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Name change after marriage is a common thing in Indian culture. When you exchange wedding vows, you make a commitment to be lifelong partners with your soulmate. And a name change is a big thing.
The thing most people don’t realize is – although surname change after marriage is common, women have the complete freedom to opt out of it. If you don’t want to change your first name or surname after marriage, you don’t have to. And there’s no law that says that you have to adopt your husband’s surname after the wedding. However, there are a couple of perks that come with wife name change after marriage, irrespective of whether you go for it or not.
How is Changing Name Post Marriage Beneficial for You?
Well, there are a couple of very good reasons why you would want to change your surname. Here is a list of the benefits:
1. Paperwork Becomes Hassle-free
Paperwork becomes super easy when you apply for opening joint bank accounts with your husband or buying a property. People won’t question you whether you’re the wife of your husband or ask to prove your identity. It’s like a huge perk when it comes to legal matters too.
2. You Don’t Have To Reveal Your First Name
Sharing a common surname also means you won’t have to reveal your first name to others. This is especially useful during social events where you meet new people and just don’t want to disclose your first name for personal reasons.
3. Admitting Your Kids To School Becomes Easy
If you’re admitting your kids to school, it really becomes a breeze. There are social stigma kids sometimes have to go through when their parents have different names. When you share the same surname, your kids won’t have to answer personal questions or face any discomfort. Parent-teacher meetings also won’t be that awkward as teachers know that you are their official guardian.
4. You Get A Marriage Certificate
Normally you don’t get a marriage certificate when you choose to keep your original name after getting married in India. But if you apply for a name change, you do get a marriage certificate. This helps a lot in the future, especially if you ever decide to settle abroad after getting married or apply for jobs in different countries together at the same time.
Procedure To Change Your Name After Marriage in India
If you want to change your name after marriage in India, then you have to go through a couple of procedures. Here is what goes into the name change process after marriage:
Step 1 – Your Marriage Certificate
You’ll have to first get your new name registered on your marriage certificate. For that, you have to visit the Indian government’s official website and download the marriage registration forms. Fill these up and submit them at the Sub Registrar Office. You will also have to hand over a few copies of passport-size photographs, Aadhar Card, PAN card, and other ID/address proof documents. Your name change in the Marriage Certificate will fall under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and more details about it are provided on the Central Government’s website.
Step 2 – Get an Affidavit
An affidavit is a common document (a stamp paper) used for changing one’s name in India. In that, you have to specify the reason for your name change, provide your new name, and also your old name. You can collect one by visiting a registered notary and request an affidavit for name change post-marriage.
Step 3 – Declaration to Third Parties
After you’ve successfully changed your name using your marriage certificate and have gotten through the affidavit process, it’s time to publish your name officially. One way to do this is to put out your name on two famous local newspapers stating that you’ve changed your name. Additionally, the legal procedure you have to do for your name change declaration is to publish your name in the Gazette of India which is an official journal published by the Government of India.
Step 4 – Make The Changes
Now, this is the most important part. After you’ve successfully channged your name and published it in the Gazette of India, you have to change your name in other documentations like your bank accounts, PAN Card, Passport, Aadhar Card, High School Certificates etc. Take any relevant documents which contain your name change info and submit it to those places where you got your PAN, passport, Aadhar, etc to update your name and make it officially reflect on your records.
Entities that Must Be Notified of Your Name Change
Before you change your name legally post-marriage, you must notify a couple of entities about it. Here is a list of the following:
1. Inform Your Employers
If you work for startups or any organizations, you should notify them of your name change with a copy of your marriage license or any other name-change records. The earlier you do this the better.
2. Banks and Financial Institutions
If you have any bank accounts, you should inform them of your name change. This is because you don’t want your changed name to interfere with financial transactions or cause hassle when applying for loans
3. Post Office
For updating your address as well as your new name. This helps with couriers and package deliveries
4. Telephone and Utility Organizations
If you use a landline and pay for utilities like water and electricity, you want your bills to reflect your new name
5. Tax Department of India
For your filing of income taxes and availing exclusive tax benefits for married couples when it comes to purchasing joint properties, renting/leasing, etc.
6. Department of Records
This is the department from where you get your birth certificate issued from
7. Social Security Administration
This is not optional. Your social security number is required everywhere you go, so don’t forget to update your name here.
8. Passport Office
Passport name change after marriage India is pretty obvious. Because if you don’t do it, you’ll have a hard time travelling abroad or even applying for a VISA together with your husband
9. Public Assistance (Welfare) Office
This one is an entity you have to inform for sure. It’s compulsory
10. Veterans Administration
Another legal entity which must be informed for any name changes post-marriage
11. Insurance Companies
If you have any car, home, consumer durables, or any type of insurance, it’s a good idea to update your name in the records of those insurance companies for future benefits
12. Department of Motor Vehicles
This is where you get your driver’s license from
13. Registrar of Voters
If you want to vote for any political party using your new name, you have to update your name here as well
14. Schools and Universities
Whether you’re studying in a university, pursuing higher education, or sending your kids to school, make sure to update your new name in those records
15. Creditors and Debtors
If you’ve given loans to any people or taken any loans from some, be it peer-to-peer or through financial intermediaries, you have to update your name in the legal contracts you’ve signed for those.
When Should You Choose to Stick to Your Maiden Name?
You should stick to your maiden name if you have any of the following issues:
1. You have a Huge Social Media Presence
If you’re an author, artist, or freelance influencer online and have a huge following, then changing your surname may not be a good move. This is because you’ll have a ton of content published in the past under your original name.
2. You Have Many Legal Holdings
If you run a business or have any legal holdings with other entities, you should stick to your maiden name. This will make deals with other parties easier and you don’t have to involve your husband in your work or business either.
3. Your Husband’s Surname is Weird
Sometimes your husband’s surname may be whacky or too silly. We mean no offence to the husbands out there, but yes, if you feel your husband’s surname is too weird for your tastes, you could just stick to your maiden name. This doesn’t mean you don’t love your husband, it just means you don’t like his surname based on your preferences and that’s it.
Changing your name can be one of the most rewarding experiences after marriage. From being recognized in society officially as a married couple to enjoying legal and tax perks, you get a lot of benefits. Besides that, even if you don’t change your name, you’ll still enjoy some of them after marriage, except for the part where people ask you about why you haven’t changed your name or to verify your marriage identity. You have both pros and cons, but the answer to whether you want to change your name or not is – you. And really, that’s it. It’s that simple.