Phoebe Buffay from Friends is one of my all-time favorite characters. She is funny, loyal, caring, and somewhat ditzy while at the same time incredibly witty. Phoebe notoriously changed her names throughout the iconic show – often using the aliases of Regina Falange and once even legally changing her name to Princess Consuela Banana Hammock!
As a family law attorney, many of the name changes I complete are easily accomplished in a divorce proceeding. Other times, a petition is filed with the Court for the sole purpose of changing one’s name. Regardless, once the name is legally changed, there are several follow up steps to ensure the new name is received and respected. Following are several practical tips for the newly-named individual to keep in mind:
- OBTAIN A CERTIFIED COPY OF THE COURT ORDER CHANGING YOUR NAME.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and possibly other institutions, will require a certified copy of the Court Order changing your name. Requests for certified copies must be made to the Clerk of Court.
- CHANGE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY CARD.
Visit the Social Security Administration’s website and fill out the application for a new Social Security card: https://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/. You will keep the same number, but your name should be updated. You generally receive your new card within ten business days.
- CHANGE YOUR LICENSE AT THE DMV.
Take a trip to the DMV office to obtain a license with your new name. Bring with you every form of identification the local DMV requires.
- UPDATE YOUR PASSPORT.
There’s nothing worse than being denied access to your long-awaited overseas vacation due to a passport issue! Visit the website of the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs to renew and update your passport with your name change: https:// travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/
- CHANGE YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS.
The fastest way to change your name at your bank is to go into a branch location, bringing your new driver’s license and the Court Order verifying your name change. You should request new checks and debit and credit cards on top of changing the name attached to your accounts.
- FILL IN THE BLANKS.
Once you have a social security card, passport, and driver’s license in your new name, other changes should be fairly simple. Some places only require a phone call, while others may ask for a copy of the Court Order verifying your name change or the updated social security card. Other places you might notify include: (i) Employers/payroll; (ii) Electric and other utility companies; (iii) Credit card companies; (iv) Landlord or mortgage company; (v) Insurance companies (auto, home, life);
(vi) Doctors’ offices; (vii) Voter registration office; (viii) Investment account providers; (ix) Schools and alumni associations.
If you have any questions regarding legal name changes in Iowa, Nebraska, or South Dakota, give our office a call. As the Friends’ notorious theme song goes: “I’ll be there for you!”
The information contained above is for informational purposes only, and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. You should not act or rely upon this information.