Friday, May 23, 2014

How Not To Change Your Last Name and Eventually Change It the Right Way

Two last names. It's annoying. Particularly if you're a dude. (I'm finding this to be a true statement even as a woman.) If you're learning how to change your name after a marriage, look at this post here. If you're looking for a way to change your name after marriage... this is where you want to be!

Once Upon A Time, in a land of hispanics who valued the tradition of bestowing a child with a father's familial name and a mother's familial name.. Cristhian was born with two last names. Yes. It's true! He was born abroad, is a citizen of the US and does not have a green card! The annoyance of no middle name, yet two last names has been such an annoyance over the years. Only he can only tell you how many times he's been called Father'sLastName or Mother'sLastName and responding to either. Add to that the fact that his siblings share the same parents, yet have one legal last name (his sisters legal last names are their mother's and his brother's legal last name is their father's due to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' error) because they were born here.. and he has two it's annoying, confusing and again, annoying. For the majority of Cristhian's adult life, all of his documents give him a middle name. This is wronnnng.

Welps, this year is our last year in Connecticut and it's also the first year that we've been actively trying to rectify the situation. Crissy decided that he wants to be known solely with his father's last name. All states are different, but in Massachusetts, the marriage certificate allows you to legally change your name to whatever you'd like to be known as without further fee. It's easier, simpler and I highly recommend this route to avoid hassle. We weren't smart enough to do this at the time, so this was a no-go... Sad life.

First off, we had to petition the Connecticut Probate Court (go here if you're in Connecticut) with a fee in tow. It was a swift forty minutes because we had all the documents needed to make our case. From there, we waited for a letter in the mail telling us when and where we'd be able to whine about Cristhian's case. The day we went to the Probate Court... nothing seemed to go right, BUT the judge was so kind and kept us on time. We were in and out in under fifteen minutes! After everything was approved by the court, we went to the Social Security Administration in downtown Hartford and applied for an updated SS. Three hours later, we were able to head to the local DMV and change his license. From there, all the important documents matched, so we headed over to the bank, work, etc and change all the forms to his new solo, paternal-only last name.

In total, we paid $150 in court fees and waited two and a half weeks to get Cristhian's name changed. We could have waited to move back to Massachusetts and change his name, but that was much more costly ($265+) and caused a much longer wait (2-3 months) than we were willing.

I hope you never need to go through this headache!

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