As a rule, this question is not the first thing people think of when considering marriage or divorce, but it is a big decision with many benefits or consequences. Besides the social issues, a name change may present logistical challenges that must be overcome carefully and thoughtfully. Traditionally, a wife changed her last name to her husband’s last name, and that is still the most common choice. Other options exist, including one or both spouses hyphenating their last names to form a new last name. If you decide to change your name at the beginning or end of a marriage, one of the most important entities that must be satisfied is the Social Security Administration (SSA). Expect headaches come tax time if the name on your tax returns differs from the information maintained by the SSA. To notify the SSA, file a form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card and submit it with the necessary attachments. Take care to completely fill out the correct forms and include the proper supporting documents. If you are changing your name pursuant to a marriage, the SSA will require an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate. You can probably get this document from the county clerk in the county where you got married. If you are changing your name due to a divorce, the SSA requires an original or certified copy of your final divorce decree. You should keep a couple of certified copies on hand, especially if you have children, because it’s practically inevitable that you will need a certified copy at some point. The clerk of court in the county where you were divorced will make certified copies for a nominal fee. One important note is to be sure to notify your attorney before your divorce is final if you wish to change your name after the divorce. Your attorney should then ensure that the necessary language is included in the final decree to facilitate your post-divorce name change. At the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger, we will persistently pursue the best outcome possible for you in your divorce proceedings, whether you need to demonstrate the other spouse’s faults, or defend such claims. Judy L. Burger is known for her aggressive representation of clients in high conflict cases in and around the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas. If you are a spouse facing divorce, call us today to learn more about how we can help. Call (415)293-8314 in the San Francisco Bay area or (916)631-1935 in the Sacramento area, or contact us online via our confidential inquiry form.