Changing Your Name After Marriage

Changing Your Name After Marriage

Changing your name after marriage is not complicated, but it is document-heavy. 

There is no law requiring a name change after marriage, but the practice continues to be common in the United States and not only for women.

Progressively, men are taking their wives’ last names, and some couples are deciding that having one family surname is beneficial to them in case of same-sex marriages,particularly when children are involved.

It is not usually difficult to change your name after marriage, but it require some organizational skills and plenty of patience as you deal with paperwork and government offices .

The following are some guidelines on how to change your name after marriage.

State by State

Laws for name change vary by jurisdiction, therefore you should always be sure to check which rules and regulations apply to your situation. 

A legal name change after marriage in most states can be accomplished by simply filling out some forms without court involvement.

One Caveat :

Most of the states have different name change procedures for anyone except a woman who is taking her husband’s surname after marriage .

A formal name change petition may have to be filed at court in the following circumstances:

  • A man taking his wife’s last name.
  • A couple selecting a last name which is different from either partner’s.
  • A same sex marriage partner changing his or her last name from either partner’s.

Marriage Certificate 

Your marriage certificate is the most important document in the name change process.

You can request several certified copies from the clerk of the country in which you were married, if required.

Request a long-form, if your state has both long-form and short-form marriage certificates.

Social Security

After you have acquired certified copies of your marriage certificate, download Form SS-5 (PDF) from the Social Security Administration, which you will need to complete and take to your local Social Security office in person. 

Along with the completed form,

you should bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate and other proof of your identity and citizenship.

Driver’s Licence 

You will want to get your name changed on your driver’s license, as it is the main form of identification for most people.

Again, the rules of Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMV) vary slightly, therefore be sure to check what your state requires before setting off on this quest 

Some DMVs may need only a copy of your new Social Security card while others require your marriage certificate.

While you are at the DMV, you may also want to find out how to change the name on the document of any vehicle which you own.

Everything Else 

Keep in mind that name change after marriage means you must also get your name changed on any and all official documents, including but not limited to, the following:

  • Passport
  • Bank and other financial/investment accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Mortgages/deeds/leases
  • Insurance policies
  • Utility bills
  • Phone/cable bills
  • Students loans
  • School/work, including payroll and retirement plans.
  • Voter registration
  • State tax authority 
  • Doctor/attorney
  • Professional licensing boards/associations
  • Magazine subscriptions

This might be a good time to clean out the wallets of all the membership cards from libraries, grocery stores, gyms and clubs, also change  your name on all of them in the process.

It is best to begin as early as possible, especially if you will need a new form of identification for an upcoming trip or the like, as  each step in this process can take a few weeks.

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