These are the general steps for a name change after marriage:
- Take your marriage certificate and proof of U.S. citizenship (a birth certificate or a U.S. passport) to your local Social Security Office along with form SS5. There’s no fee.
- Once your Social Security Number reflects the name change, you go to your local DMV and update your driver’s license. There is a fee and you’ll bring the same documents with you (marriage certificate, birth certificate or U.S. passport and old license).
- Then, you update it with your HR department, bank and credit cards.
Those are the most important things and 90% you will not have any issues. (For those of you that do, don’t worry, we have you covered too!)
You can do some of these things online. We have a free service here, where you can answer some questions, then get the appropriate forms and instructions for how to file them emailed to you.
After Marriage Name Change is Easy
The name-change process after marriage is actually VERY easy. There are NO stacks of paperwork, despite what some expensive services tell you.
No service will go to the DMV for you. They’ll give you the same free government forms we do, only they charge you for them. We have the check-lists, auto-populating forms, basically, everything you’ll need right here. And it’s free.
Marriage Name Change Tips
Here are a couple of tips from our years of experience:
- First, put you new name on your marriage license before the wedding. Your marriage certificate will be your legal name change document after the wedding, so make sure you put your old and new name on it.
- Don’t start the process if you’re planning to travel. You do not want your airplane ticket to have a different name than your license, or passport. Some of these identification documents can take several weeks to be mailed to you, so if you’re planning a honeymoon out of the country, don’t cause yourself the extra stress. Enjoy your maiden name for a few more weeks, go on the trip, then change it when you get back. We’ll be here waiting. Promise 😉
Common issues in the name-change process explained:
Got married a while ago and don’t have a marriage certificate handy?
You’ll have to get a certified copy from your county’s department of vital records. You can also get a certified birth certificate there, which will be necessary in later steps if you don’t have a U.S. passport. Visit your state name-change page for further details. Select your State here:
Do you need to visit a court for a legal name change?
Most likely, no. But if you fall under one of these situations, you probably do. Go to our Legal Name Change section for your forms and instructions.
- If you change your name after marriage to your husbands’ surname, but soon decide you want to go back you need a legal name change through court order.
- If you want to create a shared last name, you need a legal name change. For example, Sarah Smith and Mike Johnson decide to become the Smith-Johnsons, or invent their own combination name, such as the Smithsons.
- There are a few states that allow women to take a hyphenation by simply using her birth certificate and marriage certificate, but many require a legal name change for this situation.