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What must be done to legally use a maiden name in business if you've taken your husband's name when you were married.

Colton, CA |

My wife recently took my last name, but she wants to continue to use her maiden name in her work as a plastic surgeon. All of her degrees, licensees, certifications, etc. are in her maiden name. We want to insure that she has completely covered herself legally. Thank you.

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Filed under: Credit Fraud Marriage
Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

There is no law requiring her to change her name for any purpose. As long as she is not using a name for a fraudulent purpose, she can call herself anything she wants. My wife and I have separate names for business purposes and joint for personal purposes. Never a problem in 24 years.

Michael is in San Jose, California and can be reached at 408-295-4232 or at Consultation fees, rates and retainers vary based on need and ability to pay.



So, to clarify, there isnt any legal reason why she would need to change the name on her coat, name badge, degree on the wall, etc. She would still have to sign things in her new name though, (like prescriptions) correct?

Michael Charles Schwerin

Michael Charles Schwerin


She does NOT have to sign anything in her new name if she does not want to. There is no requirement for her to do that.


Mr. Schwerin is correct. She does not even need to file a fictitious business name statement.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


Names under CA law. Very simple. She should not use a name that is a famous one. Wouldn't be prudent. For example, I would not suggest she solicit donations to her favorite charity under her magical new name of Doctor Michelle Obama. And, she should not use a name in order to commit fraud or to defraud creditors. Trying to get a credit card in Washington, DC using her magical new name of Hillary Clinton might get her a credit card, but it might eventually lead to a fraud charge if she defaults, Wouldn't be legal. Period. Hope these examples help. Much safer for her to call herself Dr. Joey Schlobotnick on alternating weekends when visiting friends at Colton's Olive Dell Ranch. Understand name tags are not needed there.

Seriously, she should have no problems, assuming her maiden name is not Alberta Einstein or Madam Curie. Many professional women do precisely what she's contemplating. Some of them are California lawyers who have degrees, licenses, certifications, etc. Some women who are not licensed professionals nonetheless have reputations they do not want to abandon upon marriage. Entertainers, for instance. Writers. Professional athletes. Politicians. The list goes on.

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