Many women are raised believing that once they get married, they will take their husband’s last name. But do you know how to change your name after marriage?
This tradition goes back hundreds and hundreds of years, and is often carried through generations because it has some legal and personal benefits, though some feel that it’s a latent product of sexism. Discuss how you feel with your partner about changing your name after marriage!
Once you do get married, you may be wondering what the process to changing your name is. Thankfully, changing your name after marriage is easier than changing your name for other reasons because of how common it is to change your maiden name. Keep reading for more on how to change your name after marriage.
Do You Want to Change Your Name?
The most important thing for a new bride changing her name is to ask herself if she really does want to change it.
For many women, the tradition of taking on your husband’s last name is a carryover from a time in which women were viewed as property– essentially, by changing her last name from her father’s to her husband’s, she may be seen as a business transaction.
Some women also feel that it is too much work to change their name in case of divorce.
Nowadays, however, each woman should do what feels best for her. There shouldn’t be any pressure to change your name and there shouldn’t be any pressure not to change your name. For some women, it feels like a symbolic way to begin a family with your new spouse, or maybe you just don’t like the sound of your maiden name.
After some self-reflection on the topic, if you still want to change your name, keep reading for more on how.
How to Legally Change Your Name After Marriage
Legally switching your last name from your maiden name (also known as your birth name) to your spouse’s last name is a process with several steps. You need to make sure that the change is accounted for on the legal level, as well as on a personal and professional level.
Thankfully, many women change their last names after marriage, and the processes to do so are supposed to be as streamlined as possible to facilitate your name change. However, it does take some effort and some places to visit on your part. Keep reading for all the steps you’ll need to change your name.
Obtain Your Marriage Certificate
The first thing you will need if you’re trying to take on your new spouse’s last name is your marriage license. All of your new documents will be changed because you’ve provided proof of marriage through your license or certificate.
When you get your initial license/certificate document, ask for some extra copies, so that you can keep your official license safe at home and bring your copies with you to places like the social security office and the DMV. This will cost a little bit of money but it is probably worth having extra copies of such an important document.
In some states, you may have to get a court order to petition the court to approve your name change request. While this sounds complicated, it generally just means a bit more paperwork on your end. Research the name change process in your state or locality to learn what steps you’ll need to take!
Update Your Legal Documents
If you wish to change your last name, this will need to be reflected on your social security card, your driver’s license, and your passport.
To change your social security card, you’ll need to fill out an application and either mail it in or go to the social security office and talk to a clerk. You will also need your old social security card, your marriage license, and proof of identity. Your social security number will remain the same.
Your driver’s license will be afterwards. You will need to go to the DMV (bring a book!). You will have to look online to see which documents you will need to bring, but it will likely be your former license, your marriage license, your birth certificate, or new social security card.
Your passport is a bit easier– you’ll need to apply for a correction by mail, for which there will be a fee, and you’ll have to send in some documents. You’ll also get a new passport photo, which you can have taken at certain drug stores and at the post office. Having an updated passport will be important if you plan on traveling.
Bank Account Changes
Changing the name of your bank account will be a different process based on your bank. It is best to call ahead to find out what you may need to bring or where you may need to go based on your location and bank. You will then have a new name on your bank account statements and credit cards.
This is also a good time to figure out the way that you and your new spouse will share or combine your personal bank accounts. By killing two birds with one stone, you’ll be able to walk into married life fully financially literate and ready to go in taking this new step.
Change Your Name on Your Other Accounts
As far as other accounts you may need to change your name on, the process is pretty easy. You can change your mailing address through the post office’s website. You can also change your name on your mortgage and utilities online, now that it’s officially legal.
Your email account may be a little more difficult, but if you want to change your email address, you can set up email forwarding from your old account and let your contacts know about the address change.
As far as social media and similar accounts, you can pretty easily change your name in your account settings!
Notify Your Employer
Before you get married, you should probably give your employer a heads up that you’re undergoing a name change. Most will be totally understanding and supportive of this– you may have to fill out some HR forms, but it shouldn’t be too big of a deal.
You will also want to talk to them about issues in changing the name on your health insurance.
After your honeymoon, you may want to send an email out to all of your work contacts letting them know about the big day and your name change! This will help them know how to refer to you moving forward in your work relationship.
Can I Still Legally Use my Maiden Name?
Legally, now that you’ve changed your name, you can not continue to sign legal documents and undergo other official things with your maiden name. If you want to revert back to your maiden name, like after divorce, you will have to undergo the same legal processes.
Unofficially, however, you can for sure still use your maiden name. Many married women have reference to their maiden name on social media accounts so that old friends can find them. You may even want to put your maiden name as a new middle name!
Changing your name is an old tradition that many still hold onto, while others opt to keep their maiden names. Whatever name you choose to take, follow these steps to ensure your name is legally changed after your wedding day!
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