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Changing Your Name: Not for the Faint of Heart

After a brief blogging hiatus in which I became a married lady, I'm back! It's been a month of new experiences, including learning the process of actually GETTING married, international travel, learning how to use that Instant Pot we were given, and going through the process of changing my name. Let me tell you from very recent experience, changing your name is The Worst. There have been several times over the course of these past few weeks where I've said to myself, "Do I really want to take this dude's name?" If you're new to this like I was, here's a quick cheat sheet for what you need to do to legally change your name.

Step 1: Obtain a copy of your marriage certificate
This was news to me. Why you aren't automatically given a copy of the certificate when the marriage is filed is beyond me, but your first step is to request a copy of your marriage certificate with the county register of deeds. You can either pick it up in person or have it mailed to you. Expect 2-4 weeks for this to process.

Step 2: Apply for a new social security card through the Social Security Administration
Once you get your marriage certificate, you can head down to the social security office. You'll need that marriage certificate, 2 forms of ID, and it's a good idea to print out the application beforehand and have it already filled out when you get there. Expect to wait for several hours to do this. Also, get used to waiting in line because....

Step 3: Change your name on your driver's license
You'll need to go to the DMV to request a name change - this isn't a service offered online. You'll need to bring your marriage certificate again (Really, this document should just live in your car for the foreseeable future), your current ID, and payment. Also, if you want to kill two birds with one stone, you should plan to go ahead and ask for the Real ID, which will be the new norm for airport travel in 2020. For this, you will also need your birth certificate and proof of residence (not your ID or passport). While you're here, you can also change your voter registration. Be warned - They will take your picture. I was not aware of this and now I look like I haven't slept in a decade until my ID expires in 2023.

Step 4: Change your bank information
In some cases, you will need to wait for your new ID to come in the mail, but some banks will allow you to use the temporary paper ID that you get at the DMV to go ahead and request new bank cards, checks, etc. 

Final Steps:
Now that all the "important" stuff is changed, you may think you're done, but surprise, surprise - You're not done yet. Don't forget about student loans, car loans, titles, registration, mortgages, leases, insurance, etc. All of the smaller, less important items can likely wait until the next time you're there in person. For example, I've already changed my name at our vet's office because I happened to be there already - and they truly don't care if your name is legally changed yet or not. 

Getting a new hubby and a new name is a huge step in life. It's so fun to see your new name on a legal document for the first time. It may seem silly but practice that new signature for real because you'll be signing it a lot! Best of luck to you in this endeavor. It is certainly not for the faint of heart. 

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