Making it Official: Marriage License & Name Changing

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When you dream of getting married, paperwork and legal documents typically don’t come to mind. But if you want to make it official, obtaining your marriage license is one of the most important wedding day details you need finalize.

Marriage License

In order to legally get married in Michigan, you will need a marriage license from the clerk of court’s office. You will need to apply for a marriage license in the county one of you lives, or if you are a non-resident from the county in which the wedding ceremony will take place.

Application Process. 

You will need a picture ID and the social security numbers for the bride and groom. The marriage license will include the full legal names of the bride and groom. You will also need current address, city and date of birth. When you apply for the marriage license, you will need to know the name the bride has decided to use after the ceremony. Depending upon the county, you may also need a copy of your birth certificate.

Expiration of Certificate. 

In Michigan, there is a 3 day waiting period from the date of application to the ceremony, unless the clerk waives the waiting period due to sufficient cause. The marriage license is valid for 33 days and only valid in Michigan.

Making It Legal. 

Following your wedding ceremony, your marriage license must be completed by a solemnizing authority or officiant. They will complete the time and place of marriage, have the document signed by two witnesses and sign the license. One copy should be given to the newlyweds, one mailed to the clerk and one kept by the officiant. Your marriage license acts as your marriage certificate.

Changing Your Name

If you will take your new husband’s last name or legally abbreviate your married name, there will be several documents that require a name change. Here’s a breakdown of what to change and when.

Wait to Change.

There is no doubt you will be excited to begin using your married name, but it is a good idea not to make the name change until you return from your honeymoon. Make all honeymoon travel arrangements in your maiden name because it may take several weeks to change your drivers license, passport and credit cards. Having two different names can make travel more difficult.

TO DO Before the wedding

  1. Let your employer know to change your email and business cards.
  2. Practice using your new name including the signature. It will make it more fluent when you do make the change.

TO DO After the wedding

  1. Most changes can not be completed until you receive the fully executed marriage license by mail.
  2. Change your name on any bank accounts. Once the change is complete, notify your payroll department of your new name so the deposit account information matches.
  3. Request a new social security card by taking a copy of your marriage license to the social security office. You can speed up the process if you download a form from the Social Security website.
  4. Contact the US State Department to request the name change to your US Passport.
  5. You will need your marriage certificate to change the name on your driver’s license.
  6. Many utilities, credit card issuers and insurance companies can change your name by phone. Others will require a copy of your marriage certificate and a personal letter requesting the change. This will vary by company.
  7. Spread the word by making the change to your twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites.
  8. Make the change with your health insurance provider and doctor’s office.
  9. If you have a will or medical proxy, review the document for necessary changes in beneficiary or advocate.

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