This post here is for all of my newly married ladies! Well, at least the ones who have dreamt of taking their husband’s last name, anyway. This post is for you – a step by step on how to change your last name.
I’m writing this post because it was something that I needed when I got married. Not knowing where to go, what to do first and the whole order of things to change your last name, yeah I needed help. Not to mention, even a year and half into marriage I still hadn’t changed my last name on my health insurance! I know, I’m a mess. But it is SO easy to overlook an important step in the process, which is why I have put this together – to help you out so you aren’t still changing your information two years into your marriage like me! 🙂
PRO TIP: Do this right after the honeymoon! You will not want to because it is a lot of boring stuff and jumping back into the real world after your honeymoon is going to be like a slap in the face. I get it. My advice to you would be, suck it up buttercup! Treat yourself to a morning coffee at your favorite coffee shop and make it a point to get everything done within the first month of being married! It will be so much better than drawing it out over weeks and months, and so worth it in the long run! But don’t skip on the coffee – you’ll want something yummy to sip on and take you to a happy place while you’re sitting in a waiting room for longer than you’d ever like 😉
Step 1. Certified Copy of Your Marriage License
You will need a certified copy of your marriage license or the original copy in order to begin the process of changing your last name. This license will have the little bumpy raised seal of the county that you were married in. Here in Arkansas, this was the only license that I needed in order to move on to step 2. Note, however, that you cannot just make a copy of your marriage license. You will wait in line for what seems like forever only to be turned away when it’s your turn if you do not have the original or a certified copy. If you got married local, you should be able drive over to the court house and ask the clerk if you can buy a copy from them. Or just take your original like I did.
Step 2. Social Security Administration
Once you have your original or certified copy of your marriage license ready to go, head over to your local Social Security Administration. For my NWA ladies, the Fayetteville SSA is where to go! Pro tip – get there first thing in the morning. More than likely there will already be a line forming or people waiting in their cars for the office to open, and you want to be at the front of that line, trust me! I was lucky enough to only spend about an hour and a half (yes, I said ONLY an hour and a half) waiting for my turn. Remember that suggestion to get some coffee beforehand? This is why! Take a good book or something to work on to help past the time. You will need your marriage license as well as your current Social Security Card with your previous last name. Once it’s your turn, they will ask for these two documents, you’ll fill out some documents telling what your previous name was and the name you are changing it to, then they will go over all the information to make sure it is all correct! It’s that easy, and pretty quick once you get to your turn! Forewarning though, it will feel SO weird changing your name. If you’re anything like me and take pride in your last name and the family you are a part of, then the reality of changing it forever will feel both so sad and yet SO exciting! I am so proud to carry the last name of my husband’s family and would never consider anything different! But it is still a bittersweet feeling. Then for the fun part…. waiting. Unfortunately you won’t leave the office with your shiny new SS card displaying your proud new name. Once you receive your new SS card in the mail, move on to Step 3! P.S. Your SS# will not change from your previous number, so don’t worry about having to memorize a whole new number!
Step 3. Revenue Office
Time for the beloved DMV. After you receive your not so shiny new social security card in the mail with your beautiful new last name on it, do a little happy dance then head on over to your local DMV. Once again, grab yourself some coffee and get there early in the morning. Don’t forget your important documents or you’ll be wasting away a whole lot of time! You will need your new SS Card, current driver license, and the original or certified copy of your marriage license. Remember, you’ll be taking a brand new married woman ID photo for your new driver license, so make sure you do your hair and makeup this day! We all know these photos are never great, but we can at least try to make them better by how we look, right? When it is your turn, they’ll take your documents, take your beautiful new photo, then print out your shiny new ID with both your new photo AND new name! You’ll feel like a whole new woman walking about of their like an official Mrs.
While you’re there, you might as well make a hang out of it and make sure all your information (name/address/etc) is updated and correct on your belongings. Update your vehicle titles, assessments, house, etc. so that when it comes time to assess or pay your property taxes everything is already changed over to your new information.
Step 4. Passport, Bank Account, Insurance, Subscriptions, Etc.
From here, head on over to your bank and change over all the fun stuff! Get your new debit card, order new checks (do people even use those anymore?), and make sure your banking is squared away. Go home and start the process of renewing (or getting!) your passport, update any mailing subscriptions or auto draft bank things!
PRO TIP: For Steps 2-4 I highly suggesting making a whole day out of it! Start at the DMV, hit up the bank, call your insurance companies, and spend some time online getting all your information changed over! Notifying employers, creditors, banks, post office, phone company, and medical/insurance providers. Basically, you’ll want to inform anyone who might ask ‘who the heck is this?” when seeing your new name!
You did it! You have a new last name! It will take you a while to get use to saying it when asked and writing when prompted. Don’t even feel bad, we all struggle with the change! I STILL pause at time when asked my last name or having to write it because for most of my life up until this point I was a King. It’s hard to go by one name for 25 whole years to changing it all in one day and having to break the habit. Just remind your husband that it’s nothing personal, it’s just a learning curve! You’ll eventually get use to you, I promise!
It’s official! Congratulations, Mrs! I couldn’t be more happy for you – both for your recent marriage, and for you being done with the name changing process! Ha!