Changing names when you get married is one of the things often forgotten about during the planning process. Women often think of what they want to do with their name but not necessarily all that must be filled out in order to make that happen. First and foremost is the marriage license as that is your catalyst for changing your legal name. There are two ways to change your name on the actual license and certificate as both are usually issued in your current name.
Changing Name after the Wedding
Apply for your marriage license. You do this in the county where you intend to marry. Both parties must be present, unless you have a military exemption. Then a signed affidavit from the person in the military will suffice.
Get married. In Texas, your marriage license is valid 30 days from issue so the marriage must be performed within that time limit. Texas also has a three-day waiting period. You must wait a full 72 hours from the issuing of the marriage license until you may have the ceremony.
Sign the marriage license. Texas law requires you sign the license with your current name, though you can choose to add your new last name to the end of your signature if you are changing it to your husbands or vice versa. Some believe this makes the process go more smoothly, but the Social Security office will be your first step in changing your name and the certificate is enough to show the intent.
Send in the license and apply for copies of the certificate. The certificate will show your original name and the name of the person you married.
Change your name with the social security office. By filling out the proper forms and providing a copy of the marriage certificate you can change your last and middle names to any combination of your current last name and the last name of your spouse. You may also use the certificate to change your DMV records. From there you can begin changing everything else.
Petition the court for a re-issue of the marriage license and certificate. If you really wish your license and certificate to reflect your new name, this process will do it. With your new social security card and marriage certificate you can petition the court to reprint your license and certificate with the new name.
Petition the court for a name change. If you are planning on changing your name to something new entirely or a combination of your two last names consider taking this step first. If you are just taking your husband’s name or vice versa, only the person who wants their name to read differently on the marriage license needs to do this. This process can take up to 60 days.
Apply for your marriage license. Now with the paperwork in hand for the name change, you will be able to apply for the license under your new name and it will reflect this new name. After the marriage your certificate will also read appropriately.
Follow the same steps to change your name with the social security office and other organizations. With the certificate already containing your new name, you might not have to wait as long as your new social security card will not be required to change things such as bank accounts.
In some states such as California, Florida and Virginia, you can change your name to something new entirely before the issue of your license without a petition. In these states you may also just sign your license with the new name you wish to go by and the certificate will be issued as such.
If you have been divorced or are widowed within thirty days of applying for the marriage license, bring copies of the certificate of death or divorce in order to avoid any issues. It tends to be a good idea to bring them no matter how long ago it was in case there is any glitch in the record keeping.
Marriage rules change often, so when you have determined in which county you will marry verify all the current rules by calling the county clerk’s office.