Changing your name in Texas

Many brides choose to change their last name to reflect their husband's and divorcees want to return to their maiden names but are often questioning how to do so after the wedding or the divorce. I'm going through such a process myself.  I've decided after almost seven years of marriage and four years of parenthood to finally change my name to the "family name". It's time consuming process which involves a lot of "notifications", phone calls, and and legwork.

1. Get several certified copies of Proof of Name Change.  

Brides:  get several certified copies of your certificate of marriage i.e. fully executed and recorded marriage license.  Divorcees:  Get certified copies of your divorce decree or if you're in the process of getting divorced, request that your attorney enter a one page order reinstating your maiden name that will be executed at the same time as your divorce decree. This will eliminate the need for you to pay for several copies of a very long order which usually ranges from 30-60 pages.

2.  Notify Government Agencies.

  • Driver's License. Take Proof of Name Change with you to your local DPS office in Texas. You will need to replace the ID so you can't go online like an address change.  You'll complete a form and then request that they update your voter's registration.  Two birds!  I got my new license in the mail in about a week and an updated voter's registration card shortly thereafter.
  • Social Security Card. Take the Proof of Name Change and your new license to your Social Security Office. You will need to complete the SS-5 Form, and take (or mail) your completed application and required documentation to your local social security office. You will need to provide proof of: (1) your legal name change (certified copy), (2) identity (new driver's license), and (3) US citizenship (if you were not a US citizen prior to the name change). The social security office will then notify the IRS.  Two birds!  
  • Passport.  This is a fairly simple process. If you have had your valid passport for over one year, and it was issued when you were 16 or older use the DS-82 FormIf your valid passport was issued within the past year use the DS-5504 FormIf you do not have a valid passport; your passport was lost, stolen or damaged; it has expired; or you don’t have proof of legal name change, use the DS-11 Form, which needs to be submitted in person. Fill out the correct form, then print and either mail to the Passport Agency or take to your local passport office. Make sure to include the appropriate fee, proof of legal name change, your old valid passport, and two passport photos. Locate the Local Passport Office nearest you. 
3.  Notify Everyone else! 

Most often your family and friends already know ;-) either because of their relationship with you or an announcement on Facebook.  But be sure to notify all those that you do "business" with whether personally or professionally.  Oftentimes these include the following:

  • Your Employer (payroll, medical plans, 401K etc.)
  • Banks
  • Credit Cards
  • Loans (mortgage, home, school etc.)
  • Investments (stock broker, mutual funds etc.)
  • Utility Companies (gas, electric, water, internet, cable, etc.)
  • Retirement Plans
  • Professional Organizations (professional licenses)
  • Doctors
  • Insurance Companies (Health, Dental, Life, Renters/Home Owners, Automotive, etc.)
  • Memberships (AAA, clubs, gym, etc.)
  • Professional Service Providers (attorney, accountant, etc.)