Legal length of a last name in the United States??

dearmissie

I'm MARRIED!!
Aug 16, 2007
11,312
3
The craft room.
I've got a really long last name (11 letters) while DF's last name is only 7 letters. I'm planning on keeping my maiden name but adding his last name to mine. For instance, if my name was Missie Marie Hathaway and his Rey John Moore, my new married name would be: "Missie Marie Hathaway Moore". He said he also wants to same last name as me (as well as our children) so he would be adding my last name to his last name. Making him, "Rey John Hathaway Moore." However I'm just thinking, is that even possible?? How would our name fit in the forms which have boxes or scantron type of bubbles to fill out?? Is there a legal limit of letters for a last name in the United States?? Thanks for any insight!!

(Many people may ask why I don't just drop my maiden name or make my maiden name my middle name, but honestly, my last name will end with me if I don't carry it on, plus I really love my last name. I have my Mother's maiden name and I'm very attached to it. And we have both found it important for us and our future children to have the same last name. To us, it does make us feel more like a family to share the same last name.)

(and no, the middle names and last names in the examples above are NOT our real middle or last names.)
 

Echoes

O.G.
Aug 8, 2008
10,402
9
Is there a legal limit of letters for a last name in the United States??
No.

You should see some of the East Indian and Pakistani names. I've seen some well into 20 or 30 characters for just the last name alone.
 

dearmissie

I'm MARRIED!!
Aug 16, 2007
11,312
3
The craft room.
No.

You should see some of the East Indian and Pakistani names. I've seen some well into 20 or 30 characters for just the last name alone.
Really??! I know some East Indian and Pakistani people here in the US (California to be exact) and they're names aren't that long. Good to know that I'm not alone.

And I'm just wondering.. Growing up I did a lot of official work for school in scantrons for instances, and my last name is 11 letters and they provided 12 spaces so thankfully I fit. My cousin has 12 letters so she fit as well. Are there any "adult" forms we will need to fill out that already has pre-marked spaces for each letter??
 

Echoes

O.G.
Aug 8, 2008
10,402
9
I don't know about spaces on forms. Some forms only have so many spaces, but they usually just say to write on the back or a separate sheet of paper. A lot of things are done over the web now.
 
Nov 2, 2007
12,496
57
38
Florida
Really??! I know some East Indian and Pakistani people here in the US (California to be exact) and they're names aren't that long. Good to know that I'm not alone.

And I'm just wondering.. Growing up I did a lot of official work for school in scantrons for instances, and my last name is 11 letters and they provided 12 spaces so thankfully I fit. My cousin has 12 letters so she fit as well. Are there any "adult" forms we will need to fill out that already has pre-marked spaces for each letter??
I worked with a Japanese woman once on board one of my flights and her last name was (as I can remember) 17 letters long. Very confusing.
 

Jeneen

born this way
O.G.
I plan on tacking my SO's name to the end of mine as well... Jeneen MiddleName MyLastName HisLastName will be my legal name, but to fill in questionnares or boxes after his name has been added I would just fill in HisLastName... is that a possibility for you?

Socially I will go by Mrs. HisLastName, but professionally, when I am finished with my doctorate, I will go by Dr. MyLastName HisLastName (I prefer not to hyphenate)... hope that makes sense.

And I don't think there is a limit to length of last names as far as I know.
 
Mar 24, 2007
6,562
2
37
- NyC -
No.

You should see some of the East Indian and Pakistani names. I've seen some well into 20 or 30 characters for just the last name alone.
Actually I'm from India and my last name is only 4 letters long. However I've seen some really long names from the South East Asians (Philippines, Thailand, etc) so I guess it all depends on the family.
 

mirdc

bigger by the day
Jun 25, 2009
500
1
I moved my last name (which will die with my generation) to be a second middle name and took my Dh's last name (which is long). My first degrees have my maiden name on them, however my doctorate has my married name -- so on official forms I use my FIRST, MIDDLE, MIDDLE(MAIDEN), LAST -- and yes, there are a lot of forms where it all won't fit. The entire time I lived in Michigan, they omited half of my name from my driver's lic because it wouldn't fit.
 

lorihmatthews

A taste for the arts
O.G.
Oct 7, 2006
31,765
6,812
San Francisco
It's completely possible, a couple I know did the same thing. Their names are now:

1. Individual first name
2. Individual middle name
3. Her maiden last name
4. His last name

It's easily done and completely legal.
 

Vinyl

O.G.
Dec 1, 2007
4,351
4
New York
For Scantron forms, I remember in school they would just instruct you to fill in as much as possible. If you couldn't fit in your entire name, it wasn't a big deal.
 

cutiepie21

O.G.
May 15, 2006
2,270
1
Two girls I know dropped their middle names. So their names were: HerFirstName HerMaidenName HisLastName.
 

natalie78

Did you die?
O.G.
May 6, 2008
5,035
12
Texas
^ That is what I did. I dropped my middle name, so my maiden name is now my middle name. I still feel bad about it since it was a family name, but I didn't want to deal with all the names. It has worked out better for me since my dad passed away and legal issues came up.
 

meggyg8r

killing them softly
O.G.
Feb 27, 2008
12,982
1
Florida
Two girls I know dropped their middle names. So their names were: HerFirstName HerMaidenName HisLastName.
This is exactly what I did.

I love my former middle name and loved how it sounded with my new last name, but I am extremely attached to my family and wanted to keep my maiden name a part of my "new" name. Middle names are barely used anyway so I guess it just didn't seem like a big deal to go either way with it. I definitely didn't want to have 4 names though.. too many for me. It is completely a personal preference and something to think about a lot before you officially go through with the change.
 

katlun

O.G.
Dec 29, 2007
5,508
1,543
my madien name is 10 letters long, my first name is 9 and I don't have a middle name so my madien name is now my middle name

alot of people hyphen the last names together, I have a friend who's last name is Lopez-Calleja