San Antonio, TX asked in Employment Law and Family Law for Texas

Q: After marriage, if you use two last names without a hyphen, can you use both last names interchangeably?

I am a physician and want to only use my maiden name in a professional setting, and my married name in personal life. I have a colleague in MA who signed her hospital contract under her maiden name only and practices with maiden name only. As a physician in TX, can I only have my maiden name on contracts/when signing orders, etc.?

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1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Yes. Many professionals retain the name shown on their diplomas and professional licenses for exactly that reason. Of course, it is not required for a spouse to change her name at all upon marrying and increasingly women retain their maiden names upon marriage. It is still legal for a woman to change her family surname (i.e. last name) without the necessity of a court order upon marriage in accordance with the traditional practice.

Texas also allows double barrelled, or compound, surnames without the necessity of a court order, as that is the Spanish tradition in keeping with Texas history. The Spanish tradition is for women to use their maiden surname first followed by the word "de" followed by her husband's surname. The Mexican adaptation of the Spanish tradition omits the word "de" between the two surnames and instead the two are typically hyphenated. Children traditionally received the first surname of the mother followed by the first surname of their father. Upon marriage, the last (father's surname) is considered to be the mother's maiden name. In these traditions, the husband's surname does not change to incorporate his wife's maiden name. For the husband's surname to change, a court order is required.

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