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Procedure descriptions

Determine married name

As a married couple you can

  • Keep your previous names or
  • determine a common married name. This can be either the birth name or the name actually used by one of the spouses.

Responsible department

  • if the name is determined at the time of marriage: the registry office before which the marriage is concluded
  • If the name change takes place at a later date, you must have the declaration publicly certified at a notary's office or registry office.
    The declaration is only accepted by the registry office that keeps the marriage register in which the marriage is recorded.



You are married.

You can also decide on a common family name after marriage.

There is no time limit for this.

It is also possible to determine the name from a previous marriage, if necessary including a companion name, as the married name.

Once you have chosen a common married name, you may not change it.

Children receive the married name of their parents. Often the parents have different names. In this case, you must decide at the birth of the first child whether it is to be given the name of the father or the mother as its maiden name. This declaration then also applies to the other children.

Tip: There are many possibilities when determining the name. In some cases there are also special considerations to be taken into account, for example

  • the names of foreign married couples or
  • if joint children were born before the marriage.

In these cases in particular, you should seek advice from the registry office. You can request an information sheet from many registry offices by telephone or by e-mail. In many cases, you can also find the information sheet on the website of your municipality.


When you marry, you declare at the registry office which name you and your spouse want to use in future.

You must declare the change of the married name after the marriage in writing at the competent registry office. You must have this declaration certified or notarised at a notary's office or a registry office. The registry office where the marriage was recorded is responsible for receiving the declaration.

Foreign spouses are subject to the name law of their home country. If (at least) one of the future spouses has his or her habitual residence in Germany, there is a right to choose. They may then choose between the law of the state to which the foreign spouse belongs and German law.



Required documents

  • valid identity card or passport
  • in the event of a change of name after marriage: marriage certificate

Note: Further documents may be necessary.


  • for the certification of declarations under name law: EUR 25.00
  • retain previous name: free of charge

Processing time

usually immediately


If your name has not become your married name, you may prefix or append your maiden name or your previously used surname. You must make a declaration to this effect.
This applies if the married name does not already consist of several parts (companion name). If the maiden name or surname used up to now is made up of several parts, you can only add one part. This means that you personally have a double name in the marriage. A later revocation is possible.

Example: Mrs Elke Meier marries and takes the name of her husband, Müller. Later this marriage is divorced. In her second marriage, Mrs Müller, née Meier, now marries Mr Anton Schmidt.

If no declaration of name is made at the time of the marriage, each person keeps their previous name. Thus, Mrs. Müller and Mr. Schmidt remain the same name.

If the spouses later wish to have a common surname, a married name can be subsequently determined at the registry office. This declaration must be publicly certified. The married name can be "Meier", "Müller" or "Schmidt".

The couple could, for example, decide on the common surname "Schmidt". The children would also receive this name. Then it would be possible for the wife, if she wanted to have a double name, to choose from the following combinations: Schmidt-Müller, Schmidt-Meier, Müller-Schmidt or Meier-Schmidt.

If the woman's maiden name or name actually used is designated as the married name, the husband may receive a corresponding double name.

Release note

23.05.2024; Innenministerium Baden-Württemberg

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