How to Change Your Maiden Name After Marriage

Making Sure that Your New Name Is Easy to Come By

Getting hitched is just the first step in the process of changing your name. Since you're not required to change your last name when you get married, filing your marriage license doesn’t automatically change your name for you. You'll have to initiate a separate name change process for each of your identifying documents. This can be somewhat time consuming, but it will be easier if you follow this step-by-step guide.

1. Choose Your New Name

There are no more preconceived notions of appropriate last name changes upon getting married, because we have evolved into a society that recognizes and celebrates individual choices. Assuming you don't wish to simply keep your current surname, your options are as follows:

  1. Take your husband's last name. Certainly, the traditional option of taking your husband's last name is still a popular one. It allows for a unified feeling when children come, in addition to celebrating and symbolizing that connection for the entire family.
  2. Hyphenate your name. Some women chose to connect their husband's last name to their own last names via hyphens. This may alleviate feelings of losing one's identity and allows for a symbolic merge.
  3. Use your original surname as your new middle name. Some women choose to use their original last names as middle names and then adopt the last names of their husbands' families. A couple adopting this name philosophy may decide to pass the middle name on to each of their children.
  4. Create a new surname. If you're not happy with any of the above options, it's becoming increasingly common for couples to decide to create a new and unique last name based on the merging of both of their names. This creative choice is a clever way to symbolize your commitment to each other.

If your husband decides that he'll be changing his name too, you should each fill out the necessary paperwork at the same time. This will ensure that your joint accounts don't need to be updated more than once.

2. Get a Certified Copy of Your Marriage Certificate

It’s recommended that you wait until you return home from your honeymoon to start the name change process.  Because you will need a certified marriage certificate to prove and endorse a legal name change, traveling before the process is complete could be complicated. Your name will need to be consistent on all your travel documents, such as passports, plane tickets, and driver’s licenses.

A certified copy of your marriage certificate should have a raised seal printed on it. In most cases, you'll automatically receive a copy after the wedding. However, if you don't already have the document in your possession, you can call the clerk's office where the license application was filed to get a copy sent to you.

3. Change Your Social Security Card

You'll need your Social Security card to change your name on most documents, so getting a new Social Security card should be your top priority. The Social Security Administration's website has an easy to use online application. Complete the form, then mail your application to the local Social Security Administration office. You will receive a new card within 10 business days.

4. Visit the DMV

Getting a new driver's license is the next step in the name change process. You'll need your new Social Security card, your certified marriage certificate, and your previous driver's license to request a new license with your married name. To prevent fraud, most states require that name changes be done in person. There may be a small fee to receive your new license.

If applicable, you can update your vehicle registration after receiving your new license. Some states will also allow you to update your voter registration information at this time.

5. Change Your Bank Accounts

With your marriage certificate, Social Security card, and new driver's license, it should be a fairly simple process to update your bank information. Visit your nearest bank branch location to request the name change on the accounts and pay the required fee for a new debit and/or credit card. If necessary, you can use this opportunity to create a new joint bank account.

6. Notify Your Employer

If you’re currently employed, you'll need to make a visit to human resources to have your name changed on all company documents. If you've decided to change your name legally and continue to use your maiden name professionally, clearly stating your intentions will avoid unnecessary confusion later.

7. Notify the Post Office

The United States Postal Service doesn’t offer an official form to change your name. You'll need to complete a change of address form to update your information. This form can be completed online or in person at your local post office.

Notifying the post office of your name change will help ensure that any mail that is addressed to your maiden name is properly forwarded. You still need to notify everyone individually of your name change, but this helps avoid communication gaps during the transition process.

8. Change Everything Else

Once you've covered the basics, other places you may need to change your name include:

  1. Doctor and dentist offices
  2. Health, home, auto, and life Insurance
  3. Utility bills
  4. Credit cards
  5. Investment accounts
  6. Mortgage
  7. Auto loans
  8. Student loans
  9. Passport
  10. School, alumni, or professional associations
  11. Magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, and other service providers
  12. Any government assistance programs

If you have a will, power of attorney, healthcare directive, and/or living trust, it's best to visit an attorney to have a new document prepared. Since marriage qualifies as a major life change, you'll likely want to make more alterations to these documents than simply updating your name.

If the thought of changing your name in so many places seems overwhelming, wedding name change kits are available online and through various wedding suppliers. These kits guide you through the process and offer the option of having many of the necessary forms submitted on your behalf.

Now that you are finished changing your name, pick out a monogram with your new initial from our selection and use it to personalize stationery, thank you notes and more!

Written by: The Printable Wedding Team