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Name Change Problems?
November 17, 2008 12:41 PM   Subscribe

I am becoming a U.S. citizen -- I'd like to know from people who checked the box to change their name. Should I, or not? Problems abound.

Having filled out the naturalization form, I would like to check the box to change my name. I took my wife's name when we married, and now, being divorced, it seems absurd to keep it. As a man, I don't think I can revert to my "maiden" name easily, but would have legally to change it. I have heard horror stories, but nothing really direct. What does one get from the government in terms of documentation? Are there additional steps to go through? What is the nuisance level with regard to bank accounts, social security, driver's licenses, home ownership, work related certifications etc. How hard is it to do this? Where's the pain and nuisance? Another ripple, I am a University administrator, with international publications and well known expertise, so that also factors in. If any one has done this, I would be very grateful if you would tell me of your experiences.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (3 answers total)
 
I don't personally have experience with this but, my mother changed her name when she because a US citizen (also for reasons of divorce). From her, there were no horror stories, it seemed like a pretty straightforward deal.

I'm sure that there will be the normal complications that go along with each instance of changing one's name. You will have to decide if it is worth it for you to deal with the matter of publishing things under a different name than you'd had before.
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 1:45 PM on November 17, 2008


This sounds like a very appropriate and natural time to change your name, so I would take the opportunity to do it. Why go through another round of paperwork, especially in this ID-dependent age?
posted by dhartung at 1:48 PM on November 17, 2008


One of my college professors changed her name upon marriage, took her birth name as a middle name, and continued to publish under "FirstName Birthname". So in your case, you can continue to publish under "FirstName MarriedName", then link your academic information to "FirstName MarriedName BirthName", so that Googlers of either name can find you easily.

Alternately, you can start publishing under your new name and just list the papers on your CV as "Previously as MarriedName".

(As for the bureocratic part, it's relatively straightforward - after you receive your paperwork, you change it at the Social Security office or the Motor Vehicle department, depending on which state you're in. Every other change follows from those two documents).
posted by muddgirl at 2:25 PM on November 17, 2008


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