How to Change Your Name: A Checklist for Newlyweds

After much debate about whether or not to change my name after getting married, I decided to go for it (I settled on making my maiden name my middle name).  I wasn’t sure where to start or what all needed to be changed so I kept putting it off. I decided to put together this post for the other newlyweds and brides-to-be out there who want some direction on how to start the process!  It took me about 9 months after getting married to change my name, hopefully this list will make your transition time much shorter!

There are options to help you accomplish a name change For example, if you’re a recent newly-wed in California looking to change your name EZ Name Change is a great option. But here’s the basics you’ll need to know in any case.

Step 1: Request Your Marriage Certificate

Do this through the same office you got your marriage license. You can go in person or if you are far away you can request your marriage certificate by mail.  My county had an option to request this info via a company called Vital Check but it was an extra $29 in fees & shipping so I opted for the mail and it came within a few days.

You will likely have to provide the following in your mailed marriage certificate request.

  • A completed Marriage Certificate Request Form
  • A photocopy of your photo identification (drivers license, state issued identification, etc.)
  • A check or money order payable to the your County Clerk

Step 2: Change Your Social Security Card

You will need your marriage certificate, drivers license and/or passport to start this process. Here’s a PDF with more details on what you’ll need. Then fill out this application for a Social Security card and bring it to your local social security office.

Step 3: Change Your Driver’s license

Bring your new social security card along with your marriage certificate (just in case!) to your local DMV.  If you also have an address change, be sure to bring a recent bank statement or utility bill that is less than 3 months old. I didn’t have this when I went and had to leave and come back! Even so, getting a new license was way easier than I thought it would be!

Step 4: Change your name with your bank

All you should need to change your name on your bank account is your new driver’s license.  Your bank will give you a new debit card and make you sign new signature cards.  While you’re there, you should also inquire about getting your name changed on any of the credit cards and car/student loans held through that institution as well.  If you use checks, order some new ones with your new name!

Step 5: Talk to HR to get your work-related affairs in order

Now that your name is changed on your bank account, you should make sure your HR department is aware so you don’t have issues getting paid.  You’ll also need to change your name on your insurance, 401(k) and any other benefits.

Step 6: Other name-change items to consider

  • Auto & Home Owner’s/Renter’s Insurance
  • Utility bills
  • Gym membership
  • Home address labels (love this one! Hello TinyPrints!)
  • Additional credit cards not held at your main bank (this should trigger a name change with the credit bureaus)
  • Passport
  • Student Loans
  • Vehicle titles
  • Mortgages
  • Voter registration
  • Email address
  • Business cards
  • Email signature
  • LinkedIn profile

Happy name changing ladies! And congrats on becoming a “Mrs!”

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.