HOW DOES ONE CHANGE HIS/HER NAME UPON MARRIAGE?
Upon getting married it is customary for one spouse to adopt the surname of the other spouse. Although this might seem complex it is actually very straightforward and simple.
The first step in changing name after marriage actually takes place prior to any ceremony. When filing a marriage license the adopting spouse will enter the new surname on the marriage license form. There are a number of options that the adopting spouse has in adopting a new name. These include:
· The surname of the other spouse;
· The former surname of any spouse;
· A joint surname consisting of the maiden name of the adoptee spouse and the surname of the other spouse; or
· A combination of these surnames
Although it is customary for the wife to adopt the surname of the husband there is no law that requires such. In fact, there is no law that requires that a spouse change his or her name at all.
UPON CHANGING MY NAME WHAT ELSE DO I HAVE TO ACCOMPLISH?
Once an individual has filed the new surname on the marriage license and it has been filed the surname change will be official upon completion of the marriage ceremony and the filing of the certificate of marriage registration form that should be filed by the official presiding over the marriage ceremony.
At that point it is up to the individual with the new surname to contact all interested parties that may require that information. Informally this will mean notifying friends and family. Formally this will involve notification to the Social Security Administration so that records associated with the individuals social security identification card may reflect the new surname and prevent a negative effect on social security payments, earnings, etc.
In addition, some States require that an individual who changes his or her name file with the County Recorder in any jurisdiction where he or she may own real property. Some States also require that individuals who have a criminal history file their name change within a certain period of time after that name change. It is also beneficial to obtain a new driver’s license and passport with the newly adopted surname at your convenience.
A person who has changed their surname will also want to contact other interested parties including employers, schools, insurance agencies, physicians, tax authorities; and utilities.
I WANT TO CHANGE MY NAME BACK, WHAT DO I DO?
If an individual would like to change his or her name back to their original surname or change it to any other name there are procedures that need to be followed.
First, most States require a filing fee of somewhere between $30 and $70. Secondly, that individual will need to complete a form often known as a “name change petition.” Depending on the State you are in the individual will need to bring a birth certificate or proof of that individual’s birth. Finally, upon completion of all this information a judge will review the petition and either grant or deny the name change. Upon the granting of a name change most States require the publication of the new name for a specific period of time. This may include the publication of the new surname in a newspaper so that the public is may be aware.
As with any other matter involving marriage, family law, or domestic relations; these laws are primarily State specific and one should research their specific States laws and requirements before proceeding with any legal matter.