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Why I’m Going Back to My Maiden Name

Read Time: 5 min

Who do you want to be - Maiden names, Married names, and Personal branding for female entrepreneurs

Update: As of May 6, 2016, I've finished this process and my name is officially and legally "Jennifer Mattern" again.


Chances are good you've only ever known me as "Jenn Mattern." But that's not my legal name, and it hasn't been since 2012 when I got married. Soon that will change. I've decided to go back to my maiden name.

On numerous occasions, I've talked with other female entrepreneurs who were facing the same decision. That's what I'd like to do here, in case any All Freelance Writing readers are deciding what's right for them or regretting their decision post-change and thinking about taking their maiden names back. There's no right or wrong option here. Every woman's decision about this has to be her own.

My Initial Name Change

Being a woman and a business owner with a longstanding personal brand, deciding what name to use after getting married was a complicated decision.

I'd built my business on my personal reputation. Clients and colleagues all knew me as "Jennifer Mattern." I've been cited as a source on countless websites and in major media outlets under my maiden name. I have bylines under that name. I'd watched colleagues go through long drawn-out name changes professionally, trying to avoid losing and confusing people along the way.

I didn't want that. But I did still want some semblance of a "family name," not for myself so much as for future children (my mom and sister have different last names, and I preferred not to go that route if I have kids down the road). At the same time, I wanted to protect the privacy of my husband and any future kids. My business is very public. I wanted some way to have the same name as a cohesive family unit, but still operate publicly under my maiden name to shield them to some degree.

So I went with what I felt was the best option at the time. Instead of changing my last name to my husband's, I kept mine and tacked his on at the end (not hyphenated -- I actually have two separate last names).

That worked for a while. I could still operate under my maiden name publicly and sign contracts using my full legal name. It was kind of like writing under a pen name (of which I have several), but not quite.

But the truth is, I never fully embraced the name change.

I changed it on my social security card and driver's license, but never my passport.

I changed it with one bank but not my other one. The bank I changed it with couldn't even make my double last name work with their system. It was a nightmare getting both names included in my financial documents and on my cards. In one case they actually issued me two debit cards instead of one -- one under each of the last names. I kid you not.

I'm not only a U.S. citizen. I'm also a German citizen. And legally, in Germany, my name is still Jennifer Mattern -- not the double last name. I put off the process of changing it there (probably why I didn't change it on my passport here, which had to happen first). Again, you can see how committed I really was to my initial decision.

I still use my maiden name socially as well. It's funny. I was talking with my mom recently about the possibility of changing my name back. Her reaction? "You know.... I never really thought of you as a [husband's last name]." And do you know what? Neither have I! And I'm now in the process of going back to only my maiden name.

Deciding to Go Back to My Maiden Name

Going back to my maiden name isn't a sudden decision. I've been thinking about it for well over a year now. There are a variety of personal and professional reasons for this. Here are some examples:

First, there's the personal branding issue.

While it hasn't been a huge issue with clients, it gets trickier when I'm signing up for business services and websites where registering with your legal name is required. If that's shown publicly in any way tied to my account, I don't want to use my husband's name.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons I took the two-name route initially was to help me protect his (and any future kids') privacy given that my business operates so publicly.

Then there are the bank issues I mentioned before. It's a damn nightmare when I need my financial documents to match pretty much anything else. And the people at the bank were awful, trying to get me to agree to use a different version of my name in their system. My conversations with them tended to go something like this:

"No, you cannot hyphenate it and make it one name in my financial documents. That's not my friggin' legal name! Also, no, I will not let you enter Mattern as a second middle name so you only have to use my husband's last name on my cards, checks, and everything else. If I wanted to go by his last name, I would have chosen that as my legal name!"

Seriously, I need a new bank. (And funny story -- one of their bank tellers overheard all of this, and as I was leaving she pulled me aside to tell me Wells Fargo, where she used to work, was perfectly capable of handling this kind of naming issue. I'll keep that in mind, thanks!)

Then there's the personal side. Honestly, I don't know if I'll ever be fortunate enough to have kids. Right now I'm not even trying anymore while I focus on other things. So choosing a certain name in anticipation of being a parent just doesn't make a lot of sense anymore.

More importantly, while I thought I'd be thrilled to drop my last name because I don't particularly like having my father's, I found myself unable to let it go when I got married. Truth is, I'm attached to it largely because of my grandfather.

I adored him. He's also the reason I was born a dual-citizen, an immigrant to New York right after WWII. I'm a big family history nut, and frankly I like having that tie to him and my German roots.  It's important enough to me that I've already decided if, or when, I do have kids, I want them to each have my maiden name as a second middle name (my German citizenship will also pass to them, so I want them to have that tie as well).

As of now, I still have both last names. After a lot of back-and-forth with a few government offices about who needed to change my records first, I think I have it all sorted out. But that came a little too late unfortunately. My state's presidential primary is coming up in a few weeks, and I don't want to risk any confusion in the voter records if the name change doesn't finalize quickly enough. So I'm waiting until the end of this month to make it official. But by early May, the name you know me as will reflect my legal name again.

My situation certainly isn't typical. Most freelancers don't have to worry about changing legal names in multiple countries, and they probably won't run into the banking issues I did if they choose to simply switch names rather than double up. But hopefully this gives some of you something to think about. Changing your name can affect you in unexpected ways. You probably have more married name options than you realized. And sometimes you might even regret your decision and decide to switch back. And do you know what? That's totally OK!

Now I'd love to hear from you ladies (and gents, if any of you decided to take your wife's name or combine them in some way). When you got married, did you keep your maiden name or change it? How did it affect your business? And have you ever considered changing it back?

31 thoughts on “Why I’m Going Back to My Maiden Name”

  1. Here’s a twist for you: My sister started her graphic design business when married to her first husband, so after they divorced she kept his last name because it’s what her clients all knew. (I do remember her saying she liked that the name is shorter and quicker to write.) She re-married a few years ago, but didn’t take her current husband’s name. So she’s married to hubby 2 but uses hubby 1’s name.

    When she and her current husband were married, they toyed with the idea of taking an entirely different surname, but realized that would be an even bigger headache for both of them!

    Reply
    • LOL That certainly does sound complicated. I think if I remarried, I’d have a tough time deciding to stay with a first husband’s last name. But I guess that’s a risk you take when you’re in business. Tough decisions all around!

      Reply
  2. Hey, Jenn, I hope you don’t mind if I take things “slightly” off topic regarding the name change. I am divorced and never took my wife’s name (nor she mine). However, I use a pseudonym based on wanting to keep my online identity separate from the identity I have during the day. All it takes is one person to Google your name to find out other “activities” you are involved in.

    Names are not easily decided upon (and if you’re trying to build a personal brand in the long term then you definitely need to consider the impact of changing at some point). I would say that women definitely have a more difficult time of it than men because of the occasional social pressure for them to take their husband’s name. And then there are women who intentionally take a name that could represent either gender–Pat, Terry, etc.–to avoid potential discrimination.

    Good luck figuring it out. I’m sure you’ll make the right choice. Jay

    Reply
    • Thanks for your insight Jay!

      Pen names are always an option to consider, and they absolutely have a place. They’re also a big commitment and can cause just as many problems if you want to change them later (so make sure you love them, that they suit the image you’re going for, etc.).

      The gender-neutral issue is something else women often think about. Personally I’ve never felt held back because I’m a woman. This (and PR, which I pursued before writing exclusively) both seem to be very female-friendly industries, and most of the colleagues I know who I’d consider extremely successful are women. So it could be worse! I ended up with a gender-neutral name for my horror writing — A.J. Klein. But gender had nothing to do with it. I wanted it to be something different than the name I use for mysteries (cozies and horror might both involve a lot of death, but they’re not close enough that I’d want to market them under one name). At the same time, the target readers do have some crossover, so I wanted the names similar enough that I could also cross-promote when it made sense. The mystery pen name is Aria Klein. So I figured I’d keep the last name the same and go with initials instead of a first name, sticking with the A first to tie it to the other pseudonym, and then using my real first initial alongside it. If anything I’m more concerned about making sure readers know I’m a woman in the horror genre, so I make sure my face is plastered on pretty much every page of the site. Hopefully I don’t get mistaken for a man there. 😉

      I can understand your concerns with using your real name. I’ve dealt with a few crazies over the years — one guy went so far as to track down my address and phone number and call me to threaten to “destroy” me and my business (all because he got banned from a community I helped moderate at the time because he was scamming members — totally bonkers). So yeah, if safety is a concern, such as if you write in a sensitive niche, a pen name might be the best option.

      In my case, I was already in business as a PR consultant — not the kind of field where you’d generally use a pseudonym. And I transitioned the PR writing side of my business, alongside some part-time blogging and business writing I took on at the time, into the business I have now. So I already had a reputation through a very popular PR blog, plus with clients who transitioned to the new business with me, meaning a name change would have caused branding issues from the start. I’m happy with using my maiden name though, so it was the right decision for me. It’s definitely something everyone has to figure out for themselves. And I appreciate you bringing up the point that men have reasons to be concerned about names and personal branding as well. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Hi Jenn, I opted to change my name by deed poll to add my husband’s last name to my maiden name (non-hyphenated). That made anything I’d published under Sharon Hurley was still easily attributable to me.

    I’ve had the same issues as you because of the lack of hyphenation. Some systems won’t cope with it, so I end up with about three different versions of my surname, none of which is legally correct. And my daughter (who shares my surname) has the same issue.

    I’m also a dual citizen, and although I’ve been able to change most paperwork over the years, there are still a few instances where I remain Sharon Hurley. If I had it to do again, I’d probably just have kept my maiden name. Now, it would be just as messy changing everything back. 🙂

    Reply
    • I’ve known you for how long now? And I didn’t even think to ask you about the double last name thing before making that decision. How did that happen?

      The international thing is a big deal. I still haven’t bothered getting my German passport, and it’s time to do that. But the process is going to be severely drawn out if I don’t go back to my maiden name. First my U.S. passport has to match my other ID here. Then I can use that to process my name change in Germany. And after that’s finished, then I can get the German passport. And why go through that drawn out process only to have to do it again later to try to change things back (and I have no idea how difficult that would be in Germany — here it’s pretty straightforward at least)? I know I’d want to eventually, so it may as well be now, before I end up with more documents that’ll need to be changed over later.

      You know? I think Lori has a similar issue to us. This is awful. I’ve known her for ages now, and I couldn’t tell you her actual last name. I’ve seen her as Widmer obviously. I’ve seen her with another last name (current husband’s I believe?). And I’ve seen her with both listed together. She’s a mystery. LOL I remember talking to her early on about the banking issues. I’m pretty sure she also ended up with different names in different places, but I could be mistaken. In this day and age, how can institutions like banks not be able to handle this. For crying out loud, even the government (state and federal) had no problem making this happen.

      Reply
  4. I’ve always found it odd that women would WANT to take their husband’s last name when they got married. For women in Quebec (which is where I got married), in fact, it’s not even an option. You can only change your last name if it is difficult to pronounce or “invites ridicule or has become infamous.” This has been in their Charter of Rights since 1981, and it’s due to the feminist movement.

    Only when we moved to the U.S. did it become a “thing” that I hadn’t taken his name… and usually most store clerks refer to him as “Mr. Roberts,” because my name is on all the discount cards, and everyone just assumes that’s HIS last name!

    Reply
    • That’s very interesting Laura. I had no idea the usual conventions were so different in Quebec.

      The funny thing is, when I was younger I never had any interest in taking a man’s last name. I was engaged at 22 (thankfully got out of that hot mess), and I had no intention of taking my then-fiance’s last name. At that point I wasn’t running my firm yet, so business wasn’t even a consideration. My current husband would have liked me to have just taken his name, but he respected my decision and would never have pushed the issue. For me, it didn’t even really cross my mind until I started thinking about kids and our weird family life (my mom kept my dad’s last name after the divorce so she’d have the same name as my brothers and me, but then had my sister with my stepdad, so she has a different name than my sis — and that doesn’t even account for step-siblings; very complicated blended family).

      I figured it would be easier to share a name with my kids when it came to things like school. Now, honestly, I just don’t know if I care. I figure having a different name than them couldn’t be any more complicated than this situation, right? LOL

      I’m sorry if anyone here in the US gave you grief about it. You would think keeping your maiden name is common enough these days that it wouldn’t seem unusual to most people anymore.

      Reply
  5. I didn’t get married or divorced, but this reminds me of when I decided to change my legal/birth name.

    I adopted a new name [paid a Canadian nameology company] but it was getting to complicated to explain to clients that they’d have to process my check in my “legal” name. In 2013, I legally changed my name. Why not? Celebs do it all the time and use stage names.

    The other conundrum I’ve run into is using my cell phone number for business which has a different area code from the state/county I now live in.

    Real quick…

    I lived in Arizona and kept my cell phone number when I moved back to Ohio. People just can’t grasp the fact that some of us [younger generations] don’t use landlines and that people move [some of us like to travel and explore the world]. Why change your phone number if you’re established?

    Fast forward to today and I signed up with Google Voice to get an Ohio phone number. I was getting tired of being asked, “Where are you located? [it’s on my website] Your area code doesn’t match your state.”

    Of course, if I move again, I’ll have to find out if I can disable my Google Voice and get another number to match the area code of where I’m living. Oh well.

    Reply
    • Amandah, did you change your first name only, or both your first and last? If you don’t mind me asking, how did your family feel about the decision? I’m intrigued because that’s something we so rarely hear about among writers. We tend to just adopt pen names and use our legal names for contract signings. I like how you went all-in! 🙂

      My husband has a similar phone issue to yours. His number is still from the Pittsburgh area where he’s from, whereas we’re on the other side of the state now. It’s not really an issue for his clients. But I get a kick out of it when a local business (like a pizza shop) hears it and assumes he called the wrong place. It doesn’t happen nearly as often now as it used to, so I imagine people are just getting used to that. Takes time for folks to pick up on some of these changes.

      Reply
  6. Sounds like a good time for you to revert, with all the German paperwork.

    The other hassle is that I end up having to walk around with a bunch of paper whenever I have to do anything official. Depending on the office I’m dealing with I might need a birth certificate, a marriage certificate, the deed poll or a couple other forms of ID.

    I learned recently that one department still has me in their system twice. You’d think they’d be able to figure it out in the 21st century.

    Reply
    • Oh wow. That’s crazy Sharon. Here you can do just about anything with two forms of ID. So as long as your SS card, license, and passport match, you’re good. Sadly, mine still do not. LOL

      Reply
  7. Jenn…I’m a Hyphenator (Terminator?)…Doing that does not solve all problems, either. I married when I was a teacher, so I kept my maiden name there because that is how my students knew me (and my mother-in-law taught at the same school!), but I was already officially hyphenated. It wasn’t a branding issue for me. My dad died when I was 21, and I married at 31–already feeling like I had an identity that I didn’t want to lose, as well as honoring my father. When I left teaching, I went by my hyphenated name only. Many times I have been met with, “Oh, you’re one of THOSE” when I would explain how I wanted my name to be. Sigh. What year are we in? Many systems still are unequipped to handle a hyphenated name, either, so I am often just both names shoved together. Seems like that is a hurdle the brilliant IT world should be able to overcome, no? At any rate, I can relate to much of what you share here, and I am glad you will enjoy the uniformed simplicity of being…you!

    Reply
    • You know, I didn’t consider age. But I married at 32, so what you say makes a lot of sense and could explain why I never let myself embrace the new name. By our 30s, we’ve had a certain identity for so long that it can be difficult to let that go.

      And I’m so sorry people give you crap about hyphenating. Then again, the next time a married woman who took her husband’s name says something like that, you could always flip it on her just like you said — “Oh, you’re one of those. What year is it again?” 😉

      I’m surprised to hear systems can’t handle hyphenated names. That’s so common it seems completely absurd! Having my names smooshed together is what the one bank did on a particular document (seriously, different fields could handle different things, so my name isn’t even consistent in that one bank’s system). At that point I pretty much just walked out of her office. The woman in charge of business accounts was a major pain in my ass in general — had to drive over 30 min to get to the bank THREE times because she kept getting my address wrong in different fields (only had me verify the address and such once), and they won’t fix anything for biz accounts over the damn phone. Such a nightmare. I’m sorry you’ve had to share in it!

      Reply
  8. Jen – I have been married twice and have never used my husband’s name legally. My current husband was “on the fence” about this and we reached a compromise that I would not change my name legally, but would use his last name socially. This turned into a nightmare of “what is her ‘real’ last name” and to be honest, I was never comfortable using his last name. So, I am back to using my “only” name – the one on my birth certificate – and am very happy with that decision. As a genealogist who has spent many, many hours tracking down female relatives, I appreciate the use of “one name per person”. The practice of women changing their name to their husband’s has long outlived its usefulness or, for that matter, it’s necessity. Be who you are and present that person to the world proudly!

    Reply
    • That certainly is tough — being known differently socially and legally. Friends mostly call me Mattern even though I have two last names. A few family members know and use my full last name(s). And other family members insist on only referring to me by my husband’s last name (even before I changed it!). I understand that some people are always going to prefer being traditional. I’m big on tradition in many ways. Just not this one. But like you said, it’s our identity, and ultimately our choice, whether that’s to keep our birth name or to take another.

      When I initially asked my husband how he’d feel if I kept my maiden name or doubled up instead of just taking his, he wanted me to take his. I think it was partly a tradition issue — wanting us to share that one family name. So I turned it around on him and asked him outright if he’d be willing to take mine or even merge them somehow into a new name if a family name was so important. He thought about it briefly and said “no.” When I asked him why, it was along the lines of “clients and people at work know me as [his last name]” and it would be complicated for him to change it. I just kind of stared at him for a minute, and it was like a light bulb turned on. He suddenly understood why I (someone who had been building a client roster for more than a decade longer than him) would not want to completely drop my maiden name. He was immediately on board with whatever I decided.

      I’ve only been involved with one guy who was completely against me keeping my name. We weren’t engaged, but were looking at houses (wanted to do that first given the market at the time) and starting to make plans along those lines. He made it very clear one day that if I didn’t take his name, he wouldn’t marry me. Period. End of discussion. He was ridiculous in other ways too (men should control the finances, women should cook and breed and take care of the babies, women shouldn’t speak their mind nearly as much as I do, etc. — it was as if women were meant to be owned and controlled). This was the same guy who, when we split up, told me I was “too smart and good at PR to ever keep a man.” Yeah. And by “good at PR,” he just meant I tended to win a lot of arguments and make him see my point — in his mind it was never that I actually had a good case in battles I chose to fight; it was me using some sort of PR voodoo on his poor little brain. Yeah. Really…. As you can imagine, I don’t much care for keeping my mouth shut, and there were some pretty horrendous clashes. I never sat back and gave into that crap. Thankfully that ended and I’ve since met plenty of real men who aren’t as threatened by women having their own minds and identities that they want to hold onto. I would have hated myself later if I’d married him and taken that neanderthal’s name.

      So while I can kind of understand where your husband was coming from in not being entirely on board at first, I’m glad he didn’t pressure you to stick with something you weren’t comfortable with. And as a fellow genealogy buff, I agree. It would be so much easier if records for women weren’t in two (or sometimes more!) names. I have lines that are almost impossible to trace now because the woman was married multiple times and records are so scattered. Very frustrating.

      Reply
  9. Thank you for posting this. I’ve been debating my name. I used to practice law. To look up my past, a person must know my maiden name. I like the separation, as it represents a fresh start.

    But, as a freelance writer, I offer my services to lawyers, so it would make sense to use maiden name. Then they could look me up in our state’s system to confirm my story. My married name is so common, but I was the only one in the world with my deceptively-simple-sounding maiden name.

    I’m also a dual citizen. I never changed my name in the UK, and actually it never crossed my mind to do so. You’ve given me even more to consider. Thank you!

    Reply
    • You sound like you might be a prime candidate for a double last name. Professional certifications and licenses add a completely different level of complexity.

      I’m not sure where you’re living now, so the rules might be different there. But when I was considering my initial name change I found out that (here at least), going with two last names means you’re allowed to keep your maiden name on professional licenses because it’s still a part of your legal name. So basically, you could keep your maiden name in the state’s system while technically having a longer legal last name. Then, as a freelancer, you could opt to go by just your married last name (the second one) as long as you sign contracts and such using the full name. Certainly complex, but it might be an option to consider. 🙂

      And it’s so cool seeing how many dual citizens are hanging around here. Wave to Sharon! 😉

      Reply
  10. And here I am, Lori Widmer. Not Lori Bean.

    For reasons too weird to go into, I never adopted my married name. I want to and I don’t. Where work is involved, I never even considered changing it, though one client does write checks to this Bean person. They took it from my email, which includes my husband’s last name.

    He’s okay with whatever I decide, if I ever decide. I’m happy to maintain my identity, having lost it once (more ways than one) with a failed first marriage.

    My sister has a similar situation. When she was teaching, she wouldn’t use her married name online. And that makes sense as you don’t want your students having that much access to your private info. Now that she’s switched back to law, she’s still maintaining the maiden-name-online thing, mostly unconsciously. I think it’s brilliant.

    In a world where people know way too much about us, it’s kind of nice to have a way to maintain some appearance of privacy.

    Reply
    • I can’t even imagine the complications your sister had to deal with as a teacher and writer. I’ve known a couple who used pen names for everything for fear parents would get offended and they’d lose their jobs. Doesn’t sound appealing to me. Then again, law could have similar issues in always having to be hyper-cautious about what you say publicly. So sticking with the maiden name online is probably smart!

      Reply
  11. And I just saw your comment. I am a mystery. LOL

    Widmer is my maiden name and my professional name. I started working as a Widmer. I’ll continue working that way.

    Bean is my husband’s name. On Facebook, I use it because we have family all over Facebook (and I rarely connect with clients there).

    My bank (which I think is the same chain you use, Jenn) gave me no trouble when I walked in and opened an account under my maiden name. That came in handy — when we applied for a marriage license, we were nearly thwarted by some by-the-rules dictator-type woman at the courthouse. Because my bank name and my SS# were completely different (old husband’s name — even more complicated!), she wasn’t having any of it. Her colleague, however, walked over as this woman went off with her hands in the air and her complaints still running, asked what my bank accounts were listed under. When I said Widmer, she issued the license right there.

    Even more complicated — my tax forms. I’m not Lori Widmer. I’m not Lori Bean. I’m Lori Kaminski. I never had it changed after my divorce. My bad! That’s the only reason I’m pushing to have the name changed to his — I do not want to leave this world with that other man’s name attached to me.

    Reply
  12. I did the same thing because I’m a writer and also because my given name just flows better than my married name. (Princess Jones is an odd name but it just “fits.”) On legal stuff, I use both names. On most social media, I’m just Princess Jones but if you’re looking for me on Facebook I’m Princess Jones Curtis (no hyphen). So sometimes when people call me Mrs. Curtis, it’s all good. But they can also call me Ms. Jones. Or just PJ. I don’t care. I’m not picky about it.

    I haven’t had any of the issues you’ve had, though. The only speed bump is when I’m trying to be completely legal and people try to hyphenate it. But I just correct them and it’s no biggie. I don’t think anyone’s ever given me trouble about correcting them.

    Reply
    • That’s right! I can’t believe I forgot you had the second name. As long as I’ve known both you and Lori, you’d think I’d remember your damn names by now. LOL

      I’m glad you haven’t had the issues I did with banks and such. I’ve been so tempted to leave mine, but I’m always worried it’ll just be worse somewhere else. There aren’t many bank branches near me, so getting to any to deal with the business account setup involves a big chunk of time. Don’t plan to stay in this area forever, so at this point I’ll just wait it out and switch later. No point in potentially having to do it multiple times.

      Reply
  13. I am so glad I kept my birth name through both marriages. I first married in 1977, when we were both in law school. I kept my name to be sure I retained my separate professional identity. We never had children.

    By the time I married husband #2, I had worked for 14 years and published under my birth name. We got married and moved across the country when I was starting a new job. I thought briefly about taking his last name, but hadn’t gotten comfortable with it by the time I started the job. I just couldn’t make myself do it.

    Having different names was especially convenient when we received unwanted phone calls, as anyone who asked for Mr. Oxman or Mrs. Drake obviously didn’t know us.

    When we adopted our son, I became more flexible — meaning that I answered to Mrs. Drake and only corrected people I was likely to deal with regularly. Actually, I was called “Ben’s mom” much more often. But by the time he got to kindergarten, the school directory had a “variant names” list. We just weren’t that unusual.

    It always seemed like too much trouble to use one name professionally and the other name personally. (What about volunteer work? What about friends one works with?) And family changes are hard enough without everyone at work hearing about them because of another name change.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Reply
  14. Just a quick update: Earlier today I completed my name change with both my state and local governments. My official ID is now for my maiden name again, and I’ll get my new social security card in the next week or two.

    Other than the waiting time at each office, it was pretty easy actually. The DMV was amazingly simple and quick — just gave them my old license and birth certificate and they gave me my update card. Easy peasy. The SSA change took slightly longer and required other documents, but once I handed everything over, again it was very straightforward.

    I’ve seen people online suggest that you can’t change your name with the SSA without a court order. Just an FYI in case you’re thinking about this: that’s not true (apparently would be if you’d changed your name 3 times already though).

    Reply

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