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How to legally change your name

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If you've decided to change your name, after the wedding it's time to make it official. (Contrary to popular belief, obtaining a marriage license that uses your new last name does not automatically mean you've changed it.) Start with your Social Security card and driver's license: Without these, you won't get very far down the list of other important changes. Here's a list of four basic steps to new-name nirvana.



Arm yourself with a certified marriage license -- be sure it has a raised seal, which means it's authentic. Call the office where your license was filed to get copies if they aren't automatically sent to you.



Contact the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213; an automated system will talk you through the name change process. Your new card will be free -- if you're contacted by a company that claims to do this for a fee, don't buy it. These companies have nothing to do with the SSA and should be reported to authorities.



Visit the Department of Motor Vehicles, which requires you to make a personal appearance (read: wait in line). Bring a book to read and every form of identification you can lay your hands on. No matter what, do not forget your certified marriage license.



Once you have a social security card and driver's license in your married name, other changes should be fairly easy. Some institutions only require a phone call; others may ask for a copy of your marriage certificate or social security card. Be sure to notify:



Friends and family


Post office

Phone company and other utilities

Banks and other financial institutions

Credit card companies

Schools and alumni associations

Voter registration


And don't forget to get your new name on these documents as well:

Passport (Do not do this before the wedding -- your passport name must match the name on your ticket and all other travel documents! It's easier to take your honeymoon with your maiden name.)

Mortgages and leases


Insurance policies

Magazine subscriptions


-- Cindy Hobson and Hope Reeves


Canadian Brides - Name Change Question

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i have a winzip file of all of the name change forms that you need (its too big to post) so anyone let me know if they need it and i will be happy to email it to you!


edited: docs are attached.

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Thanks! This is so helpful! I've already been though this process before, but it's so nice to have a list in front of you so things don't get forgotten!

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I am in the process of changing my name back to my maiden name (I was married before), even though I was divorced in 2003, just so that I can change it again after I get married! What a mess.

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Well, yes, I could have (long story!). Basically, when we got divorced we did it ourselves (no lawyers) and one of the forms asked if anyone would be changing their name. I said yes, and put my new/maiden name in the form.


Fast forward about 1 year later (I hadn't done anything to change my name back yet). I went to refinance on my house, and signed all the paperwork as my married name (Thompson) since that's what I was living as, but since I had been divorced since I bought the house I had to show my divorce decree.


The day after I refinanced, the woman called me back and said I had to resign everything as Herrick (new/maiden name). I explained that I had never bothered to actually change my name back. She then told me that I had already legally changed my name by just putting it in that form. I was like "what?!"


So after that (and veryifying with an attorney about what the heck my legal name was!) I began the slow process of changing everything back to my maiden name. Because I travel every week, I had to be careful of all my flights I had, what my ID said, etc. - and so it was easier just to not do anything. But when I started my new job in Oct I had them hire me with my maiden name, and got a credit card in that name, etc. Now, about half of my life is in my old married name, and the other half in my maiden name. Oh, and since Paul and I are moving back to MN I wanted to wait to get my drivers license updated, I never got my IL drivers license).


And that's about when Paul proposed. lol So I suppose I could wait to change everything to Paul's last name ... but some things would be going from one name, and some the other. And my legal name is my maiden name.


See - long, boring story. Funny, eh!? It's actually a running joke about how I have no idea what my name is anymore.




Anyway ... that's my story!

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