Monday, January 2, 2012

Please Don't Judge Me

I've been married for a year and a half and I'm just now getting around to changing my name. There are reasons, some good and some very bad but the point of this is: I need help.
If only...

So to all the married ladies out there (or really anyone who has changed their name for any reason) throw me a bone.

Where does one even begin in this process? Do I start with drivers license or social security card? We own a house, when do I tell them? Is it after the social security card or driver's license? How about my credit cards? Or even worse, my passport? Oh and my car? Also, did any of you choose to keep your maiden name as part of your name? I'm thinking about adding it to my middle name? Is that stupid? Does it make it harder? Is there anything you know now that you wish you would have known before?

Most importantly though, how long does it take for all of this crap to be over with?


  1. Hey Katie,

    I'm getting married in August, and so I googled "getting married in (my province)" and a page from the provincial government website popped up with everything legal related for getting married, including changing my name. (turns out in my province you don't need to legally change it, just take your marriage certificate to change it on all your cards and stuff)

  2. Well, it will depend somewhat on where you live probably... I changed my SS card first--I had to take my marriage certificate and probably my drivers license and maybe my old ss card (info is on the social security website) to a social security office. They mailed me a new card between one and two weeks later. From there I went and got my new driver's license (which should have taken a day, but ended up taking 2 weeks because I went to an AAA office instead of the DMV or whatever).

    Then I went to work and had it changed on my health care and pay checks and everything, and I went to the bank and changed my account (and opened our joint account).

    As for the rest... got a new credit card (so we have two cards on the same account). We don't have a house, and my dad transferred the car title to me after I changed my name. I haven't gotten a new passport yet. I didn't keep my maiden name at all. And, I think I had it all done within 3-4 weeks (I wasn't working in July though, so that helped).

  3. Totally depends on where you live. Do you remember/Have you checked your marriage certificate? In some states you can just write in your new name. Then you take care of the SS card, driver's license, and credit cards. Technically you can do it in a different order, but as I recall most women in the US seemed to have the best luck doing in that way.

    You might try searching for a blogger from your state who has posted about her experience. And if you think taking your husband's birth name is bad, you should try taking a new name together! ;-)

  4. The rules vary by state. Call your local county courthouse and ask. Social Security has a number you can call.

    It's been almost 10 years and I still haven't changed mine but mine is a hyphenation which counts as a full name change. In your case, you're just assuming your husband's last name.

  5. I'm a wedding planner and I always recommend that ladies change their Social Security card first. The reason is because you need your marriage certificate to change your social security card, but once you get the new one, you usually just need that to change everything else (like driver's license). Your credit cards you just have to ask them, but you might want to make sure you have your driver's license changed first so your ID matches your cards. Some stores won't let you pay unless these things match. Bank accounts will require a copy of your marriage certificate.

    As for maiden names, that's hard. I actually had a lot of name-change drama. I was reluctant to change my name because I don't have an awesome relationship with my mother-in-law and she started calling me "Mrs. D" before I was even married, which made me kind of resentful toward the name. But, my maiden name had always sort of burdened me. It's a really long story, but in a nutshell, I'm not actually blood related to the family that has my maiden name, so it wasn't something I particularly wanted to keep. It was sort of like having to wear an ugly sweater just because someone had given it to you. My mom has my maiden name still, so I was agonizing about losing that link to my mom, who is a single mom and I'm an only child. I didn't want to replace my middle name because my middle name was chosen specially. So... what I ultimately decided to do was add my mother's maiden name as a second middle name. This kept the link with my blood family, and my husband's name is set up in the same way, so we sort of match. :)

  6. It looks like you have good advice in the earlier comments. It was a big deal to me when I decided to change my name to the point that I negotiated with my husband prior to our wedding about names of future children and such in exchange for changing my last name. So, believe me, I judge no one. ;) Now I look back on it and can't believe what a fuss I made about it.

  7. I started with Social Security card and then you can get your driver's license once you have that. I kept my maiden name as my legal middle name.

    I did that because I had always been called by my middle name, "Michelle". My first legal, given name is "Helen." But my parents called me Michelle. So, to make my life easier, I changed my name legally to Michelle Poliquin Hughes

    My biggest beef with doing this (after the fact, of course!) is that Michelle Hughes is a very common name. Therefore, I sign my name on legal documents with my middle initial to try and help with identification issues.

    In hindsight, I think I should have kept Helen as my first name, taken Poliquin as my new middle name and taken Hughes. Helen is not as popular...of course, I now have a daughter named Helen I guess I've warded off any problems there by doing what I did. :)

    I love talking about this stuff! Maybe I should have just kept my maiden name or something, right? So fun.

  8. I read this earlier and I haven't read the comments yet, but my opinion is: I want to change mine. As a former ask-no-questions-feminists, I've always felt this way. I just think men are meant to be the place, the protector, of their wives. Women offer so much, SO SO much, in return, of course. That's why the name thing seems trivial to me. That's why I would happily change mine.

  9. Yup, SS card is first, then driver's license, then everything else (credit cards, etc.). On WHAT to change, I ended up exchanging my middle name (Lee) for my maiden name (Lack) just to have some connection to my family and old identity. Jessica Lack Cope sounds terrible but how many times does anyone say your full name out loud?

    May your wait at the SS office (and DMV) be short and sweet!

  10. I stick with what I did, because I'd rather have peace in my home every day. My husband did say he'd be willing to have us both hyphenate - which is my strong preference in an ideal world, what better show of equality, partnership, and merging of lives!? - but neither Eichelberger-Sexton nor Sexton-Eichelberger was something I was willing to deal with (and Kathleen Eichelberger didn't even fit on some of my new cards, so there's that).

    But there's a part of me that wishes I'd kept Sexton, simply because I want this to be an option, not an assumption. I want my kids (sons AND daughters) to realize that names are not what makes family, and that nobody is anybody's possession. If Adam's mother had kept her maiden name, I know this wouldn't even be an issue.
    Change has to start someplace, and I regret that I wasn't part of it.

  11. I bought "miss now Mrs" half off and will be using that lol. You fill in basic info and it creates all the forms you need to mail in. I'm dropping my last name because I like my middle name.

  12. I know I'm a little late, but better late then never, right? Call your county courthouse. They're the first one's you'll have to go through to get your name changed. I'm in the same boat as you. I've been married for two years and I'm just getting around to changing my last name. I have to wait another six months though, because we recently moved and you have to be a resident for six months before you can initiate the process.


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