As with most things, there’s an easy way and a hard way to change your name after you marry. Ohio does not allow a husband to take his wife’s surname the easy way. He must file a request with the court and receive a special court order allowing it. However, a new wife can take her husband’s name with a minimum of fuss and she does not require the court’s permission.
Specify the name you will be using when you apply for your marriage license. You might want to substitute your husband’s surname for your maiden name, hyphenate both names, or begin using your maiden name as your middle name. After you’re married, the individual who performed the ceremony will sign your marriage license and send it to the probate court in the Ohio county where you were married. It then becomes your marriage certificate and you can get certified copies of it from the court.
Begin using your new name. You can do this immediately after you’re married. You don’t have to wait until you update your identification and other records, provided you’re just incorporating your husband’s surname with your own name.
Take a certified copy of your marriage certificate, your existing Social Security card and a photo ID bearing your old name to your local Social Security office. Ask for and complete Form SS-5 to request a new Social Security card bearing your married name. Submit the form with copies of your other documentation. The Social Security Administration will mail you a new card.
Take your new Social Security card to the deputy registrar’s office in your county to change the name on your driver’s license. You’ll also need your marriage certificate and your driver’s license bearing your maiden name. You must change your name on your Social Security card first, because Ohio requires that the name associated with your Social Security number match the name on your driver's license.
Begin notifying all other government agencies and entities with whom you regularly do business. Start with your employer so there’s no mix-up with reporting your income to your Social Security number with the IRS. Contact your post office, physicians, banking institutions, creditors and utility companies.
- Lawyers.com: Name Changes and Document Updates After Marriage
- Kiplinger: 5 Choices for Changing Your Name After Marriage
- DMV.org: Changing Your Name in Ohio
- Ohio Wedding Pastor: Ohio Marriage License Questions (FAQ)
- Ohio Department of Health: Marriage and Divorce Information
- US Marriage Laws: OH Wedding Officiants
- Ohio Legal Services: Family Law – Name Changes
Beverly Bird is a professional writer who is also a practicing paralegal in the areas of divorce and family law. She has offered community workshops for single parents, helping them with the financial and lifestyle issues they often face.