate.

What do you think?
Old 04-05-2002, 09:57 AM
kittenblue kittenblue is offline
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 6,607
I think you boo-booed the first time, and I'm surprised the minister or judge or officiator (is that a word) didn't catch it back then. I just pulled out my own marriage certificate to be sure. You should have signed your maiden name.

Think of it from a geneology stand-point. Here we have two birth certificates: John David Smith and Mary Anne Jones. Now we have a marriage certificate....John David Smith joined in marriage to Mary Anne Smith? Who's she? Did he find someone with the same name? No link back to poor Mary Anne Jones...lost in oblivion.

Now, if John Smith weds Mary Jones, and then she changes her name on legal documents (Social Security, driver's license, etc.) to Mary Smith, and then they divorce, and she keeps her legal name as Mary Smith, when she weds Patrick Albert Davis, she should be signing as Mary Smith. That way the paper trail is intact and accurate.

And Smith is not HIS became your name. That's who you are. I tried to explain this to my 17-year old son the other day....he thought I should have changed my name back to Jones. But I'm Mary Smith, mother of the Smith kids. Never had a problem taking a married name.
Old 04-05-2002, 10:00 AM
kittenblue kittenblue is offline
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 6,607
...even though I've only done it the once, so far. But if I'm lucky, I'll get to do it again...Good luck to you in your new marriage! I'm so jealous!

Must learn how to post properly.
Old 04-05-2002, 11:06 AM
lolagranola lolagranola is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Edmonton, Canada
Posts: 1,966
Maiden name. I asked when I signed mine. It makes sense. You are not entitled to change your last name until AFTER the document is signed.
Old 04-05-2002, 11:18 AM
Kiki Kiki is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,820
What you say makes so much sense kittenblue but I still don't want my ex-husband's name on my marriage certificate!! I guess if that's the way it has to be then there's nothing I can do about it. I think I'm gonna call the courthouse today and find out for sure. I've heard of people signing Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse on their certificates so maybe it doesn't really matter what name I use as long as it's signed.

After my first wedding I asked the minister how I should sign it and he said, "Well, you're married so you're legally a Smith now. Go ahead and sign that name." If I messed up, it's his fault. Wonder if that marriage was even legal?!? It better have been or else I wasted a shitload of money on a divorce I didn't even need!!
Old 04-05-2002, 06:42 PM
Ruffian Ruffian is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Southern CA
Posts: 3,561
Definitely sign your maiden name (or current name).

This is, essentially, who you are (or at the very least, who companies/banks/DMVs/social security/employers/etc know you to be) at the time of the ceremony. As the document is required in changing the name, it is assumingly imperative that it shows you HAD this name, but you got married to a guy with the new name you're requesting.
Rule number one: Horse people are nuts.
Rule number two: If you don't know any horse people who are nuts, it's YOU.
Old 04-05-2002, 07:13 PM
Manda JO Manda JO is offline
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 10,445
It has always been my understanding that you can legally use any name you like as long as you are not attempting to defraud anyone. So if it bugs you, dign with your new name, or your old maiden name. Or do what I do, and have your signiture so messy that it is academic anyway.
Old 04-05-2002, 09:55 PM
doreen doreen is online now
Charter Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Woodhaven,Queens, NY
Posts: 5,495
I don't remember what mine said to sign (since I didn't change my name,it didn't matter), but the license that my husband and I signed (along with the witnesses and the priest) was not the same piece of paper as the certificate. The certificate goes something like this:

first pre-marriage new first pre-marrriage new
name surname surname name surname surname

and then goes on to list the date and the place.The only signature on it is from the bureau of vital records.
Old 04-05-2002, 11:44 PM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
Posts: 24,962
Damn, it's good to be a man.

Did you see that ludicrous display last night?
Old 04-06-2002, 04:14 PM
HairyPotter HairyPotter is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Earth
Posts: 279
I suggest signing your "Maiden Name" and then keeping it. Changing your name to that of the person you are marrying strikes me as a bad precedent to set when entering a relationship in which both participants are "equal".


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