How to Change Your Name in Georgia After Saying "I Do"

Planning to change your last name postwedding? Here's our comprehensive guide to making the moniker switch if you live in the Peach State.
by Elena Donovan Mauer

Want to change your name when you get married? A name change is often a sentimental step in the wedding and postwedding planning process, but it's also a big step legally. A name change in Georgia isn't exactly the simplest process in the world—there are forms to fill out, offices to visit and maybe even a court order to obtain (more on that later!).

Since getting a legal name change in Georgia takes a few steps that can be a hassle, we want to start by letting you know that there is a way to outsource most of the dirty work. There's actually a time- and stress-saving service called HitchSwitch that facilitates name changes. Fill out one form and its pros will send you everything you need to make your surname swap official. They do the research to find out what documents you have to complete, then autofill them for you. They can even provide things like pre-paid mailing envelopes, so all you're left to do is physically submit the paperwork. Packages start at $39, but the peace of mind of knowing that your name change was taken care of correctly can honestly feel priceless. (Because if there's one thing you don't want to mess with, it's your legal identity.) 

Regardless of whether you take advantage of the service or DIY your name change in Georgia after marriage, here's what's involved in making the switch.

In this article:

How to Get a Georgia Marriage License

Obtaining a marriage license is the first step to a postnuptial name change in Georgia. That's because the certified copy proves you've tied the knot. But you'll need to fill it out a certain way for it to serve as a legal name change document.

"Georgia is one of the states where, if you want to change your name after the wedding, you should put the new name on the marriage license," says Jake Wolff, our go-to name change expert and the founder of HitchSwitch. Wolff explains that you're not locked into changing your name if you list a new one on your marriage license—it just gives you the option to take that moniker after you tie the knot. What's important here is what happens if you don't jot down your desired married name. Then, "you'll have to go into the court system to get the name changed that way."

Note that Georgia only allows you to make a name change that is or is a combo of your given name, a name from a previous marriage and/or your spouse's last name. (For more information, check out this guide to Georgia marriage licenses.) Any other type of name change will also require petitioning the court.

To get your Georgia marriage license, visit a county probate court. If you or your future spouse is a resident of Georgia, you can pick any county's probate court. If neither of you is a resident, you must go to the court of the county in which you're getting married. Find locations on the Georgia state website.

A Georgia marriage license doesn't expire, so you can get it any time before the wedding, says Wolff. Keep reading for all the Georgia marriage license requirements.

What documents do you need?

How to get a marriage license in GA? You both need to show up in person. Bring along your current driver's license, passport or birth certificate for identification purposes. If you or your future spouse has been married before, you'll also have to bring the divorce decree or death certificate to prove you're no longer married.

How much does it cost?

Georgia marriage license fees vary by county, so call your local probate court to get specific information. Wolff says the cost can range from $56 to $76 (at the time of publication, that is).

Do note that Georgia waives some or all of the marriage license fees for couples who undergo at least six hours of premarital education. So if you opt to take advantage of those savings, get that done before you head over to get your marriage license—and bring proof of completion along. Premarital counseling must be done with:

  • A licensed counselor, social worker or marriage/family therapist
  • A licensed psychologist or psychiatrist
  • An active member of the clergy

Important things to remember:

Double check that your name appears on your marriage license the way you'd like it to appear after you get married. No, this doesn't mean your name is officially changed—you'll still have to complete postwedding steps to make it official—but it'll prevent you from having to appear in court to petition for a name change. Ask for help if you need it—trust us, you'll want to do this right to avoid a future headache.

And if you're from Georgia but you aren't getting married there, you'll actually apply for your marriage license wherever your wedding is set to take place. Look up that location's application requirements and inquire about what types of name changes the certificate there can faciliate. 

How to Petition for a Name Change in Georgia

Didn't write your desired married name on your Georgia marriage license? Want to make a surname swap that the license doesn't allow? You'll have to petition for name change in Georgia.

First, contact your local superior court to submit a petition—there, you'll explain why you'd like to change your name. Then, you're required to post notice of your intent to change your name in a local newspaper. As long as no one objects (they have four weeks to do so), you can schedule a hearing to have the Georgia name change approved. Once the judge okays it, you can use your court order as your legal name change document. 

For more information about this process, visit Georgia.Gov. You can also contact your local superior court clerk's office to find out associated costs.

How to Get a Social Security Name Change in Georgia

A legal name change in Georgia—and really, anywhere in the US—requires filing paperwork with the Social Security Administration. Once you get your name changed with the SSA, you'll be able to update your passport and driver's license.

What documents do you need?

First, print and fill out the Form SS-5, which is the official application for a Social Security card. Then follow the instructions printed on the form.

Mail or hand-deliver your application to a nearby SSA office. (Use this handy locator to find one.) You'll need to include:

  • Your legal name change document (your marriage certificate or court order)
  • Proof of identity (your current driver's license, state ID or passport, for example)
  • Proof of citizenship (your birth certificate or passport)—but only if you haven't already established this with the SSA

See the SSA's instructions for getting a corrected card for more information on exactly which types of identification and documentation are accepted.

How much does it cost?

It's completely free to change your name with the SSA. Between that and the chance to get your marriage license fee waived, you may have more wiggle room to treat yourself to a name change service. (Especially if you're already dreading the process without one.)

Important things to remember:

The SSA requires original or certified documents—photocopies aren't going to work here. If you want to keep your originals close, we recommend submitting certified copies, but know that those typically cost a small fee to obtain.

How to Get a Passport Name Change in Georgia

Once your new Social Security card arrives, Wolff recommends getting your name changed on your passport next, since that's one of the documents you'll be able to bring along when you get a Georgia driver's license name change. Changing your name on your US passport is the same throughout the country. 

What documents do you need?

The forms you need depend on your unique situation. Here's a general rundown:

  • Form DS-5504, DS-82 or DS-11, depending on which applies to you—find out at Travel.State.Gov
  • Your most recent US passport in good condition (for the DS-5504 and DS-82), or evidence of US citizenship and a valid ID, plus photocopies of both (for the DS-11)
  • Your original or certified name change document (the marriage certificate or court order)
  • A color passport photo (FYI: HitchSwitch can provide one)
  • Payment for applicable fees

How much does it cost?

If you've been issued your current passport within the past year, it won't cost you anything to change your name on it. Otherwise, it'll cost you $30 for a passport card, $110 for a book or $140 for both—plus, in some cases, an extra $35 fee. In a rush? Expedited service costs extra too. Here's a breakdown of all the fees.

Important things to remember:

If you're eligible to use the DS-5504 (the passport correction form) or DS-82 (the passport renewal form), you can submit everything by mail. If you're stuck with the DS-11 (the standard passport application form), you'll have to submit your documents in person—find a passport acceptance facility here. See the US Department of State website for more details about changing your name on your passport based on your unique situation.

How to Get a Georgia Driver's License Name Change

To change your name on a driver's license in GA, you must visit a Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) customer service center in person within 60 days of your legal name change.

What documents do you need?

You don't need to fill out the online application form before you go, but we recommend you do. It'll save you time.

You'll also need:

  • Your marriage certificate or court order
  • Proof of any other previous name changes, including divorce decrees
  • Your current Georgia driver's license

Check the DDS website to see what other forms of identification you may need to bring. (Note: This is where a passport with your new name on it comes in handy.)

How much does it cost?

According to the DDS website, Georgia driver's license name changes are free if:

  • You're changing your name during the term of your original driver's license and at least 150 days before it expires
  • It's your first name change 

Otherwise, you'll be charged a license renewal fee, but you can get a $5 discount if you start the process using the DDS online services portal. More money saved to put toward investing in a name change service!

Important things to remember:

If you own a vehicle, you'll have to separately change the name on your Georgia title at your county tag office. You can find the list of offices here. Title name changes must be made after driver's license name changes in Georgia.

How Else to Change Your Name in Georgia

While those are the main steps to changing your last name in Georgia, you still aren't totally done. Don't forget to update:

  • Your place of employment
  • Your bank and credit card companies
  • Your insurance and health care providers
  • Other accounts and records

We recommend going through your wallet to see which cards you have to change your name on. Also, watch your bills as they come in and check your name on those too. Update all appropriate parties ASAP until you no longer see your previous name in your inbox or mailbox.

Overwhelmed? Seriously, check out HitchSwitch. The company really streamlines the name change process, providing customers with checklists and instruction sheets for pretty much all the name change procedures you have to go through (even changing your name on social media!). 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, some of which may be sponsored by paying vendors.

Published November 2019

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