Getting Married? Need to Change Your Name? Checklist of Documents

Getting Married - Changing Your Name

Where My Wife & I Got Married

A common event in many young individuals’ lives is getting married. Getting married is not just a public display of romance – it is also a legal proceeding. It not only has legal ramifications for tax purposes, but also in changing your name. Traditionally, it is the bride who changes her name, but the 21st century offers many complications. Making the arrangements for the ceremony and reception may seem like a lot in, so you can imagine how overwhelming it might seem to change your name.

Marriage is Easy Way to Change Your Name

Marriage is one of the easiest ways to change your name. So, if you are looking for a new surname and don’t want to have to go to court to do it, why not look for someone special to say, “I do” so you can accomplish your goal. While I don’t recommend hunting down a suitable match for the sole sake of changing your name, it does provide an easy way to change your last name.

When my wife and I were getting the marriage license(s), we were told how we need to fill out the license. “If you want to change your name, you need to sign your new name when you sign the marriage license,”┬áthe clerk informed my wife. It really is that simple – well, kind of. Changing your legal name with your marriage certificate is only the beginning. Following the Honeymoon starts the beginning of getting all of your other legal documents in order.

List of Identification to Change

In order to help you overcome the anxiety that comes with changing your name after getting married, here’s a list of possible forms of identification that you will need to change:

  • Social Security Card
  • Driver’s License
  • Passport
  • Medical Records
  • Bank Accounts
  • Credit Cards
  • Insurance
  • Car Registration, Title
  • Miscellaneous Bills (Cell Phone, Internet, Utilities, etc.)

First Things First – Order for Changing Name

The funny thing about getting new identification is that certain forms of identification require other forms of identification. If you have ever lost two (or more) important forms (like social security card and driver’s license), it can become a hassle when it comes to request new ID’s. Changing your name after marriage is very similar. It’s important to go in the proper order for the first few items, otherwise it can get complicated. You can check with your local DMV and the Social Security Office for details, but here’s the general order. While I know that tradition for the bride changing her name are changing (my best friend and his wife both changed their names), this is only accounting for one partner changing his/her name.

  1. Sign Marriage Certificate on your wedding
  2. Mail license to the county clerk
  3. Request official copies of Marriage certificate (if you don’t already have it – the county we got married in gave us two when we got them)
  4. Apply for new Social Security Card at your Local Social Security Office.
  5. Receive your new Social Security Card in the Mail
  6. Visit your local DMV to get your name changed on your license, bringing marriage certificate and necessary identification (the requirements for identification vary by state). If you have a car in your name, this is also the time to change the title and registration.
  7. Everything else…

Changing your name does not have to be overwhelming. Taking one thing at a time can go a long ways toward helping you maintain your sanity and stay in control. If necessary, once you get the essentials taken care of, you can wait for some items like a passport until needed.

Did you have a difficult time changing your name?

10 Responses to Getting Married? Need to Change Your Name? Checklist of Documents

  1. Colorado DMV seems to change their ID requirements every time you walk in the door. But my wife had an easier time of changing her name on her license after we got married than I did transfering my out of state license when I moved.

    We also handed in our marriage license to the county clerk in person. We live in our county seat, so it didn’t make sense to mail it across town.

  2. Great list! My wife and I should have had a list like this when we got married last year. Looks like we got every item on the list accomplished though.

  3. My wife had a semi-difficult time changing her name. The process is just time consuming.

    You also forgot to mention your work. My wife jokes that we’ve been married 2 years, and only about 4 months ago did her work change her email address to reflect her new name.

  4. ImpulseSave says:

    It doesn’t surprise me that it can take a long time to get everything changed over – from email adresses, to various accounts and bills – there is so much associated with our names today! But with helpful lists like this and a little patience, it seems more than possible to get it done, eventually!

  5. When my sister got married, her and her husband had to wait to cash the checks they received because the checks were made out to his last name and she didn’t change her last name yet. Other than that though, she didn’t mention any other issues.

  6. Awesome practical post. When you have to do something that is such a PITA as re-label everything in your life, it is nice to have a thorough reference list to make sure you don’t forget anything. Hope this ends up being a keyword winner for you!

    • Corey says:

      Thanks – I’m trying to mix it up a little bit to see what is successful and what isn’t.

  7. I had no idea it was so difficult-this makes me want to not change my name.

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