when a rose becomes a daisy
July 31, 2011 8:09 PM   Subscribe

Got married 18 months ago and finally need to get around to changing my name. I live in the U.S. I'm such a dummy; how do I do this?

I assume the first order of business is to get a new SS card, then driver's license, then take copies of my marriage certificate to my personnel office at work and to my insurance company and banks. New passport is also on the list. Or should I do that in a different order?

Is there anything else I need to do? Do I need to change the name on the title of my car?

How long does this take? We are in the process of refinancing our house--should I try to get this all done before we close next month, or just wait till after and have them amend the documents with my new name?

Are there any pitfalls I might not be foreseeing?
posted by thinkingwoman to Law & Government (12 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
That's the best order, I think - the bank and possibly your company will want to see the new ID and Social Security card to make the change.
posted by Cricket at 8:10 PM on July 31, 2011

There are whole kits you can buy online that cover everything, that give you all the paperwork you'll need, etc. No experience with them, though.
posted by resurrexit at 8:14 PM on July 31, 2011

Absolutely do your SS card first, then your driver's license. Do your passport last, as it'll require you to send your marriage certificate to the State Department. Pretty much every place will want to see at least your driver's license to verify the change, so it's best to get it out of the way quickly.

My insurance company, bank, and credit cards all just needed to see a copy of the marriage certificate -- not a certified copy, just a copy. (In fact, I did the name changes on my credit cards via fax.)

I had to change my name on my car title in order to change it on my vehicle registration in Florida. Also, don't forget your voter registration and any 401k/retirement accounts you may have from previous jobs.
posted by ThatSomething at 8:29 PM on July 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

When I did it a few years ago, this is the order:

-driver's licence
-HR/professional licences
-insurance (medical, car, etc.)
-credit cards, student loans, car payment, etc.

Get extra copies of the marriage certificate and also bring your birth certificate and proof of residency every time, and bring any previously changed documents (so bring SSN to the DMV, then the licence for the passport and so on). You may not need them, but it never hurts to be prepared.

It will take several months, FYI. But it's not that hard.
posted by guster4lovers at 8:32 PM on July 31, 2011

I did drivers licence first and then banks and one of these days I'm going to have to get to the ss office and take care of that. Eventually I suppose my student loans and passport too...

The main thing everyone has cared about for verification is marriage certificate.
posted by HMSSM at 8:56 PM on July 31, 2011

I never changed my name. I was told by the county clerk that I could legally use my maiden name or my married name, or a combination of the names. I use my maiden name professionally and my married name socially. I don't hyphenate my name. So if you are wondering in you need to legally change your name, the answer is NO.
posted by wandering_not_lost at 12:24 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

As long as you do it all pretty much at the same time, order isn't going to matter all that much. You've got your marriage license. The rest can basically work itself out.
posted by valkyryn at 3:22 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

This might sound silly, but don't forget any frequent flyer accounts you might have.
posted by somanyamys at 5:01 AM on August 1, 2011

It's more time-consuming and complicated than difficult - there are so many places that have your name.

If you've waited already, I'd wait until after closing to start this paperwork nuthouse.

One tip I got from a friend was to set aside a pile of any letters coming to you under your maiden name and deal with them on a weekly or monthly basis so you're not dealing with it every day.

The typical order is:

1. SS Department
2. Wait 7 days or so
3. Driver's license
4. Passport if you have 2+ copies of your marriage license
5. Other:
- Bank accounts
- Credit cards
- Loans (house, car, student, etc.)
- Alumni associations (college, fraternity)
- Catalogs/magazines
6. Anything else that comes in the mail

Optional: Email address, maybe your entire Google account if it's initials- or name-based (block out a couple of hours for this one)

I still haven't changed one bank (two years later) because I'd just gotten a new set of checks and I didn't want to waste them.
posted by bookdragoness at 5:59 AM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

I used MissNowMrs.com (yeah, I kinda hate the name) and I just entered a bunch of information and it filled out all the forms for me. I had to do the SSN first, then driver's license, then after that I could do bank accounts/credit cards etc. I also did the post office name change (you use the address form, have to do this in the post office, not online) pretty early on because I noticed I wasn't getting some mail.
posted by matildaben at 7:49 AM on August 1, 2011

When I changed my name last year, the social security form said that if I was changing my name more than two years after marriage, I had to take some additional steps. So while I can't speak to whether you should wait until after closing (won't you just have to file paperwork to change it there eventually?), don't wait TOO long, or it'll be more of a pain than it already is.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 4:27 PM on August 1, 2011

You can use any name you like socially without having to go through all this.

If you don't literally need to change your legal name it would be so much easier to skip it.
posted by yohko at 2:32 AM on August 2, 2011

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