It’s important to note that NYC’s name change process will be very different from another city in NY State and even elsewhere in the country. Check with your local government for the rules, processes, and paperwork requirements.
Ok you’re married, now what? You may change your relationship status to married and possibly change your last name on Facebook. And that took all of 1 minute, so what’s next?! One of the many decisions you have to make after marriage is whether you’re going to legally change your last name. If you are my younger sister, this is not option. She plans to keep her last name after marriage (maybe even try getting her husband to change his). I get where she’s coming from; a name tells a lot about a person and it’s hard to let go of that identifier. Changing your last name is not mandatory and a completely personal decision – no one should force you to change your name if you don’t want to. But I was all for dropping my maiden name and wanted to make the change. After all, Marquis is a pretty sweet last name if you ask me. Changing your name is not easy. Once I began the process, I started to second guess if I really wanted to follow through (you will understand more after you read my steps below). But if you’re planning to change your name (at least in NYC) don’t loose hope because this post will make the process a lot easier, I promise!
Step 1 – Create a Petition
Again, this varies from state to state. First, you need to get approval for a name change from the courts. You have to file a petition via the Civil Court located (111 Centre Street New York, NY 10013). You can use this link to create your petition for you for FREE!
Step 2 – File your petition
Go to the court and file your petition at the clerk’s office. You will have to pay a fee ($65 fee when I filed my petition). BRING EXACT CHANGE.
Step 3 – Set a court date
After you have paid the fee, the clerk’s office will give you couple of options for upcoming court dates. All you need to do is pick one, see that was easy. The clerk will also give you a form that needs to be signed by your husband and notarized. The form just says your husband is aware you are changing your last name. The clerk will also let you know all the documents you will need to bring with you on your court date (Signed form, copy of marriage License, copy of driver’s license).
Step 4 – Go to Court
Show up to your court date but don’t forget to bring the necessary documents in step 3.
Step 5 – File your name in a local newspaper
Once your name change is approved, you will need to publish your change in a local newspaper (for a fee). The courts will give you option of cheap local newspapers. I paid $35. Once it published and the newspaper has sent a document in the mail, return that back to the courts and you will receive certified copies stating your name has been officially changed. But these copies are not free. You have to pay $6 dollars for every court copy. I purchased 3 to play it safe but you shouldn’t need more than that. Congratulations, you are now officially Mrs. “whatever his/her name is.”
Step 6 – Change that sh*t everywhere
Oh sorry I think I said congratulations too soon. Now, you have to change your name on everything: credit cards, bills, bank accounts, ID etc. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Most, if not all places, will need you to first change your name on you social security card. This process may change from state to state. New Yorkers, you can apply for a new SS card via the internet. This process is free and fairly quick. I received y new card in the mail after just 4 days.
Step 7 – Ok, Now Enjoy It
And pray to whoever your god is, that you will never have to do this again. And if you for whatever reason need to change your name more than once, my suggestion is to go with something fun, Like ‘Princess Consuela Banana Hammock.’
So I am not going to sugar coat it, this process sucks but I hope that this post will help make it suck a little less. At first, I got confused when someone calls me Mrs. Marquis. Often, I turn around to see if my mother in-law is around, but realize it’s me they are talking to. This past year has been full of changes and it’s been pretty exciting. I can say that over these past few months, being a Marquis has been pretty ‘effing’ awesome Good luck my fellow New Yorkers!
Again, check your local government before your start the process. NYC-ers, here’s a great place to start.