You did it! Congratulations! You’ve exchanged the rings, said your vows, signed the marriage license and now you’re husband and wife. After you enjoy your special day and arrive back from your honeymoon there are a list of things that are important to do sooner than later, and changing your last name is one of them. In this blog, we, Taylor Livington and Renee Bauman, are going to take you through this process and share our personal experiences for the Brookings County bride. Here’s some steps and to take to get your name changed on all bases. We recommend changing your last name in this order, too:
- Get a CERTIFIED copy of your marriage certificate.
Following your wedding, your officiant has 10 days to return your signed marriage license to the Register of Deeds to be recorded. It can be turned in to any courthouse in the state because the Brookings Register of Deeds will know once it’s been recorded. Once you know that your officiant has turned in your license (Renee called to ask a couple of times) you can stop by the Register of Deeds office for your county and get your certified copy. We encourage you to order at least 2 copies of your marriage certificate ($15 each). We suggest two because your bank and other institutions will need to make a copy of the original. Plus, if you want to update your passport, you have to send a certified copy along. There’s no guarantees you’ll get that back. So both Taylor and Renee ordered two copies. Only one of you (bride or groom) needs to be there with a photo ID to obtain these.
Where: Brookings County Register of Deeds
520 3rd Street, Suite 120, Brookings, SD 57006 (The new city/county building near Main Ave)
Hours – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Update your social security card.
Your next step is updating your social security card. Not going to lie, this process is a little intimidating. You enter a silent room, besides the friendly voice speaking over the loud system, there are rows of chairs, many people waiting, not to mention a security guard! But trust me, the hardest part is checking in…and from there the process is a breeze. Make sure you have this application filled out and ready to go before arriving. For those of you who’d prefer to not have to go to the physical social security office, you can also mail the application. You will be required to provide an original copy of your marriage certificate to prove your name change. Once you have done this you should get your new card mailed to you within 1-2 weeks of your application. Taylor spent about 30 minutes waiting in the morning an Renee spent about 45 minutes waiting in the afternoon. Once it’s your turn, you’re done in 5-10 minutes. Bring a book or plan to check Facebook with your data plan, because there’s no free wifi during your long wait.
How: Social Security Administration
5021 South Nevada Avenue, Sioux Falls, SD 57108
Social Security Office Hours
Monday 9:00am – 4:00pm
Tuesday 9:00am – 4:00pm
Wednesday 9:00am – 12:00pm
Thursday 9:00am – 4:00pm
Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm
Tip: Some engaged or newly married couples receive a letter charging a fee to apply for a new social security card. These are false mailings so don’t be misled. NO government entity charges a fee to apply or a new social security card.
- Update your driver’s license and voter registration.
With your updated social security card in hand, you can visit the Brookings DMV and update your driver’s license and voter registration. We recommend setting up an appointment to make your experience easier. But, if you’re like Taylor or Renee, you can certainly just stop in and get it taken care of if you’re okay with a short wait. Renee waited for about 20 minutes for this process. You also need to bring your old driver’s license, your marriage license, and two pieces of mail with you. (I brought two pieces of mail with my new last name on it — my social security card envelope and another insurance envelope). Updating your driver’s license with your new last name does not change the expiration date of your license. For example, Renee will have to update hers again in about a year on her next birthday.
Where to go: Brookings County DMV (It’s not very well labeled, but it’s the building near the Old Sanctuary. Enter in the back)
910 4th Street, Brookings, SD 57006
Tuesday 7:00am – 5:30pm
Wednesday 7:00am – 5:30pm
Thursday 7:00am – 5:30pm
Friday 7:00am – 5:30pm
Things you need to bring with you:
- Old driver’s license
- Certified marriage certificate
- Two pieces of mail
- Social security card
Tip: If you’re leaving for your honeymoon right after the wedding, book any travel plans with your maiden name. Even if you’re traveling domestically, the name on the ticket should be the same as your ID.
- Get to the Bank
If you plan on setting up a joint account with your new hubby, set up and appointment with your branch location to combine your accounts. While you’re there, look into ordering new checks and getting an updated debit card. You’ll also have to sign an updated name change electronic form. Before you cancel any current accounts to be merged into a new account, adjust all automatic transfers into the new account before cancelling the old. (Renee had to transfer her Netflix automatic withdrawals, her insurance withdrawals, Google Drive automatic monthly payments, etc.)
What you’ll need:
- New driver’s license
- Certified marriage certificate
Here’s a list of local banks and financial services if you aren’t currently banking in the Brookings area.
Tip: Some banks charge fees for requesting a new debit card, so be prepared to pay those fees if required by your bank.
5. Change your name everywhere else.
Now that the government has officially recognized your name change, you can go ahead and update all of your other accounts and information. In most cases, you can use a Name Change Notification Letter, or stop by in person with your appropriate identification. Here’s a short list of other individuals and places to notify of your name change:
Financial service providers: Your bank, credit cards, mortgage, insurance, student loan, insurance and investment accounts with a financial planner
Other service providers: USPS, your doctors and dentist, your attorney, your gym, your library
Organizations: Schools, alumni associations, professional licenses and associations
Consumer accounts Utility bills, subscriptions, rewards programs
Personal and professional: Update your business cards, voicemail greeting, email address, and website listing
6. Update your passport.
The process of changing your legal name on your passport will depend on how long ago your passport was issued. The State Department has all of the information you need to know about getting a name change on your passport based on your particular situation. In Brookings County if you have an active passport they’ll update if for FREE at the Post office. You just need to send in your old passport and take a new photo. The Brookings post office recommends making an appointment for passport photos.
Where to go:
United States Post Office
500 Main Avenue, Brookings, SD 57006
Monday 8:30am – 5:00pm
Tuesday 8:30am – 5:00pm
Wednesday 8:30am – 5:00pm
Thursday 8:30am – 5:00pm
Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm
Saturday 9:00am – 12:00pm
- Update your legal documents.
Are you looking to hyphenate your last name? Remember, if you hyphenate, you must always sign and use your entire hyphenated name, legally. If you choose to list both last names and NOT hyphenate, you can use either last name, but be prepared for some pushback at the airport, banks, etc. because you should always go by your legal name listed on your social security card and/or drivers license. For example, my friend Kristin is a pharmacist and all of her state licenses are issued to her maiden name. When she got married, she added her husband’s last name to her current name (no hyphen) so she can legally go by both/either last name to keep her state licenses in check AND be traditional and respectful by taking his last name. We spoke with an attorney in Brookings to confirm all this. She says that in some cases, women will get married, but because of having previous children or because of their professional careers, they may not legally change their last name to their new husband’s. It’s fairly common to try preserve her maiden name for these reasons. But in casual and social circumstances, she could refer to herself with her “new” last name. For example, in this attorney’s case, she’s been known for 15+ years in the industry with her original last name. She got married this summer, but did not legally change her last name to her new husband’s last name for the sake of matching her children’s last name (from a previous marriage) and for the sake of her professional career (which she’s signed every legal document and affidavit with her previous last name). However, she signs her children’s school papers and anything non-legal with her new husband’s last name. When they traveled recently, they weren’t seated together on the airplane because their last names didn’t match. Legally, she still had her previous last name on her driver’s license, so the airline crew didn’t know they were married. When deciding, take all of this into consideration — or call an attorney if you need clarification or further explanation. You can also refer to yourself non-legally using either last name that fits the circumstances best, but the law says you must sign any legal documents with the full name listed on your social security card. Use that as your best way to decide.
We know that this is an extremely overwhelming task and we hope that with these steps it makes your journey of changing your name a little easier! Experienced brides of South Dakota, do you have any other tips? Post them below! We have one more tip. Practice signing your new last name before you actually have to! I’ve already forgotten a few times!
We hope this has helped! Signed,
Taylor (formerly Roehr) Livingston
Renee (formerly Halgerson) Bauman