The decision to change your name after marriage is an entirely personal one. If you’ve decided that you’d like to take on a new moniker and you live in the Lone Star State, you’re probably wondering how to change your name after marriage in Texas. Yes, the process does take quite a few steps, but once you hear or see your new name, you’ll be so glad you took the time to make it happen. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the name change process in Texas, check out HitchSwitch which will help you navigate the process and fills out most of the paperwork for you.
These are the steps you’ll need to take to change your name after marriage in Texas.
1. Choose your new name.
Before starting the name change process, you should sit down with your partner and decide what your new name should be, as you’ll need to fill out your marriage certificate with your new name. In Texas, you have several options: You can take your spouse’s last name, take your middle name as your middle name, use both your maiden name and your spouse’s last names with or without a hyphen—it’s your call!
2. Obtain your marriage certificate.
First things first—in order to start the process of changing your name after marriage in Texas you have to, well, actually get married. You can get your marriage certificate at any County Clerk’s office in the state—it doesn’t have to be in the county where you live or where your wedding will take place in the state. You’ll need to bring government-issued photo ID (a driver’s license, state identification card, or passport will work) and know your social security numbers. The cost of a marriage license varies from county to county in Texas (it ranges from $65 to $88), so it’s best to call your County Clerk’s office in advance to make sure you have the right amount (some offices take credit cards, others just cash, so double-check the proper form of payment, as well!).
Your marriage certificate will be a vital part of the name change process, so be sure to request two or three certified copies of your marriage certificate—it will serve as proof of your marriage whenever and wherever you change your name. Each copy will cost money, so be sure to check with your County Clerk’s office. You’ll have to wait for 72 hours to receive your marriage certificate and the document is valid for 90 days.
3. Get married!
Whether you're getting married in Houston, Dallas, El Paso, or elsewhere in the state, your officiant will sign your marriage certificate—additional witnesses are not necessary in Texas. Your officiant will then be responsible for returning the marriage license to the County Clerk (the same one who issued the certificate) within 30 days of your wedding ceremony. You’ll then receive your official marriage certificate and certified copies by mail.
4. Change your name with Social Security.
Once you’ve received your completed marriage certificate, you can head to your local Social Security office to make your name change officially official. The Social Security office is the first place to visit, 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 pretty straightforward. Just download and fill out the application for a new Social Security card—you’ll need to include your birth name and married name. Print out the form and bring it, as well as a certified copy of your marriage certificate and photo identification (driver’s license, state identification card, or passport) to your local Social Security Office. While you can apply for a new Social Security card by mail, it’s less desirable because you’ll have to send them your certified marriage license and original ID, and be without them for a few weeks while your forms are processed.
5. Alert your employer.
After you receive your new Social Security card, let your employer know of your name change so that they can start correctly report your wages. You may or may not have to provide proof of your new name and you’ll definitely have to fill out a new W-4 form for tax purposes. You may also choose to change your work email address, email signature, etc. to reflect your new name.
6. Head to the DMV for your driver’s license name change.
You may be dreading your trip to the DMV to update your driver’s license, but don’t put it off! When figuring out how to change your name after marriage in Texas, know that you’ll have to visit the DMV within 30 days of your official name change to make things official. You can schedule an appointment online to make things easier and avoid waiting. You’ll need to bring a certified copy of your marriage license, as well as your current driver’s license or state identification card. You’ll need to pay $11 for a name change on your license.
7. Apply for a new passport.
Whether or not you plan on traveling abroad after marriage, you should still think about how to change your name after marriage on your passport. To change your name on your passport, you actually have to apply for a new one. You’ll need to consider your upcoming travel plans to figure out if you’ll need to expedite the process by applying in person or if you can wait several weeks to receive your new document.
If you’re traveling in less than two weeks and need a new passport, you should make an appointment at one of three passport agencies in Houston, Dallas, or El Paso. You’ll need to pay $60 for this speedier process and show proof of identification, name change, and your travel plans.
But if you have the time to handle this process by mail, it’s definitely easier. Use the Department of State’s website to download and fill out all applicable forms, and mail it to the National Passport Processing Center, along with your current passport, certified copy of your marriage certificate, and passport photo. There is a fee associated with applying for a new passport and the recommended shipping, but this varies, so be sure to read the forms carefully before sending in your application packet. This process will take four to five weeks, or shorter if you pay for expedited service.
8. Switch your name on other documents and with other providers.
Now that you’ve changed your name on your most important legal documents, you can breathe a sigh of relief—but your work’s not done quite yet! You’ll need to change your name in several other places, including, but not limited to:
- Your bank and credit card companies
- Immigration documents
- Lease agreement
- Car title and registration
- Utility companies
- Doctors’ offices
- Voter registration
- Social media accounts
This all may feel a bit daunting, but don’t stress! Check out HitchSwitch to start your name change process. They’ll take the guesswork out of changing your name and make it a smooth and streamlined experience.
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