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Changing last names

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DearBuddha

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 24, 2008
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698
Ok, guys-I need some helpful input.
I got married back in July, with every intention of changing my last name. It''s now February and I haven''t even made a start! I''ve talked to a friend who changed her last name and she said it was simple and took very little time to do. Others tell me it was a pain in the butt for them and took months. Needless to say, the conflicting reports have me unenthusiastic about getting the ball rolling.

What were your experiences like? Did it take ages or was it pretty painless? Additionally, do the name change requirements differ by state? I''m in Ma and as far as I''m aware, I only need a certified copy of my marriage license to bring to the SS office.

Any advice/input will be met with abundant thanks!
 

NewEnglandLady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2007
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6,299
Mine seemed like a pain at the time, but in retrospect was relatively painless. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I had my name changed in court (needed second middle added legally), which added a step, but even that wasn't bad.

I only needed my document I got from the judge in court, but got 3 copies of my marriage license as well. That was step one.

Next, I went to the SS office and DMV (same day). Then that evening I sent away for my new passport, which arrived in less than 2 weeks. The following day, I went to the bank and ordered new debit cards and checks for my personal and joint accounts. I also changed my credit card and student loan acount that afternoon (just sent a copy of marriage license and court-ordered name change). My employer changed my insurance and 401K when I informed them of my new name for tax purposes. I also called our utility providers (gas, electric, etc.) as well as the phone and cable provider to change the bills.

Everything else I just changed as it popped up--a few things are still in my maiden name (like my Blockbuster card) and I don't really care. I did take one day off of work to go to court, the SS office and DMV, but eveything else I just did on my lunch breaks. It took me less than a week to change everything and about a year to get used to the new name.

ETA: I'm in MA as well
 

Elmorton

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 5, 2007
Messages
3,998
I think it really depends on your state and where you are in life to determine the ease - but I didn''t have too hard of a time at all.

My state was really easy - I went to the DMV, took my marriage license, and they asked me what I wanted as a name on my DL. I told them. Then I took my new DL to the SS office, they copied my DL, and I got a new SS card in the mail. DH and I went to the bank and merged our accounts (so, my name changed there), and I called credit card companies. We rented, so there was no housing issue.

I had just graduated, so for all my job stuff I simply put my full name on resumes so it would make sense with references using my old name (I kept my maiden name as my middle). I also changed my e-mail address since I could no longer use my school one, and that e-mail addy has my new last name as part of it (and I have it set to say that it''s sent from my full name), and I changed my voicemail message to my full name. I tried to call my alma mater and have my transcripts changed, but they''re still screwed up and I haven''t had any problems. The only thing I never bothered to change was my car.

I think the biggest issue with the name change is simply making sure people know what to call you. At first because all of my professional stuff was in my full name (and because I was hired at a place where I''d interned and they knew me by my previous name), people were hyphenating my name. Once I got in the habit of just introducing myself as Myfirstname Mylastname, everyone else followed suit - and eventually I took my middle name out of my voicemail message because everyone I knew socially or professionally knew what my new name was.

Though that''s a couple of paragraphs worth of stuff, it was really relatively easy. But the point in my life was also very transitional, so it didn''t seem like there were all that many loose ends to track down. It''s probably much more or less complicated depending on where you are in life/your profession, etc.
 

tlh

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
4,511
It is all perspective.
1) SS card first. This was painless, middle of the week during lunch, no wait!
New SS issued and mailed... once that''s done
2) DMV second - this had a line and was a little bit of a wait, but no biggy.
3) All your other accounts... sometimes just an email will take care of this, sometimes you''ll need a signed notarized letter w/ a photocopy of your license.

It isn''t tough.
Best wishes!
 

zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
12,450
Hi DB,

It's not a hard process, or at least it wasn't for me (I live just north of you in another state). I went to the SS office first because I figured it would be the best place to start. I got a new SS card and then went to the DMV, although I'd assume that you could go to the DMV first. I called doctor's offices and certain places that I knew didn't need a copy of my marriage license and took care of changing my name over the phone. The only tricky thing I'd say is remembering to maill a copy of my marriage license with a request to certain places like student loan companies, etc.

I didn't have to go to court like a few girls here had to. I'm not sure if that was because they tacked on their husband's name to their full name, or if they wanted to legally replace their middle name with their maiden name. I was going to do that but ended up just dropping my maiden name all together.
 

marchswallowbird

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 22, 2008
Messages
849
Okay, so...are you basing your decision on whether or not to change your name on how much of a pain it will be to do it?? As Nike says....just do it.
 

DearBuddha

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 24, 2008
Messages
698
Date: 2/3/2009 3:36:28 PM
Author: marchswallowbird
Okay, so...are you basing your decision on whether or not to change your name on how much of a pain it will be to do it?? As Nike says....just do it.
I posted this thread to ask others to share their experiences, because I''ve heard so many different reports of what to do first/where to go/who to speak to, ect. So no, I''m not basing my decision to change my name based solely on fear of a hassle, but rather, I''m expressing my interest in the amount of time I''ll spend doing it and wheer I should start. I have every intention of changing my name, headache or no. I was simply trying to learn where to begin and what I should expect.
 

Fleur_de_Lis

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
114
The "hassle" and time frame are going to depend on many, many variables. As someone else said, it depends on where you live and what needs to be changed. In some states it's as easy as 1-2-3 and others it involves a lot of paperwork and time. Perhaps you need Google what needs to be done in YOUR particular state. Call the appropriate offices and ask them. As for where to start, it's always best to start with social security and drivers license. Once those are changed the rest shouldn't be a big issue.
 
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