Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Hard Stuff - Name Change

For those of you that have read most of our posts, you might remember how Andy and I decided on a single family last name back in August.  That post touched on each option we looked at and how we went with Magee.  However, we also decided not to start the name change right away.  In our home state of Washington, marriage is up for a vote in the November election.  With polling looking favorable, Andy and I thought that we'd celebrate being officially married (rather than in a domestic partnership) by doing the name change after the election.  Of course, recent events have certainly changed that timeline since we want the adoption to reflect our joint last name!

It hasn't even been two full weeks since got the call, but it's been a busy time for us.  After expecting a wait much closer to 2 full years, we've been crunching a lot of things into a short time frame!  One thing on my end has been the name change...and wow.  I never knew it would be so involved, or maybe I was just in denial.  The latter might be more accurate  :)

Changing your name is both surprisingly easy and also really, really hard.  Going through the process of filing with the court and then sitting in a court hearing for your 60 seconds of glory with the judge - easy.  Chasing down all of the following - hard:

> Drivers license, social security, vehicle registration, voter registration, insurance, bank accounts, work information, utilities, email accounts, passport, etc.

After meandering my way through part of the process, here's some tips that I'd pass on to any of you that might consider a name change in the future:
  • Give yourself a timeline  (I'd procrastinate for weeks if not for the adoption)
  • If you have to file in court, never assume a court time of 1:05pm means your hearing will actually be at 1:05pm.  Taking War & Peace to read while you wait your turn is entirely appropriate.
  • Never change your name the week of a voter registration deadline
  • Time your process to avoid airline flights.  I'm traveling on Friday and am waiting for TSA to hate on me.
  • Think ahead about all of your accounts for email, twitter, skype, etc.  If your accounts all have your old last name, decide if you want to keep them or switch to new ones.
  • Practice signing your new name before you look incredibly incompetent as you sign your brand new drivers license that will stay with you for years.
    • Note: Moving your old last name to your middle name is great as you can smoothly transition from signing your old name into just signing your new full name.
  • Make a list of everything you need to update no matter how small.  Otherwise things are guaranteed to fall through the cracks.
With all of that, I'm not done with the process, but I'm far enough along that I'm going to switch to my new name in the most official place possible: Facebook!  Ok, maybe not the most legally official place, but just roll with it  :)

1 comment:

  1. It is oddly satisfying to hear a male's experience with the name-change headache!! My recommendation to you, have several copies of your official court documents handy for the next five years or so. You will need them for the strangest thing, like changing your name with frequent flier programs.