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Introduction to the ULC Name Change Guide

Congratulations to you and your spouse! Let us help make your first couple of months of marriage a little bit easier.

Congratulations to you and your spouse! Let us help make your first couple of months of marriage a little bit easier.*

There are many new tasks newlyweds must accomplish during the first few months of their lives together. One of the first tasks are the name changes they may make. The Universal Life Church staff are knowledgeable about how to go about making a name change in an efficient way and are available to help those facing the challenges involved in this process. The checklists and tips provided below will help ensure that this process does not become a daunting task.

ULC ministers should send this name change guide to newly wedded couples in order to help them make the transition into married life as easy as possible! Let us help you change your name and make your life easier.

Background About Changing Your Last Name

Federal and state laws do not mandate that individuals must change their names after marriage. Most couples choose to adopt the husband's' surname, but some brides elect to retain their own name or even use a hyphenated version combining their new surname with their maiden name. Every newly wedded couple should consider the pros and cons of all three of these options before deciding whether or not any name changes should be made; don't automatically assume that you will need to change your name!

What You Need for a Name Change

In order to change your name, the majority of governmental agencies and businesses require a notarized copy of the marriage certificate after it has been filed with the county clerk's office. This includes the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Bureau of Consular Affairs (the federal office that issues passports), bank where you have accounts and/or will establish a joint account, credit card companies and others. It is therefore important that you request multiple copies of the document be sent to you as soon as they have been processed by the clerk's office.

The Universal Life Church advises against trying to change your name until after you return from your honeymoon. This is because organizations like airlines require a photo ID in the form of a driver's license or, if you plan on honeymooning abroad, a passport. Since it takes between a month and six weeks to receive updated forms of identification after name changes are made, waiting until after you return from your romantic getaway will result in less stress during this exciting time of your life.

Governmental Agencies to Contact

If you were married recently, read this post for tips on how to change your name!

  • If you were married recently, read this post for tips on how to change your name!*

The Social Security Administration is the primary governmental agency you will need to file name change forms with. This is because the Social Security Administration's name change documents are required at most other agencies before supplemental forms can be filed with them. Social Security Form 5 is the one used to indicate that a marriage has taken place and should be filed as soon as the marriage has been solemnized. This not only corrects government records and indicates that there has been a change in marital status, but also ensures that joint tax returns can be filed during the current year. Although the name reflected on the Social Security card will change, the Social Security number will remain the same.

Form 5 is also required whether you choose to change your last name or not because your marital status has changed and this fact must be reflected in the federal government's records. For those that live near a Social Security office, this can sometimes be accomplished by walking in and showing the agent a copy of the notarized marriage certificate. The Social Security Administration may need to keep an original copy of your marriage certificate so please make sure you order additional certificates to show or give to other organizations.

Other governmental agencies, such as the US Department of Immigration and Naturalization and your state DMV or DOL, should also be contacted immediately. You will need to submit an application along with a notarized copy of your marriage license in order to change your name with them.

Other Places to Contact to Change Your Name

There are many organizations that require immediate notification once your new Social Security card is received. One example are insurance companies; you or your loved ones do not want to encounter difficulties with your car, house, life and accidental death insurance policies if you fail to update your name with your insurance providers. Insurance companies will also require a notarized copy of the marriage certificate.

Although your first instinct may be to update bank accounts and order new debit and credit cards immediately after you get married, it is important to hold off on updating your bank information so that no roadblocks are encountered later. Problems often occur when newlyweds attempt to update financial accounts prior to obtaining a new Social Security card, government issued identification and a notarized marriage certificate as these forms of documentation are generally required by banks. Financial institutions also tend to charge fees for issuing updated debit and credit cards to people who have changed their names; please be cognizant of this as you update your information with your bank.

Finally, update other organizations who possess key documents that you will need over time. These include vehicle registrations and titles through your state DMV or DOL and real estate holdings. The post office, voter registration bureau, and employer should also be notified along with medical providers and insurance companies that supply supplemental payments to providers. Be warned: this can be somewhat confusing not only for yourself and your new spouse, but to these entities as well.

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