Changing Your Name in Alabama? Here's How to Do It After Marriage

Prepare to check a legal name change in AL off your postwedding to-do list.
Elena Donovan Mauer the knot
by
Elena Donovan Mauer
Elena Donovan Mauer the knot
Elena Donovan Mauer
Wedding Planning Expert
  • Elena creates content for a variety of print and digital publications, including The Knot, The Bump, Parents, Real Simple, and Good Housekeeping.
  • Elena is a former weddings editor, having held positions at Modern Bride and Bridal Guide and contributed to The Knot Ultimate Wedding Lookbook.
  • Elena is currently Senior Editor for Happify Health, an adjunct instructor for Pace University, a freelance writer, and content con...
Updated May 26, 2020
We have included third party products to help you navigate and enjoy life’s biggest moments. Purchases made through links on this page may earn us a commission.

Getting married is undoubtedly exciting, but with the thrill of saying "I do" (yay!) also comes a bit of paperwork (boo). If you want to change your name, there's even more to do—and procedures to follow, which vary from state to state. For example, a name change in Alabama could require a complicated court order.

There's more to know too, which is why we recommend considering a name change service. With HitchSwitch, you get to choose from several different packages depending on how much help you want—they start at just $39. Fill out a single, super-quick questionnaire and its team will do the research for you to find (and then autofill!) almost all the paperwork you need. It takes the guesswork out of the process and helps you skip a bunch of steps. To us, anything that minimizes stress is worth it, so if you're already feeling dread (we get it), check the website out.

Whether you'd like to tackle your name change solo or call upon name change experts, we've got the details. Here's how to change your last name in Alabama postwedding.

In this article:

How to Get a Marriage Certificate in Alabama

In Alabama, a marriage license used to be required in order to legally get married. But the law changed August 29, 2019, and now licenses are no longer needed for Alabama weddings.

In lieu of Alabama marriage license requirements, you and your future spouse will simply fill out an Alabama marriage certificate, have it notarized and turn it into your county probate court. See the Alabama Public Health website for full details on what you'll need to do.

The marriage certificate seals the deal on an Alabama marriage—technically, you don't even have to have a ceremony! In many cases, it'll also be your "legal name change document:" the piece of paperwork permitting you to change your name because of marriage. If that's true for you, you'll need one to complete the name change steps ahead, starting with updating the Social Security Administration. If it's not (learn more in the court-ordered name change section), you'll use a court order as your legal name change document instead.

What documents do you need?

You can fill out and print the marriage certificate form online. From there, you'll take it to a notary. Plan to bring along photo IDs to verify your identities and ages. (We recommend calling ahead to confirm that's all you'll need.)

Once the document is signed by you both and notarized, you have 30 days to file it with your local probate court.

How much does it cost?

The probate court will charge a fee for recording your marriage—that amount varies, but we've seen it cost anywhere from $73 to $85, depending on the county. In addition, a notary can charge you $5 for their services.

Important things to remember:

Some probate courts provide certified copies of marriage certificates, but not all of them. Otherwise, you can get one from the Alabama Department of Public Health's Center for Health Statistics after your court forwards the center your original certificate. It costs $15 for your first copy and $6 for each additional copy. (We recommend having at least a few on hand to use throughout the rest of the name change process.)

FYI: If your wedding isn't actually taking place in Alabama, you'll apply for your marriage license/certificate in the state where you're to be wed instead. Look up that destination's requirements for more information, since it'll differ from what's above.

How to Get a Court-Ordered Name Change in Alabama

In some circumstances, you can't use your marriage certificate for a name change in Alabama. In those cases, you'll have to petition for a court order to get a new legal moniker. This may be the case if you're changing your surname to something that's not your spouse's last name, for example.

Sadly, if you're in a same-sex marriage, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency won't recognize your certificate as a legal name change document either. If this applies to you, you're required to obtain a court order before changing your name on your AL driver's license.

Contact the probate court of the county where you live for full instructions on how to petition for a name change there—and to confirm whether or not you need to (it's best to double-check, because unfortunately, the process costs extra time and money). Once your legal name change is approved by a judge, you'll need your certified court order to complete the steps below.

How to Get a Social Security Card Name Change in Alabama

Updating your Social Security card is an important first step once you have your marriage certificate or court order. That's because you'll need to alert the Social Security Administration of your new married moniker in order to make the change on other documents, like your driver's license. (It's also super-important to ensure you don't mess up your taxes or Social Security benefits!)

What documents do you need?

You'll need:

  • An Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5)
  • Your legal name change document (the marriage certificate or court order)
  • Proof of identity (such as your current driver's license)
  • Proof of citizenship (such as your birth certificate)—that is, if you haven't already established your citizenship the SSA

You can mail or bring these documents to your nearby SSA office. (Search for Alabama locations here.)

How much does it cost?

Surprise! It's free to change your name on your Social Security card.

Important things to remember:

The Social Security Administration won't accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents, hence why you'll want to have some certified copies available to you. So, be sure to get those from the appropriate offices ASAP.

For more information about getting a corrected Social Security card, visit the SSA's website. There, you'll find more detailed instructions based on your specific situation.

How to Get a Passport Name Change in Alabama

Kick off the passport name change next, since it can take six to eight weeks to get a new one. And who knows, you may want to take an impromptu trip! Plus, a passport is just bonus proof of your new moniker, which could come in handy later on.

How you change your name on your passport depends on a few things, including the state of your current passport. Get the full instructions at the US Department of State website—but first, browse the basics below.

What documents do you need?

You'll need one of these three forms:

1. The passport correction form (Form DS-5504)

Have you received your current passport less than a year ago? Did you change your name within a year of when that passport was issued? If so, mail in:

  • The form
  • Your current passport
  • Your certified name change document
  • A color passport photo

2. The passport renewal form (Form DS-82)

Use this form if your current passport is less than 15 years old, if you were at least 16 when you got it and it's in good condition. Mail in:

3. The standard passport application: (Form DS-11)

Don't fall into either of the above camps? Then you'll have to apply with a standard passport application. This one's a little more involved, since you'll need to locate a Passport Acceptance Facility to deliver your documents in person. Bring:

  • Proof of identity, plus a photocopy
  • Proof of citizenship, plus a photocopy
  • Your certified name change document
  • A color passport photo

How much does it cost?

It depends on which form you file and which type of passport you'll get. A correction is $0 (woot!), while a renewal is $110 for a book and/or $30 for a card. If you need a brand-new passport, you'll pay $110 for the book, $30 for a card and $35 in processing fees.

Important things to remember:

Traveling soon? You can pay $60 extra to expedite your service. But it's important that your name on your travel plans and tickets matches your name on your passport. If you booked a trip (like your honeymoon) with your prewedding name, wait to update this form of ID until after you return.

How to Get a Driver's License Name Change in Alabama

Your next step? Getting an Alabama driver's license name change. This might be your most-used form of ID, so it's important it's up-to-date.

According to the ALEA, you'll need to head to a local probate office, licensing office or ALEA Driver License Office for this step. There, you'll request a duplicate license with your new name.

What documents do you need?

To get your Alabama driver's license name change, you'll need:

  • A completed application for a duplicate license
  • Your legal name change document (the marriage certificate or court order)
  • Proof of your Social Security name change (your new SS card)

How much does it cost?

It typically costs $32 for a duplicate license.

Important things to remember:

Again, it's best to confirm that you have the right legal name change document (a marriage certificate versus a court order) before applying for an updated license. You may also qualify for a license renewal instead of a duplicate—ask about that as well.

Wait at least 24 hours after going to the Social Security office before seeking an Alabama driver's license name change. It takes about a day for records to be updated in the system.

Finally, you should also be able to get a voter registration name change in Alabama at the same time as you update your license—don't forget to do this extra step! You should inquire about updating your vehicle's title and registration too, if you have one.

How to Finish a Name Change in Alabama

Once you've changed your name on all the important documents and IDs we've spotlighted above, you'll feel super-accomplished (and you should)! After all, those changes are major. But—we hate to break it to you—you won't be totally done. There are still many more records and accounts you'll have to change your name on. These include:

  • Employment records
  • Insurance policies (health, auto, home, life, etc.)
  • Mortgages and loans
  • Bank and investment accounts
  • Credit card accounts
  • Deeds and wills

Take some time to go through all your personal paperwork, files and e-bills to make sure you've covered all your bases.

Feeling completely overwhelmed? HitchSwitch can seriously help here, too. The service offers its customers checklists and how-to guides for every step of the name change process, whether it's Alabama-specific or something more general, like changing your name on your email and social media accounts. (With the Platinum Package—most couples' pick—you'll even get your very own Name Change Concierge.) And don't you want to make sure you've ticked all the boxes, so you can stop stressing about the name change and enjoy married life even more?

Up Next
  • Woman writing in card.
    14 Meaningful Wedding Anniversary Bible Verses