Our research of this issue revealed that in Spring 2007, the Kansas legislature passed a new statute addressing a person's ability to change his or her name at the time of marriage. Iowa Iowa Law provides that when individuals are married they indicate on the application for a marriage license the adoption of a name change.
Under the new law, a man is still permitted to change his surname to that of his wife's at the time of marriage. ANALYSISAn individual who wishes to change the name or other personal identifying information previously submitted in connection with an application for a social security number card may do so by completing and signing an SSA Form SS-5. The wife may change to the husband's surname, the husband may change to the wife's surname, or both may change to a new name (i.e. The member of the married couple must list the surname he or she intends to use after marriage, on the application for a marriage license.
The regulatory requirements have been further clarified in the Program Operations Manual System (POMS). § 77-109, under which there is no prohibition which would keep a husband from adopting his wife's surname. However, PR 02712.018 addresses the laws in all four states of the region. In Missouri, a marriage certificate is acceptable proof of a change of name for Missouri Driver's License and Motor Vehicle registration purposes. Courts in Kansas have long held that "it cannot successfully be denied that a person has a perfect legal right to call himself by any name he chooses, and so long as such name identifies him by reason of his being thus known in the community in which he resides, he would have a perfect right to sue and be sued by such name." Clark v.
However, if a person chooses to change to a wholly different surname, the marriage document alone is not sufficient evidence of identity to obtain a replacement SSN card. The individual must also submit an appropriate identity document showing the new last name. The POMS do not contemplate a situation in which a person changes to a wholly different first name at the time of marriage; accordingly, such requests would need to be handled on a case-by-case basis. CONCLUSIONBased on the new Kansas law, it is permissible for a man to change his last name to that of his wife's at the time of marriage by listing that name on the marriage license. A name change can be accomplished without any sanction from the court, however, the statutory name change provisions are intended as aids and affirmations of the common law rule, and not as an abrogation or substitution for the informal procedure.
Accordingly, pursuant to the new Kansas law, a person may change his or her name to a wholly different name at the time of marriage.
In the latter situation, however, the marriage certificate would not be sufficient evidence of identity. Moreover, the right to adopt another name was not limited to males or females. "Insistence that a married couple use one name, the husband's, is equally outmoded." Id.
Individuals may also begin using their middle name as their first name and maiden name as middle name at the time of marriage, or may change to a wholly different name. "The concept that the husband and wife are one, the 'one' being the husband, has been abandoned." Id.
This is possible without any legal proceedings, merely by simple usage or habit, absent fraud, misrepresentation, or an interference with the rights of others. Married women and men are free to adopt a name change at will, provided it was done for an honest purpose, without resorting to legal proceedings. Research into the history of this law shows that an earlier version of the bill stated the new name "shall include a combination of the person's prior existing name and the prior existing name of such person's spouse, or derivative versions thereof." A Conference Committee was held on April 2, 2007, during which legislators agreed to change "shall" to "may" and discussions with the Reviser of Statutes Office revealed that the intent was indeed to permit any type of name change at the time of marriage. In Kansas, a certified marriage certificate is an acceptable document to change the surname on an individual's driver's license. Nebraska has likewise adopted the common law of England, to the extent that it is not inconsistent with the Constitution or other laws of the state.
Finally, you asked whether the new law would allow individuals to change their name to a wholly different name. There is nothing in Kansas law or custom to prohibit a husband from adopting his wife's surname at the time of marriage.
Kansas recently enacted a statute which essentially codifies the common law and expressly permits either party to a marriage to change his or her name at the time of marriage. Based on the current language of the statute this type of name change is permissible.
BASIC (10-05)DATE: August 28, 2007Kansas law permits a man or woman to change his or her name upon marrying to a combination of the person's prior existing name, the spouse's prior existing name, a derivative version of the spouse's existing name or a wholly different name at the time of marriage (including a change to the first name). For United States residents, a legal name change based on a United States marriage is dependent on the laws of the State where the marriage occurred. A marriage certificate is generally acceptable evidence for a legal name change, and if the state where the marriage takes place recognizes marriage as an acceptable name-changing event for the husband, SSA will change the surname of the husband. Kansas previously followed the common law of England, see Kan. Under the common law, a person has the right to assume any name he or she lawfully chooses. Please advise this office if you would like a legal opinion updating the law in all four states. S~ III Chief Counsel, Region VII By__________ Kristin L. Historically, the husband and wife customarily adopted the name of the spouse with the most property and since men typically held more property than women, most women took the husband's name. See Missouri Department of Revenue - How Do I, available at 4/24/03).
The member of the married couple must list the name he or she intends to use after marriage on the marriage license. E~ Assistant Regional Counsel DATE: April 29, 2003The Kansas City Region VII OGC responded to a request for a legal opinion on whether a marriage certificate was acceptable evidence of name change when a man wishes to change his surname (last name) to that of his wife after marriage. There is nothing in Missouri law or custom to prohibit a husband from adopting his wife's surname at the time of marriage.