So, you’ve gotten married! Congratulations! Although this is an exciting time, you do have some paperwork to worry about. One crucial question for your budget is – how much does it cost to change your name? It’s a common worry since so many documents and paperwork have your old name attached to them.
Before we get into the specifics of each type of paperwork, the first thing to consider is the cost of the name change itself. The cost of changing your surname depends on the state you’re in, although fees average between $100 and $400.
You need to petition the courts to change your surname. Sometimes you may even need a lawyer to help, which contributes to the cost. After you’ve legally changed your name with the courts, you can start updating the miscellaneous items with your new name.
Name Change Costs to Consider
When it comes to changing your last name, there can be a lot of costs you don’t even think about. Of course, you need to update your driver’s license, but what about your legal paperwork like voter registration? Below, we’ve outlined the most common items you need to update when changing your name.
Social Security Card
Your social security card is one of your most essential documents. When changing your name after marriage, you need to update your social security card right away. Once you change it, it will be easier to change other documents.
Luckily, updating your social security card with a name change is free of charge! All you need to do to change your name is mail proof of identity, proof of your new name (such as a marriage certificate), and the application for a social security card to your local Social Security office.
You should change your name on your Social Security Number (SSN) before anything else because it will make future changes easier. You won’t receive your new card for a week or so, but they should give you a receipt. Also, once 24 hours have passed, the online system of the Social Security administration website should have registered your name change.
If you have a passport when you’re changing your last name, you need to update it. The costs of updating your passport depend on when you received it. If you received your passport within the last year, you need to fill out forms, get a new passport photo, and send in your old passport. Luckily, the process is free.
If you received your passport more than a year ago, there would be costs involved in its replacement. Changing your name will require buying a brand new passport. The cost of a new passport is $145, plus the cost for a new passport photo.
Cost: $0 to $145
The name change process for your birth certificate can be a hassle, but it’s the most important after your SSN. To change your last name on this important document, you need to contact your county’s office or district courts to get the forms and file a petition.
Once you fill out the forms, you’ll have to pay filing fees that change depending on what state and county you’re in. Then you’ll be asked to appear before a court to present the right paperwork, which includes your old birth certificate, a certified copy of your marriage certificate, photo ID, and the form you filled out.
After you’ve supplied all the right paperwork, it usually takes three weeks for the county court to process your name change petition. You may have to pay a few filing fees to change your name on official records.
Cost: $25 – $50
Driver’s License or Photo ID Card
Updating your driver’s license or any other photo ID is essential after you’ve undergone a name change. To update your driver’s license, you must go to your local DMV in person. Prepare for your DMV visit by printing out your state’s renewal form and filling it out before arriving.
Changing your name to your spouse’s last name on your state ID is easy with the right instructions. You need to bring your new Social Security Card or the receipt, your current driver’s license, proof of address, marriage certificate, and cash. The fee varies from state to state, so visit your state’s DMV website so you can know exactly how much money to bring.
Cost: $10 – $35
If you change your last name, you need to update your voter registration, especially if there’s an election soon. You can make changes to your voter registration online, by mail, or on the phone. There is no cost to change your voter registration – it’s free!
The IRS is very careful to make sure your tax forms and payments match your Social Security Number. Once you’ve updated your SSN, you must change your IRS details to match. It’s important to give notice to the IRS when filing a name change petition so that you don’t run into legal issues with filing your taxes.
If your SSN doesn’t match your tax filing name, your refund could take longer to receive! Updating your tax filings is free. You can change it online or by phone.
Banking, Payroll, Insurance
A legal name change needs to be reported to your bank as soon as you get the chance. These changes should be free, but they may take a lot of time. When you update your banking or insurance information, you should take a certified copy of your updated SSN, your new driver’s license, and your marriage certificate.
Once you’ve changed your banking information, you should report your legal name change to your employer to update their records. When they update that, your paychecks should have your new name, and direct deposits will find the right account.
Legal Fees & Filing Fees
Changing your name also means changing an assortment of state identification and other documents, as we’ve mentioned above. There are also fees and expenses when it comes to the actual legal act of changing your name, however.
The fee for changing your name differs from state to state and even by locality. In some areas, you may need a court order to petition the court for name changes. There are charges for the filing fee, for a certified copy of your request, and even publishing fees, as some areas require that you publish your name change in the local newspaper.
For those unfamiliar with the law or uncomfortable facing a judge on their own, you may need an attorney present for the official hearing. An attorney can charge a pretty steep fee, so be prepared to pay if you have to go to court.
Research your states name change process to determine how to file for your court order. The expenses can significantly vary, so it’s important to know so that you can save up.
Cost: $50 -$500
Changing Your Name with Kids
If you have children, you may want to change their last names to match yours. If your children are from a prior marriage and divorce, be sure to discuss the name change with the children’s other parent. Both biological parents must consent to the change.
To change your child’s name, you’ll have to follow many of the same processes for their official documents. You will most likely be required to file another petition with the court, so the same costs as the filing fees listed above will apply.
Cost: $50 – $500
Other Fees to Consider
We’ve covered the significant name change costs you need to consider when you get married, but there are a few other changes that may have expenses that affect you:
- Utility companies
- Online accounts (Netflix, email, etc.)
- Social media
- Rental lease
- University degree
What Name Are You Taking?
If you’re taking your husband’s name, creating a hyphenated name, or blending your names, you need to update your information. Even if you’re keeping your maiden name as your middle name, you need to update all paperwork associated with that name.
So, how much does it cost to legally change your name? Although not all the documents that need changes require a cost, they are all essential. Even one form with an improper name can cause a headache in the future.
If you’re keeping the same last name, there’s no need to legally change your name – you can start using Mrs. whenever you’re ready!
Name Change Services
If the number of items you need to update for a name change after marriage seems overwhelming, that’s okay! There are services available to newly married couples, like HitchSwitch Name Change, that put together all the paperwork for substantial changes, like your SSN or driver’s license.
Name change services ask for your information and fill out all the forms for you. They then send you all the information, and then it’s up to you to send it to the right officials. How much easier could it get?
Changing your name is a surprisingly expensive, and time-consuming, process! Be sure to save some money in your wedding budget so that you can afford to file all the necessary paperwork to change your last name after marriage.
Find other tips, like ideas for decorating on a budget, here on YeahWeddings!
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