Did you recently get married or divorced? Or perhaps you’ve been contemplating a name change for other personal reasons? You may feel hesitant to move forward because you aren’t sure how to go about making the switch. Read below about things to consider when taking the steps necessary to change your name based on your particular situation.
Name Change After Marriage
If you want to change your name due to marriage, you’ll typically need either your official marriage certificate or a certified copy of it. Your original marriage certificate is mailed to you after being submitted by your officiant. Certified copies can be ordered from your county.
As you begin your name change process, you may be surprised by how many updates you’ll need to make. To get started, you’ll want to get your name changed on your official forms of ID and related documents; a few of these are listed below.
- Social Security card – Some of the following forms of ID will require an updated Social Security card, or paperwork indicating this change is in process, before they will change your name.
- Driver’s license
- Passport, if applicable
- Immigration documents, if applicable
Following your name change on your forms of ID, remember to document the change with the following, if applicable:
- Financial institutions
- Insurance companies
- Credit card companies
- Utility companies
- Voter registration office
Some of the above may require you to submit a copy, or a certified copy, of your marriage certificate in order to change your name. To save time, do your research in advance and be prepared with the correct number of copies beforehand.
Name Change After a Spouse’s Death
Some widows or widowers prefer to change their name after their spouse has passed. This process is a bit different than changing your name due to marriage and could require filing a form at the prothonotary’s office.
Name Change After Divorce
After a divorce, you may choose to return to your maiden name. To do so, discuss the process with your divorce attorney or your county prothonotary office.
Name Changes in Other Situations
If a change in marital status isn’t the reason you’d like to change your name, then you may need to go through a longer process of petitioning the court, which may include the following:
- Filing an application with the court, including a reason for your proposed name change
- Publishing a name change notification in two newspapers within your county, although this requirement can be waived if you can prove it might endanger you or your child, i.e. in cases of domestic abuse
- Undergoing a records check that will flag any decrees or judgments pending against you
- Submitting fingerprints to the state police for a criminal history check
Check with your local court or attorney for a more complete list of instructions on how to get your name changed for a non-marital-related reason.
Keep in mind that there are circumstances in which your name change may be denied.
How Do I Get a New Social Security Card When I’m Changing My Name?
Go to the closest Social Security office to request an updated Social Security card. Check the Social Security Administration’s website to determine which documents you need to bring, which will vary based on your individual circumstances. They may include:
- Marriage certificate
- Divorce decree
- Court order for your name change
- Certificate of Naturalization
How Do I Get a New Driver’s License After a Name Change?
To get a license with your new name, contact your local DMV office.
Keep in mind that if you have a vehicle registered in PA, you’ll have to update the registration for it. You may also need to get a new title if you own the vehicle. You can fill out those forms at the DMV as well.
How Do I Change My Voter Registration?
- Your local PA county Board of Elections
- A PennDOT photo licensing center
- A government agency office, which you can locate on the PA Voter Services site
How Do I Get a New Passport After a Name Change?
The process of getting an updated passport depends on how long you’ve had your existing passport.
If you got the passport within the past 12 months, send your current passport; documentation of your name change in the form of a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order; and a new passport photo along with a completed Form DS-5504 to the address indicated on the form.
If you got the passport more than one year before your name change, the requirements differ based on various factors. Check the listing provided by the U.S. Department of State carefully to make sure you follow correct procedures.
Notify Your Credit Union of Your Name Change
When changing your name, remember to make your financial institution aware of the change. If you’re a member of PSECU, you’ll need to complete a form to request a name change on your PSECU account.