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Rocket Lawyer Family law

What’s in a Name (Change)?

Mr. and Mrs. __________. You can fill in the blank any way you choose. But keep in mind that officially changing your name when you get married is a legal process with wider implications than how you’ll sign the honeymoon hotel register.  If you decide to make the change, all it takes is a little time and planning for a smooth transition to your new identity.

The official name change actually happens with the county clerk where you are getting married.  To start the name change process, simply write-in your new married name when you apply for a marriage license.  Don’t take this step lightly, however.  The name you write on your marriage license will become your legal name when your marriage certificate is issued, and it’s a lot more complicated to change it back later if you have a change of heart.

After you get married, you’ll probably be excited to use your new name immediately after the big day, but it’s important to remember that you have to update all of your personal identification before you can start using your new name in many situations.  For example, you’ll need to use your maiden name when booking your honeymoon if it is directly after your wedding, because the name you use when booking your flight must match the name on your passport or driver’s license — otherwise your dream honeymoon might end before it starts.

When you get back to the real world, the name change process continues.  Provided that your officiant returned your marriage license to the county clerk after your wedding, you will receive a copy of your marriage certificate in the mail a few weeks later.  This document serves as your legal proof of your name change, and you can use it to have your name updated with other parties.  First of all, you should have your name changed with the Social Security Administration.  After you get a new Social Security card, proceed to the DMV to get a new driver’s license, apply for a new passport, and call your credit card companies, banks, lenders and others to notify them of the change.  Note that a phone call is sometimes all it takes to have your name updated, and in other cases, a Name Change Notification Letter letter may be necessary.

Remember that it’s best to take care of your name change tasks as quickly as possible after the wedding for the smoothest transition.  Although it may seem like a hassle to change your name, many brides find that the paperwork is the easy part, and the real trick is getting used to being referred to as “Mrs. ___,” the same name as your new mother-in-law.  Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.

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