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Changing Your Last Name After You Get Married: The How-To

Tell someone that you're engaged to be married and you will suddenly be the recipient of more wedding and marriage advice than you knew existed. But we'd be surprised if any of that advice includes how to go about changing your last name.

Maybe that's because the process is so simple that people assume you'll figure it out. But you know what they say about assuming, right?

Let's just say that it can go poorly for you. It's much better to know what you actually need to do to change your name after your wedding.

If you're changing your last name to match your spouse's, the process is fairly simple. Just start using the new name and it's yours.

No muss, no fuss, and little paperwork except for your marriage certificate.

You still need to notify certain people of the name change. That means changing your driver's license, your Social Security card, and your bank accounts. But it's easy.

You call the appropriate office and inform them that you just got married and changed your name. They may ask for proof, but sending a copy of your marriage certificate should take care of it.

That's a whole lot easier than the normal process.

Typically courts are a little suspicious when people want to make a name change. There's a concern that they're doing it to avoid liability or mislead people.

To prove that's not true, you have to go through a court hearing, complete with court fees and mandatory paperwork. If the judge is satisfied that you have good reason to make the change and you're not doing it for nefarious purposes, the change will be approved.

Then the court order serves as proof of the name change.

If you plan to change your name after marriage to something other than your spouse's last name, then you'll have to follow that process too.

For most couples the process is straightforward although some people, like Lazaro Dinh of Florida, have a hard time. If that happens to you, don't hesitate to get a lawyer on your side.

Of course, you're lucky enough to live in Georgia, not Florida, so this probably won't happen to you. You can just concentrate on introducing yourself with your new name.

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