Getting From Miss to Mrs.

Getting From Miss to Mrs.

Hello, my name is

How to change your name in Rhode Island once you’re hitched.

By Jennifer Steffy Swanson

What’s in a name?

Probably your driver’s license, your bank accounts, your credit cards, your vehicle registration, your paycheck, your email….

The decision of whether or not to change your name after you’re married is a personal one. If you do decide to change it, here’s what to do:

1) First stop: The local Social Security office (30 Quaker La., Warwick). There is an application form you’ll need to fill out, which is available online (click here) or in the office when you get there. The good news is it’s nothing like the DMV. It’s unlikely you’ll be there for hours and you don’t need a ton of paperwork. What you do need to bring is a picture ID with your old name (such as a driver’s license or passport), proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate, naturalization papers or a passport) and a certified copy of your marriage certificate. Your new card — which will have your new name and the same social security number you’ve always had — should be mailed to you within ten days. Guess what? Legally, your name is changed.

2) Step two is important, ladies: Wait twenty-four hours…

3)…and now it’s time to go to the DMV (you didn’t actually think you were going to be able to avoid the trip all together, did you?). “Why can’t I bang all this out in one day — why must I wait twenty-four hours?” you may wonder. Although Social Security will give you an official paper saying you’ve applied to change your name and you can use that paper at the DMV rather than waiting the full ten days for your new card, it takes twenty-four hours for the DMV’s system to recognize applications made at the Social Security office.

How much paperwork you need to complete at the DMV depends on a few things. In addition a new driver’s license (click here to download the form), if you have one or more vehicles registered in your name, you will also have to update your name on the registration(s) (click here to download the form) and title(s). If there is a loan on your car, you need a copy of the first page of the title from the bank/loan holder before you go to the DMV. If you’re a AAA member, you can get your new license there.

Still confused or not sure exactly what you need to bring? We can’t blame you (and you can’t blame us) — it is the DMV, after all. Here’s the link to the DMV’s home page. Happy hunting.

4) Most utility companies (gas, electric, phone, etc.) and credit card companies will change the name on your accounts (and send you a new card) if you send them a copy of your new license and your marriage certificate. They have your social security number on file so once your name is official with Social Security, you’re

It’s not a bad idea to keep a copy of your marriage certificate on hand for a couple of months, just in case.