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How-to: change your name after you're married

Change your name in 6 easy steps
Change your name in 6 easy steps
Google

Now that you're married and the wedding is behind you, it's time to do the dreadful task of changing your name (if you decide to of course).

I did some research on what it takes to change your name and it seems like there are a lot of steps - especially if you have a ton of store cards and online accounts! If you just take baby steps, it'll seem a little easier.

STEP 1: Decide what you want to change your name to. Are you taking his last name or hyphenating? Are you changing your middle name to include your maiden last name or switch it completely?

STEP 2: Make sure you have your original (or certified) marriage license in hand - the one with the gold seal on it (no photo copies).

STEP 3: Head to your local Social Security office to change your name on your Social Security card with marriage license in hand. Fill out an application for a new Social Security card here: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber/ and then either mail it in or take it to a Social Security office near you. You should receive your new card in the mail in about 10 business days.

TIP: Make sure you check the business hours - most locations are open only Monday through Friday with limited hours.

STEP 4: Once you have your new Social Security card, then you can head to the Secretary of State to get a new drivers licence. Make sure you bring your old licence, marriage certificate and your new Social Security card.

STEP 5: Change your name at your bank. Head to your local branch to request our name change as well as order new checks and debit cards. Make sure you bring in your new drivers license and your marriage certificate.

TIP: Ask about any fees you may incur when ordering new debit cards.

STEP 6: Once you've done the initial steps to changing your name, the rest will come in time. Here's a list of other places you may need to change your name at.

  • Employer (payroll, benefits, tax withholdings, 401k, email address, business cards)
  • Post office
  • Electric and other utility companies
  • Credit card companies (it may take a few months for your new name to reflect on your current credit history)
  • Schools and alumni associations
  • Landlord or mortgage company
  • Insurance companies (auto, home, life)
  • Doctors' offices (just change our name at your next appointment)
  • Voter registration
  • Passport
  • Other miscellaneous items like magazine subscriptions, health club membership, alumni associations, online accounts, etc. can be changed when you have time or come around to them.

TIP: If you don't feel like changing your name on every store card you have, just keep your old drivers licence (or another piece of identification) on hand in case they ask you to verify your information.