In the blissful blur of wedding cakes, gowns and caterers, it can be very easy to forget about name change. While you may have been announced as Mr. and Mrs. at your reception, unless you’ve filed the appropriate government forms, you are still officially a Miss.
Married Name Game
Before you tie the knot, talk with your fiance about his or her feelings around married name change. Be prepared to talk about your own name change wishes and family traditions. You both may have to compromise, or you could be in complete agreement. Regardless, having this discussion before your wedding will help you skip the first newlywed fight, which is usually about name change.
It is important to know the name change options available to you before you make your final decision. Women can keep their names, hyphenate their last name with their spouse’s, take both last names without a hyphen, replace their middle name with their maiden name, or take their spouse’s last name in most states. Please note that brides who live in California, New Jersey, Ohio or Washington cannot take their maiden names as middle names due to state legislature.
Once you decide on your ideal married name option, it’s a good idea to request 2-3 certified marriage certificates from your county clerk’s office. Your marriage certificate is the legal document proving your marriage within the United States, and most offices require name change forms to be filed with this certificate. Having a few certified copies will allow you to file forms simultaneously and also minimize your risk of losing your only copy of your marriage certificate.
Marriage certificates in hand, it’s then time to deal with the mountain of name change forms that need to be filed. On a federal level, you will need to file for a new name on your Social Security card, U.S. Passport, with the IRS and with the United Stated Postal Service. After receiving your new documents back from these offices, you can begin filing for your name change at the state level. You will need to complete forms to update your name on your driver’s license, vehicle registration and voter registration. Then it’s on to changing your name on your bank accounts, credit cards, investments, professional licenses and with your utilities, employer, insurance providers, medical providers and a myriad of other creditors.
As you begin receiving your new forms of identification in your new married name, it’s time to celebrate! Go out to dinner or commemorate your new initials with monogrammed jewelry or stationary. You’re officially a Mrs. and earned a treat! Also, don’t forget to tell your friends and family of your new name so they can celebrate as well.
Danielle is the founder and CEO of MissNowMrs.com, an online name change service for brides. Her own name change misadventures sparked the idea that has save 250,000 other women from the hassles of 13 hour process!