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Legally changed my name...the procedure (long)

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#1 Nrvsbride

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    Posted 31 July 2008 - 12:52 PM

    I officially legally changed my name and it feels so weird to me especially since I am a lawyer and I have to sign my name on tons of documents daily.

    There are tons of threads on the forum about legally changing your name but I remember when I started the process there were some questions I had that weren't mentioned here so I figured I would post in case it could help someone else out.

    First things first, if you already purchased your honeymoon tickets in your maiden name, then it is best to not change your passport until after you return. Your name on your passport has to match the same name on the tickets. However, you can pay a fee to the travel agency to have your name changed on the tickets. But that is a big PITA so I would just leave it.

    Also, in the alternative what you can do is legally change your name but just not change your passport. Which is why I am doing. I legally changed my name but I am not going to change my name on my passport until I come back from a trip in November. The airports normally just want to see your passport (assuming you are travelling internationally) and your ticket. So normally it doesn't matter if you changed it on your driver's license.

    I also asked in court (since there is a passport department) and they told me that if you want to expedite a name change on the passport they can't do it for you in court but you can get it done in the post office and it will take 3 weeks.

    The first step in changing your name is waiting for your marriage certificate. Please note that I got legally married in NY and therefore I don't know what the full procedure is if you get legally married outside of the U.S. They sent me my marriage certificate pretty quickly (I would say 7 to 10 days after I got married). There is also some confusion about whether or not your marriage license has to have your new name on it. When you apply for marriage license in NY there is a section that asks what your new surname will be. I put my new married name in that section and when I got the license it had that information on it all printed up. Additionally, when I signed the marriage license the day of the wedding, I signed it with my new name.

    However, I am told that none of this matters. A lot of girls on here signed their marriage license with their maiden name and had no problems getting it legally changed to their married name afterwards. Conversely, if you do sign it with your married name but then don't ever bother changing it, you have NOT legally changed your name, you are still legally knows as your maiden name.

    Once you have the marriage certificate (you can either wait for them to mail it to you or pick it up yourself) you need to change your name with the Social Security Department. I know that in NY you can just mail the application in along with the appropriate documents as long as you don't live in Brooklyn or Queens. If you are a resident of either of those counties then you need to go in person.

    Here is where I was confused. I read the website and it said that if you were mailing the application in you needed to provide ORIGINALS of your birth certificate, your marriage certificate, a driver's license, etc. Well why in the heck would anyone mail in their original documents? What if it got lost? No way JOSE (that's for you Maura, lol). They also don't accept notarized documents so I don't know what the heck your supposed to do.

    Instead I went down to the office in person. I came armed with every document I could think of. The wait really wasn't bad and when I finally got called up all they asked me for was my marriage certificate. That's it! They never once asked me show ID which I think is weird. What if I'm not who I say I am? The application form I filled out was only one page (it was super easy to fill out) and that was all I gave along with the original of the marriage certificate.

    She literally took 2 minutes and typed my new name in the computer and told me that I would get my new card in 7 to 10 business days.

    I literally got my card 3 days later! It was super quick! Also, I know Jen (NYJen) stated in her thread that if your new name is not on your mailbox they will not leave your new card for you. However, I never changed my mailbox (it still has my maiden name) and the post office guy still put it in my mailbox.

    Once you get your new card you can then go to the DMV and get your license changed. I have yet to do this but I will let you guys know about the process as soon as I do it.

    This was super easy to do. I didn't know what documents I would need, but I just called up all my credit card companies and they did it for me over the phone and sent me new cards. Super easy. They never asked me for proof so it was really easy.

    Similary, I called up my utility companies and they were able to change my name on my account by phone. It literally took 2 minutes. I also did this with my cellphone company. I never had to fax over proof or anything.

    I am going to get this changed on Saturday. I think for the bank they will want to see some kind of proof. I am going to bring my marriage certificate and my new SS card. I remember when I changed the address on my account they made me show them a bill with the new address on it, so I know the bank will want to see some proof instead of just taking my word for it. I'll also update this once I change it.

    For those of you who have a profesional license, I called my department (I'm an attorney) and they told me I can change my name on my law license. I just submit this paper and they update my information. I was admitted to the bar under my maiden name so if they allow lawyers to change their names I don't see why any other profession would be different. You should call your appropriate sector and find out what the process is.

    I am in the process of doing this now but I am signing on to my husband's policy so I don't know what they will ask for. Again I will update when I find out what they required of me.

    That is all I can think of for now but I'll update with any other changes I make.

    #2 Yari

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      Posted 31 July 2008 - 12:55 PM

      Wow Glenda! All of this info was excellent. You made it all so clear for me. THANK YOU!

      #3 starchild



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        Posted 31 July 2008 - 01:02 PM

        Thanks Glenda I recently changed my name (after 1 year!!!) and I am still going through the details. In CA the license means nothing as far as a name change, that is a separate issue...

        Yep, the SSA told me I had to mail my actual plastic DL in to prove I was me...um if I were a criminal don't you think I could get a plastic DL to mail in? Needless to say I thought that stunk so I went in person. It sucked as bad as I thought it would but it's done and I don't have to go back at least until I have a kid.

        For my license I had to bring my certified (with the raised seal) marriage certificate and old DL to the DMV and I got the new one in the mail fast, like 5 days...I was most surprised.

        One credit card let me change the name online instantly, the other few wouldn't change anything online or over the phone...I had to mail them copies of my SS card or marriage license, I mailed both and am still waiting for the cards (this was almost 2 weeks ago).

        I went into my bank 2 weeks ago and met with a "client care rep" and that was a treat. I waited 20 minutes which sucked to me, and then she thought she had jokes and was getting on my nerves. (good for you for not gettng a joint account, are you sure you want to change your name don't you like your maiden name, etc...just shut up and make the changes!)

        I need to check on the utilities, some have my name and some have DH's...thanks for mentioning that.

        Stocks - anyone know how to change your name on those? I'm totally lost.

        Also life insurance, health insurance, 401k, etc. needs to be done but I'm not there yet.

        There is sooo much to consider, that's why I put this off for so long!

        #4 jajajaja

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          Posted 31 July 2008 - 01:08 PM

          Showing proof of residency to the bank is part of the Patriot Act I believe. I could be wrong though. :)

          Great info though Glenda! I'm sure it will be helpful for a ton of brides.
          Happily married since 2008

          #5 samanthag

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            Posted 31 July 2008 - 01:14 PM

            Thank you for taking the time to inform us about that!
            Lord know I'll have to refer back to this page! :)

            #6 boscobel

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              Posted 31 July 2008 - 01:36 PM

              Thanks for being so thorough, Glenda. I am still awaiting my license to come in the mail, so I can't wait to officially cahnge my name!

              #7 Davematthews16

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                Posted 31 July 2008 - 01:39 PM

                Thanks for the post! I will definetely be needing this info soon enough!

                #8 Spazz

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                  Posted 31 July 2008 - 01:41 PM

                  Thanks for all of the info! I'm in the process of doing the same things and it's not too bad (with the exception of going to the SSA office!).

                  #9 jajajaja

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                    Posted 31 July 2008 - 01:42 PM

                    Ditto Lizz. That was BY far the worst of it. I don't wish the SS office on anyone.
                    Happily married since 2008

                    #10 starchild



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                      Posted 31 July 2008 - 02:01 PM

                      Originally Posted by LC_Rachel
                      Ditto Lizz. That was BY far the worst of it. I don't wish the SS office on anyone.
                      I say it's like a form of birth control...after spending time there you don't want to see a baby for a long time :P

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