A lot of people think that when they get married one spouse is legally required to change their last name to match their spouses last name. Nowadays, that is simply not true. Everyone is free to maintain their own name, carry their spouse’s name, hyphenate their name, or come up with a totally different name entirely. Provided that the name change is not done illegally or deceitfully, any of these options would establish a name change legally.
Changing your name legally following getting married can include any of the below:
- Changing your last name to that of your spouse
- Changing your last name to something different than that of your spouse
- Giving notice to people of your new name
Prior to considering any name change following marriage, it’s always vital to first make sure you’re content with the name you choose.
How To Change Your Name Legally Following Marriage
Below are the initial steps you need to take to change your name legally after you get married:
- Place your new name on your marriage certificate
- Change your ID documentation like your SS card and driver’s license or state-issued ID
For changing your ID documentation, you are going to have to present your marriage certificate. In the tragic event that the marriage fails, you have the right to change your name back following your divorce.
Changing Your Name Legally Following Marriage: Taking Your Spouse’s Last Name
Changing your name following getting married to your spouse’s name is pretty simple. All you need to do is follow the steps above, then:
- Start using that name
- Use your new name in social events and with relatives
- Use the name when notifying people of an address change
- Use your new name when opening new accounts and/or memberships (You can also notify other entities you have accounts and/or memberships.)
A lot of people and places are pretty flexible concerning this, but since of the threat of identity theft and fraud, a lot of financial companies require documentation of your new name. Your marriage certificate should be enough, but when it doesn’t, speak with a manager. You have the right to change your name legally following marriage; make sure to remind them of that when they are problematic to work with.
Changing Your Name Legally Following Marriage: Not Taking Your Spouse’s Last Name
Changing your name after you get married to something totally different than your spouse’s name is entirely acceptable. Nevertheless, it oftentimes requires more than just the marriage certificate; occasionally, a court order is required. Every state is different about what they need, so make sure to check your own state’s laws on the subject.
A lot of states merely require you to file various forms in court. Your state government has forms online that you are able to print and fill out. The questions on the forms are very direct and might include your old name, your new name, SS number, the reasoning for changing your name, and a guarantee that you are not changing your name to be deceitful or to avoid debt or criminal accountability.
The more commonly required forms can comprise of:
- A request to change your name legally
- An order to showing reasoning for changing your name legally
- A decree to change your name legally
After you have filled out these forms, just take them, together with your state’s necessary filing fees, to the clerk of the court and file them. In a lot of cases, a judge or magistrate is going to go over your forms and allow the name change.
On the other hand, you should be mindful that some states require an official announcement for using your new name, which is accomplished by placing a notice in your local newspaper. When changing your name following marriage, an engagement notification in the newspaper is typically satisfactory to meet the formal notice requirement.
Informing People of Your New Name
The idealist way to let people know that you have changed your name is to begin using it. Letting friends, family, and coworkers know is easy and doesn’t need any kind of formal process. Other institutions, like governmental agencies and financial entities, are going to usually require verification of your name change, in which can be provided with a marriage certificate or court order. The institutions that should be notified of your name change comprise of:
- Department of Records or Vital Statistics (issuers of birth certificates)
- Public Assistance (Welfare) Office
- State Taxing Authority
- Passport Office
- Registrar of Voters
- Post Office (via change of address form)
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Veterans Administration
- Social Security Administration
- Telephone and Utility Companies
- Insurance Agencies
- Creditors and Debtors
- Banks and Other Financial Institutions
Don’t forget that even when you haven’t officially changed your name with the Department of Motor Vehicles or Post Office yet, it’s okay to bring up to date your name through social media and your e-mail signature at work after you get married.
Writer, L. I. (2021, September 24). Legally changing your name after marriage – lawinfo. LawInfo.com. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from https://www.lawinfo.com/resources/family-law/marriage/legally-changing-your-name-after-marriage.html
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