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What do I need to know before changing my name?

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Wedding Registrar Daniel Sheehan Photographers/Photodisc/Getty Images
Question: What do I need to know before changing my name?
Answer: Now that you’re married, you’ve probably started to confront the question of whether you are going to change your name. This decision making process probably generated lots of questions. Fear not! Here are answers to your burning questions about changing your name:

Q: Should I change my name after I get married?

If you’re not sure about whether to change your name, you can consider the pros and cons according to the Newlyweds Guide and a separate list by the Weddings Guide. The important thing to remember is to consider all your options and make a decision that satisfies you and your spouse. Today, there are no rules, so you can truly decide for yourself what’s right for you.

Q: When can I change my name?

You cannot change your name until after you’re married because you need a marriage certificate, which comes from the county or country where you’re married, to start the process.

As a result, if you are planning to go abroad for your honeymoon shortly after the wedding, then you should use your maiden name to purchase your plane tickets because that is the name that will appear on your passport.

Q: If I plan to change my last name after I get married, what will I have to do?

The process of changing your name begins with the Social Security Administration, which you can reach at 1-800-772-1213. For more information on step-by-step instructions for changing your name, visit the About.com Weddings Channel guide to changing your name.

Q: Who needs to know if I decide to change my name?

You should share your decision about changing your name with your spouse, in-laws, family, and friends. Some people even send out name change cards and have their business cards reprinted.

As already mentioned, the Social Security Administration should be among the first to know, so it can issue you a new card with your existing social security number and new name. The Social Security Administration will also inform the Internal Revenue Service.

Employers must know about the name change to insure that your tax documents reflect the name change. They can also put you in touch with the right people to change your work e-mail address. You can change your personal e-mail address on your own if necessary.

The Department of Motor Vehicle must know to change your driver’s license.

The Department of State needs to know to issue you a new passport with your new name. Others who need to know about name changes include credit card companies, utility companies, the U.S. Post Office, and the registrar of voters.

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