Ask the Expert: How Do Same-Sex Couples Legally Hyphenate Their Last Names?



Question: My partner and I got married soon after same-sex weddings became legal in Pennsylvania, and we’d like to use a hyphenated combination of both our last names. How do we do that?

Answer: The process is fairly simple, says Philadelphia attorney Randi L. Rubin, a partner at Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP. “You can take your marriage license to PennDOT and the Social Security office, and they’ll issue both of you identity documents recognizing your new last name.”

Because marriage is officially recognized as a “life-changing event,” it’s best to take action promptly after tying the knot, says Rubin; when a name-change request doesn’t appear to be tied to an obvious intent, government agencies may require a court order or additional documents and identity forms before they’ll fulfill it.

This article originally appeared in the spring/summer 2015 issue of Philadelphia Wedding.

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