I wouldn’t recommend getting married and moving to a new state at the same time. At least not as a woman who’s also planning to change her name.

First, if you’re moving states, you must:

  1. Get an Oklahoma driver’s license (rather than a simple renewal, in OK, that requires a trip to the DMV and then a tag agency)
  2. Get an Oklahoma registration with a transfer fee (at a tag agency)
  3. Get an Oklahoma license plate (at a tag agency)
  4. Get a new Oklahoma-based car insurance agent
  5. Submit a post office address change
  6. Register to vote in Oklahoma

Second and much worse, if you’re changing your name, you must change:

  1. Your driver’s license
  2. Your social security card
  3. Your bank account and credit cards
  4. Your passport
  5. Your work documents, logins, email signatures, business cards, etc
  6. Your car registration
  7. All your other billing accounts (cell phones, rent, energy bills, etc)

Those are some hefty lists. They don’t even include more personal tasks like joining bank accounts, household goods, and cell phone plans. And the worst part is, once you start, you must complete everything quickly and in the right order. I myself had some pretty tricky times trying to sort it…

Before I even got started with my to-do list, I made the mistake of signing the marriage certificate with only a first and a last name. A week later at the DMV, after an hour and half in line, I found out that my signature meant that I no longer had a middle name. But I’d already waited so long and I was so shocked that I took my two-name license anyway. I started the transformation from one name to another, not realizing how complicated it would be.

If I ever want to reclaim my middle name (which I do), I have to get an OKC district judge to sign an amendment on our original marriage license. Only on Fridays at 10:30 a.m… Very specific. So ever since, I procrastinated changing anything because I didn’t have the time to skip work on Fridays to visit any judge. But that meant I was stuck. There was little point in changing things to the wrong name only to have to go back again and change it again. But it was also difficult to have a driver’s license that didn’t match anything else.

For example, T-Mobile had to run a credit report when we signed up for a new cell phone plan. My social security number and credit card were still in my maiden name. My ID was not. I was so nervous but luckily they let it slide.

Then unluckily at a store, I tried to pay with my credit card. The cashier asked for my photo ID. Naturally they didn’t match, and she couldn’t take my word for it. I had to pay in cash.

So now I walk around with extra documentation to prove (with photo ID) that I am both names should I encounter more problems. And I’m still stuck in limbo, waiting for a free Friday to roll around.

I wouldn’t undo any of my decisions that led me to this point, but still, you’ve been warned.

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