North Carolina Property and Name Change Laws in Marriage


Per NC marriages laws, the new husband and wife automatically assume certain legal rights and obligations arising from their marriage contract. For example, upon marriage each spouse now has the right to share in the estate of the other. And if children are born to the marriage, they too become eligible to share in their parents' estates. This automatic share in a spouse's or parent's estate/property can be modified or offset under the terms of a will. Upon marriage, each spouse also becomes obligated to support the other spouse.

It is customary for the bride to change her last name to her husband's upon their marriage -- customary, but not obligatory. NC marriage laws hold that a bride can retain her maiden name with no need for any special legal proceedings. If after marriage, the wife wants to resume her maiden name, she must petition the Superior Court in the county where she resides for a legal change of name. In divorce, a wife can petition the divorce court to allow her to resume her maiden name. Such a petition is always granted and becomes part of the divorce decree. If a woman does not resume her maiden name at the time of her divorce, but at some later time decides she would like to resume her maiden name, then she must petition Superior Court for a legal change of name. You can contact the Clerk of Superior Court in your county for the necessary forms.

Upon marriage, a couple may also assume a combined or hyphenated name that includes both their last names. The bride may do this at the time of her marriage without any special legal proceedings. The husband must, however, petition the court for a legal name change to assume a combined or hyphenated name.

If you or your spouse do decide to change your name upon marriage, you are advised to update all your official records. Government agencies such as the Social Security Administration or the Department of Motor Vehicles should be informed of your name change. Private institutions such as your bank and insurance company should also be informed.

A child born to a couple who are not married is born out-of-wedlock and deemed illegitimate under North Carolina state law. If the parents of the out-of-wedlock child later marry, the child becomes legitimate. A new birth certificate for the child will be issued by the Registrar of Vital Statistics.

Contact the Twiford Law Firm, P.C. to learn more.

The above information secured from Montgomery Family Law

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