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Changing Name After Marriage - All about Changing Your Name after Marriage - Options for Changing a Name after Marriage

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One question that comes up just before getting married is what to do about last names. It is a good idea to have an exact decision made before the wedding day. You will want to begin making all of the necessary changes, if any, as soon as possible after getting married. This guide can help you in the process of the decision and what to do about changing a name after marriage.

Options for Changing a Name after Marriage

In the past, there was really no decision to be made about changing your name after marriage: the groom’s name remains the same, and the bride adopts the groom’s family name. In the past forty years, this inevitability slowly began to change until several new options became available and practiced. However, some of these options are still practiced more than others.

Bride Takes Groom’s Name – This is the traditional name change that has been used in Western civilization for hundreds of years.

Bride and Groom Retain Original Names – This is the option that is chosen when the bride and groom both have established personal identities where a name change could cause interference. It is also used when neither party really cares about names.

Groom Takes Bride’s Name – This rarely happens, but there are cases where a groom takes the bride’s name.

Bride Uses Maiden Name as Middle Name – The maiden-name-as-middle-name option is becoming more popular as society has begun to view a hyphenated last name as pretentious.

Hyphenated Last Name – Although this originated as only the bride hyphenating her last name with her maiden name and husband’s family name, it can also be used by both the bride and groom (if they can decide which name will come first).

Use a New Name – In rare cases, couples who cannot decide on an amicable solution use a new name that is either a combination of their two names or a completely unique name.

What to Do for Changing a Name after Marriage

Changing your name is really just a matter of notifying all of the entities where your name is printed or stored for official documentation. The only trick about it is that it must be done in a certain order because some entities are more important than others and because you may need some documentation of the name change to effect a name change with other entities, i.e. your bank asks for a driver’s license with the new name before changing your name at the bank.

The first step is to go to the Social Security office. They will ask you to provide proof of the name change. Your marriage certificate will be accepted as proof. A new Social Security card with your new name will arrive by mail in a couple of weeks. The Social Security Administration will also put the name change into their database so it can be accessed by government authorities who need to verify it, such as the state motor vehicle department or U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration.

The second step is to go to your state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Depending on your state, you may need secondary forms of identification and proof of residency. In most cases, you will receive your driver’s license on the spot. If you own a vehicle, you will also need to change your name on your title and registration. If they do not do it at this same office, they can provide you with the information on how it can be done.

Next, you must change your name with your employer. This is for tax purposes and possibly for insurance purposes.

Those are the big three entities with which you must change your name. The next tier down is for official services and utilities. Included here are the following:

• Bank
• Credit card companies and lenders
• Insurance companies
• Utilities – phone, electric, gas, cable (satellite) TV, internet
• School

Now, all the important name changes have been made. The rest is just cleanup and can include private or public organizations and memberships, associations, rewards cards, email, etc.

Once all the changes have been made, the hard part is getting people who have known you for years to begin using your new name.

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