From Maiden to Married: a Guide to Changing Your Name

While you may have dotted your i's and crossed your t's on your marriage license {congrats!}, your new name isn't official just yet!  Changing your name is not only a major life decision, it's a time consuming one as well.  To make the lengthy {and certainly tedious} process a bit more bearable, we've put together a "how-to" guide to get you through this monumental change.

Image courtesy of  Photogen Inc .

Image courtesy of Photogen Inc.

Step 1. Obtain your marriage certificate and certified copies

Once you receive your marriage certificate from the county shortly following the wedding, you are all set to follow the necessary steps to make your new last name official!  We recommend ordering certified copies of your certificate in advance when applying for your marriage license - that way you get them all at once and always have one on hand! 

Step 2. Update your social security card

Now that you have proof of your new name, it's time to update the name on your social security card to let the government know what name you would like to go by.  You can do so by mail or in person - either way, save yourself some time by filling out the application in advance!  In order to get a new social security card you're going to need a few things including proof of citizenship, copy of marriage certificate, proof of ID, and your current social security card.

Step 3. Renew your driver's license

Once your new social security card is ready to go, the next step in the process is renewing your driver's license with your new last name.  You will need the following few items to ensure the process goes smoothly: new social security card, current driver's license, proof of address, and a copy of your marriage certificate.  Once again, you can print the application online and fill it out in advance to save some time at the DMV.

{Pro tip: make an appointment on your local DMV's website to avoid the much dreaded lines.}

Step 4. Change the name on your bank accounts

The best way to change your name on your bank accounts is by doing it in person.  Head over to your local bank branch with your marriage certificate, social security card, and your new driver's license in hand.  Don't forget to request new credit cards and checkbooks with your new name as well!

Step 5. Get a new passport and/or any travel documents

If you're wondering about getting your name changed in time for your honeymoon, don't stress!  Book all of your honeymoon flights, hotels, and activities, etc. under your maiden name since you won't have any new documentation in hand.  

Once you are back home from your honeymoon, you can apply to change the name on your passport by filling out a DS-82.  In order to make the change you will need a copy of your marriage certificate, your current passport, and a recent 2x2 in. color photograph that meets the passport photo requirements.

Step 6. Fill in the blanks 

While it may feel like you have a million and one documents to update with your newlywed name, once you have the essentials done {i.e. your social security card and driver's license}, the rest shouldn't cause you too much trouble.  Here's a list of a few final places you should notify:

  1. Credit cards
  2. Employers/payroll
  3. Insurance company
  4. Landlord or mortgage, rent, and utility companies
  5. Any auto-pay accounts
  6. Doctors' offices
  7. Your attorney (update any legal documents)

Of course all this can be avoided by not taking your new hubby's name {but that's a whole other discussion!}