Changing my name

Today I embarked upon the hassle that is changing my name. I started by going down to the good ol county clerk to get a couple of certified copies of our marriage certificate. While I was there, a  mini courthouse wedding was gathering. It was cute – about 20 people, all dressed up and taking pictures. The bride had a little bouquet and was dressed casually in a white linen skirt and tan top. She and all of the guests looked so incredibly happy, and the other patrons at the clerk’s office smiled and watched as they took photos.

I got 2 copies of the marriage certificate, just in case I had to send it off somewhere. When we got the marriage license, I did not fill out the fields for “new name”, and the clerk who recorded it even asked me, puzzled, “you won’t be changing your name??” I politely told her that I wasn’t sure yet what I would be doing. Later I worried that not having filled out those fields meant I wouldn’t be allowed to change it without petitioning the court.

Then it was off to the social security office! Surprisingly, I was next in line right when I got there. There were 2 lines – some had numbers that started with “A”, and others with “B”. Mine was “A” and I guess the other 20 or so people there were in the “B” category. When it was my turn, I handed over my SS form and marriage certificate. I thought they would surely confiscate my old SS card, but they did not, and did not even ask to see it. The person helping me did not care that I hadn’t filled out the “new name” fields on the marriage  certificate – I guess it doesn’t really matter, which makes me wonder: why do those fields exist at all?! To confuse and bewilder, as they had done to me?

The good news is, all of that took a mere 45 minutes. 45 minutes to become someone else. I then began looking into all the other places that needed updating, which is basically anywhere you’ve ever given your name, ever. I’ll probably be updating accounts for years, decades even. I concentrated on the bigger ones for now – I started with Facebook! I literally did. That was actually really easy and the update took effect immediately. Plus then you can sit back and wait for people to “like” the change, and that makes you feel good :)

Next I changed it on my Gmail and Yahoo accounts. Gmail took 2 hours to kick in – and even then, if someone has you in their contact list with your old name, your new name will never be displayed in their chat list – at least not until they manually update that on their end. Meanwhile, Yahoo didn’t seem to take effect at all – all mails going out still show my old name, even though on my account settings my new name is listed. Confusing.

Ok, time to get down to the real, legal documents. Next up: passport. I just got this thing this year, it’s kind of annoying to have to fill out another application and send back the one I just got with the stamp from my honeymoon, and all that rigamaroll. The good news is, if you’ve received your latest passport within the last year, it’s FREE to get your name changed and have a new one sent to you. If it’s been more than a year since your last passport was sent to you, you have to fill out the standard passport renewal form – and pay the standard renewal fees. Luckily I have another 5 months to send mine in and be within the 1 year period.

One curious area on the passport form: they ask if you are changing your name, and if so, what is it due to (only choices are “marriage” and “other”), what was your former name, the date of the name change, and the place of the name change. I don’t know about everyone else, but those last 2 stopped me for a good 30 minutes from filling out the rest of the form. Date – well, I went to Social Security today, so it was today, right? But then on the SS website it says “if you change your name due to marriage or otherwise, you are required to notify us” which makes me think surely something else triggered the actual change, and today I was merely notifying them. So did the marriage itself trigger the change, making the date of the name change the same as the date of the marriage? But I hadn’t filled out those “new name” fields on the marriage license, which it stated “would take effect upon solemnization of the marriage”! Did that mean I missed my chance entirely, and my name was not changed at all? But surely it was, as Social Security had updated it! So much confusion. In the end I chose to use the date of the marriage on the passport form – it was within the last month anyway, so hopefully they don’t care too much, even though it was not an optional field!

Then, place of name change? Well that depends – is it the city you got the license in, the city you got married in, or the city you went to Social Security? For me, all 3 of those were different. Who knows which one was the actual place that made it count? Not me. In the end I just listed the state and hoped for the best.

Next I filled out an updated voter registration and prepped that to mail out. At this point I had had enough of this name change stuff and abandoned the task until later on. Although later in the day, I did investigate it with a few banks. I will recap that tomorrow though, as THAT is A-WHOLE-NOTHER story!

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 at 12:20 PM and is filed under Marriage. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Changing my name”

  1. July 24th, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    Josh says:

    Maybe since you didn’t fill out the new last name, now your full name is Kym! Oopa!