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How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Arizona

How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Arizona

After a marriage ceremony, wedded pairs can decide to change their last name, use a hyphenated combination, change their first name, take a maiden name as a middle name, or create a new last name. Whatever the preference, couples typically do this to reflect their new civil status, and for personal and cultural reasons. One of which is to feel like a family unit.

Post-marriage name changes involve several administrative and legal procedures in the United States. In Arizona, this process is simplified. It does not include petitioning a court, except for the more complex alterations — like creating a new last name or dropping a name again after undergoing the name change process. Also, the time between requesting and getting a name change in the state may be shorter as some agencies process the requests within 24 hours or the same day.

Generally, to legally assume a different name after marriage in Arizona, the spouse must have a certified copy of a marriage license, which justifies the name change. The Clerks of the Superior Court provide this document. The individual must use this document to notify the government and private agencies with their old name records — for instance, the passport office or an employer — to avoid any issues later on. Usually, this modification requires spending some money. Besides facilitating the name change process, Arizona marriage records can also be used for a variety of other legal functions. Hence, interested and eligible members of the public may request to view or copy these records from local repositories or court custodians.

How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Arizona

Changing a name after marriage in Arizona involves the following steps:

  • Purchasing a marriage license and tying the knot.
  • Acquiring a certified copy of a marriage license. Some county clerks, for example, Yavapai County, may issue certified copies of a marriage certificate instead. Regardless, it is the same document.
  • Updating the name on a social security card, driver’s license, and U.S. passport.
  • Altering this information in other places, such as a utility company, insurance agency, bank, or school.

The legal name change process can be initiated and completed by a spouse. However, some people may opt to hire a family law attorney to deal with it. The lawyer helps identify the crucial name change applications in Arizona and ensures that they are submitted to the relevant agencies after one’s marriage.

How to Update Your Social Security Card in Arizona

The Social Security Administration (SSA) handles name changes for couples who want to update (correct) their social security (SS) card in Arizona. This is usually the first office that most people apply to for a name change. To obtain a corrected SS card, the individual must complete Form SS-5, titled the “Application for a Social Security Card.” This form can be downloaded from the SSA’s official website.

Along with the form, the individual will be required to submit other documents as well:

  • Proof of legal name change document—the original or certified copy of the marriage license or court order
  • Current proof of identity document that shows the applicant’s name, date of birth or age, and a recent passport photo. Examples are a U.S. passport, Arizona driver’s license, or state-issued non-driver ID. Where the applicant cannot provide these documents or get a replacement within 10 days of the request, the agency will accept an employee, school, or U.S military identification card, or a health insurance card (non-Medicare). These documents must also be current and show the requester’s name, age or date of birth, and recent photograph.
  • The agency may also require the applicant to provide a U.S. citizenship document (birth certificate or passport), but only if the applicant has not verified this before.

The good news is that applicants are not liable for any costs with this service. After completing the form and gathering the relevant documents, they can simply visit a local SSA office to submit them. Mail delivery is also an option. Once an application is received, the SSA may take 2 to 4 weeks to mail the card to the applicant. The corrected card will have the same number as the former one, only that the name will be different.

How to Get a New Driver’s License in Arizona

Individuals who have obtained their corrected social security card should head to the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicles Division (MVD) next to update their driver’s license. This is often the second step that couples take in legalizing their name changes in the United States. However, Arizona law demands that all license holders notify the MVD within 10 days of reporting to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Also, the applicant is encouraged to wait 48 hours for the SSA to update their computer system before going to the MVD.

After satisfying these above requirements, the married individual can stop by a nearby MVD or third-party office with a current license. The MVD will require additional documents, such as the original or certified copies of a marriage license or certificate, court order, or certificate of citizenship or naturalization. Still, individuals can call ahead to make sure they have all that is required to avoid wasted trips.

The MVD name change is free. The applicant can also request a replacement driver’s license at the office or online with an AZ MVD Now account, but this costs $12.

How to Update Your Insurance Information in Arizona

The Arizona Department of Insurance, the regulatory body for insurance policies and providers within the state, identifies several types of policies that Arizonans can choose. Among them are life, vehicle, health, business, title, property, credit, flood, homeowners, travel, and disability insurance.

After a wedding ceremony, spouses can make name changes to their insurance information by contacting or visiting their providers. If the insurance was provided through an employer, the applicable human resources department should be notified. The individual will need to provide a document confirming the legal name change, such as a court order or marriage certificate.

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

Aside from changing one’s last name after a marriage, persons who want to change their last names in Arizona must petition a Superior Court for a name change court order. Some adequate reasons for this modification include discontent with a current name, dissolution of marriage or divorce, change of a child’s last name, or a religious reason. However, the court has the power to deny or grant the petition. The court may deny a petition if it presumes that the change may violate another person’s rights (ARS § 12-602). For instance, a child’s other parent.

In Arizona, an individual must be 18 years or more to request a name change. A younger person can also apply, but the application must be submitted by a parent or legal guardian acting on the minor’s behalf.

A petitioner can complete the name change process alone, or hire an attorney to help with filling forms and understanding the filing procedures of the court. Either way, the party must fill and submit three main forms, and pay the court’s filing fee. While the Arizona Judicial Branch provides these forms for Arizonans to download, it is important to consult with the relevant Clerk of the Superior Court’s office, as a county may have distinct local forms. The name change forms are as follows:

  1. Application for Change of Name
  2. Order of Name Change
  3. Notice of Hearing Regarding Application for Change of Name

In the “Application for Change of Name” form, though it may be called another name in some counties, petitioners must generally provide the following information:

  • Birth name (including date, city, and county of birth)
  • Current legal name
  • Other names (names used in previous marriages, former name changes, and aliases)
  • The proposed new name
  • Prior felony convictions and pending criminal charges (felony or misdemeanor), if any

Note that these forms differ depending on if the petition is made by an adult or for a minor. Forms for adults can also vary if the petitioner has minor children or not. Also, apart from the forms above, a local court may require additional documents, like a civil cover filing sheet.

As with the forms, a petitioner must ask the clerk about the filing fees because it is not the same in every county. The same goes for hearing procedures and other court requirements—for example, notifying a spouse after filing a name change petition.

Once the court issues the order permitting the name change, the petitioner can use it to update their information in relevant private or government offices, e.g., the U.S. Social Security Administration and a utility company.

How to Update Information With Arizona Mortgage and Utility Companies

Anyone who wants to update their information with an Arizona mortgage or utility company must simply inform the applicable agency of their legal name change. Interested spouses can call or visit the lender or provider to request and make these changes. The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) publishes lists of utility companies (electric, gas, wastewater, etc.) within the state.

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

Regardless of the agency or institution where a name change request is made, persons who want to change their names after marriage will require similar documents:

  • Evidence of legal name change: A marriage certificate or court order.
  • Proof of identity document: A corrected social security card, driver’s license, state-issued ID card.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship: A birth certificate or passport.

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

In Arizona, a marriage license is an official document that couples must secure before a wedding ceremony. It authorizes a couple to be legally married in Arizona, provided they meet the state’s requirements to apply for one:

  • Valid government-issued photo ID
  • 18 years or older (or 16 or 17 years old with an emancipation order, a parent or legal guardian’s consent, or one of the parties is older than the other by no more than three years)
  • Social security number
  • Proof of age document (e.g., passport, driver’s license, military I.D, or certified birth certificate)

An Arizona marriage license is valid for 12 months (one year) and enforceable in any of the 15 counties, despite the county where it was issued. The license costs $83, payable to the clerk of the Superior Court of the county in cash, money order, check, or credit/debit card.

Couples can secure a certified copy of their marriage license after the ceremony from the issuing clerk’s office. Note that the bottom section of the original license—containing the signatures of the couple, officiant, and two witnesses—must be returned to the clerk before the certified copy can be provided. Depending on the county, the interested party may send in a written request or use a request form on the clerk’s website. The request can be submitted in person or by mail—sometimes, online. Applicants will need to provide some or all of the following information:

  • The spouses’ legal names before the marriage
  • Date of marriage (day, month, and year)
  • County where the license was issued
  • Number of copies needed
  • The marriage license number, if known

The clerk’s office may also require additional information. For instance, in Maricopa County, the requester must also indicate if he/she wants to use the document to process a name change with the Social Security Administration.

Per ARS §12-284(E), the cost for a certified copy of a marriage license is $30. However, some counties, e.g., Maricopa, add a few cents. Note that postage and handling charges for mail requests are not included in the copy. That costs $7 instead. Furthermore, persons who want the clerk’s office to search for a marriage license are subject to an additional $30 fee. However, if they visit the clerk’s office to conduct the search themselves, it is free.

The processing time for a request for a certified copy of a marriage license is different for each county.

How to Get a New Passport in Arizona

Frequent international travelers can order a new passport or update the name on an existing one after getting married. The agency responsible for processing these requests for Arizonans is the U.S. Department of State.

Typically, applicants must fill and submit one of three forms based on their passport status. Also, there are processing fees and specific submission methods required from some applicants. For instance, individuals whose passports are less than a year old do not pay for any modification of their passports and can generally submit their forms by mail. The application forms are as follows:

  1. DS-5504 - for persons whose passports are not up to a year.
  2. DS-82 - for persons whose passports are more than a year.
  3. DS-11 - for persons who already have a different name but cannot perform the change with a marriage certificate or court order.

The following supporting documents are required but differ depending on the form submitted:

  • A color passport photo
  • Current U.S. passport
  • Original or certified marriage certificate or court decree
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Valid ID bearing the applicant’s current name and a photocopy

Detailed instructions regarding authorized places of submission can be found on the Department of State’s website. Usually, the agency takes 10 to 12 weeks to process this request unless the individual opts for expedited service (4 to 6 weeks).

Other than a passport, domestic flyers can use Arizona travel ID/documents, such as a driver’s license or state-issued ID card, for air travel within the country.

How to Change Your Name on Bank Accounts in Arizona

The fastest way to change the name on a bank account in Arizona is to visit the bank’s branch with a corrected photo ID (passport or driver’s license) and marriage certificate. The customer care department of the bank usually handles these requests. While requesting the change, the individual can also ask for new checkbooks and debit/credit cards. After updating this information in the bank, individuals can forward it to employers to update their employee records.

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

There are different administrative procedures and processing times involved in the legal name change process in Arizona. As such, married couples are likely to spend months and hundreds of dollars to achieve this, even if they handle it by themselves or hire a family law attorney.

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

Individuals can legally adopt their new identities once there is a court order issued to that effect. However, formal name change applications to government agencies can take any time from 24 hours to several weeks, possibly longer. There is no fixed time estimate because each agency has specific time intervals between a request and authorization of a name change.