Who do you tell after you get married?
June 1, 2010 7:39 PM   Subscribe

Curious about paperwork/notifications when getting married -- besides the marriage license.

My boyfriend and I have casually been discussing marriage (we intend to marry, but not yet and are not officially engaged), and it got me wondering about what paperwork needs to be done when you marry. Who do you need to notify? I'm of course aware that a marriage license would have to be obtained, and I saw a previous question asking something similar, but the answers focused on tax information.

So that's it in a nutshell: who do you need to contact after you get married, for legal/financial/similar reasons? At a guess, insurance companies, banks, IRS? Who else?

This is sort of a general question, but answers relevant to a straight mid-20s couple of students in Michigan will answer our particular circumstances. Finding information about this via Googling has proven less easy than I would have thought, but I might be using poor search terms.
posted by asciident to Law & Government (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You have to get a marriage license, obviously. Beyond that, you don't *need* to contact anyone, unless you want to have your spouse on your bank account, covered by your insurance (or vice-versa) and so on. You can file taxes jointly or not, but all you'd do is just add both names to the top of the form and make sure you've both signed.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 7:53 PM on June 1, 2010

If there is a name change involved for either of you, you would notify anyone you would notify if you had a change of address.

As for who you notify that you got married? IRS finds out when you file your taxes jointly. The state finds out when you apply and then file your marriage license.

Other than that, employer if one of you will be going on the other's health insurance. Banks if you intend on adding each other to any separate accounts.

And that's pretty much it for paperwork aspects. It's really very few people from that point of view you need to notify, especially if there is no name change.
posted by zizzle at 7:56 PM on June 1, 2010

If one or both of you is changing your name, you'll need a new Social Security card.

Employers/payroll companies, so they can adjust the withholding from your paycheck.
posted by equalpants at 7:58 PM on June 1, 2010

Employers/payroll companies, so they can adjust the withholding from your paycheck.

Yes, but this is only if you want to change your witholdings. I withold at the single rate, even though I have 2 exemptions. And it took two years of marriage before I changed the exemption from 1 to 2. Is really up to them and what they determine works best for their finances, but they don't have to change their witholdings at all.
posted by zizzle at 8:06 PM on June 1, 2010

Okay, fine. Let's try this again:

Employers/payroll companies, so they can adjust the withholding from your paycheck.*

*if you want them to
posted by equalpants at 8:11 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, major paperwork only really comes in when you change one or both names. If not, I'd say all you HAVE to do is the marriage license. Optional good ideas include changing your withholding and your insurance coverage, and if your new spouse wasn't the beneficiary on your life insurance, probably want to change that. If one half of the couple owns property, may want to go through the hassle of putting the spouse on the deed.

If you change names, of course, there's a whole lot of other stuff to do. I think in CA we had to do it in a special order - first Social Security card, then driver's license, and passport, and all the names on bank accounts.

One nice thing about employers managing so much of our insurance and retirement account situations is that when you change your name on your paycheck, you automatically change your insurance, your 401(k), and any other benefits that your employer manages.
posted by little light-giver at 8:28 PM on June 1, 2010

If you are both students, you will want to refile your FAFSA. Because it will be awesome if you were previously held to your parents income level for financial aid.

No one else needs to be notified if names don't change. In fact, I knew three couples in college who were "secret married" for the financial aid. (They "came out" to me because I was married not secretly while in college.)

You will have to file differently with the IRS and/or tell your parents to stop filing you as a dependent, however.

Other than that, it's all you. It is a public record, however, that someone motivated enough can look up.
posted by Gucky at 8:51 PM on June 1, 2010

Response by poster: If you are both students, you will want to refile your FAFSA. Because it will be awesome if you were previously held to your parents income level for financial aid.

Neither of us are young enough to be considered dependent students, but that's good advice for others. :) Does anyone have any experience refiling FAFSA after marrying when they were already considered independent?
posted by asciident at 11:06 PM on June 1, 2010

You'd want to update your records with regard to any assets (property, autos/boats/etc, bank accounts, investment accounts, etc and even life insurance records). You'd want to make sure property is held the way you want it to be, whether you want joint accounts on everything, change beneficiaries on policies, etc.
posted by FergieBelle at 5:59 AM on June 2, 2010

Best answer: I was married as a student in my 20s. Filed the marriage license. Didn't change my name. Only other paperwork was taking the marriage license to the auto insurer to get my husband's rates dropped (but of course not mine).

Had I changed it, I would have had to get a new drivers' license and contact social security (and a new passport too, I guess). Probably want to do the credit cards fairly quickly, and drop by the bank. Utilities you can really just contact as it's convenient. (A big part of the reason I didn't change my name ... too much paperwork!)

We already had some accounts joint by the time we got married, and others we just left alone after we got married; since we were students and moved a lot, we basically just put both our names on things as we had to change them when we moved.

Even the name change thing, though, is NOT a huge deal ... people get married all the time, the bank is used to it. We kept a certified copy of our marriage certificate handy for a while to prove we were married (like to the auto insurer whose computer got all upset we had different last names but were married); I imagine if you change your name you do the same thing, only use it to prove you're the same person you were only you just got married!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:19 AM on June 2, 2010

You probably don't need to notify your banks unless you want to merge finances. My fiance and I have a joint account that we didn't need to be married to get, so you don't actually have to have a marriage license to do that.

Any institution that has a beneficiary situation, if you want your new spouse to receive that money instead of whoever you previously had listed.

Potentially emergency contacts, like at work or wherever else you're required to list this.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:29 AM on June 2, 2010

One word of advice, keep your marriage certificate in a safe place. I lost ours and now I can't get a driver's license until I get a new copy of it. Big pain in the ass.
posted by desjardins at 9:09 AM on June 2, 2010

Notify your husband-to-be's car insurance company. Young, single male drivers typically pay the highest premiums. Being married might lower what he pays.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 10:10 AM on June 2, 2010

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