Did you know that 88% of women change their name after marriage? A recent newlywed survey from Zola found that the #1 hardest part of marriage is name change. As MissNowMrs name-change experts with over 500,000 name changes under our belts, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to change your name after marriage!
1. Marriage License
The name you write on your marriage license may impact your name change options. Always read up on your state of residence’s name change laws. For example, if you live in California and want to use your maiden name as a middle name, or create a blended name with your spouse, be sure to write your intended name(s) on the marriage license. Researching ensures that you will be able to use the married name change process to get the name you want. It also helps you avoid going through an expensive drawn-out petitioning of the court system for a legal name change order.
2. Family Members
While name change after marriage is a personal decision, it is in your best interest to tell both sides of families the exact name you intend to use (whether you elect to change or not.) This will allow anyone who is planning a monogrammed gift or writing a wedding check to use the correct name. It also prevents the awkward situation of being unable to return mis-monogrammed gifts or asking for checks to be re-written with different names.
3. Marriage Certificate
Once you are married, your pastor or officiant will sign the marriage license and submit it to the County Clerk’s office. The office will then issue your certified marriage certificate approximately 2 weeks after your wedding. This certificate is the legal document that most government offices need to see to process your married name change. We suggest requesting 2-3 additional certified marriage certificates (not copies) to streamline the name-change filing process.
4. Social Media/Email
One of the easiest and most satisfying name changes after marriage are across social media. Facebook makes the transition of name, super easy, and you can decide to keep your Instagram, SnapChat, and Twitter handles the same, while changing the name associated with your account. Or you can create a new account, or a joint account with your spouse depending on what suits your needs and relationship. Email accounts can be updated using your account settings tabs.
5. Social Security
The first federal to-do is accomplishing your Social Security name change. Complete the SS-5 form and then file in-person or by mail. You will need to include or show your certified marriage certificate and a photo ID (such as a driver’s license or passport.) In approximately two weeks you will receive your new Social Security card with your new married name.
Social Security is supposed to notify the IRS of your new married name when they process your SS-5 form. However, you should file the IRS 8822 form for free to ensure they know of your new married name. In our experience, it is well worth the 5 minutes of effort to avoid any tax and/or tax return snags stemming from having two different names.
7. U.S. Passport
There are three different forms for changing your name with the State Department. The good news is if you have had your passport for under a year, you can file for your married name for free using the DS-5504 form. Consider it a wedding gift from that department! If you’ve had your passport for more than a year, you will need to file the DS-82 form to request a new passport with your new married name. The fee is $110. If you have never filed for a passport, you will need to complete the DS-11 form.
The State Department takes approximately 5 weeks to process and issue new passports. So, time your filing with your scheduled international travel. Also, if you’re sad to lose your previous passport memories, don’t worry. Your old passport with two holes stamped through it will be returned along with your new passport.
Have you got all that? If not, MissNowMrs can help!
8. United States Postal Service
To update your name with the United States Postal Service you can complete the Change of Address (or Name) form. Or you can opt to use their online application for account updates. Within a week your mail carrier will know that mail in your new married name belongs in your mailbox!
9. State Driver’s License
Every state has a different process, form, and requirements for changing to your married name on your driver’s license. Some DMVs will update your driver’s license when you show your current license and certified marriage certificate. Others require proof of residence, or have a specific number of points that must be met before they will process your name change. Regardless of your state, the DMV is the one office you must file in-person at, as they require a new photo. Consider it a chance to update your image AND your name!
10. State Title and Vehicle Registration
Many state driver’s license application forms will simultaneously update your vehicle title or registration. But, other states have separate forms. Double check your state DMV website for the specifics. Also sure to know your VIN number, license plate number. It is also smart to bring a copy of your vehicle insurance to ensure smooth filing.
11. State Voter Registration
Every vote counts, so updating your name after marriage on your voter registration is important. Some state driver’s license applications have a section that allows you to update your new name with the voter registration bureau. Other states have individual forms for you to complete. A quick internet search will help you know what the process is in you state.
Once you have your new Social Security card in your new married name, it is time to notify your employer. Depending on the company you work for, you may need to submit paperwork, your certified marriage certificate, and a copy of you new Social Security card to have your name changed. Or, you may simply need to meet with Human Resources. It is important to inform your employer of your new married name as soon as possible so their payment records match the Social Security Administration’s and the IRS. After this, they will also update your name with your health insurance, dental insurance, and any other benefits connected to your employment.
As soon as you receive your new Social Security card in your new married name, it is time to contact your personal insurances. Your employer will typically update any insurance issued to you as an employee. If you have a local representative, call or stop by their office with your certified marriage certificate to make the update. Before you go, prepare yourself to answer a few questions about you and your spouse. Also consider combining your accounts to save money with an insurance bundle.
14. Bank Accounts
Most banks require an in-person visit to a branch office to change your name on your bank accounts, savings accounts, and ATM cards. So, be sure to bring your certified marriage certificate and a photo ID to ensure a smooth processing of your request.
15. Credit Cards
Updating your credit cards with your married name is scary easy. Simply call the 800 number on the back of the card and request to have your name change. You may need to answer a few security questions to verify your identity before the change is made. After this, your new credit cards will be mailed to you within 5-7 business days. American Express is the biggest exception to this rule. They have a name change form that must be completed and submitted before an updated Amex card is issued in your new married name.
Updating your name on your investments involves a phone call with your financial planner. Or, you can notify the companies that invest on your behalf. Many will make the change over the phone. Unfortunately, E*Trade requires a certified marriage certificate to be mailed to them, and they do not return it. If you have a 401K through your employer, your HR department will make the name change update on your behalf.
Changing your name on your mortgage can be quite the process. So, contact your lender by phone to find out their process and requirements. Many times they will need a copy of your marriage certificate to process your name change. Now is also a good time to add your spouse to your mortgage if they will be assisting you with payments.
Most utility companies include a section on their bills for information to be updated. You can opt to fill in your new name and mail in a photo copy of your marriage certificate. Or, you can call the number on your statement. Larger utility companies typically have an area for you to update your information within your account settings.
19. Professional Licenses
Doctors, nurses, pilots, lawyers, and any other person with a professional license must contact the board that issues the license to request a name change after marriage on their certificate.
20. Frequent Flyer Accounts
Every airline has a different set of requirements for changing the name associated with your account. So, it is easiest to contact them by phone or scan their FAQ pages. Many airlines require you to scan them a copy of your certified marriage certificate. *Please note that you need to book all travel in your maiden name until you have received your new driver’s license for domestic flights. And the same goes for waiting for your new U.S. Passport for international flights.
21. Change Your Name The Easy Way
If you’re feeling daunted by this checklist. Don’t stress! You have easier name change options available. Use the MissNowMrs name change app or online service to change your name in 13 minutes, NOT 13 hours. We’ve helped over 500,000 newlyweds make the switch. And, would be honored to help you too.
22. Married Name Change Fun
Once you’ve made the legal switch to Mrs. it’s time to celebrate! Treat yourself to a monogrammed necklace. Make swank dinner reservations under your new married name. And/or do anything else that lets you luxuriate in your new name and newlywed status!