Hooray, you’re married! Now what?

Navigating the winding path of last name changes can leave many feeling lost. In the melting pot of the United States, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Picture this: Lois Lane and Clark Kent are about to say their “I dos.”

They both decide to keep their surnames untouched. (Lois remains Lois Lane, no paperwork needed).
Lois chooses to embrace her husband’s surname. (From Lois Lane to Lois Kent).
Lois opts for a blend of both worlds. (She becomes Lois Lane-Kent).
Clark, in a twist, takes on Lois’s last name. (He’s now Clark Lane).

Changing your last name after marriage doesn’t require a court visit. While you can opt for a paid name-change kit, doing it yourself can save money. Some places might ask you to visit in person, while others accept a letter or online submissions. Remember, rules and necessary documents can differ based on location. If you’ve moved, it’s a good idea to update your address simultaneously.

Begin by obtaining a certified copy of your marriage license from the municipal clerk’s office where you got married. It’s wise to request a few extra copies; they can save you both time and money down the road. Some institutions might retain the certified copy, while others will photocopy it and hand back the original.

Start with the Social Security Administration

There is no charge for a new Social Security card with your new name. To get a corrected Social Security card, you will need to:

Obtain, or print and fill out an Application for a new Social Security Card, and Take or mail the application and documents to your local Social Security office. You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them.  They will not accept photocopies or notarized copies. Click here for an online application.

For more information, you can call toll-free 1-800-772-1213, or visit online at www.ssa.gov

Get a new driver’s license

To change your last name in California after marriage, follow these steps:

  1. Choose your new name: Decide on the new last name, be it your spouse’s, a combination, or a new one.
  2. Obtain your marriage certificate: This is proof of your marriage for the name change process.
  3. Change your name with Social Security: Update your name with the Social Security Administration and get a new card.
  4. Update your identification documents: This includes your driver’s license, passport, and other records.
  5. Notify other institutions: Inform banks, employers, insurance providers, and others.

For other name changes, a legal process involving court filings and fees is required. For more details, refer to:

To change your name after marriage in Georgia:

  1. Decide on a new name: Determine your new name and the reason for the change.
  2. Consult a lawyer: Consider seeking advice from the State Bar of Georgia.
  3. Gather required documents: This includes proof of identity and your marriage certificate.
  4. Complete a petition for name change: Obtain and submit the petition to the court.
  5. Wait 30 days: This is the required waiting period.
  6. Publication period: Publish a notice in a local newspaper if required.
  7. Final hearing: Attend the hearing with all required paperwork.
  8. Update your identification: This includes your Georgia driver’s license, Social Security card, and passport.

For more information, refer to:

New York
For those with a Standard license, permit, or non-driver ID:

Change your legal name by mail if:

  • You have an SSN with the DMV and changed your name with the Social Security Administration.
  • You don’t have a CDL or CLP.
  • No other information needs updating.

To change by mail:

New Jersey
After a name change, notify the Motor vehicle agency within 2 weeks to update your driver’s license, ID card, and vehicle registration. Name changes in New Jersey must be done in person at a motor vehicle agency with original or certified documents. Provide proof of identity through a 6 Points of ID Verification.

Name Change Checklist

Hold on, adventurer! 🌟 While you’ve conquered the realms of Social Security and Driver’s License, there are still some territories left to explore. Grab this trusty checklist and embark on your quest to update all your records:

🏦 Banking & Financial Chronicles

  • Treasure chests: Checking, Savings, and Investment Accounts (think mutual funds and stock brokerages).
  • Golden age funds: Retirement Accounts like 401K, IRA, and Deferred Compensation.
  • Chariot contracts: All Vehicle Loans or Lease Companies.
  • Magic cards: All Credit Cards.
  • Wise oracle: Financial Planner.
  • Marketplace memberships: All Department Store Accounts.
  • Loyalty badges: Reward Programs (like those frequent flyer or stay programs).

Keep this list close, and you’ll have everything in order in no time! 🚀

Government Agencies  

  • Social Security Card – The Social Security Administration will automatically forward your name change to the IRS and your State Department of franchise (For your state taxes if applicable). It is not necessary to contact these two agencies.  
  • Department of Motor Vehicles – Change your Driver’s license, vehicle title registration, and state identification card if applicable  Voter Registration – Can be changed at most DMV locations when you change your license  
  • U.S. Passport – If you are changing your name within one year of the date your passport was issued you will need to complete Form DS-5504: Application for a U.S. Passport: Name Change, Data Correction, and Limited Passport Book Replacement.  You will not be charged a fee for this service.  

Household Records  

  • Mortgage Company 
  • Landlord  
  • Homeowner Associations, Association Dues, any other Management Company  
  • All Utility companies – Power, Gas, Water, Trash Removal, Cable, Internet,  Cell Phone Company.  


  • Tax Title Records 
  • Auto Insurance  
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance and Supplemental Insurance
  • Household Security Companies  
  • Magazine and Newspaper Subscription 

Personal Records  

  • Medical records – Family doctor, dentist, pharmacist, Health Insurance companies,  and veterinarian.
  • Accountant, Lawyer, Insurance Agent,  
  • Your Company’s Human Resource Department 
  • Memberships and Organizations  
  • Health Clubs, Country Clubs, and any other social organizations  
  • Professional Membership Organization  
  • Charity Organization  
  • Church  
  • Alumni Organizations  
  • Library 

Remember, this list is just your starting point! There may be other realms in your life that require the magic touch of a name change. Feel free to print this guide and add your own unique destinations. After all, this is your adventure, and you’re the hero of this story! 🌟