Did you recently get married? If so, congratulations! Before you put that pen away after writing all those thank-you notes, there is one more thing to make your union official. It is important to know how to change your name after marriage.
If you're interested in changing your last name to reflect your spouse's, then this is the guide for you. There is not a lot to remember on how to change your name after marriage, but there are some documents that you will need to bring with you. Some of these steps you can do ahead of time to make sure it goes smoothly, and whatever you do, don't panic because you do have some grace time to make the transition, but it's best to start as soon as you can.
3 Ways to Change Your Name
Each state has different processes when it comes to changing one's name. You won't need to know all of these, but as a reference, they are included here. While none of these are complicated, there are certain documents that are needed to verify your identity. You will only need to focus on the marriage license section, for it is the one that will show you how to change your name after marriage.
Utilizing the Court System
The first and most popular option is to go through the courts and get your married name approved by a judge. This is for anyone that wants to change their own name. It is not just for those that wish to only change it due to marriage.
Using It Repeatedly
Another form of changing one's name is constantly using the name you wish and being recognized by it. It is not approved in some states, so you should check first in your own before doing so.
This is the one that will be what you will use to help get your name changed. It is a certificate that you signed at your marriage. It required both of your signatures and also those that witnessed as well as the marriage officiant.
Why You Should Learn How to Change Your Name After Marriage
It is important that you follow these procedures for they will prevent any legal ramifications in your future. We all have busy lives, and a newly married couple is the busiest of all. They are learning how to function as a married couple and do not need any additional interference while doing so. By learning how to change your name after marriage, it will keep undue stress off your new marriage.
Especially in this time of identity fraud, it is important not to have alternative identities causing confusion. In America, it is very important that you can prove who you are and keep your affairs registered under a legal name to avoid being questioned or accused of wrongdoing. Someone could use your maiden name and build up debt obligations while you are living your life under your married name. When people steal another's identity, it can cause a number of problems, and the credit bureau will have a hard time sorting things out if you don't have legal documents to back you up. That's bad enough, but also at risk is your credit score and long-term financial health.
In other instances, you can consider the woman who didn't change her identity properly after she was married and was regularly stopped at airline security when she traveled. Usually, it worked out, but think of the relief knowing you are traveling with the correct legal ID and are able to present it without any hesitation. Also, you'll find it difficult to complete simple transactions like when moving into a new home and having to transfer the utility or water accounts. Again, here we find that handling this matter properly and promptly makes for a much more pleasant and successful transition.
Legal Requirements on How to Change Your Name After Marriage
You must make sure that you meet all legal requirements before submitting a name change. This will ensure that you have all the legal points in and not create any problems later.
You must have lived in the state you preside for at least six months or longer. This depends on your own state's law so check it out for your area.
Fraudulent Name Change
You can't be changing your name to escape legal matters. This is against all laws, and you will not be permitted to do so. This is why it is important that you know how to change your name after marriage to not be accused of doing so illegally.
You must fill out your paperwork for your change of name in the county court where you live. There is a different way of changing your name after marriage in every state, so check with your local court. But, often the steps start with arriving at the courthouse and filling out the proper forms. Many times you need the form to be notarized, and they can provide that service on site. Next, the information is posted publicly for a 30-day period, and if all goes well, you return for a court hearing where the judge makes the request official. The final step is requesting your copies of the final approval and waiting about a week for them to be mailed to you.
Who to Notify After Your Name Change
There are several other places that you will need to contact once you have your marriage certificate. Remember, that you will need the original marriage certificate and no copies. The original one has the raised seal. This is a vital step on how to change your name after marriage; not having it will hold up the entire process.
Social Security Department
This is the first area that you need to address once you have your marriage certificate. You will need it to obtain a new card with your name on it. Your number will not change, so don't worry. They will just have you fill out an application for a name change. Bring your current proof of ID as well as the marriage certificate to start the process.
After you have your new social security card, you should make an appointment at your local DMV. Here, they will ask to see ID, marriage certificate, and your Social Security card. But, do check online to see what other documents they might need.
Local Post Office
You might have already moved in together, but more than likely, you used your maiden name when doing so. Get to the post office and fill out a new card. Knowing this step on how to change your name after marriage will ensure that you receive those last minute cards and gifts.
Internal Revenue Service
While this is not a glamorous step, it still needs to be done. The IRS will need to know your new status. Make sure that you let them know your name change so that any tax matters or refunds will get to you. This is not an area that you want to put off for any length of time.
Correct Your Voter Information
If you are registered to vote in your area, you will need to get your name corrected on their roster. This will ensure that they will have your new one ready at your polling center. But, if you aren't registered, it is quite easy to do and takes no time at all. You can even do it online through the government site.
Banks and Other Debtors
Your banking institution also needs your change of name. Be sure you contact them beforehand and see what documents you need to bring in. They will make sure that all your accounts, checks and deposits have the new name change. This will help to get all your banking information correctly sent to you as needed. Also, contact those companies that you have credit cards, loans with. They will have requirements for how to submit the verification to them to make the change. Once the process is completed, new cards will be sent to you.
Passport and Other Legal Papers
If you have a passport, you will need to submit your new name change in order to use it. Your ID will not match it, otherwise, and will cause you problems if you travel. Also, you will need to check all your legal documents such as your will, investments, stocks, etc. You can contact your attorney to help you with those, so they are all updated with your new name.
Utility and Electric Bills
These are easy to change and can be usually done via the phone. It is required to make sure that they have current information.
Update Your Airline
If you are a traveler, then this step is key to hold on to those miles. Get them your new information so that you don't lose your precious milage.
Not having a lot of stress is the key after one gets married. We want to keep living our happily ever after for as long as we can. By learning how to change your name after marriage, we are ensuring that no unwanted surprises will come your way. It is best to take care of the legal requirements right away and get your marriage license so that you can apply for the changes to your accounts, credit cards, and all other necessary documents. Once this is all done, you can breathe easier and enjoy your new life with a new name.