Married Name-Change 101

by HonestAnswers
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Name change is a very big decision for brides. It’s important to take some time to consider how you and your fiancé feel about name change as well as what form of name change you both want. Will you change your name to his, hyphenate, or use your maiden name as your middle name? With so many choices and strong opinions, it has become increasingly important for couples to compromise on your new married name.

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Special feature by Danielle Tate of MissNowMrs

Remember that a marriage is built on love, trust, teamwork, and compromise, so try to be open-minded to the many name-change options when you discuss them with your future Mr. For example, you may hyphenate your last name with your husband’s, or he may keep his name the same or add your last name to his. If you do choose to hyphenate your name(s), you should definitely discuss whose name will appear first in the hyphenation.

Another option is to keep your maiden name as your middle name. This will allow you to change your last name, but still keep your maiden name as part of your title. Adding your maiden name as a second middle name is also a possibility. If you have a long middle and maiden name, consider that this option may create quite a mouthful.

One of the most popular name-change compromises is to keep your maiden name for professional use only, and use your married name socially. You can be Mrs. Green at school and cocktail parties, but still be addressed as Ms. Smith at work. This option is especially helpful to brides who have established themselves in careers that depend on name recognition, such as medicine, law, or real estate.

While changing your name can seem very overwhelming, it’s best to start the name-change process before or right after you are married. The longer you procrastinate, the more likely you are to never change your name.

After your wedding, it is important to request a few copies of your certified marriage certificate to use during the name-change process. Several state and government offices need to see a certified marriage certificate as legal proof of your marriage before they can process your name-change request forms.

Once you have your certified marriage certificates, you may start filing your legal name-change forms. Start by requesting a Social Security card with your new name followed by a new driver’s license or ID from your state. It is also necessary to notify the IRS and Post Office of your name change. Last on your list should be changing your name on your U.S. passport. All of these offices have specific name-change request forms to submit.

After you change all of your identification documents, you will need to notify all of your creditors of your new name. Typically a letter or phone call stating your former and new name will be enough to change your name on your accounts, although some companies will require you to mail in a name-change request letter and certified marriage certificate before they can update your name.

If changing your name seems a bit overwhelming, there is a service available to help you through the process. MissNowMrs is a website that provides all of the state & U.S. government name-change forms as well as name-change notification letters. Their service auto-populates the forms and letters and also provides detailed filing instructions. The MissNowMrs service saves each bride an average of 13 hours of form research, completion, and filing mishaps so she can focus on the fun of being a newlywed!