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At Law About Name Changes, we include links to sites that explain the procedure for changing one’s name, but we’ve neglected to mention the two easiest times to change your name–when you get married, and when you get divorced.

According to GLAD, “In addition to being a marriage application form, the Notice of Intention of Marriage form also operates as a legal name change document should you choose to change your name upon marriage. Questions 3A and 11A on the Notice of Intention ask for the surname you wish to use after marriage. By completing that question, your marriage certificate will identify you by your new name. A certified copy of your marriage certificate will allow you to change you name with the Social Security Administration. If you intend to marry but are not sure you want to change your name, you can always change your name at a later point. The advantage to changing your name at the time of marriage is that it allows you to avoid the $165 fee for initiating a name change through the usual process at the probate court. The usual process is still available to you if you choose to wait. ”

A similar situation occurs at the time of divorce. Divorce forms include a field in which you can request a return to your previous name, which is far simpler than filing a name change at a later date.

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