From Miss to Mrs. 

The name change process is definitely something to be patient about. I wish someone informed me of this long dreaded process! Not only is it long, but you really have to think about how you would like your name PRIOR to getting your marriage license. Had I known that, I would have thought about how my new legal name would be… but alas, I am forever stuck with the name I put down when we got our marriage license. I’ll eventually get used to it, but right now, I’m pretty much on an identity crisis.
SO a few tips and tricks on name changing:

1) Before getting your marriage license, make sure you absolutely know how you want your name legally changed. Once it is on the marriage license, that will be your forever name once you are married. Again, had I known, I would choose differently.

For example, my birth name is Jenilee Dee Gayda. I had trouble whether i should drop my middle name, last name, or hyphen my last name. I went from Jenilee Dee Gayda-Castillo, to Jenilee Dee Castillo, and Jenilee Gayda Castillo. I LOVE my middle name, its simple and its ME, but i also LOVE my last name. I love being known as a “Gayda.” However… at the court house, I wrote down Jenilee Gayda Castillo. Thinking back, i wish I had kept my middle name and just dropped “Gayda.”

2) Once the marriage license is submitted by your officiant, it takes two weeks to process and get into the system. Once it is in the system, I requested 2 legal copies; one to keep at home & one to use for the name changing process.

3) After you have your marriage license in hand, first thing to change would be your name on your SSN card. That also takes about two weeks to receive in the mail. You would need the SSN form & your marriage license.

4) Once i received my SSN, I changed my drivers license. That also takes another 2 weeks to receive in the mail. You will need a copy of your marriage license, and the CA DL form, & $27 for your new DL. Dont forget to do your face because you WILL take a new picture.
Also double check your paper work and make sure your name change has actually been changed. I noted in the application I was changing my middle and last name, but the person working the desk had only changed my last name. It was when i got home i checked my “paper license” and it showed “Jenilee Dee Castillo”. I had to drive all the way back to the DMV and cut the line to the person who worked my “case” to fix my name since she didn’t thoroughly check my drivers license application.

5) Next step, I filled out paperwork to get my passport updated with my married name. There is no cost get your passport updated. I sent in the passport application, an actual copy of my marriage license, and my current passport. It took about 4 weeks to receive my new passport in the mail.

6) Once the “important” name changes were completed, I called and faxed notifications of my name change to my banks, credit card companies, store credit cards, all my flyer miles, student loans, and everything i could think of that would need to match my new name. I left my name the way it is to some places, since its not really needed to change.
Most banks, credit cards companies, and airlines are most likely to ask for a copy of your marriage certificate. I personally called them and asked them if they needed it to be faxed. From there i faxed a copy of my drivers license, SSN, & my marriage certificate with a faxed cover letter.

7) Remember to be CLEAR! Because i wasn’t clear on my name change, make sure your fax cover letter states what needs to be changed. Since i dropped my middle name and added my maiden name as my middle name… i didn’t specify i needed that change as well, even though it states in the marriage certificate SSN, & drivers license. I had to send corrections to the companies stating to change my middle name and last name from “Dee” & “Gayda” to “Gayda” & “Castillo” even after they changed my name. So remember to be clear on what needs to be changed.

Just a few tips and tricks, & things to avoid for those who are planning to change their name. Hope my experience helps brides-to-be out there. (:

XO, mrs. J Cas.


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