Wondering how to change your name? It’s not something anyone thinks about until they need to do it. As name-change experts, we’re happy to demystify the process for you. There are several life events that trigger a name change, like marriage, divorce, and adoption. All three of these variations use the same legal paperwork, but the supporting documents are all different.
Married Name Change
If you’re changing your name after marriage, you will need a certified marriage certificate. It is a legal document signed by your officiant and then filed with the county clerk’s office after your marriage. Your certified marriage certificate is the legal proof of your marriage. Typically it arrives in the mail 2 weeks after your ceremony.
You will need to file the SS-5 form for your new Social Security Card, the DS-11, DS-82, or DS-5504 for your new U.S. passport. You will also need to file forms for your new state driver’s license and voter registration. All of these forms must be accompanied by your certified marriage certificate.
If you’re a newlywed, the MissNowMrs app and online service were created to streamline the 13 hour married name change process into minutes. They auto-completing all of the necessary forms and notification letters. You can also use our complete married name change check list to keep track of your progress!
Changing your name after divorce is a similar process. You will file the exact same forms with Social Security, the State Department, the DMV and Voter Registration Bureau. However, instead of using a marriage certificate as your legal name change document, you will need you use a name-change order within your divorce decree.
A name change order is a sentence or paragraph stating that you will be returning to your maiden name. Even if you are unsure if you will return to your maiden name, we advise having your lawyer add a name change order to your divorce decree. This ensures that you have the option to legally change back to your maiden name. But, does not require you to make that change within any time frame. If you’re divorced, GetYourNameBack.com is an online name service designed to help you get your name back quickly and easily.
This is where things get confusing. Both marriage and divorce name change are legal name changes. They are achieved by following the married or divorced legal paperwork filing process. Non-wedding/divorce name changes are labeled legal name changes. Examples of these include changing a child’s last name after adoption, or an adult changing their name not due to marriage or divorce.
To file for a legal name change, a legal name change order must be acquired. This process includes petitioning the court system for a legal name change order. Being fingerprinted. And, running ads declaring your intention of changing your name in local newspapers.
We highly recommend LegalZoom’s services if you need to file for a legal name change order. Once you have that document, NameChangeNextStep.com is an online service that streamlines the paperwork and provides insider filing tips to save you time and stress.