Once you’re back from the honeymoon and in the “real world” once again, it’s time to think about your name. While you might opt to stick with the one you were born into, some women still go with tradition and decide to change their last name in at least some capacity. If you’re leaning towards this option, check out these tips for making the process go smoothly.
1. Figure out your new name. If you’re simply taking your spouse’s name, it’s an easy decision. But many couples are choosing to combine their last names, or you might choose to hyphenate your maiden name and married name. A growing trend also has some women using their maiden names as middle names. Whatever you choose, it’s best to think about it and discuss it with your spouse before you start filling out any paperwork.
2. Get your license. Your marriage license, that is. You won’t be able to legally change your name without it. You should automatically get one in the mail a few weeks after your wedding–it will be an original with a raised seal. Most places will only need to see the original or accept a copy. But the Social Security office will likely want an original on file, so order a few extras from the county clerk’s office for a small fee.
3. Start with your Social Security card. Since this is the most important document for your identification, going on everything from your income tax returns to your back accounts, start by going down to the local Social Security office to fill out Form SS-5 (you can also download it online and fill it out beforehand). Bring your current card, your driver’s license and your marriage license. Your Social Security number will actually stay the same–only the name will change.
4. Then head down to the DMV. You’ll need to go down to the DMV (sorry!) with your new Social Security card, your current driver’s license and your marriage license to get a driver’s license with your new name on it. You should also check your state’s DMV site to see if there are any additional requirements (proof of residency, etc.) you need before going down there.
5. Notify your employer. You’ll want to let Human Resources know about your name change and show them any documentation they might need. This will ensure that your payroll taxes, benefits, insurance, etc. is all in the correct name.
6. Change everything else. Once you have your new social security card and driver’s license, everything else should be a breeze. Bank accounts, credit cards, lease agreements and anything else you can think of shouldn’t give you a hard time now that you have the proper documentation.
7. Think about a name change site. If you simply don’t have time for multiple trips or calls, you can try a service like Hitch Switch or MissNowMrs that have all of the necessary forms and letters you’ll need for an easy switch. But you’ll still need to go down to the Social Security office and DMV in person.
Be sure to check out bridal shower games that aren’t lame and 9 things to remember when planning a rustic wedding.