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How to Change Your Last Name After You Get Married

The stress of wedding planning is over. No more conference calls with your parents and in-laws. No more nightmares about the best man speech. No more avoiding that friend you really didn’t want to invite. Mazel tov. But if you want to legally change your last name, you’re not quite done yet. In fact, it’s a little more complicated (and involves a lot more busy work) than you probably thought. Here are the five major steps you need to take to change your last name. 

Step 1: Obtain a Certified Copy of Your Marriage Certificate
You were expecting us to say “license,” huh? Well, the license is what you need to get married; the certificate is proof that you went through with it. So, if you’re legally wed, chances are you already have a marriage certificate with your new name on it. (Kept your name on the marriage license? You’ll have to update your certificate.) If you didn’t receive it in the mail—cough, cough, you lost it—you can usually just contact the city clerk that issued it and request a new one. Tip: Order a couple copies, just in case (you never know when this doc will come in handy). 

Step 2: Change Your Social Security Card
You’ll need to apply for a new Social Security card. If you’re like us and don’t have time to wait at the IRL office, just mail in your application (make copies of everything!) and wait for your new card to arrive—it usually takes around six weeks. Need that card, like, stat? Go in person and you’ll get a temporary one you can use right away.

Step 3: Get a New License
You’ll need to visit your local DMV (sorry) to get a license with your new name. Check with your state’s website (PSA: is not owned or operated by any state government agency) to make sure you bring everything you need with you, and yeah, that probably includes your new Social Security card. 

Step 4: Update Your Financial Accounts
Got your new driver’s license? Now you can update your bank and retirement accounts, credit cards and anything that has to do with money. Keeping the same accounts? Go in person (it’s the fastest way to take care of business) to your local branch with necessary documents. If you’re combining accounts, you’ll need to bring your spouse with you. Make sure you request anything you need: new checks, debit card or credit cards.

Step 5: Tweak as You Go
Between doctor appointments, paying the electricity bill and buying tickets to Morocco (!), you’re gonna realize you need to update a bunch of other things (insurance, utility accounts, passports, etc.). It can feel overwhelming, but you can handle many of them with a simple phone call as they come your way. With the biggies out of the way (Social Security card, driver’s license and marriage certificate), you’re ready to take on anything—and by anything we mean annoying customer service calls. 

RELATED: 6 Things You and Your Partner Absolutely Need to Talk About Before Getting Engaged

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