Hello, happy newlyweds!
Here’s what you need to do over the next month or two to prove you’re married and even change your name.
Get an official copy of your Marriage Certificate from the County Clerk’s office where you got your Marriage License.
It usually takes 4-6 weeks from the date of your wedding for the County to process it. However, they DO NOT automatically send you a copy here in California. Even if you prepaid for your Marriage Certificate when you got your marriage license in Los Angeles County, you still need to request that it be sent to you. I recommend getting 2 copies minimum (and I’ll tell you why in a minute). You can order the Marriage Certificate right online through VitalChek or you can download the form from the County website, print it, sign it, and mail it in. You could even just print out the form and walk it into the County Clerk’s office to have them issue you the Marriage Certificate right there. Here are the links to the counties I serve:
- Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder
- Orange County Clerk-Recorder
- Riverside County Clerk-Recorder
- San Bernardino County Assessor-Recorder-Clerk
- San Diego County Assessor-Recorder-Clerk
- Ventura County Clerk and Recorder
Now it’s time to change your name!
What? You didn’t know that just because you got married, your name isn’t legally changed? Yeah, sorry, but you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you. You can legally change your name any time after your marriage, but some institutions limit the time you have to do the name change easily or for free (like with your passport).
- Americans only: Change your name at the Social Security office. You can go to the Social Security website for more details. Please note that if you mail in your application, you will need to send an official copy of your Marriage Certificate along with it and they don’t return it (hence ordering two copies!). By mail, you’ll get the new card within 10 business days. In person, they will give you your new card right there.
- Change your name on your driver’s license. For Americans, that means going to your local DMV with a copy of your Marriage Certificate, your old ID, AND your new Social Security Card with your new name. For those outside the States, please contact the government department that issues your photo ID for details.
- Change your name at work. Now that you have your new ID, new Social Security card (if you’re American), and your Marriage Certificate, make sure HR updates all of your records with your new name.
- Change your name with your financial institutions. Start at your bank or credit union, where you will need to go in person with your Marriage Certificate and your new ID with your new name as well as your old ID with your old name for verification. Next, reach out to your credit card issuers, auto loan financer, landlord or mortgage company, investment companies, and don’t forget your insurance companies too (auto, home/renter’s, and life).
- Change your name on your passport. Oh yes! You need a new passport, NOT a renewal. Americans, fill out the DS-5504 form on the U.S. Passports website and print it up to take it to your local office.
- Change your name with everyone else, such as…
- Newspaper and magazine subscriptions
- Post office
- Doctor’s office (and dentist and optometrist and OB-Gyn or urologist, etc.)
- Voter registration
- Your lawyer (especially if you have a will, living trust, or estate)
- School associations like clubs and PTA
- Alumni associations
- Professional organizations
- Don’t forget your social media profiles like…
However you choose to do this, good luck! 🙂