Some of my readers may have noticed a subtle change recently. It’s small, but big at the same time. It may have caused some suspicion. It may have caused some confusion. It definitely got some people’s attention. It certainly started some rumors. Well, here I am to set the record straight. Are you ready for this bit of news?
I didn’t get married.
I know, right? Who knew I would need to clear that up? The truth is, now is basically the worst possible time ever to be getting married, so no… I definitely didn’t get married this past week (despite what some people thought) for the following reasons:
- We’re building and buying a house. The last thing we need is my credit affecting Jeremy’s.
- All things considered, I have pretty good health insurance at an affordable rate. With our money all tied up, I’d like to keep it that way.
- I want to go back to school in the Spring and I can’t do that if Jeremy’s wages are considered – I would lose out on an array of grants and financial assistance.
I realize that maybe some of that isn’t fair to the other people in the world who could use the help. I recognize that we’re better off than a lot of people. But also consider the fact that me… just me… I’m not. Even when I was employed, I didn’t make enough money to live off of – and that was before the support I pay for my daughter. So no, I don’t really feel guilty that we’re choosing to not get married so that I can keep the benefits and assistance I need.
But that’s not even what this blog post is about. Nope. Not really. It’s about that subtle change… the one that has everyone so confused and has sent rumors flying around Facebook among our friends and family. No, we didn’t get married.
I started the process of legally changing my last name.
Sorry for those who were confused. There’s been a lot of talk from me lately about buying a dress for a wedding. For clarification, it’s a dress for Jeremy’s eldest brother’s wedding. And then there was all of the talk about getting ready for a wedding. Nope, also not mine. It was for a friend’s wedding last weekend. Then I changed my last name on all of my social media and everyone thought we’d eloped.
It all started about 3 weeks ago, I went to visit a friend of mine who just had a baby. We got on the subject of marriage and babies and I made a comment about how Jeremy had to marry me eventually because should we have children, I didn’t want to deal with the confusion of our child having a different last name from myself. It’s confusing enough that my daughter has always legally had a different last name since I didn’t change my name either time I got married.
My friend exclaimed “You know you can just go get your name changed. You don’t have to get married to do that.” all the while, Jeremy and I just turned to look at each other and had one of those eye contact conversations like on How I Met Your Mother.
It never really occurred to me to just change my last name. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done it since I was adopted at the age of 13 and everything, including my birth certificate now says Wilson on it rather than the last name I was born with. This also wouldn’t be the first time I assumed a new last name. Although I didn’t legally change my last name during my first marriage, I did often use my husband’s last name and simply reverted back to Wilson after the divorce.
It’s not that we don’t want to get married eventually, it’s that now isn’t the time financially. But I know for certain that this is the man I want to spend my life with. We’re buying a house and hoping to start a family. Taking his last name feels right. And besides… it sounds super awesome.
Kimi Kinsey is a super hero… or a really cool reporter. You know you agree with me.
Legally changing your name is pretty involved.
Well, at least here in South Carolina it is. I had to send off for a new, official copy of my birth certificate. I paid about $40 to the state of Louisiana to get a copy almost 2 weeks ago. It’s already on its way here. Unfortunately, that will be the easiest part of the name change process.
I have done the next step of requesting a name change packet from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). It was mailed out to me yesterday so I should have it soon. There are a bunch of papers in it and other steps to complete. The packet includes:
- Forms for a background check to make sure I’m not trying to do anything fishy and to verify that I don’t have any outstanding warrants or anything else crazy (This will cost me $25).
- A form that has to go to the Department of Social Services (DSS) to verify that I am not on the registry for child abuse and neglect (This will cost me $8).
- There will also be a fingerprint card that I need to take to my local law enforcement office so I can get fingerprinted for reasons I am not quite sure of (This will cost me $10).
It doesn’t end there. Nope.
[Tweet “Legally changing your name in #SouthCarolina is kind of hard. Have you seen these steps!?”]
While I am waiting for all of the results of my criminal background check, I can write up the petition for changing my name. Oh yes, I have to tell them who I am, where I live, my age, and the reason I want to change my name. Yup. All of these websites say “You can change your name for any reason” but I don’t think that’s actually true. I assume they wouldn’t ask me for my reason if they didn’t care about what that reason is.
Once I have everything – my birth certificate, the criminal background check, DSS paperwork, fingerprint card, and petition to change my name – I can go to the County Clerk’s Office and file for my name change (This will cost me $150). The clerk will schedule my court hearing (if it’s needed and knowing me, it probably will be) so I can go before a judge and either have them grant or deny the change.
So all together, I will have spent about $230 to attempt to change my last name (Oh yeah. Haha All of that and they can still tell me no) and well, I recognize that’s about how much it would cost me to get married. But the financial repercussions aren’t worth it. We’ll get married in due time. But for now, a name change will suffice and make us a real family.
Have You Ever?
Have you ever legally changed your name outside of marriage or divorce? Was it this freaking complicated!? I’d love for you to share your experiences with me. Hopefully they aren’t horror stories…