How To Change Your Name After You Get Married in California

So, you used Aloha Divorce to prepare your premarital (Prenup) agreement, applied for your marriage license, had a beautiful wedding, received your marriage certificate in the mail, and now you’re wondering how to change your name in California. Well, we are here to help.

If you want to legally change anything other than your last name after marriage in California—either your first or middle name—you’ll have to file a petition for a name change and go through the regular legal name change process. The process could take several months, and you’ll even have to attend a court date before it’s all said and done. However, if you are only changing your last name, which is more common, here are the steps:

Step 1:  Change Your Name with Social Security.

After obtaining your marriage certificate in the mail, head to your local Social Security office. Be sure to make this your first stop, as other government offices won’t recognize your name change until you’ve updated it on your Social Security card. Fortunately, this process is free and straightforward. To handle it in person, download and fill out the new Social Security card application. Then, bring the form, a certified copy of your marriage license, and photo identification (driver’s license, state identification card, or passport) to your local Social Security Office.

Step 2:  Change Your Name with the DMV.

Make an appointment with the DMV to help save time. You’ll need to show your current driver’s license along with your marriage license, which will serve as proof of your new last name. In addition, DMV electronically verifies your name, birth date, and social security number with the Social Security Administration.

While you’re there, be sure to apply for the California REAL ID., which means your new ID should meet the requirements for this federal program that goes into effect on October 1, 2020, this way, you won’t have to visit the DMV twice.

Step 3:  Change Your Name on Your Passport

To change your name on your passport, you will need to apply for a new passport. Then, you can send the application in the mail. When it comes to doing a name change in California on your passport, how to do it depends on how long you’ve had your passport. If you’ve had it for a year or less, there’s no charge for this service: use the Department of State’s website to download and fill out all applicable forms, and mail them to the National Passport Processing Center, along with your current passport, a certified copy of your marriage certificate, and passport photo. If you’ve had your passport for more than a year, there will be a nominal fee associated with mailing in the form.

If you’re traveling in less than two weeks and need a new passport, there are several passport expediting services across the state of California, shown above. However, you’ll need to pay a steeper fee for this expedited process and show proof of identification, name change, and your travel plans.

Step 4: Change Your Name with Important Providers and Documents

Here’s a list of entities or things you may want to notify:

  • USPS
  • Bank and credit card companies
  • Immigration documents
  • Loans
  • Vehicle title and registration
  • Rental lease agreement
  • Insurance
  • Mortgage
  • Deeds
  • Utility companies
  • Doctors’ offices
  • Voter registration
  • Social media accounts

Also, if you forgot to get a Prenuptial Agreement before you got married, it’s not too late! Contact Aloha Divorce to learn about Postnuptial Agreements.

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