Family & Relationships

How to Change Your Name When You Get Married

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If you decide to change your last name when you get married, you’ll quickly realize there are many different documents you’ll need to update. The order in which you update these documents is important, especially for the first three, so follow these steps to make this involved process as painless as possible.

  1. Update your Social Security card. Prepare for your visit to your local Social Security office by reviewing this information online about how the process works. After you submit the appropriate paperwork in person, you should receive your new card in the mail in less than 10 days.
  2. Get a new driver’s license. With your new Social Security card and marriage certificate in hand, you’re now ready to update your driver’s license. Check your Department of Motor Vehicle’s website for other requirements.
  3. Get a new passport. The forms you’ll need to fill out will vary based on how old your current passport is, so check the State Department’s website for details. Keep in mind that you will have to submit your marriage certificate and it can take up to two months for your passport and documents to be returned to you, so you may want to order another certified copy of your marriage certificate in order to submit this paperwork.

Those first three documents are the priority. After those are updated, you’ll want to make sure you change your name with the following:

  • Employer

  • Banks

  • Credit card companies

  • Post office

  • Utility companies (gas, electric, phone, cable/satellite)

  • Retirement plans and investments

  • Life insurance

  • Mortgage

  • Car title and registration

  • Home/renter’s insurance

  • Health insurance

  • Dental insurance

  • Vision insurance

  • Legal insurance

  • Voter registration

  • Magazine and group subscriptions

  • Alumni associations, professional organizations and unions

  • Professional services (doctor’s office, dentist’s office, accountant, lawyer, etc.)

It’s important to note that you’ll need to wait to start the process to change your name until you’ve received your certified copy of your marriage certificate in the mail from your county registrar’s office.

Changing your name is just one example of how getting married can come with several legal and financial decisions you and your spouse will need to make. Learn more about how to be prepared and protected throughout life.


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