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with Relationship Speaker/Author/Coach...
Larry James

Check box Name Change Checklist  Check box

The name of the game is the "Name Change Challenge."

Will you be changing your name once you are married? This is not just a question for the bride-to-be. Modern couples are hyphenating, adjoining their surnames together (keeping the maiden name as a middle name) and even creating entirely new last names. No matter what your choice, here is a reminder list of businesses, government agencies and financial institutions who may want to know about your new name. Changing the Brides last name after marriage is considered the socially acceptable thing to do and most Brides do however this is always your choice.

Often couples in many Spanish speaking countries give their children both their father's last name and their mother's maiden name to preserve the heritage of both families. When marrying, a woman has the option of keeping all her names and adding her husband's last name or dropping her mother's maiden name.

Many brides are curious about what happens to their credit when they change their name. Do they lose their credit history and start over with a new name? Do they need to notify the main credit bureaus of their name-change? No. When you change your name you do not need to notify the three U.S. credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experion.

When you update your name with all of your creditors (see list below) the bureaus will add your new name to your account and keep your maiden name as well. This way you keep your established credit and build credit with your married name.

NOTE; Some places (including state and U.S. government offices) may require you to show a certified copy ($38.50 extra at the time of your marriage license purchase) of your marriage license before they will legally change your name. You usually get this from the Clerk of the Court where the marriage license was recorded. Certified marriage certificates will have a raised state and/or county seal on them. The seal ensures that the certificate is a legitimate copy of the original marriage certificate. If your document does not have a seal, it will not be accepted as a certified copy.

If you are changing your name you may be concerned that your maiden name is printed on your certified marriage certificate or that you signed the certificate with your maiden signature. Not to worry! As long as your name and your husband's name are listed on the certificate you can use it as legal proof of marriage for name change purposes. The name you are changing to does not need to be listed on the certified marriage certificate.

Larry James always makes a color copy (for his file) of the part of the license that he sends to the Court Clerk just before he places in in the envelope and it is usually sent on the first business day after the wedding. Arizona law requires that it be sent by the Officiant/Minister who performed the wedding ceremony within 10 days.

  • Social Security card - Click here to download a Social Security form to make a name change. It takes about 10 days or more for IRS records to be updated after the Social Security Administration effects your name change. You are required to show or send a certified copy of your marriage license to Social Security.

    For directions to the North Phoenix Social Security Card Center in the Greater Phoenix area, click here.

  • Passport - The State Department does require a certified copy of your marriage license to change your name. More info

  • Driver's license - Most state Department of Motor Vehicles (DVDs) require a certified copy of your marriage license to change your name. More info

  • Car registration and title - More info
  • Rental agreement for your house or apartment
  • Telephone company - More info
  • Water company - More info
  • Electric company - More info
  • Household security system and alarm company
  • Credit cards - More info
  • All bank checking and savings accounts - More info. Not all banks require a certified copy of your marriage license.
  • Mutual funds, stocks and bonds
  • Insurance policies - You may want to change the beneficiary.
  • Deeds
  • Legal Contracts
  • Last will and testament - Don't have one? Get one! You may want to change the beneficiary to your spouse at the same time.
  • Voter Registration - More info
  • Post Office "Change of Name Form" - More info
  • Employee ID card
  • School ID card
  • School Alumni Association
  • Sorority or Fraternity organizations
  • Library card
  • Discount, courtesy, and frequent-flyer cards
  • Health club membership
  • Video rental card
  • Business cards
  • Employee Records for your paycheck
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Doctor's offices & Medical Organizations - Medical plan, Dentist, etc.
  • Address labels
  • Online registrations for eZINES, etc.
  • Internal Revenue Service - More info
  • Are you a Notary Public? Don't forget to notify the state or risk losing your commission.

Shortcut LINK to a Sample "Notice of Name Change Letter."

If you live in Arizona, click here for a summary of additional questions you may have about changing your name.

A search on Google will bring up numerous Websites where you can purchase "Name Change Kits," however most Brides find that the information and the links listed on this page can accomplish the same thing.

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