THE BLOG
10/02/2014 10:46 am ET Updated Dec 02, 2014

October: The Month of Name Change

If there was such a thing as a national newlywed calendar, October would be a completely booked month. Spring and summer weddings and their ensuing honeymoons are wrapping up, leaving couples a brief span of time to settle into newlywed life before the holidays hit.

At the top of over 88% of newlywed couples' to-do lists is making the switch to their married last name(s). Whether the bride opts to take her spouse's last name, hyphenate, take two last name sans hyphen, take her maiden name as a middle name or replace her middle name with her maiden name, there are a series of legal forms and notification letters to be completed and filed. The same is true for men taking their spouse's names or same sex couples taking their spouse's name or blending their last names.

Curious why October is the month of married name change? There are four key factors that influence the uptick in newlywed name change this time of year.

Taxes - Not something anyone wants to think about during wedding planning or the honeymoon is the joy of tax season as newlyweds. If a couple is planning to file joint taxes under their married name the individual(s) changing their name need to file their SS-5 form to affect their name change with Social Security prior to December 31st. It is also advisable to file the IRS 8822 to inform the IRS of your new name. The filing of both of these documents well in advance of filing your taxes prevents any confusion regarding your identity that could cause lengthy delays of your tax returns.

Passport Window - Many engaged couples apply for a U.S. passport in anticipation of their honeymoon travel. If a new passport holder is changing their name based on marriage, there is a 12-month window in which the State Department will update their passport with their new name for free. The DS-5504 form has to be filed within 12 months of the issuance date of the newlywed's passport or they will have to file for a completely new passport via the DS-82 form and pay the $110 fee...which is zero fun.

It's Now or Never - Approximately 40% of newlyweds opt to change their names within 3 months of their marriage ceremonies. Many cite the fact that if they don't begin their name change right away, they'll never get around to doing it later in life. It is true that the longer a newlywed waits to change his/her name, the more legal documents will accumulate and then need to be changed (ex: house or vehicle titles, joint bank accounts, IRAs, etc).

Wedding Checks- Last but certainly not least, many newlywed couples are eager to use monetary gifts they received in their married names. Depending on the banking institution, they may have to wait until they are legally Mr. and Mrs. Smith to cash wedding checks made out to the bride and groom. No one wants last names to delay rounding out their registry and decorating their home.

Beyond these four name-change motivators are many more ranging from the joy of new initial monogramming to preparing for a new baby! Whatever the inspiration or motivation, name change in October is a huge newlywed trend.