After you get married, you may be thinking about romance and your life together with your new partner, but beyond that post-wedding afterglow, there are some logistics to think about.
There are financial considerations and if you’re going to be changing your name, you’re going to have to complete some paperwork. If you do change your name, you’ll have to get a new driver’s license and, if applicable, change your passport as well as some other documents.
The following are some of the specific things you need to get done in the weeks following a new marriage.
1. Wait For Your Marriage License
One of the first things you need to have before you can start taking care of your post-marriage paperwork is your wedding license.
In most states, the officiant is responsible for filing the necessary paperwork that ensures you receive it, and it usually takes a few weeks to get this document. At that point, you can move forward with other things.
2. Changing Your Name
Not everyone changes their name after they get married, but many do and some may decide to hyphenate their last name with their spouses versus changing it altogether.
If you’re planning to change your name, you’ll need to do the following.
- Get certified copies of your marriage license. As was touched on, you can’t move forward in any of the other steps if you don’t have your marriage license, and you can buy certified copies when you apply for your license.
- Once you have your marriage license, which will serve as proof of your marriage, you’ll have to update your social security card. You can go in-person to your local Social Security office, or you can apply for a new card by mail. If you go in-person you can fill out the application for a social security card in advance. You’re going to need proof of identity, proof of citizenship, proof of name change and your current card.
- You need to wait at least 24 hours after you go to the Social Security office to go to the DMV and get your new license so that it’s updated in the system that you’ve changed your name. You will have to go in person to update your driver’s license to reflect your new name. For the most part, this is similar to what you have to do to renew your license, so you’ll probably end up taking a new picture and paying the equivalent of the renewal fee.
3. Other Documents to Update
So once you have the essentials above done, other things you may or may not need to update are:
- Your bank account or credit union information. You may need to let your bank know if you’ve changed your name, and you might also want to add your new spouse as the beneficiary on your account if that’s an option.
- Your employer will need to know your new information for payroll. You may also need to change your withholding in addition to changing your name because getting married may put you into a new bracket.
- If you have retirement and life insurance accounts, you’ll want to change your name, and you may also want to add your spouse as your beneficiary on these accounts.
- Do you have health insurance? If so, would it be smart for one of you to join the other’s insurance policy, or is it better to keep separate plans? Marriage is a qualifying event, but the window of time is also short to make any necessary changes.
If you move, you’ll need to change your address as well as your name, and if you have information set up with your doctors’ offices, you should call them to tell them about your marriage and name your spouse as your emergency contact.
If you plan to hyphenate your last name, you’ll have to petition the court to do so. You’ll usually need to file for a court order from the county clerk where you live, but it depends on the state.
Finally, if you want to change your name it can be smart to keep your maiden name as your last name.
If you don’t change your name somewhere either because you forget or on purpose, then you have both names written on your documents (if you have it listed that way). It can clear up a lot of otherwise complicated situations, especially right after you get married, and you’re still transitioning everything.
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