How to Change Your Marital Status

by Mark Fitzpatrick

A marital status change may come from a number of occurrences. You may have found your life partner and wish to take his or her name. Another reason may be the sad experience of a divorce or the death of your spouse. From any of these situations, you must embark on the legal process of a marital status change. Without going through the proper legal channels to change your marital status, benefits or fees might be applied to you because of your previous relationship status. For your interests, you need to contact the proper organizations about your marital change.

Inform your county clerk on your new status. This step is mostly for those who are getting married. People who are married apply for a marriage license that proves that the two people consent to the marriage. Each state varies on their laws concerning marriage licenses. In the event of a divorce or death, you may have to communicate with your local county clerk about your new status before or after contacting government agencies.

Determine what your new marital status is. The Internal Revenue Service defines five categories of marital status: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, and widower with dependent child. The new status must reflect your new living situation.

Contact the IRS. The IRS will perform two duties concerning your marital status. The first duty is to change your tax code. You will need to re-fill out a W-4 Form for your place of employment in the tax year you changed your marital status. The second is that the IRS helps network all mail, either addressed to your former self and new status to a different address. The IRS contacts the Post Office concerning that information.

Contact the Social Security Administration. The Social Security Administration must be notified if you wish to change your name. Social Security will send a new card that contains your new name. The SS-5 form from Social Security should be filled out with all the necessary information about your marital status. Contacting Social Security is also important in the case of a death. Social Security payments may be given to you as the widow.

Inform insurance organizations. If you are marrying or re-marrying, the marital status changes insurance coverage for you and your new spouse. If there is a divorce, then coverage may be ceased. A death may result in life insurance to apply to you if your marital status is maintained.

Combine or distribute property evenly and legally. In the cases of divorce or a death, your property is distributed on grounds set forth in the divorce hearings or in a will. If you are getting married, combine property, banking, and other capital accounts together under your new name.

About the Author

Mark Fitzpatrick began writing professionally in 2006. He has written in literary journals such as Read Herrings and provides written online guides for towns ranging from Seymour, Connecticut to Haines, Alaska. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Massachusetts.

Photo Credits

  • married man image by Georgios Alexandris from