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How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Washington

Changing My Name After Marriage in Washington

There is no legal obligation for a couple to change their names after marriage in Washington. However, one of the spouses may decide to change to a new name by taking the partner's last name or hyphenating the partner's name. There is no centralized agency or database that automatically updates the new legal name for all state and federal agencies. To update a new legal name, interested persons must contact each agency independently. The individual needs various legal documents and different administrative processes to achieve this. One of the most important documents for a name change is a certified copy of the marriage certificate. To get a certified copy of a marriage certificate in Washington, the applicant has to request through the Washington State Department of Health, Vital Records Division. The marriage certificate reflects the new legal name of the applicant.

Interested and eligible persons may obtain Washington marriage records by querying the local courthouses or repositories in the judicial district where the marriage license was issued. These records are critical for a variety of other legal processes besides name change.

How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Washington

Generally, a legal name change in Washington take the following steps:

  • Obtain a marriage certificate or court order
  • Notify the Social Security Administration to get a new social security card.
  • Update passport and other travel documents
  • Get a corrected driver's license
  • Notify other government agencies, employers, and service providers

To update a name, the individual may hire the service of an attorney with vast experience in family law. The attorney may help simplify the process by obtaining the relevant forms and taking on administrative processes that may be complex.

How to Update Your Social Security Card in Washington?

An individual may inform the Social Security Administration once there is proof of a change of name. Application of social security card is free for residents of Washington and an applicant may take the following steps to apply for a social security card:

  • Complete a Formal Application

The applicant must then download and complete the application form for a new social security card.

  • Gather the Required Documents

The individual must enclose in the application a copy of a certified marriage certificate or court order. The applicant needs to also attach a copy of an identification document reflecting the old name, such as a driver's license. The identification document the individual is using must show the name as it is on the Social Security records.

  • Submission of the Application

Submit the completed application form and all the necessary documents in a self-addressed stamped envelope by mail or in-person to the nearest Social Security office. The processing time for application by the Social Security Administration may take up to four weeks which is dependent on the administrative workload.

How to Get a New Driver's License in Washington?

The Washington State Department of Licensing issues new driver's licenses to interested persons. To be eligible for a new driver's license, an applicant must have an updated social security card reflecting the new name. To apply, visit the driver licensing office in the county with proof of identities such as a stand-alone or A-list document reflecting the new name or copy of one of the following documents:

  • Certified marriage certificate
  • Certified court order
  • Original birth certificate.

In-person requests cost $10 while an online request cost $20. The applicant may also need to complete an application to change the existing name on the vehicle registration since the new driver's license does not automatically change the name on the registration.

How to Update Your Insurance Information in Washington?

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner Washington State regulates all types of insurance cover that residents of Washington subscribe to. When an individual change to a new name, the relevant insurance provider must be notified and may provide the individual a Change of Status Form. However, the methods these companies use may differ. Ensure to contact the relevant insurance companies for further information. Individuals may use consumer tools to find contact information on various insurance companies, agents, and agencies in Washington.

Ensure to update the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) with the new name. To do this, log in to an existing OIC Online Services account and select "Change Name.” The service costs and requires one of the following documents reflecting the new legal name:

  • A copy of a certified marriage certificate
  • A copy of a certified court order
  • New social security card

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner processes the name change within five days of receipt of the application. The office then notifies the applicant via a registered email.

Where Do I Go to Change My Last Name in Washington?

Persons who wish to change their last names in the State of Washington must file a petition with any nearby District Court. Visit the court to obtain the relevant form for the application, which is often county-specific. Typically, the petition form must contain the following information:

  • The current legal name and the new name
  • Birthdate and place of birth.
  • County of residence
  • A statement certifying the individual is not a registered sex offender and not an offender under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections.

Submit the completed form, appropriate fee, and a copy of a valid photo ID to the Clerk of the District Court. After successfully filing, the Clerk of Court assigns a case number to the file and schedules a date for the applicant to appear before a judge. In some courts, the hearing may be the same day the application was filed, while some may schedule for the next day. Each court maintains its procedure and schedule for hearing cases.

The actual hearing is easy and quick, with the judge asking a few questions to verify the information in the application. After the hearing, the judge either denies or approves the application. If the judge approves the name change application, file the signed order in the Clerk of Court Office. In this stage, applicants need certified copies of the order, which costs about $5 per copy, depending on the county. Send copies of the signed order to all persons or institutions who require it to update to the new name.

Note that some counties require applicants to record the signed order with the County Auditor. According to RCW 4.24.130(2), a felon serving time or on probation or parole must give written notice to the Department of Corrections five days before the name change hearing. Sex offenders must provide a copy of the order changing the name to the relevant County Sheriffs' office within five days. Failure to do this is a Class C felony.

How to Update Information With Washington Mortgage and Utility Companies?

If an individual who is a party to a mortgage deed changes to a new name, such individual must update the name with the relevant mortgage company. This applies to other real estate property agreements the individual is a party to. To do this, such individuals need to contact the relevant mortgage company to update these details. Some of these companies may reflect the change over a phone call, while some require that the applicant fills a form. If the company uses a form, the individual may submit it in person or send it via mail upon completion.

Generally, the company requires proof of a change of this name, which may be the certified marriage certificate or court order. Contact the relevant company to know the service and document the company requires to update to a new legal name. Meanwhile, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission regulates utility companies that provide energy, water, and telecommunication services to residents of the state. An individual with a new legal name has to inform the relevant utility company about the change.

The individual must send documents like a certified marriage certificate or court order via mail to the utility company’s address. These companies may update this information over a phone call, while some may require the filing of a name change form. Some companies maintain online platforms that enable the individual to update this new name on the company's dashboard.

What Documents Do I Need to Change My Name After Marriage?

An individual changing to a new name needs the following documents:

  • All old identity documents in the person's possession which include birth certificate
  • Certified marriage certificate
  • New social security card
  • Driver’s license
  • Other state-issued ID cards

How to Get Certified Copies of Your Marriage License in Washington?

Persons who need a copy of a certified marriage certificate must request through the Washington State Department of Health, Vital Records Division. To request, download and complete the application form. When filing the application form, the applicant must input the first and last name of the parties on the certificate and the approximate date and place the event occurred. The application fee costs $25, and the applicant may pay with a check or money order. The individual may send the complete form and the non-refundable fee via mail to:

Department of Health Center for Health Statistics
P.O. Box 9709
Olympia, WA 98507
(360) 236-4300

Alternatively, submit the application form in person at:

Washington State Department of Health Center for Health Statistics
Town Center 1
101 Israel Road SE
Tumwater, WA 98501
(360) 236-4300

In-person requests take a day to process, while mail-in requests may take up to six weeks.

How to Get a New Passport in Washington?

Residents of Washington who change to a new name may apply for a new passport through the US Department of State. The requester must download and complete the applicable application form. The applicant needs to attach the most recent US passport, certified marriage certificate or order of court changing name, and one color passport photo (acceptable photos). Send the documents and completed application form in a self-addressed stamped envelope via USPS, UPS, FedEx, or DHL to the address on the application form. The Department takes about twelve weeks to process each request. However, there is an option for expedited service if the individual qualifies.

When the Department issues a new passport, the old passport is sent along with a hole punched through it. While awaiting the new passport, one may use a PAN card, state ID card, and social security card as travel documents. This allows such individuals to go on domestic travels and trips to Canada, Mexico, US territories, and closed-loop cruises. The individual must also possess a certified birth certificate as proof of citizenship for reentry.

How to Change Your Name on Bank Accounts in Washington?

After obtaining a new Social Security card and driver's license, an individual carrying out a name change may go ahead to update the details of the concerned bank accounts and retirement account. Other details worth updating include credit cards, debit cards, and checkbook details. The individual needs to provide a copy of the certified marriage certificate or court order to process the update.

Generally, to update a bank detail with a new name, concerned persons must call the financial institution or visit the local branch. At the bank, inform the customer representative of an intention to make a name change. Alternatively, send a written request or an application for a change of name if the bank provides one. Once the bank updates the information, the new name reflects on all financial documents.

An applicant may need to update automatic billing and subscription with the new financial details reflecting the new name. Endeavor to contact the service provider to update all billing information with the new name. The process to use depends on the service provider, but most provide this service online via a secure platform. The next thing is to send the new banking details to one’s employer and to complete a new Form W-4 necessary for tax purposes, as explained by the Internal Revenue Services.

Proceed to update the new name through the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by filing a new Form I-9. Ensure to state the original hire date in Section 2 and attach the old form. Then attach a written explanation for the change and a copy of the certified marriage certificate or court order.

Washington is a community property state which means spouses have an equal obligation to repay debts incurred AFTER marriage. These rules only apply if the couple wants to come under it, and it terminates with a divorce, death of a partner, or change of residency to a common-law state. Meanwhile, a spouse listed as an authorized credit card user may provide the partner's financial information for automatic debt repayment.

How Long Does It Take to Change Your Name in Washington After Marriage?

It depends on the agency, the individual filing the name change, and several other external factors. An individual who applies to the Department of Licensing gets a new driver's license within five days of the application. The processing time for other government agencies differs.

How Long Does It Take to Change Your Name in Washington?

The process of changing a name may take several months. It is because the individual changing to a new name passes through different agencies to reflect the new name. These agencies operate differently and processing time may not be the same. To reduce the overwhelming process, interested individuals may hire a family law attorney to streamline the process. If the individual may not afford a lawyer, the applicant may do it and prepare the service’s cost since it is important.