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Five Steps To Changing Your Legal Name In A New State After A Move

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If you've recently gotten married and you're planning a move cross-country, it can be challenging to find the time to do legal name-change paperwork in between. Here are five steps you'll need to plan to go through if you'll be doing this after the move.

1. Get a certified copy of your marriage certificate

Believe it or not, you may have left your old state without a certified copy of your marriage certificate. The "certificate" you signed at your wedding, posing so nicely for the photographer, isn't an official certificate and so, if you didn't do so before you left the state, you'll need to actually obtain a certified copy by ordering it on their website or (this is much cheaper) by having a friend who lives in that state get it for you in person and mail it. You'll need this certificate for your name change on your social security card, without which you can do pretty much nothing else.

2. Do the paperwork for a new social security card

Wait until you have your certified certificate and check carefully on the social security website to make sure you bring all the right documentation in with you, then go in to the social security office and submit your name change request. After this, you'll have to wait until they've mailed your new card before you can go ahead and get your new driver's license (or state ID, if you don't drive). Of course, you could get one in your old name now, but you'd just have to pay for another in a week or two once your name is officially changed. If you still have a valid license from your old state, it should be legal to go ahead and use that until you can get the updating process over with.

3. Fill out a mail forwarding form for USPS (twice)

While you're waiting for the social security administration to mail you your updated card, make sure you've requested that USPS forward your mail twice. Yes, you have to go through the process once with your maiden name and then again with your new name in case someone remembers that you got married but doesn't remember where you moved to.

4. Get your new ID

Once you have your new social security card with your new name on it, you can go about the process of getting a new drivers' license or state ID. You might as well look up the requirements for this while waiting for the card to come; some states may require you to take a written or driving test as well as the eye test, depending on the situation. You can't study for the eye test, but you can study for the written test. Then go to your local DMV office (you should be able to find the location online) with all your documentation and remember to dress nicely for pictures.

5. Change your name everywhere else, now that it's legal

Next you'll have to change your name at your bank, on all your online accounts, and pretty much everywhere else that has information stored about you. This includes most importantly any financial accounts such as your bank and credit card accounts (so you can get your credit and debit cards and checks made in your new name), as well as your employer if you have a job already, but you'll also have to update your information on magazine subscriptions, any organizations you have memberships with, and even the sundry accounts you may hold online with various retailers you shop at (especially rewards accounts).

These five steps will help you get up and running in a new state with a new name quickly and efficiently. Further, consider hiring a moving service to make everything even simpler for you.