Changing Name After Marriage in MA: A Simple Guide

Get Hitched the Right Way: A Simple Guide to Changing Your Name in Massachusetts

The process can seem overwhelming for newlyweds looking to take the plunge and change their name in Massachusetts. But fear not! With our easy-to-follow guide, you’ll confidently and easily navigate this legal and personal milestone. Say goodbye to confusion and hello to your new (legal) identity!

In Massachusetts, the process begins even before the wedding takes place. Couples must decide whether to change their names when applying for a marriage license. Once the marriage license is obtained and the wedding ceremony occurs, couples can start making their name change official on all legal documents, such as Social Security cards, driver’s licenses, and passports. It is essential to prioritize updating these documents to avoid potential complications, as inconsistencies in identification may cause issues in various aspects of life, including travel and financial arrangements.

The name change process can be both time-consuming and complex. Still, with careful planning and attention to detail, couples can successfully navigate the requirements established by the state of Massachusetts. Doing so will ensure a seamless transition into their new legal identities as a couple.

Changing Name After Marriage in Massachusetts

Marriage Certificate

After getting married in Massachusetts, the first step in changing your name is to obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate. This document is legal proof of your marriage and the basis for your name change. You can acquire a certified copy from the city or town clerk where you filed your marriage license application.

Social Security Card

Once you have your marriage certificate, you must update your Social Security card with your new name. To do this, fill out an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5) available on the Social Security Administration (SSA) website. Along with the completed form, you must provide the following documents:

  • Certified copy of your marriage certificate
  • Proof of identity (current driver’s license, state-issued ID, or passport)
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship (birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, or passport)

Submit these documents in person at your local SSA office or by mail. The SSA will process your application and send a new card with your updated name. This process is typically free of charge.

Driver’s License

After updating your Social Security card, it’s time to change the name on your Massachusetts driver’s license. Visit the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) website or a local RMV Service Center to complete the name change process. You will need to bring the following items:

  • Updated Social Security card
  • Certified copy of your marriage certificate
  • Current driver’s license or ID card

You might be required to fill out a specific form for name changes. When the RMV processes your name change, they will issue you a temporary license, and you will receive your new permanent license by mail within a few weeks.

Changing your name after marriage in Massachusetts involves updating vital documents like the marriage certificate, Social Security card, and driver’s license. By following this process, you can ensure that your records are accurate and up to date, reflecting your new name.

Legal Name Change Procedures

Court Order

To legally change your name in Massachusetts, a court order is required. An individual must file a petition with the appropriate court and attend a court hearing. Necessary paperwork, such as proof of citizenship and documentation from the Social Security Administration, must be provided during the process.

It is important to note that the court order is the initial starting point for name changes, whether they are due to marriage, adoption, or personal reasons. Once a court order is obtained, you can update your name with various state and federal agencies, such as the DMV.

Petition to Change Name of Adult

In Massachusetts, adults seeking a legal name change must follow specific steps. The first is completing and filing the applicable forms in the appropriate court. Forms usually include:

  • A petition to change the name of an adult
  • An affidavit of objections
  • A personal identification worksheet

Once these forms are filed, a court hearing will be scheduled. The individual seeking a name change must attend the hearing and provide any required documentation.

Divorce Decree

Changing your name after divorce is another process where a court order is necessary. During the divorce process, you may request the judge restore your maiden name or a previous one within the divorce decree.

Following the divorce and issuing a divorce decree, you should inform all relevant organizations and agencies of your name change, including the Social Security Administration and the DMV. This is necessary to ensure your name change is reflected appropriately across all essential documents, such as your driver’s license and Social Security card.

In summary, Massachusetts’s legal name change procedure involves obtaining a court order, completing specific forms, and attending a court hearing. A divorce decree can also restore a previous name if requested during the divorce process. Updating your name with essential state and federal agencies is crucial to ensuring accurate records and identification.

Required Documents and Fees

Proof of Name Change

You will need proof of your name change to change your name after marriage in Massachusetts. This proof usually comes in the form of a marriage license. Ensure you obtain certified copies of your marriage license, as many institutions require them for verification. Additionally, you may need your birth certificate, state-issued ID card, U.S. passport, and U.S. driver’s license as forms of identification.

Certified Copies

Obtaining certified copies of your marriage license and birth certificate is essential in the name change process. Certified copies can be requested from the government agency that issued the documents, such as the town or city clerk’s office for marriage licenses and the vital records office for birth certificates. There may be fees associated with obtaining certified copies, which generally can be paid with cash or money order.

Application for a Social Security Card

When changing your name in Massachusetts, updating your Social Security card is important. You can complete Form SS-5, the “Application for a Social Security Card.” This form (located at the end of this section) requires you to provide evidence of your name change (like your marriage license), proof of your identity (such as a U.S. driver’s license or U.S. passport), and proof of your U.S. citizenship (like your birth certificate). This form also requires your signature.

Once you have gathered all the necessary documents, you can submit your application for a Social Security Card in person or by mail. In-person visits require you to visit your local Social Security Administration office. To apply by mail, you must send it to your local Social Security Administration office, along with your certified copies and originals of your identification documents. Don’t worry – your original documents will be returned to you.

After receiving your updated Social Security card, you can update other documents, such as your driver’s license, passport, and various financial or insurance accounts. It is essential to contact each institution separately, as their requirements for name change documentation may vary. This may necessitate additional fees, so it’s important to gather that information ahead of time and prepare accordingly.

Form SS-5

Additional Considerations


After their marriage in Massachusetts, individuals who have undergone naturalization might require different procedures for a name change. They should consult their representative for specific instructions regarding any necessary updates to their citizenship records. To ensure no discrepancy in social security numbers and other crucial documents, individuals must communicate their name changes to the appropriate authorities online, in person, or through the mail.

Publication in Local Newspaper

As part of the name change process in MA, it is required to publish the new name in a local newspaper. The publication’s citation serves as a public notice of the change and should include the new and old names. Ensuring proper publication is essential for avoiding issues related to non-compliance with state regulations.

  • Submit the Notice of Intention of Marriage Form to the newspaper.
  • Keep a copy of that publication as proof.

Criminal Background Check

Before changing names, Massachusetts law mandates a criminal background check. This process helps maintain public safety by verifying personal information. To initiate a criminal background check, applicants must:

  1. Complete the Court Activity Record Information and Warrant Management System Release Request Form.
  2. Pay the required fee for processing the check.
  3. Provide any additional documentation as needed, depending on each individual’s circumstances.

Keeping track of all the steps, documents, and forms involved and double-checking the accuracy of all information provided can help ensure a smooth and successful name change process.

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How does one change their name after marriage in Massachusetts?

Obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate to change your name after marriage in Massachusetts. You can request this from the city or town clerk where your marriage occurred. Next, visit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) website to apply for a new Social Security card reflecting your new name.

What documents are required for changing the name on a driver’s license?

To change the name on a Massachusetts driver’s license, you will need your marriage certificate, current driver’s license, and documentation proving your identity (e.g., passport, birth certificate). Visit a Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) service center to complete the application.

Is there a fee to change the name on a driver’s license and other documents?

Yes, there is usually a fee for updating your name on a driver’s license, passport, and other documents. Contact the specific agencies to inquire about the fees.

Are there any steps to be taken after receiving the updated Social Security card?

Once you have received your updated Social Security card, you can update your name on other legal documents, such as your driver’s license, passport, bank accounts, and employment records. Notifying all relevant institutions of your name change is essential to avoid any discrepancies or issues.

Can a marriage certificate be used to prove a legal name change for both spouses?

Yes, a marriage certificate serves as legal proof of a name change for both spouses, provided it includes both their new and old names. Government agencies and financial institutions accept this document. However, it’s always best to check with the specific institution to confirm any additional requirements.

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