New Jersey's 25th Legislative District

Senator Anthony Bucco

Senator Anthony Bucco

Advanced: Bucco Bill to Help Widows With Name Changes

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris, Somerset) to help people change their names after their spouse dies was advanced by the Senate Transportation Committee.

Sen. Anthony Bucco’s bill makes it easier for widows to change their names. (NJMVC)

“Over the years, I’ve heard from constituents who experienced difficulties returning to their maiden names after the death of a spouse,” Senator Bucco said. “A complex process is currently in place, and this will help ease the burden to change their name.”

The legislation, S-1796, requires the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to allow an individual to use their pre-marital name on their driver’s license in the event that their spouse dies. The driver is required to show both their marriage license and their spouse’s death certificate. They must also show that they have not been convicted of a crime and are not seeking a name change to avoid prosecution, creditors or to commit fraud.

Under current law, the MVC does not accept a death certificate as evidence of a name change despite taking other official documents, like marriage licenses or divorce decrees. In other cases, the law requires a court order to change a name on a driver’s license.

“It doesn’t make sense to not accept a death certificate,” Senator Bucco said. “MVC currently accepts other vital records such as birth certificates and marriage certificates.  It is logical to allow the agency to accept death certificates as well.”

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