Thursday, August 11, 2011

Name Change Process

Changing your name is such a delightful process! … NOT!
Actually, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be.
Most people are shocked I have already changed my name when I have only been married for just over a month. I was never a fan of my old last name. I remember my sister and I wishing we had my mom’s maiden name so that we could be at the front of the line in the cafeteria (we always lined up alphabetically). Let’s just say I had a name that was pronounced the same as a slang word for “gross” back in the 70s.
Now I have a nice strong English last name.
As I know I will eventually have friends that change their name and I know one of my followers just got engaged (J), here is the process for going through a name change.
First off, make sure you have your certified marriage certificate with you for everything. And a photo ID.
Step 1: Social Security
This step absolutely has to be done first. This is how everything else knows your name is changed.
My experience was very positive. They had a sweet check in system and then a TV that told you when your number was up. They were really helpful and friendly. I can’t guarantee all locations are this nice, but you never know until you go. It only took me about 30 minutes of waiting and I went during the last hour they are open on a Friday afternoon.
You receive a piece of paper with your name and address saying you will receive you card in two weeks. It took my card less than a week to arrive. Your name is updated in the system (and by “system” I mean System, like The System, that sends your new info to every small system. It’s like the master system. I never realized how important your social security ID was) overnight.
Step 2: Driver’s License
After you have waited 24 hours from going to Social Security, you can go to your local DMV and get a new Drivers License. (My local one doesn’t actually do drivers licenses it turns out, so I had to go to my slightly-less-local one).
Again, make sure you have your marriage certificate and also bring your Social Security paper they gave you. They also require proof of address (this is new), and your Social Security paper counts (not your actual card, since it does not have your address), but bring something else just in case, such as a payroll stub. See their website for details of what else works. You will also need your drivers license.
So you know in movies (and real life, let’s be honest) when people sign their name with their love interest/significant other’s last name? Well do it! Practice signing your new last name before you go. For me this was the first time I had officially signed my new name and it was really awkward. I had only practiced around 10 times before, and that was usually just in passing while I was on hold on the phone at work.
This process took me about an hour, hour and twenty minutes. This should be expected as I know we have all been to the DMV at some point. You cannot get in the renewal line, if yours has one, so you do need to grab a number and just wait. Bring a good book or a Sudoku.
Also, keep in mind that you are getting your picture taken that will be on your license for the next 5 years (well your birthday in 5 years, so if you get a new license this year, then your license expires in 2016 on your birthday). I had my hair up in a bun since I was going to pick up the puppy that afternoon, so I did not look super awesome. I would make more of an effort next time (I did change my hair while waiting for my picture, so that it was in a partial pony tail at least)
Step 3: Work
This has by far been the biggest pain in the butt. As a result of the name change I needed a new user name for everything, but of course everything is run by a different group of people. Long and short of it is that I didn’t have my computer for 2 days, I couldn’t use one of our programs for 2 days and I need to go back to the office for them to do some more stuff. Ugh. So try to plan this transition when you are not busy at work.
Step 4: Everything Else
For everything else-credit cards, bank, utility bills, mortgage, magazines, etc.-it is going to vary. Some things will just need a phone call. Some will need a form and a copy of your marriage certificate. It really will just depend. I am still in process on a lot of these, and I know this will be the longest step.
Step 5: Email
I also wanted to add a blurb about email. Somehow my first name and new last name are already taken up in a gmail account. Even if you include my middle initial! So I have to have a number in my email. LAME.
Well I think that is a decent jist of how to go about it all. Generally a long process with a lot of little steps.
The hardest part is actually getting used to my new name. It will be even weirder when I won’t really remember being called by my old name. Best of luck when it is your turn!

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