Changing Your Name After Marriage
Getting a new last name? Here’s what you need to do after the wedding.
Marriage Name Change 101
Nothing kills newlywed bliss like the cumbersome process of changing your name after marriage. However, with our name change kits, you can avoid the long DMV lines and surly Social Security clerks with our easy, three-step process.
Or, you can do it the old-fashioned way, so long as you’re willing to familiarize yourself with the process, wait in line, and deal with the paperwork.
If that sounds like you, you’ll want to start by continuing to read so you can learn everything you need to know about changing your last name after marriage.
You can also skip to the section you need with the links below.
The Marriage Name-Change Process Overview
The first thing you’ll want to know is how much this is going to cost you and how long it’s going to take.
The exact numbers may vary but the expenses you’ll incur in the marriage name-change process mostly come from the federal and state agencies with which you’ll be changing your name.
Marriage Name Change Cost
First, you’ll have to pay a fee for the three certified copies of your marriage certificate that you’ll need. Each copy costs around $15. So that’s $45.
Then there’s the cost of changing your name on your driver’s license. This varies by state but is usually less than $50.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) can change your name for free. And the fee you pay to change your name on your passport will be between $0 and $165 depending on when your passport was issued.
Of course, there will likely be other small costs such as notarization fees, postage costs, and charges from your bank for new checks.
All told, you can expect to pay between $50 and $250 to change your name after marriage.
Length of the Name Change Process
To make the name change process as quick as possible (without using our name change service), you’ll want to change your name with the SSA first.
Not counting the time it takes to find a day in your schedule to get to the SSA office or mail the documents, it’ll take between 10 and 14 business days to receive your updated Social Security card once you’ve submitted all your documents.
After that, you’ll need to change your name with the DMV and on your passport. Again, processing times may vary by state but in California, for example, you’ll receive your new driver’s license within 60 days.
Assuming you don’t pay for expedited processing, your new Passport will take between six to eight weeks to arrive after you’ve completed your request.
To complete everything, not including the time it takes to change your name in other places, it’ll take around two months to complete your name change.
And between waiting in line at the SSA office, the DMV, and the Passport agency, you’ll likely spend at least a dozen (or more) hours changing your name.
Options for Changing Your Last Name After Marriage
It’s important to note that each state has a slightly different process by which you can change your name after marriage.Generally, though, you’ll have a few options for changing your name.
1. In all states, a woman can take her spouse’s last name, take two last names, or hyphenate her and her spouse’s names.
2. In states other than California, Washington, Ohio, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, a woman can also replace her middle name with her maiden name.
3. In California, Iowa, Georgia, Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts, Louisiana, and North Dakota, a man can change his name through the married name change process. Otherwise, he’ll need to file a petition for a name change with the court. (More on that here)
How to Change Your Name After Marriage
If you wanted to change your name legally without a marriage, you’d have to file a petition with the court.
Fortunately, in most cases, this won’t be necessary after marriage because your marriage certificate can serve as proof of your name change.
While that helps make the process easier, you’ll still have some work to do.
First, you’ll need to obtain at least three certified copies of your marriage certificate. You can get these copies by calling the office that issued your marriage certificate.
Keep in mind that photocopied versions of your marriage certificate won’t be accepted by the federal and state agencies you’ll need to change your name with.
Once you’ve gotten certified copies of your marriage certificate, you’ll need to go through the name change process with:
- Your state’s DMV
- The Social Security Administration (SSA)
- The US Passport Agency
Of course, you’ll also need to change your name other places such as your credit cards, insurance policies, and more. (Jump to the full list of places you need to change your name after marriage.)
Documents Needed to Change Your Last Name After Marriage
As mentioned, you’ll need certified copies of your marriage certificate. But that’s not all.
To change your name on your Social Security card, you’ll need:
- A certified copy of your marriage certificate
- A driver’s license, state-issued ID, or U.S. Passport
- An identity document in your prior name IF your marriage certificate doesn’t provide enough information for the SSA to identify you in their records.
Additionally, if your marriage occurred more than two years ago and you’re just now getting to changing your name with the Social Security Administration, you may need to provide documents that prove your identity with both your new legal name and your prior name.
More information on the Social Security name change process after marriage.
To change your name on your passport, you’ll need:
- Your most recent United States passport
- A certified copy of your marriage certificate
- Two color photos
- Form DS-5504 or Form DS-82, depending on the date your passport was issued.
More information on the passport name change process after marriage.
To change your name on your Driver’s License, the process will vary by state.
As an example, in California, you’ll need to complete a driver’s license application and provide your marriage certificate as proof of your legal name change.
More information on the driver’s license name change process after marriage.
After the Marriage Name Change
The main thing you need to worry about after you’ve completed your name change with the SSA, DMV, and Passport agency is all the other places, people, and organizations you need to notify. These people, places, and organizations include:
- Your employer
- The state tax authority
- Financial institutions (banks, credit cards, etc.)
- Membership and subscription providers
- The IRS
- The post office
- Voter registration
- Insurance providers
- Utility providers
- Homeowner’s association-
- Doctors, therapists, dentists
- Professional organizations and/or unions
In addition to notifying all these places, it’s a good idea to ensure your new name matches the name on any legal documents such as your will, property and vehicle titles, trusts, and deeds.
How long do you have to change your name after getting married?
You have as long as you want to change your name after getting married.
While many states prefer that you notify them that you’ve changed your name within 30 days after your wedding, you’ll still be allowed to change your name even if you wait.
Do I have to change my name on my bank account after marriage?
You aren’t legally required to change your name on your bank account after getting married.
However, you’ll likely run into practical complications if you choose to keep your maiden name on your bank account while using your married name elsewhere.
For example, if you’re using your married name elsewhere and your maiden name on your bank account you’ll need additional documents to prove to your employer, mortgage companies, and other institutions that the bank account with your maiden name is indeed yours.
Do you have to change your name on your social security card when you get married?
You aren’t legally required to change your name on your social security card when you get married.
But if you want to get a driver’s license, passport, and other documents with your married name on it, you will need to change your name on your social security card.
Get your name change done right, the first time
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