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How Do I Legally Change My Name?

I’m sure everyone has seen the recent headline concerning Bruce Jenner’s new identity as Caitlyn Jenner. If you are planning on, or have ever considered, changing your name, this headline may have sparked thoughts of the legal process associated with an official name change.

There are many reasons for a legal name change such as marriage, divorce, adoption, or simply because you prefer a completely new name. A name change commonly occurs subsequent to a marriage by either a wife taking her husband’s last name, a husband taking his wife’s last name, or creating a hyphenated name.

If you are planning on legally changing your name for any reason, I have both some good news and some bad news. Good news: changing your name is not an overly complicated process… Bad news: changing your name can be a lengthy and tedious process requiring a lot of paper work.

The first step to changing your name after marriage is obtaining multiple copies of your marriage certificate. Your marriage certificate will be required for almost all name change applications that you submit. After obtaining multiple copies of your marriage certificate, the next steps involve applying for a new social security card and obtaining a new driver’s license.

  • TIP: If you are completing the name change process without the help of an attorney, remember to always research all notice requirements that must be met and be sure to plan accordingly. An example of one legally required notice is that you must notify the DMV within 60 days of your name change.

Once you have completed all necessary steps and met all notice requirements to obtain a new social security card and driver’s license, remember that your name should be changed on all other official documents. Other official documents include but are not limited to: credit cards, bank accounts, passports, insurance policies, and utility bills.

If you are interested in legally changing you name, eliminate all of the tedious paperwork and ensure that all documents are completed and submitted properly by contacting an attorney at Stiles Law to assist you with the process.

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