Tuesday, November 9, 2010

my name change headache

My wedding day was a dream come true!  Changing my name, however, was the hugest nightmare.  

 It occurred to me that I never wrote about the HELL that was changing my name.  Initially - the whole thing got me SO PISSED OFF I could barely discuss it with anyone without using forty cuss words and flailing my arms around.  I've since called down, as everything has worked out.  But - it was torture to change my name.  So basically don't do what I did.

Here's the summary.

Got married...wahoo!!  Two days later, we went and turned in the marriage certificate making it all "officially legal" with the great state of Arizona....it was easy as pie.  Then, I took my new marriage certificate, my driver's license and my old social security card to the Social Security administration to get my "new" name put on my card.  My next stop was going to be the DMV to get my new license - except - the paperwork with my name change needed time for processing and it wouldn't be ready for 4 to 5 business days.  Bummer.  I wouldn't be in Arizona then....I'd be on my honeymoon...only to return on a Saturday (when government businesses are closed) and we had to start our cross country move on Sunday (in order to get to NY on time for my new job to start.  Everything was cut so close.  But I didn't sweat it.  People get married and move all the time - right!?

Well.  Not people who move to the ridiculous state of New York.  Don't even get me started on all this place - nothing gets done here - the government agencies are unbelievable.  You wouldn't even believe me if I told you the NUMBER OF HOURS I sat in these buildings (whether it be the DMV, or the social security administration)...ONLY to be told I'm at the wrong department and I need to "go somewhere else" - and then to go to that "somewhere else" and have them tell me to go back to where I started.  I tried calling ... nobody answers the phones here.   Nobody.

Apparently, my new last name on my new social security card plus my AZ driver's license plus my proof of employment/residency in the state wouldn't cut it to get a new driver's license in NY.  Nope.  I needed 6 points of identification with my new name in it's ENTIRETY...meaning...my first name, my middle name, my maiden name (which I kept on as a second middle name because who cares it's my name and I want to keep it, thank you) and my new last name.  This means that I needed to bring in 6 items with the following name:  JESSICA JEANINE MAIDEN NEWNAME.  All four names.  I don't have a single item that even has my original middle name on it.  So getting six items with all four names would be impossible.

A couple times I was so frustrated with this state and the people I was dealing with I would literally break down in their offices.  At the Social Security Administration, the little old lady across the desk from me came over to my side of the desk and put her arm around me and told me how sorry she was that they had made it so difficult for me.  I just blew my nose on the tissue she handed me.  I had no words.

FINALLY - after dozens and dozens of hours at the various agencies in the area, we decided to drive out to the DMV in a smaller nearby town with the idea that maybe the time spent waiting would be worth the drive.  It was. It almost didn't all go through, but finally, the clerk chose to accept what I had as sufficient materials to be granted a New York license.  Freaking glory be.

So.  My advice - do not move state lines without changing your name through Social Security AND getting your new name on your license in your old state.  That way you just have to hand over your license to your new state and everything is easy breezy.

Oh.  And maybe don't move to New York unless you looove a ridiculous government.*

*We're still waiting for Tommy's education certification to be processed here - and it's been 8 months...can you believe that?  EIGHT months...for a guy who is already a great teacher...a winning coach...and hold's his Master's Degree in Education...and teaching certification (though in a different state).  Nope.  Not processed yet.  After 8 months.  Unfreakingreal.

As much as this place drives me nutso...it is rather pretty.


  1. I had a similar headache as well but in GA. I guess it is typical Southern for a woman to lose her middle name when she gets married and her maiden becomes her middle. I didn't want to lose my middle; my parents gave it to me and I like it. So, like you, I have 2 middle names now (middle and maiden) and my husband's last name as mine. SS and passport have all 4 names. DMV only wants 3 so I have to pick which middle I'm going to use. What do they do with international people who move to GA and have long names? It's still a good 'ol boys club. My employer, a university, only likes 3 names too so once again I had to pick a middle which feeds over to my insurance cards as 3 names and I consistently have problems because it doesn't match my legal 4 names. In this modern day of computers you would think they could accept unlimited characters as names.

  2. Geez...i thought I had a hard time! We just had to wait 8 months for our marriage certificate to arrive! Once it did (and the 2 lost copies) it wasn't so bad...

    glad it worked out for you in the end!

  3. The name change process is such a pain. Fortunately getting my new SS card and driver's license wasn't too hard but I still need to update so many places with my new name. It's like I'm two different people right now.

  4. I couldn't have stumbled upon this blog on a better post. I am from NYC and am constantly frustrated with the REDIC policies our govt. offices have. Don't even get me started on the process to replace EVERYTHING you could think of after getting mugged. Can you say NO COMPASSION? I am actually dreading this whole name change/marriage license process as I'm getting married out of state. Yikesss. Congrats on surviving your first experience with NYC govt!

  5. That is crazy. You would think a state with the population of New York would have had so many people complaining that they would have simplified the system.

    I guess not.

  6. I'm also 2 different people right now!!!!

    my process wasn't quite as difficult as yours, but still hectic and just plain annoying, any harder and I would have been in tears.

  7. I did the exact same with my old last name. Makes me happy to hear someone else did that since it makes my name super long but I didn't want to get rid of my middle name or my old last name, but I'm not a hyphen person.

    Sorry about NY. I just moved from there and the rest of the world is so much easier. There's a reason that the state is going bankrupt.

    But, yes, it is pretty



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