Thursday, November 12, 2009

Changing Names in Chiiicago.

Whew, as far as changing names goes, I'm grateful to just be changing a few cards and documents rather than changing one of these babies:


Claudia is one lucky lady I'd guess. Anyway.

I was absolutely dreading the whole process from start to finish. It seemed very mysterious and confusing and like it would be difficult.

Fortunately, I found this fabulous Web site for Illinois residents to work through the name changing process. It walks through step by step exactly what order you should do things in, the forms you'll need to fill out for each office, and even form letters that you can modify and send out to notify your banks and other organizations about the change. And the Web site is free, free, FREE!

And, still, I put everything off. I absolutely could not motivate myself to go and pick up a copy of my marriage certificate, the Holy Grail to changing your name. Please keep in mind that my work is less than a 10 minute walk from the office where I can get the certificate, and their office hours (8am - 5pm) work perfectly with my schedule to allow me to make it over there. Heh.

Once I finally went there, I was in and out in less than 5 minutes! And about $20 poorer. I paid for two copies of the certificate (one copy is like $15, a second is $4, I thought it was smart to have a backup so as not to have to go back).

The next week, I headed on over to the Social Security Office to apply for my new card. Their office hours are not so friendly - 9am-4pm. What?! Really? Ugh. So I went over my lunch hour and after a 45 minute wait my number was finally called (I am guessing that I was lucky and this was a relatively short wait for that office).

My big concern was that I was taking my maiden name and moving it to my middle name, and then taking Mr. S's last name. There is nowhere on their Web site that states you can do this. From asking around and reading message boards, I learned that whatever you put on your application for your new Social Security card, you should be fine as long as you have your marriage certificate to prove the change. My name change on my card was accepted without the bat of an eye!

Less then a week later, I had my new Social Security card in my hand. And better yet, your social security card is FREE!

Feeling powerful with my new card and excited to put things into motion, I headed over to the DMV to get my new license. Mind you, the license I had was the one I got when I turned 21 and still had my parents' address on it (where I haven't lived for 5 years). I was sad to part with my old friend, but excited to finally have something with my new name on it to flash around (since flashing around one's Social Security card tends to be frowned upon).

There's an "Express" DMV in Chicago's Loop and I went there after work on a Friday (they are also open until 5pm!). There was NO WAIT, people. I worked with the nicest lady who autmatically asked me if I was moving my maiden name to my middle name and chatted about how much she loved my new Korean last name.

$5 and one surprisingly good picture later, I had my license!

Note to self: practice writing new signature before signing a card I will have for years to come. Doh!

I've since sent out all letters to my various accounts using the handy dandy form letter I found online, and am awaiting for new cards and changed accounts.

This weekend Mr. S and I are heading over to my bank, where we will change my name on all of those accounts AND add him onto the accounts, thereby starting down the road of the dreaded (on my part) joint account. Must. Stop. Buying. Clothes.

Part of me was sad to leave my maiden name behind, so getting to bring it right along with me and having it be such an easy process to do so has been fabulous. I officially feel like a Mrs.!

Did you have a hard time working the system to change your name?


Mel November 12, 2009 at 3:04 PM  

The SSA office was PAINFUL! 45 minutes? You're lucky. I think I was there an hour and a half. Also, married in June and didn't change name until October. You're way ahead of the game. ;)

For future brides, you don't have to wait for the new SS card to get a new license. And I just stopped in my bank (new license was just fine for ID) and called my credit cards. No letters needed.

Laura November 12, 2009 at 3:07 PM  

Yah, I think making myself do the SS first before I did anything else was partly because if I didn't, I would have majorly procrastinated on that one :) And I was worried about changing my maiden to middle, so I wanted that SS card to back me up!

You're lucky - I keep on getting told I have to send letters and a copy of the marriage certificate to everyone!

ChiBrideToBe November 12, 2009 at 3:47 PM  

This is SO helpful! I'm so glad you posted.

MLC84 November 13, 2009 at 12:29 PM  

Very helpful! Thanks a lot.

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