There are few things that signal a new phase in life more than changing one’s name. While it can be exciting to share the change with friends and family, it will take a little more work to memorialize the change to go about your day-to-day life. However, taking the steps to do so early on can save time and headaches in the future. The guide below is designed to help you take those steps.
Certified Divorce Decree
Obtaining a “certified” copy of your divorce decree is your starting point. There are several ways to obtain a certified copy. If you were represented by an attorney, he or she can make the request electronically through the court’s e-filing system. You can obtain a copy by visiting the courthouse where your divorce was granted. Or you can request a copy by mailing a written request to the records center at the court where your divorce was granted. To obtain the certified copy you will need the following information:
- Names listed in the decree
- File number
- Courthouse location
- County of the court
- Fee per Copy (typically about $16)
If your divorce was filed in Minnesota, you can also find information regarding certified divorce decrees at www.mncourts.gov. It is recommended that you order several, as many identity providers will require a certified copy and hold on to it for their records. Keep in mind that removing the staple voids your certified copy!
Obtaining New Identification
Once you have obtained your certified divorce decree, updating your identification is a good next step. The following resources can be used depending on the form of identification you are updating.
- Driver’s license: Go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles office, fill out the appropriate form and submit it with the required documents
- Passport: Go to travel.state.gov, fill out Form DS-5504 if your passport was issued less than one year ago, or Form DS-82 if your passport was issued more than one year ago. Submit your form and the required documents as directed on the form.
- Social Security Card: go to socialsecurity.gov and follow “Change Your Name” link in the Menu.
- Voters Registration: Re-register at www.sos.state.mn.us
- Veteran’s Affairs: Call the DMDC Support Office at 800-538-9552 to update your DEERS information
Think about every business, medical or financial professional and financial institution with whom you interact and start making a list. These business relationships are essential, and it is important that they have your updated information. You will be issued new debit and credit cards with your updated name. You will want to quickly update any automatic payments linked to the old cards. List out your utilities, shopping websites, streaming services, magazines and other publications, online subscriptions, and any other accounts where you will need to update profile and/or payment information. Don’t forget any charitable organizations with whom you are associated or donate to.
The IRS verifies the names and social security numbers on every tax return with the Social Security database. Use your former name if you file your tax return before changing your name with the Social Security Administration. A mismatch will result in your return either being rejected immediately or the IRS sending a letter requesting clarification, which will delay any refund you may be due.
Friends, Family, and Social
Remember to change your social media profiles. And finally, send out a mass email or group text to family and friends. Better yet, plan a celebration with family and friends to celebrate a new chapter in your life!