New This Month

5 Things You Need to Know Before You Legally Change Your Last Name

Taking his name after the wedding? Understand the logistics before you make it official with our advice.

mname-tags-006-d111756.jpg
Photography by: Bryan Gardner

If you're thinking about legally changing your name after the wedding, there are some things you need to know first. From what options you have to how much it'll cost, we're breaking down the important details to understand.

 

Related: Your Ultimate Name Change Checklist

 

Know Your Options 

While you may want to go by two last names, two middle names, or a blend of surnames, each state has its own laws on what's legit when altering your name. "Don't set your heart on something you can't have," says Danielle Tate, of missnowmrs.com, an online name-changing service. And decide early. "In some states, what you write on your marriage license dictates your name choices later."

 

Follow Procedure 

Ask for multiples of your certified marriage certificate (not copies), which you'll receive about two weeks post-vows. With those in hand, you can begin the process (or hire a service to do it for you). "You need to file separate paperwork for everything: social security card, passport, license—the list goes on," says Tate. Find the forms at travel.state.gov and faq.ssa.gov, then submit them with a marriage certificate.

 

Move Onto Your Next Order of Business

With your passport and social security card updated, notify banks, creditors, doctors' offices, insurance agencies, and employers of your new surname in writing with your marriage license enclosed. Changing the text on your driver's license requires an in-person visit to the DMV. 

 

It'll Cost You

It can cost about $30 to revise a driver's license and up to $140 to change a passport. Be prepared to pay for these changes before you visit each agency.

 

Make No Mistake

Never book honeymoon airline tickets using your future title because all tickets must match current forms of ID. Also, some records, like birth certificates and education degrees, require a maiden name to remain valid, so don’t tamper with originals.