The planning may be over, but the name-change? Where to start! Those forms? That line – ugh! But just remember, you’re married, and you’re happy, and this is all part of starting your new life together. Though we admit the process can be time consuming, it won’t feel as daunting if you study-up and know what you’re in for. So if you’re assuming your spouse’s last name, hyphenating, or moving your maiden name to the middle, worry not! This tutorial will set your fears aside and will make the process easy-as-pie.
1. Your Marriage License
Make sure you have this on hand! It’s a MUST! You should have received your copy in the mail from the clerk’s office within 30 days of your wedding (or when the signed copy was sent in). If you haven’t received it already, contact them right away as you won’t be able to continue on without it.
2. Social Security
Changing your social security card requires three simple steps. First, visit the Social Security website and read the instructions thoroughly to learn what documents you need in order to fill out the application. Second, open the link to the application, print it out and complete it in its entirety. Lastly, seal up your application and send it in via snail mail to your local Social Security office. You may need to visit a card services office should you need to request a new card or change personal information. This varies by state. You should receive your new card within 10 business days.
3. Driver’s License
Once you receive you new social security card, you can move forward with changing your name in all other respects. Gather up all forms of identification, from your old driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, marriage license, social security card, recent credit card statement and/or bank statement to bring to the DMV. Just wait on the line, and you’re golden. Post-driver’s license change, you may also need to update your vehicle registration and title. Depending on your state, you may be able to do this by mail or in person, but check with your local DMV for how to proceed.
4. Bank Accounts
Your next stop on the way to becoming a Mrs. is to head to the bank. You should go with your husband if you’re setting up a joint account, as you both will need to be present. In addition to changing your name on all of your bank accounts, you’ll need to request new debit cards and checks (note: also make sure to change any credit cards). You’ll need to bring forms of identification with you, including your driver’s license. Don’t forget that marriage license!
5. The Incidentals
Once you’ve taken care of the three major players in changing your name (Social Security, driver’s license and bank accounts), you can move right along to take care of all of the other institutions and companies that have your current name on file. Included in this list are: employers, insurance companies, passports, post office, doctor’s offices, landlord, service providers (electric, cable, etc.), financial planners, attorneys, alumni associations and voter registration services.
A few noteworthy tips:
When booking your honeymoon, book all tickets under your maiden name. If you’re leaving immediately after the wedding and won’t be changing your name before your trip, you’ll only be able to fly with your maiden name. Even if you’re not leaving the country, you’ll still have to have a photo ID which matches your ticket.
You really need that marriage license (to do just about anything)
You can change your magazine subscriptions, and that’s just about it before legally changing your name. Most companies will ask for hard proof, like your marriage license.
It’ll cost you
We know you just shelled out a fortune for that amazing wedding, but changing your name will also cost you. Though it’s free to get a social security card, you may be charged for a new driver’s license or passport.
Name changing companies (to use, or not to use?)
If this all sounds super awful, there are a few name-changing companies that we recommend. MissNowMrs offers a service for $29.95, and the company, I’m A Mrs., charges $30+. We must mention, we’ve seen promotions for I’m A Mrs. on GILT City from time to time. HitchSwitch, The Knot’s premium name changing partner, offers three types of packages from $29-$79. In any case, if you can fork over a few dollars to let one of these services streamline the process and do the heavy lifting for you, we say, why not? You just planned a wedding. Trust us, we get it if you want to take it easy!
Not sure if you want to change your name after marriage? Read what these brides did here!