Congratulations on finding the love of your life! Once your engagement starts to sink in, there’s a lot of practical details that have to be attended to, like how to change your name after you are married. You’re ready to be a Mrs. — and we’re here to help simplify the process of changing your name in Texas.
Whether you’re modern or traditional, there is something for everyone when it comes to name changes, from the simple switch to the hyphenated options, we’ve got you covered.
Photo // Angela Sostarich Photography
How to Change Your Name
Each state has their own laws about changing your married name. Fortunately for Texas brides, the state acknowledges a valid marriage certificate as proof of a name change.
If you are hyphenating or switching your middle name to your maiden name, your process is slightly different. You will file a petition in a probate court in your county. (There are more details below.)
How It Works
Fill in both your current legal name and the name you will be changing to after marriage on your Texas marriage license application.
Alternative Name Change Processes
If you are hyphenating, blending or switching your middle name, you will go through a court-ordered name change process. You will need to file a name change petition in state court in the county you live in. Visit the county courthouse office during regular weekday business hours to get your form.
Getting Your Wedding License in Texas
Both you and your fiancé will need to go to the county clerk’s office during regular weekday business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Be sure to bring proof of identity and age, such as a birth certificate, driver’s license or passport. The fee ranges between $71 – $88, but can be reduced to as low as $11 if the couple attends an approved marriage education class. You will present the certificate for this course when you get your marriage license. While some counties may accept card or check payments, many require cash only. Be sure to call your County Clerk’s office ahead of time to confirm what forms of payment they take.
There is a 72-hour waiting period after getting your license, but it can be waived by a court-order. Active-duty military are exempt from the waiting period. The license is valid for 90 days.
Making it Official
Once you officially say “I do” and it’s time to sign your marriage certificate, you will use your new married name. Your officiant will be responsible to return that marriage license to the County Clerk’s office within 30 days of your wedding and you will receive the official marriage certificate as well as your certified copies by mail. At that point your marriage certificate will be proof of your name change. You will want to request multiple copies (3 is a safe amount) of the certified marriage license to send to vendors like your insurance company and others that may require it.
Cost to Change Your Name
There are varying costs, but here are the general expenses you can expect.
Marriage License — $71 – $88 (or as low as $11 with approved education classes)
Certified Copies of Marriage License — $3-$15 each (based on county)
Passport Update — $110
Things to Consider with Changing Your Name
There are other options when it comes to updating your name after your wedding and those include hyphenated names or keeping your maiden name as your middle or second middle name, which are the most common variations. (There is another option where you create an entirely new name.) The benefits of those two options can be in retaining a connection to your old name or even being easier to find on social media.
Places You Need to Change Your Name
1. Social Security Card
After your certified marriage license is sent to you (or you pick it up), you will want to apply for a name change on your social security card.
2. Driver’s License
This will require a trip to the DMV, but you’re married to the love of your life, so it’s worth it! You will want to bring all the required forms of identification which include your current driver’s license, your updated security card and your certified marriage certificate.
3. Bank Accounts
Whether you’re sharing accounts with your spouse or simply changing your own accounts, you’ll want to go into your local branch with your marriage certificate and your newly acquired driver’s license. You will want to request all new checks and/or debit cards with your married name. If you have a mortgage/loan out with this bank, take this opportunity to switch your name on those as well.
A name change can impact your taxes, so it’s important to make sure your tax returns match your Social Security records.
Note that part of this process will also include making sure your employer/payroll records have your new name, so that it will be correct on your W-2 and other documents.
5. Voter Registration
This one doesn’t come up often, but you don’t want to miss out, so be sure to tackle this one right away.
Fortunately, this is a very straightforward process similar to the IRS and voter registration.
7. Post Office
To be fair, this is more of a change of address than a change of name, but the likelihood is that you are moving, so let’s cover all our bases. The USPS has made this very simple with an easy online process.
Bonus to updating your address? People start to send you amazing coupons because they think you’re new to the area. From Pottery Barn to Office Depot and the local car wash, you’re about to get special offers from all of them.
We’ll talk about this in the pro tips later, but just a quick reminder that if you’re changing your name, make sure you take time to also update your address where appropriate.
8. Credit Cards
First, you will need to have your name changed on your Social Security card and your driver’s license. Changing your name on your credit card(s) isn’t a difficult process, but it may be time consuming depending on how many cards you have. From typical credit cards like Via and MasterCard to store cards like Ann Taylor and Macy’s — each card issuer may have a slightly different process.
First you will want to look up the name change policy for each credit card. This can be found on their website. This is where you will get the list of required items such as new ID and legal documentation of your name change. Some may require your Social Security card update, which is why you need to tackle your government-issued ID documents first.
The good news is that for some cards, you can do this process entirely online or by mail. There are some unique cards, perhaps from your local bank,etc. that will require you going into a local branch. The best thing is to gather your cards and make a comprehensive list of their policies in advance.
Now that we’ve covered the most urgent places to update your name, it’s time to review the rest. There are many, many places your new name needs to be updated that will vary based on your current lifestyle.
- Insurance companies
- Doctors’ offices
- Car title and/or mortgage/landlord
- Professional or educational associations, clubs and organizations
- Attorney’s offices
- Electric and utility companies
- Phone, cable and internet companies
- Financial institutions
- Online shopping sites
- Other service providers
- Social media accounts (That may be the most important — am I right?)
- Printed items like personalized stationary and business cards.
Last, but not least, be sure to update friends and family about your name change.
Letting Friends and Family Know
While your close friends and immediate family may know about your name change, there’s a lot of people that won’t — and it’s important to get the word out there.
1. Announce it on social media.
Update your name on your social media accounts. Even if your handle isn’t your name, the account is under your name. Then have fun and make a post about your new name with an “it’s official” post. Example: “I’m officially Katie Ann Smith now!” Let it reflect your personality, and mainly just have fun!
The name update alone will help people start using your new moniker. But the post will help bring it to people’s attention as well as give you a reason to keep celebrating your love — bonus!
2. Share your updated contact information via your phone.
This is a super easy way to help people start updating their contact information and all you have to do is share it with your contacts after you update it on your phone.
3. Send out an official announcement — old-school style.
It’s true! There was a time when it was common for newlywed couples to announce their marriage — including the bride’s name change — and their new location (i.e. what city they would reside in now).
While you are still very welcome to announce it through your local newspaper, the more effective route would be sending out announcements. This could go to friends and family — especially those that may not have been at the wedding.
You have all the technical information to change your name now, but we’ve got some pro tips to make the process even easier.
- Use this guide to make your personalized name-change list and find out how many of these places will require a certified copy of your marriage license, so you will know how many to request. This saves having to order multiple times.
- It’s recommended that you keep your old identification in case you need to prove your previous name.
- Double, triple, quadruple check the spelling before filing the new name!
- Don’t do things too early — that could cause logistical issues.
- If you are moving too, be sure to use this opportunity to change your address on things like your driver’s license, insurance, credit card, etc.
- If you’re traveling internationally for your honeymoon, it’s recommended to keep your maiden name, so you don’t run into any issues with your ticket not matching your official name.
- Professional help is available if this task seems overwhelming. Companies like I’m a Mrs, HitchSwitch and even Legal Zoom can help you with the process! If you’re working with a planner, consider asking them for recommendations.
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