New brides or even grooms read below what you need to know when changing your name.
OPTIONS WHEN CHANGING YOUR NAME
- wife to take the husband's last name.
- keeping their birth names
- using both names with a hyphen between them.
- some men are taking the woman's last name.
- there are even couples who make up an entirely new last name.
- with some limitations you can do whatever you want.
•You can't have fraudulent intent. You can't change your name to do something illegal like avoid paying debts.
•You can't intend to cause confusion. "7" would generally not be allowed but "Seven" would be fine.
•You can't interfere with other people's rights. Usually this occurs when people try to use the names of famous people for their own personal gain.
•Obscene, threatening, and other words the courts refer to as "fighting words" would be a difficult choice to use.
•If there are children involved, changing the name of a minor must be considered in the best interest of the child and requires the approval of a judge based on several factors.
• The law changes and also varies from state to state. If you are doing something really wild with your name it is best to double check with local legal counsel and your local laws.
HOW DO I CHANGE MY NAME?
Marriage. Actually a license granted by the state that through tradition allows you to document a name change. A copy of this record serves as documentation of the legal name change.
LEGALLY CHANGING YOUR NAME IS NOT ENOUGH
There is a difference between legally changing your name and having your records changed. Most people get confused and think that, for example, changing your name with Social Security or on your Passport, is legally changing your name. That is not true.
Changing your name with Social Security is not legally changing your name. That is just a change of record so you will be sure to get the proper Social Security benefits later on.
You still have to change your identification and records. Different government agencies and private institutions have different requirements for changing your record with them. For some it can be as simple as a phone call. Others just need a written letter and a photocopy of some documentation. And there are those that require a special form be filled-out, signed and a certified copy of a government or court order be submitted.
I have found changing records can be the most difficult part of the process.
The different requirements from organization to organization can be confusing enough on its own. Unfortunately the people you speak with at those organizations may themselves not know the proper method for changing your name on their records for their organization. They may be misinformed, untrained, unwilling to admit they don't know, or the requirements may have changed and they haven't heard yet. Whatever the reason a lot of misinformation is given out which only confuses and prolongs the process.
A TIP FOR THE NAME-CHANGING PROCESS:
When changing your name, start with your driver's license and then your Social Security card. Many companies and organizations will have difficulty working with a marriage certificate. They are just not used to it. But they will not question a license or Social Security card. It will be easier to change your record with many places if you have a license or Social Security card with your new name on it first.
NOTIFYING THE RIGHT ORGANIZATIONS
Do not forget to notify everyone you need to. Here is a list of just some of the organizations you will need to consider notifying:
• Social Security
• Drivers License
• Post Office
• Voter Registration
• Credit Cards
• Insurance Companies
• State Tax Board
• Retirement plans
Also, do not forget to change your legal documents:
• Health Care Proxy
• Living Will
• Power of Attorney
DEALING WITH OTHER PEOPLE'S REACTIONS TO YOUR NEW NAME
Many people and organizations will have difficulty with the idea of you changing your name. Remember that you have the legal right to change your name.
•Show documentation of your new name
•Discuss the state laws that supports your name change in a non confrontational manner
•Speak with a supervisor or main office
•If all else fails a local official or state representative can be a successful last resort.
• If you are encountering more resistance and trouble than you are prepared to deal with, consider seeking a signed court order from a judge.