If you’ve recently gotten married, you’re probably ready to hide out with your spouse and enjoy your newly wedded (and family-free) bliss.
But before you book your honeymoon flight to that remote tropical island, you might want to take care of some paperwork — especially if you decided to change your name.
Read up on some key things you’ll need to take care of in your first year of marriage, including how to get proof of your marriage, obtain new identification, and file taxes in the second part of our Getting Married in Massachusetts blog series. Our first post can fill you in on what you need to do before the wedding to make it official.
Getting Proof of Your Marriage
There are many reasons why you may need to provide proof of your marriage, like changing your health insurance or getting a new license.
After your wedding, your officiant should file your marriage license with the city or town clerk in the place where you got it. You should be able to pick up a copy of your marriage certificate a few weeks later. A copy will also be kept at the Registry of Vital Records in the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (HHS). You can order a copy of your marriage certificate directly from that office if you choose. The original and any certified copy serve as proof of your marriage.
Changing Your Name and Getting a New ID
You can choose to change or keep your name when you get married in Massachusetts. If you’ve chosen to change your name, you should have included the new one when you filled out your marriage license before your wedding. Your name is automatically changed to the one listed on your certificate when your ceremony is conducted.
After you get a copy of your marriage certificate, you can apply for new identification, including a Social Security card, Massachusetts driver’s license, and U.S. passport. You should get your Social Security card with your new name first, because the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will check your Social Security number when you’re applying for a new license.
Once you have a new license, you should also update your voter registration with your new name to avoid any issues at your polling place.
Keep in mind that you may also need to change your name with other organizations, including your employer, health insurer, bank, and more.
Filing Taxes After You Get Married
Once you and your spouse are married, you can choose to file your state and federal income taxes as a couple, known as “Married Filing Joint.” You can still file individually if you prefer — in that case you would select “Married Filing Separate” when you’re preparing your taxes. If you file separately, there are limitations on the tax deductions and credits you can claim, so you should discuss both options with your spouse to figure out what makes sense for you.
You may not be able to file a joint return in Massachusetts right away in certain situations, including if you and your spouse were not Massachusetts residents for the same portion of that year or if you choose to amend your returns after you file.
Marriages Outside of Massachusetts
If you’re a resident of Massachusetts getting married out of state or you move here after you’re married, don’t worry. Ceremonies conducted in other states — as well as by designated people in foreign countries — are recognized as valid in the Commonwealth. To provide proof of your marriage or get new IDs in Massachusetts, just follow the same process with your out-of-state certificate. Massachusetts does not keep records of out-of-state marriages, so you’ll need to get your certificate from the state where you were married.
Of course, if you and your spouse really need a break after all the wedding planning and social obligations, the taxes and health insurance changes can wait — take care of your new IDs first and enjoy your honeymoon!
Do you have questions about getting married in Massachusetts? Ask us! Comment below or tweet @MassGov and we’ll do our best to hunt down the answers.
Tags: changing your name, destination wedding, filing taxes, getting a driver's license, getting married, marriage, marriage certificate, marriage license, married, name changes, out-of-state marriages, out-of-state weddings, social security card, taxes, wedding, weddings
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