Once you’ve exchanged your vows and organized the wedding ceremony of your dreams, you may think that the only item left on your wedding checklist is to live happily ever after, right?
Not quite. If you or your spouse plan to change your maiden name, you’ll need to take one last step—and this time it’s not down the aisle.
Whether one of you is adopting the other’s name or you’ve chosen to combine your surnames, a legal name change requires you to obtain a certified copy of your marriage license or official marriage certificate, update your identification documents, and report the change to relevant agencies, such as medical offices and financial institutions. It is also important to know the answer to the question of “how much is it to change your name” before beginning the process. In this guide, we’ll explain how to change your name after marriage.
While much of this process is similar to learning how to change your name legally or how to change the name on your passport, there’s one document that’s essential to a legal name change after you get married and that’s your marriage license. This vital piece of paper acts as official proof of your name change.
In most cases, you should already have a certified copy of your marriage license or certified marriage certificate. You and your spouse applied for it before your wedding and signed it shortly after the ceremony with your officiant as the witness.
Before you start taking steps to have your current last name legally changed, look over the document and make sure that it:
If you don’t have a copy of your official marriage certificate or it isn’t certified, contact your city or town’s clerk’s office for legal advice.
Note: If you and your spouse are looking to hyphenate your last names, you’ll have to file a court order with your county clerk.
Everyone has a small collection of necessary documents that prove to the world who they are. When you change your surname after getting married, you need to update these documents so that they reflect your new legal name.
With your marriage license in hand, you can now go about requesting new copies of important forms of identification like:
Or, save yourself the trip and request a new card using an online service.
Once you’ve updated your personal identification documents like your state ID and social security card, it’s time to notify all the banks, businesses, and other agencies that have your previous family name on file.
In the future, this will help to streamline loan requests, bills, and insurance claims.
For most people, this list will include places like:
To avoid the hustle and bustle of changing your name in person, use Gov+ to get started with your name change right now online.