You’re not stuck with the name your parents gave you. You might change your surname because you got married or change your whole name through a court proceeding because you never like it. In Texas, you can simply begin using your new married name, and that’s legal, but you still must update your driver’s license. All other name changes require a court order first.
Collect the proper documents required by the Texas Department of Public Safety to change your license. If you got married, this is your marriage license. If you were divorced, you’ll need a copy of your divorce decree allowing you to resume use of your old name. If you changed your name legally through the court system, the DPS requires a copy of the court order. You’ll also need your current driver’s license bearing your old name.
Read More: Texas DPS and a Name Change After 30 Days
Take your documentation to the nearest driver's license office. Although Texas allows you to change the address on your license online, you must appear in person for a name change. You must do this within 30 days of the event that changed your name. Apply for a new license and pay the fee.
Destroy your old driver’s license bearing your former name. It’s illegal in Texas to have more than one current driver’s license. You can also turn it in to the DPS at the time you get your new license.
The Texas Department of Public Safety also issues ID cards. If you happen to have one of each, you can’t change your name on one without also changing it on the other. You can also turn in the ID card when you apply for a new license, if you don’t want to go through the trouble of changing both. However, the procedure for changing an ID is the same as changing a license, so the extra effort is minimal, and there's only a small additional fee.
Texas does not recognize same sex marriages. If you marry elsewhere, but live in Texas, the state will not allow you to change the name on your driver’s license to match your partner's by simply providing a copy of your marriage license. However, you can file a petition with the court to legally change your name. If the court grants your request, you can then use the court order to change your driver’s license.
Beverly Bird is a practicing paralegal who has been writing professionally on legal subjects for over 30 years. She specializes in family law and estate law and has mediated family custody issues.