190703_jos_namechange.jpg

I feel like they should hand out instruction manuals with marriage licenses to make it easier for those who want to go through the name-change process after the wedding is over.

In a perfect world, it would be simple. You walk down the aisle with one name and you walk back with another. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a fairy tale, and things are never that easy. Thank goodness for those who have suffered through this before and have collected information to make our lives a little less stressful.

According to huffpost.com, after spending 13 hours trying to change her name and still coming home a Miss, one very frustrated newlywed spent nearly a year researching the name-changing laws in all 50 states and Canada. She developed MissNowMrs.com to help make the process simpler.

“Whether bride or groom, changing your name is certainly not mandatory by any means, but it is an important topic to discuss with your spouse,” huffpost.com states. “Newlyweds may be surprised by their significant other's thoughts and passion on the topic. It's important to know the options available before beginning the conversation, so both the bride and groom know how much wiggle room they have to compromise. Sometimes that's half the battle.”

You can make it easy on yourself buy purchasing the Hitchswitch Name Change kit. With a few simple steps, all of the paperwork you need is sent to you filled out with your information. If you prefer the old-school method of doing things, use the this list provided to ensure your name change goes smoothly.

1. Get your marriage license.

Before you can change your name, you'll need the original (certified) marriage license with the raised seal. Call the clerk’s office where your license was filed to get copies if one wasn’t automatically sent to you.

2. Change your Social Security card.

Visit the Social Security Administration's website and fill out the application for a new Social Security card. Mail in your application to the local Social Security Administration office, or just go through the process while you're there. You should get your new card within 10 business days.

3. Change your license at the DMV.

Go to the local Department of Motor Vehicles office to get a license with your new last name. Bring every form of identification that your local DMV instructs you to, including your current license, your certified marriage certificate and, most importantly, your new Social Security card.

4. Change your bank accounts.

The fastest way to change your name at your bank is to go into a branch location and bring your new driver's license and marriage certificate. You should request new checks and debit and credit cards on top of changing the name attached to your accounts.

5. Fill in the blanks.

Once you have a Social Security card and driver's license in your married name, other changes should be fairly easy. Some places only require a phone call, while others may ask for a copy of your marriage certificate or Social Security card. Be sure to notify:

-- Employers/payroll

-- Post office (if your address has changed too)

-- Electric and other utility companies

-- Credit card companies

-- Schools and alumni associations

-- Landlord or mortgage company

-- Insurance companies (auto, home, life)

-- Doctors' offices

-- Voter registration office

-- Investment account providers

-- Your attorney (to update legal documents, including your will)

-- Passport office

-- Airlines (to transfer over your miles)

That is a LOT to worry about after planning a wedding, but don’t worry. Make a list of everything that has your old name on it, and check things off as you get them changed. Eventually you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel and you can relax. Until you have to start on thank-you notes!