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NAME CHANGE CHECKLIST
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO FIRST...

With this name change checklist, you can cross that final hurdle on celebrating your marriage, by changing your name. Are you keeping His surname? Is he taking yours? Make sure you tell the world!

Here we are looking at:

Marriage is not the only reason to go through a legal name change. The information located in the UK residents and USA residents can be utilised as your checklist too.


NAME CHANGE CHECKLIST: KEEPING YOUR MAIDEN NAME?

Your maiden name is defined as follows:

The surname that a married woman used from birth, prior to its being legally changed at marriage.

Before your marriage, something to consider will be what affect the marriage will be having on your name. Everyone has their own thoughts on this, but some of the reasons for retaining your maiden name are listed here:

  • To separate Personal and Professional life
  • You are opposed to your spouses Surname
  • Your spouse wishes to change their name to yours
  • You are the last in your families blood line, and you wish for the Surname to continue

SEPARATING PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL LIFE

I have known several ladies that have taken this decision. Their rationale's have been quite clear cut. Here are some of the advantages for taking this option:

  1. Being a Sole Trader, where their name is also the Business name
  2. All professional qualifications are displaying the trading name
  3. All links to and from the business remain static
  4. Working with their spouse, therefore keeping separate identities

You may well have your own reasons for wishing to retain your maiden name. If you wish to separate your personal and professional lives, then you must ensure all legal and professional bodies are aware of this; as pertaining to your circumstances.


YOUR SPOUSES SURNAME

Ever heard a register of names and thought "poor soul" due to the name that has been read? I know I have. Without wishing to offend any readers there are some Surnames, that I know I couldn't be known as.

If you put your first and prospective surname together, and it doesn't work; or you dislike the potential grief your children could have. Now is the time to discuss with your partner, you never know may be they would like the opportunity to alter their own name.

My surname by marriage is Bates. I know that my husband did consider taking my maiden name as he had grief at school about being 'Master Bates'...

YOUR SPOUSE CHANGING THEIR NAME

For years, I had never come across anyone doing this. Then in the space of the last three, two gentlemen I know opted to go take their wife-to-be's maiden name.

For one of them, I know that the rationale was due to the breakdown of his relationship with his father. It was a decision that worked for him, his wife was happy to be the one that didn't have to amend all her details!

CONTINUING THE FAMILY NAME

For some, having an heir to the family name, is the key driver for altering their name when getting married. Whether this is the merging of both partners surnames, or even generating / using a brand new one!

Double-barrelled names in days of yester-year usually signified a baby born out of wedlock. These days however the stigmas that once used to occur with these surnames no longer do, which may lead you to consider merging your surnames one way or other.

In essence, you need to be happy to change your name. Whatever your reason, discuss it with your spouse, make sure you are on the same "page". There is nothing worse than one half of the partnership dropping the bombshell that they wish to change, merge or adopt the other's name or not as the case may be.


NAME CHANGE CHECKLIST: HOW?

Having decided that you are needing a name change checklist, how do you go about the process? Before we enter the Country specifics you will need to:

Choose your new name carefully - remember that Friends episode, the one with Princess Consuela Bananahammock? You don't? I have found this episode in YouTube.com, view it before you make any decisions!

Ensure that your new name has no legal restrictions or "fraudulent intent". For instance:

  • Avoiding bankruptcy
  • Pretending to be someone you are not
  • Using obscene words, number or symbols (there is an exception for roman numerals)
  • No Trademark infringement

Now for the country specifics:


NAME CHANGE CHECKLIST: UNITED KINGDOM

For a lady entering marriage, the wedding ceremony is sufficient to change your name, meaning that you will not require the name change checklist.

This is true if your intention is to either continue to use your maiden name or if you are taking your husband's surname.

You will need to liaise with the minister residing over the proceedings as to the details, as they will usually like to prepare the marriage certificate as much as possible.

For the ladies involved, your wedding certificate is the last time that you ever sign in your maiden name (if you are changing it), and from the moment the ceremony is over you can sign as your new name.

For those that are completing one of the following after their marriage you may need to change your name by Deed Poll to ensure that it becomes your legal name:

  • Double-barrelling your surnames
  • Making your maiden name a middle name
  • Meshing your surnames (merging of both surnames)
  • If your marriage certificate is not in English

Having researched this through I am able to advise you that it is possible to go through the Deed Poll process by applying online, by telephone, by post or in person.

Should you wish to proceed, utilising the official website to the UK DeedPoll Service, will stand you with the best advice and guidance.


NAME CHANGE CHECKLIST: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

In the USA, the process of changing your name, seems not as simple as I first thought it would be.

There are a few things that need to be done, and effectively anyone who is wishing to change their name should follow pretty much the same protocols. My research on this subject has outlined this name change checklist:

  • Firstly contact your local government office as there could well be state variations that you will need to comply with; obtain the appropriate paperwork to change your name.
  • Go through the forms that you will have been given / sent. You will find that you may require as much as these, or even more:The petition (deed poll) for change of nameAn order granting change of nameA legal backer formA notice of petition to the publicAn affidavit of consent (if applicable)An affidavit of service of notification to authorities (you will need one of these if you are deemed alien, ex-convict, or attorney).
  • Get these forms signed by the appropriate court clerk.

It's at this point, that I would strongly urge you to make copies of this paperwork for your own safe keeping.

submitting your paperwork

You may well get this approved by return.

You may also need to go to court and justify:

1) The reasons behind changing your name

2) The reasoning behind the name you have chosen

  • Submit your paperwork, to those stated within the completed forms and wait the designated time for approval.
  • You must then formally announce your name change. Depending on your resident state the obligations placed on how you announce this could mean an advertisement in the local paper to a notice pinned to the courthouse information board. Make sure you comply.
  • Lastly if you needed to do so, get the affidavit completed and returned to the appropriate offices also. You are then just waiting for your "Order Granting Change of Name" - this will form your new I.D. With this document you can now proceed to tell everyone about your new name.

NAME CHANGE CHECKLIST: INFORMING THE WORLD

No matter where you reside, you will want to formally inform everyone of your change of name. Its usually a happy occurrence and certainly not something to dread.

I know however when I did this back in 2005 there were different establishments that determined whether you had to inform them over the phone, via letter and some would (but not all!) accept an email, as long as this came from an email address they could identify as your name.

My Name Change Checklist I compiled by taking note, 3 months before the wedding of all the post that I received, and who it was from.

Noting the names, contact details for the company and any reference numbers meant that I was pulling together one spreadsheet of information.

There were however a few people that I forgot to inform(!) so to ensure that you don't make the same mistake, my name change checklist is here for your use.


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