How to Change Your Last Name after Marriage

There are plenty of questions to ask before getting married. A very important one is whether or not one of you will change your last name. My piece of wedding advice is to weigh the pros and cons. Pros: Sharing a name solidifies your partnership and marriage, it’s a fun change (if your spouse has a cool name), and it will make filling out any government or financial documents a lot easier. Cons: The process is time-consuming and frustrating, there’s a risk of changing your professional identity, and you’re losing that connection to your family line. If the process is what you’re dreading the most, don’t worry! I’ve put together this wedding advice post on how to change your last name after marriage. It won’t take away the urge to pull your hair out, but these steps will get you one step closer to the new Mr. or Mrs. (Insert New Name Here)!

how to change your name after marriage

Photo by The Freckled Key Photography

How to change your last name after marriage:

Pre-wedding: 1. Make the decision together. A name change is definitely one of those important questions to ask before getting married. Remember that there are alternative options. You can choose to hyphenate both names, or even change your middle name to your maiden name. Weigh the pros and cons and decide what’s best for both of you 2. Make sure your friends and family know that you’re changing your name in case they are in the market for monogrammed wedding gifts. 3. If you are going on a honeymoon right after the wedding, use your maiden name when purchasing any plane tickets since your passport will not be updated.

Post-wedding:

1. Obtain an original copy of your marriage license (marked with a raised seal). Your marriage license is the key to this whole process. You will have to bring an original to the DMV, the Social Security Office, and even the bank. You can get your marriage license from the clerk’s office where it was first filed. 2. Go to your local Social Security Office with your marriage license, driver’s license, and the ss-5 form filled out. Once everything is filed, you should receive your new Social Security card within 10 days. The Social Security Administration will notify the IRS of your name change, so you’ll be killing two birds with one stone. Feel free to do this step by mail if you want to avoid one government building (understandable). 3. Go to the DMV (yes, the worst place on earth) and get your new driver’s license. You will need to bring an original copy of your marriage license. I also recommend checking your local DMV’s website for any forms you can fill out beforehand. You should also try to change the name on your car title during this visit. Bonus: you may get to re-take your license photo! 4. Visit a branch of your bank to change the information on your account. You will also need to obtain a new check card and checks. Once again, bring an original marriage license. 5. Notify your work’s HR Department of your name change. This should be done as soon as you have your new Social Security card, driver’s license, and marriage license. If you have health insurance through your employer, HR will take care of the paperwork for you. 6. Now that the hard part is over, it’s time to make a list of any other places your maiden name is filed. Not sure where to start? Here’s my list to help you get started.
  • Credit card companies
  • Department of State for a new passport
  • Insurance companies
  • Health professionals
  • Cellphone provider
  • School or alumni associations
  • Student loans
  • All clubs you are a member of (gym, co-ops, etc…)
  • Utilities

My wedding advice: breathe in, breathe out, and take this one step at a time.

After reading this highly entertaining blog post on how to change your last name after marriage, I’m realizing that this process is anything but fun. But if you follow these steps, remain patient, and keep your eyes on the prize, you’ll be happy you went through with it. The first time someone calls you Mr. or Mrs. (Insert Name Here), you know you’ll be grinning from ear to ear.

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