How to Change Your Name in Wisconsin After Marriage

Attention Wisconsinites! If you'd like to swap your surname, these are the procedures you'll have to follow.
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 21, 2020
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Ready to introduce yourself by your new, married name? Not so fast. For a name change in Wisconsin that's truly official, you'll have to file some legal paperwork. In fact, it's a multi-step process that'll take a bit of perseverance.

Stressed just thinking about name change forms? Consider hiring a name change service to do the tough parts for you. We highly recommend HitchSwitch, a total name change lifesaver. The team compiles personalized packages for clients—complete with all the forms and instructions they need—to save them serious time and energy. It's basically a concierge for name changes, and the HitchSwitch pros are extremely well-versed in the name change process for every state (including good ol' WI).

What to know exactly what's involved in a Wisconsin name change before you decide if you want help? We've broken things down step by step. Here's how to change your name in Wisconsin, from all the documents you'll need to compile to where you'll need to make the switch.

In this article:

How to Apply for Your Wisconsin Marriage License

Kick off your name change by filling out this important piece of paperwork prior to the wedding. Yes, it's required to legally wed, but the postwedding certificate also serves as the proof of marriage you'll need for changing your last name in Wisconsin.

To obtain the license, both you and your fiance will need to head to your county clerk's office. You can find a map of Wisconsin county clerks here. Check the website or call ahead for full details and to see if you need to make an appointment, since some counties require one. We also recommend taking the time to clarify and confirm other requirements.

What forms do you need?

You'll fill out a Wisconsin marriage license application together. Bring along:

  • Identification and proof of residence (such as your driver's licenses or state IDs)
  • Certified copies of your birth certificates
  • Documentation of previous divorces or marriage annulments, if relevant

In addition, you should also know:

  • The date of your wedding
  • Your officiant's contact information
  • Your Social Security numbers

How much does it cost?

The cost of a Wisconsin marriage license varies by county, but many counties charge around $100. FYI: Credit card payments may not be accepted or may require an extra charge. After the wedding, you'll also have to pay for any certified copies of your marriage certificate. Again, this cost could vary by location.

Important things to remember:

Check out the Wisconsin County Clerk Vital Records Marriage Handbook for more information about how to get a marriage license in Wisconsin, including what the timeline looks like from application to certification (there's a handy chart). The key step to moving forward with your name change? Getting your marriage license worksheet accepted and registered so that you can obtain a certified copy to bring to the Social Security Administration (more on that ahead) to facilitate your name change.

And remember: If you're getting married out of state (even if you're from Wisconsin) you'll apply for your marriage license there, not in WI. Research that destination's requirements for more information.

How to Petition for Name Change in Wisconsin

In some cases, you may have to petition the court for a legal name change in Wisconsin. This isn't common for postwedding surname swaps, but it may be necessary for cases in which, say, there wasn't a legal wedding or you're changing more than your last name. When you apply for your marriage license, ask your county clerk's office if the certificate will work for your desired name change. If it won't, you'll need a court order to continue the name change process.

The full instructions for legally changing your name in Wisconsin through the court can be found on the Wisconsin Court System website. Associated Wisconsin name change forms can be found there too. In short, you'll have to file a petition, publish a public notice of your intended name change, and attend a hearing for your petition to be approved. Yep, it's a pretty involved process.

How to Apply for a Name Change with the Social Security Administration

Next, you'll need to hit the Social Security Administration for an updated Social Security card, which will make your legal name change in Wisconsin official. This step is required across the US before you complete other name change tasks.

For the name change, mail or bring your documents to your local SSA office. (Find a location near you here.) Below, find a breakdown of what you'll have to submit. For more detailed instructions, see the SSA's guide to getting a corrected card.

What forms do you need?

You'll need:

  • An application for a Social Security card (Form SS-5)
  • 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 if you haven't established it already (your birth certificate or passport)

How much does it cost?

Nothing! Changing your name with the SSA is actually free.

Important things to remember:

Get original or certified copies of your docs to show the Social Security office, since they won't accept photocopies.

How to Apply for a Name Change on Your Passport

Once you've updated things with the SSA, changing your name on your passport is a smart next step. That's because the process can take six to eight weeks. Plus, an updated passport can be used as proof of a name change at the Wisconsin DMV when you get your driver's license or state ID updated.

What forms do you need?

There are three different categories you may fall into:

1. You're correcting a recently issued passport.

If you changed your name within a year of receiving your current passport (and that passport is less than a year old), use Form DS-5504. Mail in:

  • The form
  • Your current passport
  • Your certified name change document
  • A color passport photo (included in HitchSwitch's $99 package, BTW)

2. You're renewing a valid passport.

If your passport is in good condition, was issued when you were at least 16 years old, and was issued within the last 15 years, you'll need Form DS-82. Mail in:

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

3. You're applying for a new passport.

If your passport doesn't fit either of the above descriptions, use Form DS-11. Visit a Passport Acceptance Facility in person with these documents:

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

For more (and the most up-to-date!) information about the different types of passport forms, visit Travel.State.Gov.

How much does it cost?

Passport correction: $0.

Passport renewal: $110 for a passport book and $30 for a card.

New passport: $110 for a passport book and $30 for a card. Plus, $35 in additional fees.

Important things to remember:

Planning a trip? You can expedite your service for an extra $60 and get your updated passport a bit faster. (Here's a Travel.State.Gov breakdown of processing times.) But it's best to change your passport after your honeymoon if you booked your travel using your original (maiden or birth) name, since the names on your tickets and your passport must match. Check out our guide to passports for honeymoons.

How to Get a Wisconsin DMV Name Change

Legally changing your name in Wisconsin isn't complete without updating your driver's license or state ID card. Head to a Wisconsin DMV for a name change on your license. There, you'll request a duplicate license with the new name.

What forms do you need?

Bring along:

You might also need:

How much does it cost?

It's $14 to get a duplicate driver's license and $16 for a duplicate state ID card.

Important things to remember:

You can only update your name on your license in Wisconsin after you've updated your name with Social Security. You'll also have to surrender your old ID. Learn more at WisconsinDOT.Gov.

How to Wrap Up Your Wisconsin Name Change

Once you've gotten these documents and IDs updated with your married moniker, you'll have completed the biggest steps in changing your name—congrats! But don't breathe a full sigh of relief just yet. You'll still need to notify your bank, employer, insurance companies, credit card companies and more about your new surname. Even voter registration in Wisconsin needs your name change info.

We know it can all feel overwhelming, but don't fret! The HitchSwitch service can help you make sure you've left no stone unturned, providing impressively thorough checklists and instruction sheets for every step along your name change journey—even for the smaller stuff, like updating your social media accounts. So once you've gotten through them, you'll truly be able to exhale.

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