Changing Your Name After Marriage

In October 17, 2016

If you’ve recently been married, congratulations on your new nuptials! The percentage of spouses who choose to change their last name to their spouse’s after their wedding is roughly 80% in America.  Generally, the rules regarding name change after marriage are applicable for all types of marriage across the board including civil unions, domestic partnerships, same-sex marriages, and opposite sex marriages. Those of you who’ve decided to go through with a marital name change have a few steps to go through. How to change your name when you get married can be a simple afterthought when it comes to planning your big day.  

How to change your name after the wedding:

Persons interested in changing their name after marriage will first need to request a certified copy of their marriage certificate. You may want to acquire several copies of your marriage certificate as there will usually be several places where you’ll be required to show proof of marriage in order to legally change your last name. Next, you’ll need to address getting a name change for social security. It is free to apply, applicants will fill out a Form SS-5 and it can be mailed or delivered in person to a Social Security Office. Included with your application you’ll need certified copies of your ID and marriage certificate. If changing your name years after marriage, you may be required to provide additional documents.

Getting a name change after marriage doesn’t stop with your Social Security Card.  You’ll need to notify your employer, get a new driver’s license, change your name on your passport, and go through the process of changing your name on bank accounts, medical accounts and various other personal accounts. To legally change your name after marriage, you want to ensure all your vital records have been switched over.

How to get a new driver’s license after marriage:

Once you’ve acquired your new Social Security Card, you can stop by your local DMV or Motor Vehicle Bureau. Each state has different regulations surrounding name change processes, so be sure you read up on your state rules before stopping in. There will most likely be an application fee, and you’ll want to apply with your new Social Security Card.

Legally changing your name after marriage if you are a man:

Currently only 8 states allow a man to follow the same name change process after marriage as a woman, the remainder of the states require a legal name change. Louisiana, Georgia, California, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, North Carolina and New York allow men to change their name to their spouse’s after their wedding. The remaining states require men to go through a legal name change, a much more involved and complicated process.

Knowing how to change your name after your wedding should put your mind at ease. The process is a simple one, shouldn’t take too long, and is a tradition that a majority of American’s newlyweds take part in. There are several name change options including hyphenating, creating a new last name, or even keeping your maiden surname professionally but changing your surname legally. Regardless which route you take, ensure you have the vital documents necessary on-hand to make the paperwork and application process go smoothly.

2 Comments

  1. Was just looking her for a quick check to make sure I completed all my steps for changing for my name after marriage…but I think the info here needs to be updated. Maybe I just clicked an old article, but I know South Carolina and some other states definitely allow men to change their names after marriage now (like I just did) since some lawsuits revolving around same-sex marriage name changes went through the courts and were won. The top of this article even says that the rules are the same for all types of marriages, but contradicts itself with a passage towards the end claiming men can’t get a marriage name change the same in most states?

    1. Hello Matthew. We appreciate your feedback on this content. The article is from 2016 so it definitely is outdated but I will certainly pass your comments on to our content editors. Thanks again!

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