If you have decided to change your name after marriage, you may be unsure of how quickly you have to get the process started. Planning a wedding takes a lot of time and effort, and then you have to rush around trying to spend time with everyone who came to visit, have the wedding, the reception, honeymoon, move, and more.
No one blames you if you want to take some time to relax before going through the legal processes. So if you are wondering, “how long do you have to change your name after getting married”, continue reading below.
How Long Do You Have to Change Your Name After Getting Married?
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Not everyone decides to change their last name after getting married. However, if you do decide to go with your spouse’s last name, you’ll have to go through a process to get the name legally changed.
Many people worry that they have to get it done right away. However, for the most part, there isn’t a set deadline. Marriage licenses don’t expire and you can change your name whenever you want during your marriage, even years later.
It doesn’t matter if you are hyphenating your name, or if you are completely changing your last name to the one your spouse has. If for some reason you and your spouse both decide to change your last name, it still doesn’t matter. There is no deadline for the name change.
This can be a breath of relief for a few reasons. Some people would prefer to wait and see if they want to change their name after marriage. Additionally, if you are moving to a new state, or are planning on going on an international honeymoon, it may be better to wait until you get back before changing your last name.
This prevents issues with your passport or driver’s license. You also don’t have to delay moving or your honeymoon to wait on the approval of your last name and then the change of your ID and passport to be legal.
However, some issues come with delaying your name change. Usually, you can change your name fairly easily after a marriage, divorce, or court petition. However, if you wait too long after these times, then the security measures and identity verification get more difficult. Additionally, you may have to pay more for the name change.
When you get married, divorced, or get a court petition to change your last name, you will get a name change document. For the most part, that document is good for two years. It also acts as your ID instead of a photo ID, so you can easily change your name via mail instead of having to go in somewhere.
Some states also have laws that say when you do legally change your name, you have to move quickly to change official documents. So while there is no deadline on when you change your name, unless you want to make it as painless as possible, once your name is legally changed, you only have a certain amount of time to change your documents.
For example, for your driver’s license, you generally have between 10 and 60 days to alert the DMV or authority in charge of issuing licenses that your name has changed. Generally, rules about reporting to the right authorities about name changes on your social security record are also fairly similar.
If you don’t report in time, you can expect to pay a fine. These are often between $20 and $75. The same is the case if you don’t change your passport. The longer you wait to report the changes and get a new passport, the higher your fines can be.
There may be additional timeline requirements for your bank, property, and insurance as well.
While you can change your name whenever, once you get the federal approval for your name change, you need to get to work rather quickly to turn in all of your documents on time.
If you are going to change your name, you may want to wait until you have the time to get all your documents in order.