If you are getting married, you will probably think about a name change at some point during your wedding planning journey. Changing your name is not a requirement. In fact, some brides keep their last names. Some brides choose to hyphenate their last names. In Western tradition, it is an honor for brides to take their husband’s last name. Your decision will be a personal one. Just in case, we are sharing a few tips to help you plan your name change details after getting married.
Things to Consider Before Getting Married
We are beginning with the first step, getting married. Not every marriage has the same dynamic, and not every wedding will involve a marriage license. Commitment ceremonies are a popular trend. This type of wedding ceremony is all about rituals and symbols, rather than paperwork. For those that want to get married with legal status, you will probably need to obtain a marriage license. For example, the state of Florida does not recognize domestic partnerships or common law marriages. Some counties within the state will recognize a domestic partnership, but it is not recognized at the state or federal level. The type of marriage you choose will not change your love, your wedding day or your relationship, but it will affect legal matters and the way you change your name after marriage.
If you are getting married and intend to change your last name, you might want to consider the different pathways to accomplish this goal. If you are getting legally married, you will take a copy of your filed marriage license to the Social Security office and Department of Motor Vehicles to request a name change. If you are getting married without the paperwork, you will not have a marriage license, but you can still change your last name, as long as you are not changing your identity for some ulterior motive. Changing your last name with a marriage license is a free request. However, you will have to pay any fees associated with updating your driver’s license and updating deeds.
If you do not have a marriage license, you will need to file a Motion for Name Change with your county clerk of court. This extra step involves a legal proceeding and filing fees. It will also take a few months to obtain a final order. However, the process is fairly simple, and the forms are available online with instructions for completing and filing them. Since this changes your name outside of marriage, it will not be changed back by a divorce. Always consult with a lawyer before making legal decisions.
After Getting Married
Changing your name after getting married will have a lot to do with your culture and personal preference. You can choose to hyphenate your last name, take your spouse’s name or keep your name. If you decide to change your name, there will be a little paperwork involved in the process. Before you change your name, you must have a copy of your filed marriage license in hand when you visit the Social Security office and Department of Motor Vehicles. You should begin with the Social Security office. You usually have to wait for the update, which can take a day or two, before rushing to get a new driver’s license. Sometimes, the wait in line at the Social Security office can take a couple of hours. It is very unlikely that you would want to jump both hurdles in the same day, even if you could. Be prepared and be patient. It is a good idea to make a date out of this process and do it together.
After you change your name, you will discover many other places requiring the update. Review websites and obtain a list of all of the required documents before beginning this adventure. You will need to update your passport information, car registration, car insurance, titles, deeds and banking information. The process can take time. The best advice is to take time, do things in order, and go through the process together. Make it a fun experience that you do together. Include lunch dates and selfies. Make it fun, and it will seem a lot less like work.
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