Friday, March 21, 2014

How I Changed My Last Name After Marriage

I've gotten a few questions on how I changed my name after marriage. Was it difficult? Was it simple? Did I need to jump through hoops? Was it annoying having to go through two states to do everything? Was it expensive? Welps, was it difficult: yes and no. Annoying: yes. Expensive: not at all. In December, I was in Lowell visiting relatives. From all the stuff I read online, I knew changing my name would be easier if I went to SSA and changed my Connecticut license, but I was already in Massachusetts and everything was conveniently placed together in one city, that I thought I'd try my luck.

WHAT HAPPENED

Although Crissy and I got married in Boston, we applied for our license in Lowell because a.) it's significantly cheaper and b.) more convenient since we were visiting my relatives at the time anyway. So, after stopping at Lowell City Hall and waiting roughly eleven minutes, I received two certified copies for $10 each plus the $1 in parking. Nice.

Oct 21, 2013

Lowell, as such a large city, has its own Social Security Administration hub (apparently the largest in the state after Boston). So the first thing I did after going to city hall, was to dash to the SSA. I decided that I did NOT want to hyphenate my name, but simply add Crissy's father's surname name. SSA didn't force me to do anything I didn't want and although it took two, nearly three hours of waiting patiently for my number, I came out with my full name at birth plus some hispanic last name (haha). And it cost me nothing, because ordering a new SS card is free.


In Lowell, SSA is placed riiiiiiight next to my bank. How easy was it to walk from SSA and hop into the Lowell branch of my bank? So simple, easy and free... that I did it. I went to Bank #1. Here, the bank manager was a bit new to.. the system, I'm not sure. She was in constant need of calling a manager from another branch to assist her in adding my new name. So I was chillin' at the bank for more than forty minutes for a simple name change. (Weeks after, I ended up getting a letter in the mail saying I needed to sign something else on top of the six documents I signed at the bank, but whatevs. I figured with the fumbles from the manager, I'd receive at least one, if not more, document to sign! I didn't even need to place a stamp on the envelope.) No harm, no foul. Bank #2 was not in this part of downtown, so I took a short drive over the bridge to the Dracut branch and asked to update my name. It was here that I realized the issues I'd deal with for the rest of my life. Mind you, I didn't have my license, so there was no photo ID the person could look at... I was just adding Cristhian's name to mine. Shouldn't be that hard to copy what the marriage cert says. (In Massachusetts, it's completely legal for Party A and Party B to change their names on the marriage license instead of going to the family court to change either name. After all, same-sex weddings are legal. So Massachusetts has made it easy! (This would be the bane of Crissy's existence, but I'll leave that story for another time.) Let me remind you that Crissy and I filed for our marriage cert in Lowell- the town over. It specifically states what name Party B would like to be referred to as- in my case, MyLastName HisLastName.) The assistant bank manager at Bank #2 completely disregarded the document and put my maiden name as my second middle name and just put in Cristhian's last name as my sole last name. Uh, no. Please, no. I didn't catch it at the time because from SSA and both banks, I spent over four hours without food... and I wanted to leave. Sad to say, I ended up having to go back to the bank in January, the month after, to fix it. In the end, everything was changed at no cost to me except for time and gas wasted.

When I got back to Connecticut, I went to the DMV and I paid the typical $30 fee (the same fee as if I'd lost my card) for a name change. All I needed was my social security and marriage certificate. BUT, the DMV forced my to hyphenate my name. This is where it all went down hill. Because my license displays a hyphenated name, everything following my license must also be hyphenated. Sad life. At that point, I had to go to both banks AGAIN and ask to change my name... AGAIN. AGGGHHHHH. This is also the case with SSA. SAD LIFE.

In regards to utilities and the like, all I needed was to call and tell them I added Crissy's last name. Everything I receive thereafter, with my maiden name, I just called them up to say, "Hey. I gots the marrieds. Change my names, yo!" and the rep was more than happy to accommodate my new status as Old Married Hag. Not much else needed to be done.

The only thing I have yet to do is the whole business about the passport. I lost my passport back in' 06 and have been too lazy to get another one since then. (Yes, I'm the asshole who treks around my birth certificate to Canada and Mexico.) Upon getting married and with the talk of traveling to Europe and the Caribbean, I've decided I need a passport again. I'm sure it'll be easy because at this point, with the exception of a hyphen, all my documents match. I'll even send off a copy of my marriage license.

WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE (MY ADVICE TO YOU)

- apply for at least two marriage certificate copies
- apply for a new SS card
- update license (WAIT FOR YOUR NEW SOCIAL SECURITY CARD)
- apply for new passport, unless you're ok with internationally lugging your marriage cert (I'm not)
- change name at banking institutions and make sure it's right before leaving
- inform credit cards, utilities, school, work, etc of name change
- whenever things in the mail come in with my maiden name, I just phone the company and everything is easily updated (the only thing I still have in my maiden name are my trashy mags... I could care less to tell them I'm married!)

How could I have avoided hassle and headache? I was supposed to update my license and when I was in Lowell, (mind you, that's two hours away from Hartford) I had just updated my social. If I were in Springfield getting this done, I'm sure I wouldn't have gotten into the mess that I did, buuuut I was stupid. If I could go back in time and get my license directly after going to SSA, I would have and should have. But for distance and convenience, I did not. This is the ripple effect with which I am forever forced with great difficulty. I would've saved SO MUCH headache and hardship...

The biggest headache is hyphenating everything I come across, thanks to the DMV. It's annoying and I didn't want the hyphen in the first place. That and Cristhian's insurance has me listed under Jenny MiddleName MyLastName HisLastName (with MiddleName and MyLastName as two middle names). UGH. Honestly, I don't care if people casually or professionally call me Mrs. HisLastName, I just want all my legal documents to be MyLastName-HisLastName (hyphenated, yes) as my last name.

All in all, the cost to change my name was $50 + the cost of the passport (and losing it- which they charge now apparently!) and the constant annoyance of hyphenating. Nothing was ever hard. ... Just annoying!


Sounds more difficult than it actually is!

4 comments:

  1. My husband refused to allow me to NOT take his name and then further refused to allow me to hyphenate. I ended up taking my maiden name as a 2nd middle name before I refused to get rid of MY name!
    The only issue is a lot of places don't allow for 2 middle initials, in which case I can only put my first middle initial. Oh well, stupid name changes!

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    1. It's incredible how complicated name changes can be?! Poor you! I can only imagine your headache!

      I was thinking of doing what you did- use my maiden as my second middle name (my mom dropped her middle name and currently uses her maiden name as her middle name and took my dad's last name)... but I felt too attached and couldn't bear the thought... So I didn't. Luckily, my husband was very easy and let me do whatever I wanted!

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  2. I remember when I had to change my last name after I got married and it was so annoying! Believe it or not the must frustrating thing for me was trying to change my last name on my United frequent flier miles. They had to see a whole bunch of forms just for their mileage program.

    Jen
    www.lifeunrefined.com

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    Replies
    1. That is incredibly interesting, Jen! I love sharing my stories because I get to read/hear about other equally fantastic ones! :) Thank you for sharing!!

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