Navigating the Name Change Process

Have you decided to change your name after getting married? Many couples still stick to the tradition of the bride taking the groom’s last name after the wedding. Remember, your name is not automatically legally changed after the ceremony! There are a few hoops you will need to jump through first. It can sometimes take several weeks or months for your name change to be totally complete. If you have a honeymoon planned directly after the wedding, it is best to reserve under your maiden name and worry about the name change process when you return. Here are the steps you will need to go through to change your name (in Virginia):

  1. Get a copy of your marriage license. – In Virginia, this means going to the court after your license has been processed (about a week after the wedding) and requesting a copy. You can also request a certified copy in writing. There is usually a small fee for copies, but it’s worth it to get a couple of them.
  2. Change your Social Security Card – You will need to go to your local social security office and present your marriage license (the real deal, not a photocopy! They will need to see the raised seal of authenticity).
  3. Go to DMV – Present DMV with your marriage license and new social security card to apply for a new ID card.
  4. Change everything else! – With these three documents (certified marriage license, Social Security Card, and ID card) you should be able to change your name for all other entities including bank accounts, passports, loans, and official documents.
  5. Get used to responding to your new name! – It may take a little while to get used to it, but soon it will be second nature.

Disclaimer: These tips are based on my experiences with the laws and regulations in the state of Virginia. Always check out your localities process for name change as they could vary from state to state.

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