Changing Your Name

July 26th, 2011
Just Married!

Just Married! Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

A client asked me today about the rules for name changes after marriage.  I couldn’t recall the law in Illinois right away, so I went and looked it up.  The law was changed in Illinois sometime in the last several years to allow either party in a new marriage to change their last name to that of their spouse.  Until the law was changed, only women could change their name upon marriage without going through the courts.  Now, the law is more egalitarian.

The client who asked wanted to know whether he and his fiancee could combine their names to make a new name.  It looks to me as if the law doesn’t account for that possibility, but I would guess that there would be nothing to stop them.

If you’re going to change your name, remember to do all the paperwork.  Alert your employer, the DMV, your banks, the post office, your insurance companies, the utilities, the Social Security Administration, credit card companies, your mortgage holder, and anyone else who needs to know.  You’ll need extra certified copies of your marriage license (not photocopies) for some or all of these.  There is a good summary of the steps necessary on