Where to Change Your Name After Marriage

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The most common reason people change their names outside of being in Witness Protection is a bride after her wedding. Taking on your husband’s last name is traditional of a bride, and what many girls have been dreaming of possibly since their first date with the man of their dreams.  Changing your last name is much more than scribbling it on your notebook; there’s actually a lot of work that goes into it.  You have to make sure to change your name after marriage on important accounts and documents.

To Hyphenate or Not?

Some ladies can’t wait to kick their last name to the curb and change it to their husband’s, but other women are conflicted about replacing it.  Some women have been established, and are known as nothing else besides their maiden name, and want to spare many people the confusion of recognizing who they are.  Others have no brothers, and want to keep their father’s surname alive even after their nuptials.  The decision is up to you, but also ask how your husband feels about the situation.

Where you Need to Change your Name After Marriage

Once you decide what your new name will be, you’ll have to change quite a few things.  You need to update more than your family and friends to call you Mrs.  You’ll be known as this name until death (or divorce) do you part, and people need to be informed of the change.  Some places that need to be notified include:

DMV

You’ll need a new driver’s license or identification card with your new name (and address if you moved in with your new spouse).

Social Security Office

Husband and WifeYou’ll need to be issued a new social security card if you’re taking on your husband’s last name. Don’t worry; your number won’t change.

Passport

Another form of identification, you’ll need to apply to renew your passport with your new family name.

US Postal Service

Unless you don’t mind receiving mail under your maiden name, you may want to contact your local post office and announce that you’ve been married so they can make the necessary changes to your mail.

Voter Registration

You’re a new person under the eyes of the law; allow that to reflect when you’re voting.  In some states this might be included with your DMV change.

Vehicle Title Information

Yes, back to the DMV.  If your car is in your name, make sure it matches your driver’s license in case you get pulled over.

Insurance

For the same reasons as above, you’ll want to update your information on your insurance papers.

Other places you may need to notify: your banks for your checking, savings, investing, loan and credit accounts, places where you hold a membership like the gym, your utility providers, and your job as well.  Your human resources department may need some additional information from you, including if you want to add your spouse as a beneficiary if you have benefits, as well as becoming your emergency contact person on the job.

It’s definitely a hassle, and while some of these changes can be made online, many of them require in person appointments, a phone conversation, or sending in a copy of your marriage license as proof, so be sure to make several copies for companies that require them.  If it seems too much for you to be bothered with, there are services that provide you all the forms you need for a small fee. Companies like David’s Bridal are partnered with these services, one called MissNowMrs.com, which claims to save you an average of 13 hours of form research.

If you’re the bride, be sure you’re ready for the paperwork when you get back from your honeymoon. If you’re a friend of the bride, a gift card or certificate for a name change service would be an excellent wedding gift, as she may not know exactly what’s in store, and could easily become overwhelmed.  It may be tedious, but it’s one of the many things that come with a marriage.  Be prepared and make sure you update your name so that you don’t have problems with an incorrect name later on.

Can you think of other places you would need to change your name after marriage?

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Published or updated December 6, 2012.

Comments

  1. @modestgrrl says:

    I’m so glad my religion doesn’t have this weird belief that I need to change my name to my husband’s last name. The entire concept makes me feel like women are viewed as property.

    • It does have that feel if you want to see it that way. These days women bring home the big paycheck just as much as men (my wife certainly does).

      There’s nothing to say that a guy can’t be the one to change his name though. And these guidelines work just as well for a guy.

  2. I still haven’t done all the changing. Ugh, so tedious!

    • It is tedious. But better to get it done now then have to rush around like a headless chicken trying to make a change when you need it.

  3. I’m an only child, so I really wanted to keep my maiden name alive in some form. I had also established myself in a writing career and didn’t want to change my name for professional reasons.

    I also wanted the simplicity of sharing my husband’s last name – particularly once we had kids. It’s much easier for people to remember, to address mail to you, to establish whether you’re related, etc.

    So… I changed my middle name to my maiden name. I can use my full name when I want, or just my married name.

    I did talk to my parents about it and they were supportive. I was never really in love with my middle name anyway. Now I have a unique middle name that I have a great sense of attachment to!

    Great advice for making sure you change your name wherever it needs to be changed. It’s far easier (and cheaper) to change it write when you get married than to change your mind and do it years later.

    • That’s an interesting option! I think these days the subject of last name is changing. More women, like yourself, are establishing careers in their maiden names and would rather keep that “brand,” for lack of a better word.

  4. Problems, after problem been married for 6 months and haven’t changed my name because of our house loan so do I need to change every thing or willl it be like fraud if I dont

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