Pamela is not only one of our beautiful brides, but an attorney at The thrilled that Pamela has offered her services as a guest blogger to assist our brides in legally changing their last names after the wedding.
Five Steps toward Using your Married Name in Florida
By: Pamela D'Alo Balaguera, Esq.
As we become less and less traditional, more women are deciding to forego using their husband’s last name. Others are still proud to use their husband’s last name from the get-go. Pursuant to Florida Law you are allowed to use your maiden name, your husband’s sir name or any combination thereof. You can hyphenate, use your married name only, use your maiden name as your middle name or use both last names.
Deciding to change your last name is a personal choice. Some women have decided that changing their last name is too confusing and would like to continue to capitalizing on the name recognition that has already gotten them so far in their careers. Some change it years after marriage because they have discovered how confusing it is to handle matters on behalf of their children when mom has a different last name. Some just don’t like their husband’s last name. Below are five steps to change your name legally. Please bear in mind if you hold a professional license that you must separately notify any professional associations of your name change and file the appropriate paperwork required by that organization.
Five Steps to Using your New Last Name:
1. Get married. (Congrats Mrs.!)
2. Obtain a certified copy of your marriage license. I suggest requesting and paying for extra copies when you fill out your marriage license application.
3. Obtain a certified long form version of your birth certificate. This can be done by going to the health department where you were born in person. If you cannot go in person find online or mail instructions by locating their website online.
4. Locate your nearest social security office. This can be done by going to SSA.gov. Be sure to bring your ID, marriage license and birth certificate. If you live in South Florida, I recommend the office in Plantation, Florida. I was in and out in 30 minutes. When you are at the office, go to the kiosk and get a number, then fill out the application for a replacement social security card. Let the SSA employee know specifically how you would like your name to appear. He or she should you two pieces of paper and your new social security card will arrive within 10 days. Mine came in less than a week.
5. After going to Social Security, wait at least 48 hours before going to the DMV. Do not attempt to do this step before going to Social Security because you will be sent away. You can locate a local office by going to www.flhsmv.gov. I went at 4:30pm and there was virtually no wait. Bring your ID, birth certificate, marriage license, the two pieces of paper from Social Security (or your new card) and at least two pieces of mail with your home address. Let them know you are changing to your married name.
The foregoing information was prepared by Pamela D'Alo Balaguera, a South Florida attorney who handles primarily civil and family matters. This is not intended as legal advice and is only a guide on how to change your name and obtain an ID pursuant to Florida Law. Please be aware that Florida Law prohibits issuance of IDs and drivers licenses to individuals who do not fit certain citizenship or residency requirements.