Congratulations! You’ve either just tied the not or are on the precipice of doing so. And you’ve decided to take your partner’s name.
If you’re just now preparing to get married, you probably have a lot on your mind. From the caterers to the location to whom to sit with whom at the reception, suffice to say, it’s a lot of stress. Changing your name may be something you haven’t even thought about due to how stressful the entire situation is.
While you may be wondering if you’ll have to go through a lengthy process to change your name, you’ll be delighted to know that a marriage name change is a lot easier than many other types of name changes. And it most cases, it doesn’t involve having to go to court or wait in seventeen long lines before you’re granted your new name.
In this blog post, well go over some of the things you’ll need to take your new name and start this exciting new chapter of your life. Read on for more.
Remember, Changing Your Name is Separate from All of Your Other Paperwork
You may feel like you’re drowning in paperwork right now. With all of the paperwork you need to make your marriage legal, not to mention all of the paperwork from the wedding itself, it may seem like one big mountain of documents.
But no matter how overwhelming, you’ll need to file your name change separately. While we’ve stated it is technically less hassle than changing your name for other reasons, it doesn’t make it less stressful. If it’s too much for you to even comprehend doing, you can always “outsource” your name change by having a name change service do it for you.
However you choose to do it, you should be aware from the outset that it doesn’t happen automatically because you choose to get married legally. Some people choose not to change their name after marriage at all, so this is why the next steps are in place.
The Most Important Document of All: Your Marriage License
Your marriage license is proof that you’re married and that the name change is legitimate. You’ll need this to change your name on almost all legal documents, so be aware of this and do not lose or damage it.
Social Security: Your First Port of Call and What Documents You’ll Need
After you’ve obtained your marriage license, your first port of call should be social security. This is where you’ll change your social security card so that the government can keep track of you with your new name.
Unfortunately, this isn’t something you can do online, so you’ll have to take a trip to the social security office, or physically mail in an application.
You can download an application on their website, which you can fill out and send in to their offices.
In addition to the form, you’ll need your marriage license and either your birth certificate or passport. This is to prove that you’re a US citizen. You don’t have to send in original documents, but the copies you do send in will need to be certified.
Once you mail them in, you should receive a new social security card within a reasonable amount of time.
In some circumstances, the Social Security Administration may decline your evidence as valid. If this is the case, you may be able to straighten it out by taking the original documents to your local Social Security Administration so that they can determine the validity of them.
If they are satisfied, you’ll be sent a new social security card.
If not, you may have to then go through the court system to change your name the way people change their names for reasons not having to do with marriage. This may be a several week process that may include having to place an ad in the paper, as well as filing several motions with the court. It may possibly mean a court hearing.
Once you have completed your name change through the courts, you’ll receive an official decree from the judge stating your name is legally changed. You’ll then be able to use this to obtain a new social security card.
Other Documents to Update
If you have a driver’s license, you’ll need to update that next. You’ll need your social security card to do so, however. You’ll need to bring in your birth certificate, social security card, marriage license and current license to the DMV. Each state will have different forms you’ll need to fill out to make the name change valid.
Your driver’s license and social security card are the two most important documents to update. If you travel often, you’ll want to ensure your passport is updated as well. The process for this often simply involves applying for a new passport with your marriage license, current passport and birth certificate.
You may wish to consider updating your name with your utility companies, credit card companies, banks or credit unions and any insurance or investments. Your new social security card and driver’s license or passport are crucial for this.
A Marriage Name Change
A marriage name change can be a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have everything planned out, you can clearly see the steps you need to take to change your name.
Alternatively, as we mentioned above, you can use a name change service, which will expedite the process considerably and allow you to focus on other things.