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How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Alaska

Changing My Name After Marriage in Alaska

For most couples, the convenience of having a family where everyone has the same last name is the biggest motivation for a name change after marriage. After all, the United States abolished coverture since the 1970s. Today, changing one's name on official documents is a matter of having a uniform identity. Persons who wish to make a name change will need certified copies of the marriage certificate issued by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services at the time of marriage. Without this document, it is typically challenging to make a name change after marriage in Alaska, but it is possible. Since Alaska marriage records are deemed public information per state law, interested members of the public may request these records from local custodians or repositories for reasons other than a name change.

How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Alaska

A person who wishes to change his/her name after marriage in Alaska must:

  • Obtain a Certified Marriage Certificate

The marriage certificate is necessary for initiating and a name change on public databases and with service providers in the private sector. And for a while after marriage, an individual will need to present the certified marriage certificate to resolve issues of mismatching identity. This document is available at the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services' local office. Interested persons can also make mail requests and online orders.

  • Obtain a Court Order

Besides a marriage certificate, a court order from the local Superior Court will also help an individual process a name change after marriage in Alaska. However, obtaining a court order for a name change is more complicated (see instructions).

  • File the Appropriate Paperwork with State and Federal Agencies

A person with a certified marriage certificate or certificate of name change has the essential documents needed to make further name changes with state and federal agencies that manage identity records. With these documents, the first thing a person must do is get a new social security card.

How to Update Your Social Security Card in Alaska?

Being addressed by the new name is not a crime in Alaska. However, a married person who wished to use the new name legally must inform the Social Security Administration and apply for a corrected social security card for free (see instructions on page 6).

Generally, updating a social security card after marriage goes thus:

  • Prepare the necessary documents, including a certified marriage certificate or certificate of name change
  • Attach an original identity document showing former name and age, i.e., driver's license or passport and certified birth certificate.
  • Download and complete the SS-5 application form for a new social security card (read the instructions carefully to submit a valid application).
  • Enclose the application form and identity documents in a self-addressed stamped envelope. Ensure to provide a daytime number for correspondence.
  • Mail them to the nearest Social Security office (use zip code to find the closest office).

Upon receiving the request, the Social Security Administration will process the new card with two (2) to four (4) weeks, depending on administrative workload. Applying in person helps reduce the risk of losing original documents in the mail. The requester may also choose to pick up the new card in person.

Considering how long it takes to process a new social security card and its importance in getting a new driver's license, consider starting as soon as possible.

How to Get a New Driver's License in Alaska?

Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues driver's licenses and handles changes to driver's information in Alaska. A concerned person must visit the local office of the DMV to make the necessary changes. He/she will need to present a certified marriage certificate or certificate of name change and an identity document, e.g., birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, or a document reflecting residency/immigration status.

The DMV office will also require the new social security card as proof that he/she has completed a name change with the Social Security Administration. At the same time, persons who own a vehicle must process a new title certificate and vehicle registration reflecting the name change.

How to Update Your Insurance Information in Alaska?

Following a name change by marriage or court order, the policyholder must call or visit the local office of the insurance company. If he/she enrolled through an employer or third party, the individual must contact human resources or the insurance broker/agent. Interested persons may find an insurance company using this search tool.

Regardless of the type of insurance, insurance companies typically require the individual to present proof of legal name change, including a certified marriage certificate or certificate of name change. Many insurance service providers also allow concerned persons to complete the process online, e.g., Blue Cross Blue Shield. Others require the client to complete a name change form and send it back in a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Where Do I Go to Change My Last Name in Alaska?

The Superior Court in the county of residence handles petitions for name change if the individual has valid reasons – in this case, marriage. Note that a marriage certificate containing the new last name is effective for changing one's last name. Nevertheless, persons who prefer to get a certificate of name change from the court must follow these instructions. Summarily, the process involves:

  • Completing a petition for name change
  • Completing an application or report of change of name
  • Making a copy of the documents
  • Submitting the original documents to the Clerk of Courts
  • Paying the filing fee or asking for a waiver
  • Getting an order of court hearing (hearing typically scheduled forty (40) days in advance)
  • Making public notification of name change on the judiciary website, news, print, and social media
  • Attending the court hearing
  • Getting a judgment
  • Obtaining a certificate of name change

Following the issuance of the certificate of name change, most persons go to update the name on vital records and other records, including insurance policies, mortgage, and utility bills.

How to Update Information with Alaska Mortgage and Utility Companies?

A person who wishes to update mortgage information in Alaska must:

  • Obtain a certified marriage certificate or certificate of name change.
  • Fill out a quitclaim deed with the old name as the grantor and the new name as the grantee.
  • Include a legal description of the home, including address, map, tract, and parcel page (see original title for these details).
  • Notarize the quitclaim deed.
  • Send a copy of the documents to the mortgage lender.
  • Submit the documents to the municipal assessor's office.

The process is different for utility companies.

Generally, a person who wishes to update his/her name with any utility company must call a customer representative of the said company and explain the situation: "I recently got married and wish to update my name."

Many companies can make this change over the phone, via an online account update form, or secure email correspondence. However, most companies will mail a change of account holder information form to the individual's residential address. The requester must complete this form with the new name, attach a certified marriage certificate or certificate of name change, and return it in a self-addressed stamped envelope. Upon receiving the required documents and the utility company shall update the information and notify the customer. A general rule of thumb here to update one’s information with the utility company after updating banking information.

What Documents Do I Need to Change My Name after Marriage?

State and Federal agencies have varying requirements. Generally, a person needs these documents to make a name change in Alaska:

  • A certified birth certificate.
  • A certified marriage certificate or certificate of name change
  • A valid social security card.
  • A valid driver's license or other acceptable photo ID.
  • Proof of residency, e.g., mortgage records, tax card, and utility bill.

How to Get Certified Copies of Your Marriage License in Alaska?

Interested persons must visit the nearest office of the Vital Records Office to obtain certified copies of the original marriage license. The marriage license is a document authorizing eligible persons to get married in Alaska. The Department of Health and Social Services uses this document to prepare the Marriage Certificate. Interested persons may complete this application form and submit it to the Vital Records Office in person or by mail.

Juneau Vital Records Office
5441 Commercial Boulevard
P.O. Box 110675
Juneau, AK 99811-0675
Phone: (907) 465-3391

Anchorage Vital Records Office
3901 Old Seward Highway, Suite 101
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone: (907) 269-0991

How to Change Your Name After Marriage

A reliable alternative for obtaining vital records are third party websites. These are non-governmental aggregate sites that process record requests in a seamless, timely manner. While obtaining records from third-party sources is substantially easier than sourcing them from government-run repositories, the records and information contained in these sites may vary since they are privately-owned and independent of government sources.

How to Get a New Passport in Alaska?

Following a name change, a person must request a new passport from the US Department of State or use valid travel documents for local trips. The Department of State has outlined guidelines and requirements for getting a new passport in Alaska. There are special instructions for getting a new passport with name changes after marriage.

Generally, the requester must:

  • Download and fill out the appropriate application form.
  • Prepare and attach his/her most recent US passport.
  • Attach the certified marriage certificate or certificate of name change.
  • Attach one color passport photo (see photo requirements).
  • Enclose the documents in a self-addressed envelope.
  • Send the application form supporting documents via USPS. UPS, FedEx, or DHL.

Upon receiving the application, the Department of State shall process the request and issue a new passport within ten (10) to twelve (12) weeks. Under extenuating circumstances, a requester may arrange for expedited delivery. Persons with a successful application will receive the new passport in the mail and the old passport (with a hole punched through).

In the meantime, a person may use his/her social security card, state ID, or voter’s card as travel documents. However, travel documents are limited to domestic travels, traveling to Canada, Mexico, US territories, and closed-loop cruise. Individuals who travel outside the country must present a certified birth certificate as proof of citizenship before he/she may enter the United States upon return.

How to Change your Name on Bank Accounts in Alaska?

An individual with a certified marriage certificate, a new social security card, and a new driver's license can then contact his/her bank or financial institution to update the relevant financial records. To do this:

  • Prepare the necessary documents.
  • Contact a customer representative for additional requirements (see official bank's website).
  • Visit the local branch of the bank.
  • Request a change on the account name (many banks require a letter or official form).
  • Persons who use a checkbook must present the old one and request a new checkbook reflecting the update.
  • Credit and debit cardholders must make the same request for new cards reflecting the name change.

Following the change with the financial institution, persons employed at the time of name change must forward the new banking information to the employer by completing a new Form W-4. This update is essential for tax purposes, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Although not as pressing as the Form W-4, the individual may perform re-verification with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using a new Form I-9 (see the differences).

Furthermore, the individual must review his/her financial statements to identify automatic payments on credit and debit cards. He/she must then contact the service provider and submit the updated financial details reflecting the new name. Most service providers have simplified this process and make it available online – on the user's dashboard.

How Long Does It Take to Change Your Name in Alaska After Marriage?

A minimum of two (2) weeks following the application for a new social security card. Until then, an individual must refrain from using the new name for official purposes, even if he/she has a marriage certificate. This precaution is because a marriage certificate does not make the name change automatic, even though friends and family may address one with the new name.

How Long Does It Take to Change Your Name in Alaska?

At least two (2) weeks and up to three months for persons who make a name change in the Superior Court. A person retains the identity associated with the old name until the social security administration issues him/her a new social security card. Arguably, a certificate of name change makes it legal for the public to address one by the new name. However, only a new social security card makes using the new name lawful for official purposes.

It is possible to change one's name without help. However, because the process of changing one's name can be overwhelming, interested persons often hire a family law attorney or a trusted name change service to streamline this process. Nevertheless, one must know that the cost of performing a name change may run into several hundreds of dollars – even with accurate DIY instructions.

Also, a rule of thumb is to make as many copies of the certified marriage certificate as necessary. Doing this enables the individual to process multiple legal changes at the same time since most agencies have exact basic requirements.