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The Name Game – Easy to Play if you know the Rules!
I am a traditionalist! Having just recently been married I opted to, of course, take my new husband’s name! I was aware there would be a few forms to fill out and a line or two in which to patiently wait. Then, after all was said and done, we would officially and for the entire world to acknowledge, be a matched set of Mr. and Mrs. Well, I have now been married for 106 days, 3 hours and 54 minutes and my name is still the same.
I will be the first to admit that I am a busy person, as are we all. I have done Christmas, traveled a bit and, of course, had my business to operate over the past few months. (Wedding sites do not just magically create themselves, unfortunately). I am hopeful that my scenario of what ‘not’ to do will make this an easier experience for you.
I sent in for my Certificate of Marriage within a couple of weeks of my marriage. I was married in Washington State, so once the officiating minister and witnesses had signed the license, off it went to the county recorder’s office with a check for three bucks. No sweat. In about 14 days I had received my official Certificate of Marriage.
Now, realizing that I had a plethora of other places on which my new name needed to appear to survive in this society, I set about getting things in place. I did not realize that “to everything there is an order”.
I walked into my bank with my Certificate of Marriage and my bank account number ready to ‘make the change’. This needed to be done ASAP as I was completely out of checks and didn’t want to order another 500 with my previous name on them. “I’d like to change the name on my account please – I just got married”. (Being that I am 51 and newly married, I like to throw it around more than your typical newlywed bride.) The teller congratulated me! It was all warm and fuzzy…. “May I see your drivers license with your new name on it paaaleeeese?” “Oh. Um, well, I don’t exactly have my new driver’s license yet, but I was going to that next”. Not so warm and fuzzy anymore. “Well, we certainly cannot change your account information without the verification of a proper photo ID”. Okay….
So the next chance I had, I took time away from work to go to the local DMV. Always an adventure. I waited in the initial line to see the woman who would direct me to the next line, and so on and so forth. After a 26 minute wait I got to her desk. I was excited, but not for long. “I’d like to change the name on my driver’s license please – I just got married.” She responds, clearly not impressed that I had just gotten married, “May I see your Social Security Card with your new name on it, paaaleeeeese?” “Okay, well, ya know, I really was going to do that next”.
So, now I realize that I must start at the beginning, which is clearly the Social Security office. Okay, even though I am going on a short trip to visit my family I can take care of this while I am out of town. Social Security is a national thing, right? I print the on-line Form SS5 required to make the change, fill it out and off I go. I am prepared, you see, as I carry a copy of my Certificate of Marriage in my wallet now, incase I ever need to prove who I REALLY AM!
So, while out of town I walk into the Social Security office near me and say “I have my completed Form SS5 and a copy of my marriage certificate. I’d like to change the name on my Social Security Account, please.” Now the key word here is “copy”. You see, while the DMV and bank and pretty much everyone else in the world will settle for a copy, Social Security wants the original or a certified copy of your marriage license….
So, while I cannot guarantee this list is bullet proof, it will simplify your life if you start at “do first”, “do second” and “do third”. After that – you’re on your own! Best of luck.
P.S. I finally took my original Marriage Certificate and Form SS5 over to my local Social Security office. I was asked to “take a number”. An hour and a half later I saw the clerk and filed my paper work. So, be prepared to wait. I now look forward to receiving my new Social Security card in about 10 days…at least I’ve finally gotten this process started!
Click here for name change checklist