Congratulations, you’re officially a Mrs!
After you come home from the honeymoon, recover from all of the sunburns, sleep off all the bottles of bubbly you popped on your trip, and get all moved into the home your significant other and you now share together, it’s time to get a jump start on officially becoming that Mrs! There’s nothing more exciting than your last name getting to be official on all your legal documents!
I’ll admit, the process of changing your name can be extremely frustrating and even confusing. This is especially the case if you were anything like me. I had no idea what to do, where to go, and which steps went in which order. When I went through it myself, I took the time and did the research. In the end, I found that it really was not as bad as I was preparing myself for. I’ve seen a number of people investing in programs such as Hitch Switch to avoid the hassle of doing it themselves, but once you read this blog post I promise you’ll say: “That’s it? I can do that!”
It’s always safe to look up your county’s government website to make sure that you bring all of the required information and paperwork. Every place I’ve lived is a little different. There’s nothing that would bring on the day drinking more than waiting in those long government office lines to get to the counter and be sent home for not bringing all of the papers that you needed. I created a file for my Miss to Mrs. process and stuffed it with all of my paperwork. This way I made sure I had everything I needed for each step of the way.
Step 1: Request a Certified Copy of Your Marriage License
You’ve used your marriage license to get married, and you probably had one of your parents mail it back in for you while you were on your honeymoon. After you and your hubby have tied the knot, go back down to the courthouse and request a certified copy of your marriage license. Depending on where you’re located, you may be able to do this online!
This is the official copy of your marriage certificate that is recognized by the government, and you will need it for basically every step following this one. Once it is requested, it may take a few weeks to be mailed to you.
Step 2: Request a New Social Security Card
This is the officially name-changing step of your Miss to Mrs. process. I also won’t lie to you. It was also the most depressing, longest, and boring part of the process. (Thank you, government building lines!) Find your local Social Security Administration office and request a new social security card with your new name. Along with the certified copy of your marriage license, you will need original documents to prove your citizenship as well as your age. Either your birth certificate or U.S. passport will work for both of the latter. You will also need documents as proof of identity like your Driver’s License and your passport. Lastly, you’ll need to fill out an application. You can either find the application online at www.ssa.gov or fill one out in person while you are waiting in line.
This process is free, and your new card will be mailed to you. (and rather quickly too in my experience!)
Step 3: Request a New Driver’s License
Once you have received your new social security card in the mail, you’ll be able to go to your local Department of Driver Safety (aka DMV) and apply for a new driver’s license. When you request a new driver’s license, you can also apply for a new voter registration card. (How easy is that?!) Along with the certified copy of your marriage license, you’ll need to bring your new social security card. You’ll also need your current driver’s license, documents proving your identification (like your passport or birth certificate), and documents to prove your residency at your new place. This is usually 2 pieces of mail with your name on them addressed to your new address.
You’ll have to pay a small fee when you request it, and they’ll give you a temporary license for you to use until yours arrives in the mail. You should probably note though if you plan to travel any time soon that the TSA is pretty funny about trying to travel with a paper temporary license.
YAY! You’ve completed the most important steps of your Miss to Mrs. process. You will now be able to complete the rest of the tasks on this list.
Step 4: Change your Name on your Bank Accounts
You’re definitely going to want to cash or deposit all of those checks you received for your wedding – especially if you’re both recently out of college. Unfortunately, a lot of them have your new last name on them. That means you’ll need to have your name changed on your bank accounts before you can deposit them.
With your hubby in tow, go to the bank and wait to talk to one of the bankers at the desk. Bring along the certified copy of your marriage license as well as your new social security card and your new driver’s license. They’ll be able to quickly change your information in their system, help you create joint accounts if you really want to turn your money to shared money, and deposit all of your checks at the same time! It was really easy and simple, and it only took like a half hour for my husband and I. We ended up doing it on his lunch break.
Step 5: Change your Passport
I personally haven’t done this yet due to procrastination. However, I have at least looked up the steps to take when I am finally willing to take the time to do it. (That’s half the work, right?)
First things first. You’ll need to fill out the DS-5504 form to apply for name changes and data corrections on your passport. Your current passport will need to be submitted along with the other required documents. You’ll also need to submit a new passport photo that’s been taken in the past so-many months and proof of your name change (like another certified copy of your marriage license). There’s a fee to process your application, and you’ll send it along with your required documents to the National Passport Processing Center. If you want more information on how to change your passport, you can visit here.
Once you’ve completed steps 1-5, you’ve done the hard parts!
From here on out, it is really self explanatory and just requires you to reach out to the appropriate party to find out how they handle the process. As I’ve shown you above, I promise it’s not as overwhelming as it may seem! All it takes is a phone call, trip to a website, or quick trip in person depending on what it is.
Step 6 to Infinity – What to Change:
- Job and Business Information
- Utilities Information
- Mortgage or Lease
- Other Legal Documents
- Other online accounts, subscriptions, and social networks
Don’t let the thought of changing your information scare you into paying for a service that can easily be done yourself.
I’m a firm believer that taking easy ways out of doing things doesn’t help you prepare for any of those little things that being an adult throws at you. Doing the process yourself will allow you to familiarize yourself with adult things you need to know. It will also make sure that it is done properly. For taking a little extra time to educate yourself and undergo the process, you can also save that money and buy those shoes you’ve been drooling over online!
Misty D Eilar says
I think my hardest part was finding the time to do it all! I was working and going to college. I waited til summer to do it all.
Yeah it definitely is one of those things that you have to do kind of all at the same time to avoid accounts and such getting flagged!
Theresa Bailey says
What a nice easy to use checklist. I think the only difference in my state was that I got my license first, which seemed odd. It turned out to be a good move because I needed my new license as proof to get my social security card. My least favorite part was changing all my credit cards. Some were a real pain!
Yes! It is definitely important to check the requirements in your state first. I didn’t have so much of a problem with my credit cards. I think the biggest problem I had was cashing / depositing checks I had from our wedding with my two different names on them. I had to present my marriage license and have my husband present to verify our identities before I was allowed to do anything!