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A name change is not required by law, but a person may decide to take their spouse's last name when they get married.
State law does not contain step-by-step instructions when changing your last name after marriage. There is no single legal form to fill out. Instead, a person must contact government agencies to let them know of the new legal name. The agency will have rules on how to update your documents with your new name. You will likely be required to submit a certified copy of your marriage license, which you can obtain through the county clerk's office. In addition to government agencies, you may also need to notify your employer, bank or credit union, utility companies, doctor's office, insurance company, etc. of your new legal name. Each person's situation will vary.
The right to change your last name after marriage is based on case law rather than statute. Attorney General opinion JH-0432 from 1974 explains the legal history of this common law right. MW-0225 from 1980 provides a legal opinion on the use of a hyphenated last name. A person can also choose to change their name through the courts. See our Name Changes guide for details.
The links below provide instructions for updating a driver's license or ID, social security card, passport, and voter registration card.
If you need to change your name and it cannot be done through the marriage process, see the resources below to learn more about how to petition for a name change in court. See our Name Changes in Texas research guide for additional resources.