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How to Change Your Last Name After the Wedding



Just because you have a marriage license with your new last name doesn't mean you've officially changed your name. Sorry to break it to you but that's really just the first step. Here are some helpful steps to speed you along:


1. Get your marriage license:


Before you can change your name, you'll need the original (or certified) marriage license with the raised seal and your new last name on it. Call the clerk's office where your license was filed to get copies if one wasn't automatically sent to you.



2. Change your Social Security card:


Visit the Social Security Administration's website and fill out the application for a new Social Security card. You'll keep the same number -- just your name will be different. Mail in your application to the local Social Security Administration office. You should get your new card within 10 business days.



3. Change your license at the DMV:


Take a trip to the local Department of Motor Vehicles office to get a new license with your new last name. Bring every form of identification you can lay your hands on -- your old license, your certified marriage license and -- most important -- your new Social Security card.



4. Change your bank accounts:


This one's a biggie, especially if you're setting up a joint bank account, or if you have one already set up. The fastest way to change your name at your bank is to go into a branch location -- bring your new driver's license and your marriage license. You should request new checks and debit and credit cards on top of changing the name attached to your accounts. Something to note: **You might get hit with fees for requesting a new debit card**



5. Fill in the blanks:


Once you have a social security card and driver's license in your married name, other changes should be fairly easy. Some places only require a phone call; others may ask for a copy of your marriage certificate or social security card. Be sure to notify:


  • Employers/payroll
  • Post office
  • Electric and other utility companies
  • Credit card companies
  • Schools and alumni associations
  • Landlord or mortgage company
  • Insurance companies (auto, home, life)
  • Doctors' offices
  • Voter registration office
  • Investment account providers
  • Your attorney (to update legal documents, including your will)
  • Passport office

 
Additional Name Change Options
What a name change entails is completely up to each bride. You may want to follow tradition and accept your husband’s last name as your own. If you’d like to maintain ties to your maiden name for work or family purposes, then consider hyphenating your maiden name with your groom’s last name. Some brides even keep their maiden name in their work sphere while taking their husband’s name in the social arena. On occasion, newlyweds also combine their last names to create a new family. Whatever you choose is up to you. Just be sure to inform the government, official organizations, and other professionals of your new name.


There's more than one way to take your fiance's name. Consider these five scenarios:


  • You take his name: In this case, if Laura Walker marries Christopher Smith, she becomes Laura Smith.

  • He takes your name: Far less common, in this case, Christopher Smith marries Laura Walker and becomes Christopher Walker. Granted, it's a modern approach, but what's the difference between you taking his or him taking yours?

  • You hyphenate: You could add your fiance's last name to yours with a hyphen (Laura Walker becomes Laura Walker-Smith). Some couples decide to take each other's names and hyphenate both. The only drawback is that it can be taxing on the tongue, hand and even the ear, depending on the way your names sound together.

  • You make your maiden name your middle name: In this case, Laura Anne Walker becomes Laura Walker Smith. That way, she holds on to her family name. The one caveat: This option only works if you don't mind losing your middle name.

  • You keep your name professionally: This can be a nice compromise. Socially, you're known as a married couple but professionally you retain your identity. So Laura Walker legally changes her name to Laura Smith but keeps her birth name at work.

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