Documents to Update Following a Name Change

A name change might be necessary for a variety of reasons—marriage, most commonly, but also in the case of divorce, a change in a child’s surname, and a desire to adopt a new name over an old one. Most types name changes are carried out by the court order process, except in the case of a woman taking her husband’s name after marriage, where common usage will suffice. Common usage involves documenting the new name on a marriage certificate, and then showing this certificate to the Department of Motor Vehicles and Social Security Administration for a new license and social security card. Court order involves going to court to change your name and then getting a court order as proof of your new name.

The process of changing your name might sound a little intimidating, but having a checklist handy will make the process much easier. Here is a quick look at the most important things to keep in mind following a name change.

Driver’s License

As previously mentioned, this is one of the first documents you should update following a name change. You will need either a marriage certificate or court order as proof of your new name.

Social Security Card

This is the other major document that should be updated as soon as possible. As with the driver’s license, you will need either a marriage certificate or court order.

Banking Documents

Be sure to contact your bank regarding your name change as soon as you have your new license and social security card. The simplest way to do this is to walk into a local branch with your driver’s license or marriage certificate. You’ll need to change the name on your account, checks, debit card, and credit card.

Employment Papers

How name changes are handled will vary by company, but be sure to notify your employer of your new name so that the payroll will be up to date.


For those who have a passport, updating the name on it will involve applying for a new passport, providing proof of the name change unless you have changed your name following a marriage and have been issued a new ID.

Other Documents

There are also several other institutions you need to be mindful of, and the name change process will vary by institution. Be sure to contact each directly:

  • School or alumni association
    Landlord or mortgage company
    Electric and other utilities companies
    Telephone company
    Post office
    Doctor’s office
    Insurance companies
    Voter’s registration
    Your attorney