A new identity

Published 7:00 am Sunday, January 1, 2017

What brides need to know about changing their last names


Story by Neal Wagner


Aside from the diamond rings, engagement parties and furious wedding planning, brides-to-be and newlywed women should also plan some trips to government offices both before and after the big day.

Brides who want to change their last name have additional trips to make after the wedding day.

Before a couple’s wedding day, the bride and groom should take a trip to the Shelby County Courthouse in Columbiana to apply for a marriage license with the Shelby County Probate Court. The probate court is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday–Friday, but court officials request applicants arrive no later than 4 p.m. to allow enough time to complete the process.

Marriage license applicants must present a valid government-issued photo identification, and must pay a $75 fee via cash or checks only.

The bride and groom must then give a copy of the marriage license to the ordained or licensed minister or judge who performs the marriage ceremony within 30 days from the date the couple applied for the license.

The judge or minister will complete the license and return it to the marriage license clerk, who will mail copies of official license to the bride and groom.

After receiving a copy of the marriage license, the bride can use the document to make the other changes necessary after the big day is over.

The bride should first take her marriage license to the nearest Social Security office, which can be found by visiting Socialsecurity.gov.

After the bride officially changes her name with the Social Security office, she can then change her name on documents such as driver’s licenses and vehicle titles at one of Shelby County’s three driver’s license offices.

For a woman to change her name on home- and automobile-related documents, she must bring her updated Social Security card, marriage license and any other required documentation, to the license office in Columbiana, Inverness or Pelham.

The license office website at Shelbyal.com outlines the requirements for updating a wide range of documents.