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

Here's what you need to know to make the switch official in your state.
Elena Donovan Mauer the knot
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
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Wondering how to change your last name in Kentucky? This is a common question from Bluegrass Staters—and newlyweds across the entire country, for that matter! Every state's process for switching surnames is a little bit different, so you'll need some specific know-how to get the job done in KY.

We're just going to come out and say it: A name change in Kentucky is a multi-step (and sometimes complicated) endeavor. But fear not—we're here to walk you through the entire process. Looking for extra help? Check out HitchSwitch. This name change service (yes, those really exist!) is a total lifesaver when it comes to figuring out which forms you'll need to seal the deal on your changeover—and the team will even fill most of them out for you! They'll also include directions for submitting all your documents and pass along checklists, so you don't forget a thing. This leaves you to focus on more exciting postwedding to-dos, like admiring your new wedding ring and practicing your new signature.

Whether you'd prefer to DIY your name change or hire a name change service like HitchSwitch, here's the lowdown on how to change your last name after marriage in Kentucky:

How to Apply for a Kentucky Marriage License

The first step in changing your last name in Kentucky is getting a marriage license. That's because this paperwork is necessary to have a legal wedding—and get the certificate that comes with it, which can be used to take a new name without needing a court order. (Court order?! Don't worry—we'll explain that in a bit.)

You'll get your marriage license in the state you're tying the knot. If that's not Kentucky, look up the requirements where you're going to be wed. If you're marrying in-state, keep on reading to learn more about the process.

What documents do you need?

To get a Kentucky marriage license, you and your fiance will need to visit any county clerk's office in the state together. There, you'll fill out an application form. Look up your location's policies in advance though, since some counties may have the form posted online for people to fill out in advance. (For example, here's the Kenton County marriage license application.)

Typically, you'll also need to bring valid IDs— driver's licenses, state ID cards or passports should suffice. But check with your clerk's office for their specific requirements—procedures can vary from county to county.

How much does it cost?

The cost of a Kentucky marriage license may vary from county to county, but the fee tends to range from $36 to $50. Some counties require cash payment; others accept credit cards but may charge extra fees for using them. Note that you'll also be charged for copies of your marriage certificate postwedding—these are what you'll use to change your name.

Important things to remember:

After you say "I do," you'll receive your marriage certificate by mail. If you're changing your last name to your spouse's or combining your two surnames, you'll present that to the Social Security office to officially change your name. If you're interested in a different kind of name change, you'll need a court order instead.

How to Petition for a Name Change in Kentucky

Some types of name changes, like first or middle name changes, can require a court order even if they're after marriage. Not sure if you need one? This is one of the ways the name change service HitchSwitch can help. Send the team a photo of your marriage certificate (whether it's from Kentucky or elsewhere) and they'll let you know if it works for your intended moniker swap.

Contact your county's probate court for full instructions on petitioning for a name change. Once your request is granted, you'll receive a court order permitting the name change elsewhere.

How to Change Your Name at a Kentucky Social Security Office

Take a trip to a Kentucky Social Security office for a name change next. This is a key step because your identity is so closely tied to the SSA's records. In fact, you'll need an updated Social Security card to get a new driver's license. And because you're required to update your driver's license super-quickly post-name change (more on that ahead), you'll want to update your Social Security card right away.

What documents do you need?

Fill out and print Form SS-5. Then, bring (or mail, if you'd prefer) the form to your local SSA office. You'll also need to submit:

  • 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)

If you haven't established your citizenship with the SSA yet, you'll have to submit proof of that (such as your birth certificate or passport) too.

How much does it cost?

It's totally free! (Woohoo!)

Important things to remember:

Deliver original or certified copies of your documents to the Social Security office. Photocopies won't fly.

How to Change Your Name on Your US Passport

A name change in Kentucky (or really, anywhere else in the US) isn't complete without updating your passport, if you have one. (If you don't, maybe it's time to get one!) Passports can take six to eight weeks to process, so it's a good idea to get started on this ASAP.

What documents do you need?

It depends. What's the state of your current passport?

1. It's fairly new.

If you received your current passport within the past year (and you also changed your name within that year) mail in:

  • Form DS-5504
  • Your current passport
  • A certified name change document
  • A color passport photo

2. It's not new, but it's in good shape.

If your current passport was issued within the last 15 years, you were at least 16 years old when you got it and it's in good condition, mail in:

  • Form DS-82
  • Your current passport
  • A certified name change document
  • A color passport photo

3. It's not so great.

If your passport is older, damaged or doesn't meet one of the other requirements above, fill out a standard passport application form. You'll have to visit an office for this one. Bring along:

  • Form DS-11
  • Proof of identity, plus a photocopy
  • Proof of citizenship, plus a photocopy
  • A certified name change document
  • A color passport photo

Need help determining the right form for you? Check out Travel.State.Gov.

How much does it cost?

A passport correction (Form DS-5504) is free. A passport using Form DS-82 or DS-11 costs $110 for the card, $30 for the book and with the DS-11, $35 in extra fees.

Important things to remember:

Your name on your passport should match the name on other travel documents, like plane tickets. So while we recommend updating the ID soon after you change your name, don't do it too soon. If you booked your honeymoon using your prewedding name, wait until after you return to get a new passport. (Check out our honeymooner's guide to passports.)

How to Change Your Name on Your Kentucky Driver's License

When changing your name in Kentucky, you're required to get a duplicate license with the new name within 10 days. So act fast! Head to your county circuit court clerk's office to complete this step. (Here's a list of locations.)

What documents do you need?

Bring along:

  • Proof of Kentucky residency (ask your local circuit court for examples)
  • Proof of your name change (your marriage certificate or name change court order)
  • Your Social Security card displaying the new name

How much does it cost?

It costs $12 for a duplicate driver's license in Kentucky.

Important things to remember:

If you've moved (hello, newlywed nest), you should update your address on your license too.

For more information about the Kentucky driver's license or State ID name change process, visit Drive.KY.Gov.

More on How to Get Your Name Changed in Kentucky

Changing your last name in Kentucky doesn't end there, though you have completed the major steps—congrats! Once you've tackled all the big updates, it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty: updating all other records and accounts. Contact your employer, banks, creditors, insurance companies and anywhere else that may have your old name on file. To avoid lost mail or invalid paperwork, it's important everything matches your new legal name.

HitchSwitch can really help you out here too. The name change service offers its customers personalized checklists and how-to guides so they don't forget anything. If you'd rather leave the list-making to someone else, consider signing up for one of the packages. Starting at just $39, it could be totally worth it.

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