Changing Names After Marriage
Changing Names After Marriage
Aside from the ring, one of the lasting reminders of marriage is your new name. Whether you adopt your partner’s name, add your partner’s name to your own or decide to retain your maiden name at work, obtaining a marriage certificate is just the first step. It’s then up to you to contact all the necessary organizations to get your records updated.
If you have plenty of time to hunt for forms and wait on hold you could do this yourself. But if you’ve got better things to do, have Easy Name Change deliver a personalized, ready-to-send name change kit directly to your door! Then you can sign, add your marriage certificate and send!
Get your wedding certificate
Start changing names with an original certified copy of your marriage certificate, which is different from the certificate issued on the day of your wedding and is different from a religious certificate. Get this from your county clerk where your wedding took place. Certificates are generally available a week or two after your ceremony.
First, change names with the SSA
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the first and most important place to change your name. You need to complete “Form SS-5 - Application for a Social Security Card.” This form is included in your Easy Name Change kit or you can request it from the SSA. If filing by mail, allow 2-3 weeks for the update and your certificate to be returned. Most brides take the form to the SSA in person, then your name change is recorded within 3 working days.
You must wait for the SSA change to take effect before applying to other agencies. No matter how you decide to change names there are some places which you must inevitably visit in person, such as the DMV and most banks. That’s because they need to view your original certificate, witness your signature and perhaps take a new photo. Check with your bank before waiting in line – bank-issued credit cards typically require you to attend a branch, while co-branded retail cards and AMEX cards can often be changed by mail.
Then everywhere else....
Now it’s up to you to get everything else updated. It’s best to notify all the agencies, organizations, and membership clubs of your new name as soon as possible; otherwise, your name change can drag on for months or even years. This can create issues if you need to prove your identity.
Most people consider the notification process to be the most painful part in changing names, as each organization has a different process. Sometimes you’ll need to go in person, complete a special form, or write a letter. You’ll need to know what proof document to send with your request; an updated driver’s license, or perhaps your marriage certificate. Is a photocopy ok or does it need to be notarized?
Be Mindful of your Honeymoon
Hold off changing names in your passport if you have international travel booked within a few months of your wedding. You can be refused flights if your bookings don’t match your passport! You can always start changing names in most places now, then hold off your passport until you return.
Ready to start changing names?
If you are managing your own name change, ensure you have a detailed checklist before you start so you can record all the mailing addresses, ask if there is a special form and what type of proof should be sent. Or – get it done for you! When you buy an Easy Name Change kit, each letter and form will be pre-addressed to each company, personalized in your name, and list what proof document to include. All you need is 10 minutes, and you don’t even need to be married! You can get your name change paperwork organized a few months before your wedding, then send it all off as soon as your wedding certificate is available.