Getting Married? Congratulations! If you’re like 70% of (straight) couples in the USA, you’ve probably elected for the female partner to change her name after marriage (Savage, 2020) or to add the male partner’s last name onto the end of hers, like Kim Kardashian did. When she married Kanye West, she became ‘Kim Kardashian West’. You may have heard that after their divorce, she initially kept ‘West’ as a part of her name, citing the fact that her children’s last name is also ‘West’ (Mauch, 2021). However, the latest news is that she recently decided to drop ‘West’ and go back to being Kim Kardashian (Clevinger, 2022).
Luckily, Kim is rich and powerful enough to have people to help her with the complicated and bureaucratic name change process. However, those of us who aren’t Kim Kardashian may have to navigate the process ourselves or turn to a name change service for guidance. Let’s have a look at what the name change process looks like so that you know what to expect and can plan accordingly and decide whether to use a name change service or go it on your own.
How to Change Your Name By Yourself
Step 1: Check your mailbox–yes, the physical one. Eventually, after about three weeks, your marriage certificate will show up there. This is NOT the same as your marriage license. If your incessant mailbox-checking fails to yield a marriage certificate after about a month, contact the courthouse at which you applied for your marriage license to ask what’s up.
Step 2. Change your name on your social security card. Doing this is a process in itself. First, fill out an SS-5 form (Found somewhere in the depths of the Social Security Administration’s labyrinthine website) and then gather all the documents that the form says you’ll need. You can either mail in the form + documents and then wait around four weeks for your new social security card to show up in the mail, or go to the nearest social security administration office with your SS-5 + documents. Consider this a warm-up for step 3.
Step 3. Change your name on your license or ID card. Who doesn’t love government offices? If you enjoyed the social security administration office, you’re going to LOVE the DMV (department of motor vehicles)! Bring your new social security card, your marriage certificate, and your old ID (license or ID card). Consider packing a picnic in case you have to wait awhile. Download some podcasts you’ve been meaning to listen to. Maybe download a guided meditation on patience too.
Step 4. Change your name on your bank accounts. Gather your account number, marriage certificate, and your new driver’s license. Bring these things to the bank and wait in yet another line. Collect a trophy for waiting in a record number of lines in a short amount of time.
Step 5. Others who need to know about the new you: In order to issue future documents correctly, there’s a whole host of other organizations that should probably be alerted of your name change, such as the state department (for your next passport), your credit card companies, your landlord (or your bank if you have a mortgage), your post office, attorney, insurance companies, and doctors office(s). Additionally, you should also update your name on your car title. Have fun!
As you may have realized by now, changing your name after marriage can be a huge hassle. Yes, it’s worth it (especially if your spouse has a really cool last name). But, you probably imagine spending the first weeks after marriage in a rosy-hued cocoon of love and romance, rather than waiting in line at the DMV, right? Unless bureaucracy is your idea of romance, that might not be the picturesque beginning to your happily ever after.
Luckily, a company called Hitch the Switch has made the process much more seamless by offering customized, guided online name-change packages. You can literally complete most of the process (the parts that are usually the most frustrating and time-consuming to do yourself at some drab government building) in a few clicks. You only have to enter your details once instead of twenty seven times on different papers, and they’ll send you customized, populated and pre-completed name change forms, pre-stamped envelopes, and offer tons of guidance in order to make the process easy and efficient. We recommend this service if you’d like to save yourself some white hairs, retain your sanity, and enjoy your first days of married life.
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Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected]
Clevinger, N. 2022. Did Kim Kardashian Change Her Name? Retrieved from: https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/4255016/did-kim-kardashian-change-name/
Mauch, A. 2021. Kim Kardashian West is Not Changing Her Name Amid Divorce from Kanye West, Source Says. Retrieved from: https://people.com/tv/kim-kardashian-west-is-not-changing-her-name-amid-divorce-from-kanye-west-source-says/
Savage, M. 2020. Why Do Women Still Change Their Names? Retrieved from: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200921-why-do-women-still-change-their-names#:~:text=In%20the%20US%2C%20most%20women,they%20still%20follow%20the%20practice.