Posted by Kath on 13th Apr 2017
So you just got married. Congratulations! Now that the honeymoon is over, one of your first priorities is to settle in with your husband and start a new life together. If you choose to adopt your spouse’s last name, like most women do, you might want to get started and change your name on all your official documents.
Changing your name is a pretty straightforward process. However, you’ll have to deal with tons of paperwork. Since each step in the name change process may take a few weeks, we encourage you to start as early as possible.
For a better understanding on how to legally change your name after marriage, we urge you to keep reading. Use this as a guide to get the process started.
Get your marriage certificate
You won’t be able to begin the name change process unless you have the original copy of your marriage certificate on hand. This is the most important document you’ll need if you opt to follow the tradition of taking your husband’s name.
The processing of marriage certificates usually takes a month. Most states will send you the original, signed and sealed copy after it has been processed. If not, you may call or visit the clerk’s office where you filed your marriage license.
It is also a good idea to get a few extra copies of your marriage certificate so you can process different forms simultaneously. But make sure that each copy is certified. Otherwise, they won’t be considered valid.
Start with your social security
To update your name on your social security card, you’ll have to print out the social security card application and fill it out with the necessary information.
The SSA has an online service. However, you cannot apply for a card online. If you want to legally change your name because of marriage, you’ll have to either bring your application, along with your marriage certificate to their office or mail them. In some cases, they also require certain documents like driver’s license or passport to prove identity, as well as proof of U.S. citizenship. You will not be charged a fee for a new Social Security card. You can expect your card in 1 to 2 weeks.
Updating your name with the Social Security is one of the most important steps. Once you do so, all other agencies will recognize your name change.
Get a new driver’s license
You are required, by law, to bring your driver’s license with you when driving. Your license should also contain up-to-date information. While you are not obliged to update your license when you change your address, you are advised to do so if you decide to adopt your husband’s surname after marriage.
The procedure may vary from state to state since driver’s licenses are exclusively regulated by the state. However, most states will require you to visit your local DMV office and bring all the necessary documents with you. To change your name to that of your husband, you’ll be asked to present your driver’s license to confirm your identity, along with a certified copy of your marriage license. You may have to take a written or a driving test if your license is from another state.
Update your financial accounts
To change your name on your financial accounts, you’ll be asked to provide a copy of your marriage certificate along with your updated ID. In other states, you may also be asked to provide additional documents reflecting your married name. As such, we recommend that you wait until you have all the necessary documents and identification before updating your financial accounts.
Don’t forget to notify your employer or the HR department about the name change to avoid problems with your salary and avoid delays with your tax refund. If you happen to receive a check made out to your maiden name, don’t worry. Just bring it to the bank and present an ID that bears your maiden name and they’ll let you cash it.
Update all official documents
Now that you’ve already got your name changed in your Social Security card, driver’s license and bank accounts, this may also be a good time to change your name in all your official documents. Some of you might be tempted to take a breather after dealing with a lot of paperwork, but please resist the urge to do so.
Request for a name change on the following documents:
Start using it
Now that you have legally and officially changed your name to your husband’s last name, go ahead and use it. It may sound a little bit weird at first, but you’ll get used to it. Plus, everyone else will catch on once you start using your new last name. Use your husband’s last name when you open new accounts, when you notify change of address and in social settings.
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