A few months ago, I wrote a blog on “Changing Your Name,” and I have been having discussions about this subject ever since!
The odd thing was that, while people considered the issues with identity crisis and confusion over the name change, no-one really considered the amount of effort that goes into a name change. So, I thought I would write a follow up blog on what exactly you would need to change, should you decide to go down this road.
Once you have made the monumental decision to change your surname, how many things really need to get changed? A LOT! Think of how many things you have your name on it. Basically they all need to be updated!
This may include: Social Security, IRS, Passport, U.S. Postal Service, Driver’s License, Vehicle Title and Registration, Voter Registration, Banking and Investments Information, Credit Card Information, Mortgage Information, Utility Companies, any Insurance Policies (medical, dental, life, house, vehicle, pet), Professional Licenses, your Place of Work information to begin with.
If you are international, then visas, SEVIS and/or green card information also needs to be updated. Just looking at that list is probably enough to put anyone off going to all that trouble, and those are just the required ones. What about all the things which could be updated such as social media?
But you shouldn’t panic. I have discovered that there is help out there for those who are going to take the plunge and change. There are lots of websites which give directions on this. In fact, there are websites that provide services which, for a fee, will complete some of the documents for you! When it is put like that, it sounds much more manageable.
I have also been told by friends who did take the time to hunt down and complete all the forms individually that it actually isn’t that bad. The only issue is that you need to wait for your marriage certificate to arrive before you can do anything.
So, even if you have been through the big day, you won’t have any proof until it arrives in the mail. I can imagine how disappointing it might be for someone who wants to run off and get new bank cards and a work ID with their new name, to wait for 8-12 weeks for the mail, but I am afraid it needs to be done. None of the places listed above will accept a name change without seeing that important document.
How do you get a marriage certificate? You need to get the marriage license which allows the marriage to occur. This could be on the day the license is granted but is usually within the next 90 days (that is the case for California).
Be prepared to answer questions about your parents (their middle names and where they were born) as that information is also on the license. Once the wedding ceremony has been completed, the officiant and witnesses sign the license, and it is mailed in.
At that point you can only wait until the certificate is mailed back to you. You have to buy copies of the certificate, and we were advised to buy a few so that there are spares handy. We were very lucky as our officiant provided a notary who helped us through each stage.
I think this was wonderful because this is one thing you want to ensure is perfect. You don’t want to unintentionally change the spelling of your surname because you didn’t proof read the documents!
So remember, while most people talk about whether you should change your name due to your personal feelings, it is important to remember that it does take considerable effort to do so. Frankly, after looking at all the forms, it is easier if everyone keeps their own names!
At this point, I have decided what I am going to do about my name. I had to, before we could get the marriage license, but I am still going to tease you and make you wait to find out! Less than a month to go before the big day!!