Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tackling the biggest hassle of getting married. . . changing your name

Throughout my adult life, I have always heard how difficult it is to get your name changed after you get married.  When I got married two and a half years ago, I found that the process was not as difficult as many people made it out to be.  Below, you will find a step-by-step guide to changing your name without all the hassles that everyone seems to talk about.  I only had one hiccup regarding my name change and it involved a Kansas state law that does not allow residents to list two middle names on their Kansas Driver's license.  I'll explain how I got around that below.

  1. Marriage Licenses - First, make sure you have multiple certified copies (I recommend 3) of your marriage license.
  2. Social Security Card - The first thing I went to change was my Social Security Card.  To apply for a new Social Security Card, complete the form listed below and mail it to your local Social Security Office (found here).
  3. Passport - Next, I recommend updating your passport (if you have one).  This is how I got around the Kansas state law restricting two middle names on drivers' licenses.  The Kansas DMV is required to list your name on your Drivers' License exactly as it appears on your Passport, so if you update your passport first, the DMV has to list your name that way.  Visit the site listed below, gather the items needed (confirm that you are completing the correct forms) and mail them in as directed.
  4. DMV - Then, change your name with the DMV.  Contact your local DMV to find out what the paperwork requirements are, but I would recommend bringing every form of identification that you can find (birth certificate, marriage license, old license, passport, etc.
  5. Everything Else -   Most of the other changes you will need to make can be taken care of by completing this process.
    1. Add all of your accounts to this Excel Spreadsheet.
    2. Open this Word Document.
    3. Edit all of the information that is highlighted to personalize the template.
    4. If you know how to use mail merge, the document is all set up for that using the Spreadsheet above.  If not, you can copy and paste the information into the Word document and print individual letters for each of your accounts.
    5. The letter can be updated to include other information that may need to be changed.
    6. Include a photocopy of your marriage license with each letter (do NOT sent your certified copies unless it is specifically requested).
    7. Mail the letters and you're all set.
Items that may be handled (some of these items may require additional information) in #5 include (but are not limited to):

  • Employer information
  • Credit Card Accounts
  • Financial Accounts
  • Mailing Address
  • Utility Companies
  • Homeowner/Rental information
  • Attorneys
  • Medical accounts
  • Voter Registration
  • Schools
  • Insurance accounts
  • Subscriptions

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Judi said...

Most definitely change your name with SS first. They need an officially filed certificate, not the one signed at the ceremony. After almost 40 years of marriage I was denied a renewal on my driver's license in Michigan because we had failed to do this. I had to revert to my maiden name which was a hassle since all other ID was in my married name. I have a passport in my married name but that wasn't good enough ID for the Secretary of State.

Jessica Lynne said...

This is the most amazing thing EVER and saved me from a ton of headaches after the wedding. THANK YOU!

Amanda said...

Glad to hear that Jessica! Congratulations on your marriage!

Courtney Aregood said...

Thanks for this! I have a friend who just got married and we were just discussing how much of a hassle it's going to be to try and figure out everything that has her name on it to be changed! She will love this!

Susan said...

I'd Ike to add to change your voicemail message. I didn't do that for almost two years because I just didn't think about it!

Amber said...

Don't forget frequent flyer miles programs, which also require a letter. Otherwise you'll have to set up a new account and lose access to your already earned points or your name on your ticket won't match your ID.

Even though it isn't hard to figure out what to do to change your name (all of the processes are pretty easy to figure out), the hassle is having to do it all on every thing your name has ever been on. That is a GIANT pain.

flute1952 said...

Hey Amanda - thanks for posting this. I'm getting married in a couple weeks and I'm just tacking on my future husband's last name instead of replacing my maiden name with his. Is that what you did? So you have two middle names now or do you have two last names?

Problem with my is that I have two professional personas - one I use for first and middle name (on the radio) and then another (my first and my maiden last name) for professional music gigs.

But if I hyphenate, it'll just be TOO dang long. So I'm wondering if the state of Kansas allowed you to have two middle names....thanks!

Amanda said...

Flute -

In Kansas, if you want to have two middle names, you have to change your SS card first, then change your passport. Once you get your passport, you can go to the DMV and have them put two middle names on your DL. They are required to match your DL to your passport, but without the two middle names on the passport, they will not put two middle names on your DL. There's some crazy law that restricts it. I was lucky to have someone at the local DMV to help me know what to do before the wedding.

If the SS office calls to tell you that they won't give you a DL with two middle names, just tell them that if your passport has two, they have to make your DL match. :-)

themothernerd said...

This is FANTASTIC. I remember how much trouble my sister went through when she changed her name, and now I'm about to be married(January 2nd!). Thank you so much for all the help!

Haeley said...

What if I did not change my name on my marriage license but I want to hyphenate my name now (6 years later)?

Amanda said...

Unfortunately, I'm not an expert. I recommend contacting your local courthouse or Social Security office.

Kimberly Jimenez said...

This is a great checklist! Will make it so much easier for me after I'm married this summer.

AndreaNadiaR said...

Easier yet, don't change your name :)

Calla Jowers said...

I just got my documents back from social security and my marriage certificate came back with the top cut off where my information is, they sent me both pieces but it is still missing stuff. I am on hold now trying to ask them about it but I was wondering if anyone heard of this happening or is it just Jacksonville stupidity lol.

Amanda said...

Calla, that's bizarre. Definitely didn't happen to me, but I suppose it might have been a mistake with the printing internally at your records division locally. :-\

rachwood55 said...

Would it be possible to have you e-mail me the Word document for the name change. Everytime I try to open it Word crashes on me.