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In The Name of Love: Name Change After Marriage

The Floyd Law Firm PC > Information > In The Name of Love: Name Change After Marriage

Getting married is an exciting and joyous time in anyone’s life, and all the preparations beforehand can feel overwhelming sometimes.

The majority of couples may decide that one another will share a surname once their union has been made official. Some couples choose not to match names, and some may hyphenate their name or decide to change to an entirely different name altogether.

Whatever one’s decision may be, there are some steps involved in obtaining a legal name change.

Upon preparing to plan the wedding, filing for the marriage certificate or Marriage License needs to be processed no earlier than ninety days prior to the ceremony—and no less than seven days prior. On the marriage license, enter the new name(s) that are going to be used.

When filing for the Marriage License, it’s ideal to request three certified copies in advance at the same time. Keep the original document in a safe place, but keep the copies handy as they will be needed for the name changes on additional documents such as a Social Security card, Driving License, or other state-issued identification.

Social Security Card

Apply for a new Social Security Card at a local Social Security Administration (SSA) office or via postal service once the proper application has been completed.  A new Social Security card can be issued if the administrative representative can verify the following:

  • Proof of Identification showing name, date of birth, and a photograph such as on a valid Passport, Driver’s License, Military ID card, or other current other state-issued ID.
  • Verification of Citizenship proven via a certified copy of Certificate of Birth and/or a valid Passport
  • Evidence of the name change such as a certified copy of the Marriage License
  • Current Social Security card as the same number will be issued

Once a new Social Security card has been filed for, it is ideal to pause for a day or two before arriving at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to apply for a new Driver’s License or state-issued ID in person. The new Social Security card may not be printed yet, but the waiting period would give time to allow the record of the SSA name change to be in the computer database. It is wise to have the forms necessary already completed to facilitate faster processing. Forms SCDMV Form 4057—Application for Name and/or Address Change, and SCDMV Form 447-NC—Application for a Driver’s License, Beginner’s Permit, or Identification Card can be downloaded and printed from the SCDMV website.

Driver’s License

A new Driver’s License or state-issued ID card can be issued if the DMV representative can verify the following:

  • Evidence of the name change such as a certified copy of the Marriage License
  • Receipt from the SSA office for the new Social Security card
  • Current Driver’s License or ID
  • Verification of Address such as a utility bill, bank statement, mortgage document, or insurance document that has been mailed to home address
  • Method of Payment such as cash or check, or a credit card may be used but might incur a small additional fee for its use

Notification of Contacts

After the name change has been implemented, it is time to ensure that all other important contacts are made aware. This includes:

  • Banking Institutions and Checking Accounts
  • Lenders and Credit Cards
  • Local and State Tax Offices
  • Registrar of Voters or South Carolina Election Commission
  • Passport Office for Passport and Travel Documents
  • Insurance Providers
  • Healthcare Providers
  • Post Office
  • Membership Accounts
  • Subscriptions and Auto-Pay Accounts
  • Utility, Telephone, and Internet Service Providers
  • Employer or Workplace and Direct Deposit Account
  • Schools Attending
  • Social Media
  • Online Listings or email Signature

Travel Documents & Passports

Newly married couples may have a honeymoon planned out of the United States. If this is the case, passports are required and must match the flight tickets. If the new passport has already been issued prior to the trip, the spouse with a new name can book the tickets under the new name.

The U.S. Department of State—Bureau of Consular Affairs offers passport services online and adults with 10-year passports can renew them by mail instead of appearing in person to the National Passport Processing Center. For those applying for a passport for the first time, the application form DS-11 “Application For A U.S. Passport” is used, as well as for children under age of 16. The application form DS-82 “Application for Passport Renewal” is used when renewing a United States passport that is expired or near the expired date for no more than five years beyond the expiration date on the passport.

A Completed form DS-82, a certified copy of the Marriage License, a check made payable to “U.S. Department of State” for the passport fee, full name, date of birth, and a recent color 2″x2″ photograph that meets the passport photo requirements is needed to fulfill the process.

For those with a Global Entry card, a name change cannot be performed online because a new passport number will need to be issued. Once the new passport has been received, it can be presented at the nearest enrollment center to update the information on the record. Retain the existing Global Entry card (with previous or maiden name), as the digital data attached to the card will reflect the new information and match the passport. Global Entry cards have radio frequency identification chips, which enable their use at Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) and NEXUS travel lanes when entering the United States at the land borders. Only a passport or lawful permanent resident card are accepted at Global Entry kiosks.

Name Change Outside of the Marital Process

Adults or children seeking a name change outside of a marriage must follow a different process. The forms required to legally change name may include:

  • Petition to legally change name
  • Order to show cause for legally changing name
  • Decree to legally change name

Completed forms are presented to the Clerk of Court along with any related state filing fees. A judge or magistrate will review the forms and grant the name change.

As per the South Carolina Code of Laws, Application for change of name:

(A) A person who desires to change his name may petition, in writing, a family court judge in the appropriate circuit, setting forth the reason for the change, his age, his place of residence and birth, and the name by which he desires to be known.
(B) A parent who desires to change the name of his minor child may petition, in writing, a family court judge in the appropriate circuit. The other parent, if there is not one then the child, must be named as a party in the action unless waived by the court. The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child. The court shall grant the petition if it finds that it is in the best interest of the child.

If assistance is needed for the legal name changes process, an attorney at the Floyd Law Firm is here to help. Consulting with a Family Law attorney who is familiar with the laws regarding change of name for a spouse, a child, an adult, or an adopted family member can alleviate some of the confusion and make the process go smoothly.


South Carolina Code of Laws Title 15 – Civil Remedies and Procedures Change of Name

Social Security Administration – SSA Office Locator

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV)

South Carolina Election Commission

U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs

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