“How can I change my name after I get married?”
“I just got married. When should I use my new name?”
“I just got married. Do I have to change my last name?”
“When ...?” is easy to answer: Immediately, if you want to. But you don’t have to.
Just as soon as you get legally married you can start using your new last name. Some people keep their existing last names at work and continue to be known by those names professionally while using their new last names among friends. For example, Dr. Dorothy Lee would keep using the name on her medical school diploma in her office and be called “Dottie Lorry” socially.
Caution: If you are going to be traveling on your honeymoon anywhere that you would need to prove your identity, such as a cruise or airline, be sure to make your reservations are in the name on your driver's license and passport. Your tickets must match your identification, or you will not be allowed to travel.
Below, you can see a list of important places where you should document your name change.
The Town Clerk’s Office will not put your Social Security Numbers on your marriage license before you are married.
You will want to get a certified copy of your marriage license to take with you when you go to have your name changed officially. Your certified copy may be obtained from the Town Clerk’s Office in the town in which you held your wedding ceremony. (The only kind of copy that they will make for you is a certified copy.) You will pay $20.00 for each certified copy. Be sure that your Social Security Numbers are on your certified copy of your marriage license! Some Town Halls lately have mailed certified copies without Social Security Numbers, and some Social Security offices have rejected the requested name changes!
Important: Nothing on this website should be taken as legal advice. Please consult an attorney in your home state.
Where to change your name after marriage
The following is a list of the most important places to change your name after marriage.
The single most important place to change your name is the Social Security Administration.
You must be able to take your certified copy of your marriage license with your Social Security Number on it with you when you go to your local Social Security Office and fill out their paperwork. Find your local Social Security Office at the Social Security Administration website. You will not be issued a new Social Security Number.
Some Town Clerks’ Offices have been issuing certified copies of marriage licenses without Social Security Numbers, especially if the certified copies were to be mailed. One recent bride told me that her local Social Security Office refused to accept her request for her name change because the certified copy of her marriage license did not have her Social Security Number on it. It is important that you specify that you want your Social Security Numbers on your certified copy / copies of your marriage license.
Other important places you should change your name after marriage
Plan to take a certified copy of your marriage license anywhere you go to get your name changed.
- Driver's License or non-driver’s identification
- Change your registration and title for your vehicle also.
- Passports are necessary for nearly all travel, even within the United States or just to Mexico or Canada. Be prepared for your passport name change to take at least two to three weeks if you pay for expedited service. If you don’t buy the expedited service, expect it to take at least a month, and probably longer, for your new passport.
- Please go to the Department of State’s website for official passport information. Updating your own passport name is not difficult, just time-consuming. Don’t pay a separate business to “help” you! You can do everything yourself.
- If your healthcare is through your employer, changing your name with your employer’s Human Relations Department may not change your healthcare identification.
- Your emergency contact information will need to be changed, too.
- Business cards should be changed unless you are planning to use your existing name professionally.
- Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance
- Vehicle insurance
- Health insurance
- Life insurance (you may decide to change your beneficiary as well if you haven’t already)
- Credit Unions / banks / brokerage accounts / financial planners / investments
- 401k / retirement plans / IRAs
- Mutual funds
- Trust funds
- Certificates of Deposit
- Safe deposit boxes
- Credit cards / debit cards
- Everywhere you use your card will need to see your identification that matches your card.
- A fraud alert will be activated if you sign a name not matching the card.
- Property owner / property management company
- Rental contracts, agreements, and leases
- Electricity, water, oil, gas, telephone landline, cell phone, internet service provider, cable, satellite TV
- Mortgages / loans
- Professional credentials / licenses / permits
- United States Postal Service
- Remember to add your name to your mailbox
- File a change of address, if needed
- If enrolled now, student ID
- Emergency contacts for your children
- Sororities and alumnae organizations
- Security company
- This is an appropriate time to change your passwords.
- Professional and social organizations
- Tax records
- Also known as changing your name on land records.
- State tax records
- Real estate, vehicles, boats, and other assets
- Voter registration
- Attorney and spouse’s Attorney
- Religious organizations and charities
- Blood banks
- Doctors / dentists / hospitals
- Being your spouse will confer some rights that unmarried partners do not have.
- Library / memberships
- Powers of Attorney and Wills
- You and your spouse should update your Wills and Living Wills after you are married. Only your lawyer should help you with your Wills!
- If you have granted Power of Attorney to anyone, or anyone has granted Power of Attorney to you, check with an attorney to see what you need to do.
- Any person or company with whom you have an existing contract.
- Business owners must remember to update their company contacts.