How to Change a Name After Marriage in North Carolina

By Laura Payet

How to Change a Name After Marriage in North Carolina

By Laura Payet

If you're a North Carolina resident who's recently married, the process for recognizing a name change legally is simple as long as your marriage license shows your new name. In years past, tradition and societal expectation dictated that a woman take her husband's last name after marriage. Now, however, many women choose to keep or hyphenate their names, and spouses of all genders may choose to take a partner's name or combine both names into something new.

Couple working on a laptop together

For reasons other than marriage that involve court proceedings, you can save time by working with a specialist to complete your name change.

1. Obtain a certified copy of your marriage license.

A certified copy of your marriage license is essential to update both your Social Security card and your driver's license. You'll want to wait at least 10 days after your wedding though to be sure the license has been returned to the registry office. If you don't have a copy, start by requesting a certified copy from the Register of Deeds office in the county where the license was issued. You can submit your request (and the applicable fee) in person, by mail, or online.

2. Prepare an application for a new Social Security card.

Once you have a certified copy of your marriage license, you can use it to apply for a Social Security card with your new name. Complete an application and assemble the necessary supporting documents. The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires proof of age, identity, citizenship, and new name. Your marriage license serves as proof of your new name. Other acceptable documents for proof of age, identity, and citizenship include a certified copy of your birth certificate, passport, North Carolina driver's license, or state-issued ID card with photo.

3. Submit the application to the SSA.

After you have completed the application and gathered your supporting documents, take everything to your local SSA office and apply for a new card in person. You can also mail your application and evidence to the Social Security office or Card Center that serves your area. The SSA requires originals or certified copies when you mail your application and will not return your documents until your application has been processed. There is no fee for a new Social Security card.

4. Update your North Carolina driver's license.

North Carolina law requires you to notify the NCDMV of your name change within 60 days of your wedding. According to the NCDMV, you should wait at least 36 hours after applying for a new Social Security card before you request an updated driver's license or ID card. You must apply in person at an NCDMV driver's license office with the certified copy of your marriage license and your existing license. If you have your new Social Security card, bring it as well. There is a small fee. The NCDMV's Helpful Hints page recommends visiting in the early morning or early afternoon to avoid a long wait.

5. Change your name with other important businesses.

Once you have changed your name with the SSA and the NCDMV, don't forget to notify other government agencies or companies you do business with of your new name. These include banks, investment companies and other financial institutions, insurance companies, and medical professionals.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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