How to change your name after marriage
Now that you are done saying “I do”, it is customary, as a married woman, you change your name to that of your spouse’s. Changing your last name is not as simple as just writing it after you get married. Usually, no one tells you what to do so officially, a legal process needs to be followed. This can be done at any point in your marriage. Nevertheless, it helps to do it soon after your ceremony to get it out of the way. So you may change your Instagram or Twitter handle to Mrs, “insert spouse’s last name”, but on legal documents, that change has to be backed by law… more about this process later.
It is important to note however that, you are not legally required to change your name after you get married. You may continue to use your maiden name with the “Mrs” title, to show that you’re married. Doing this eliminates the effort and cost of going through the name change process. It also means that you can continue to keep all your records as they are. Some often neglected but important reasons to consider the need to change your name after marriage are as follows:
The title “Mrs” with any last name usually indicates that you are married to a man with that last name. So you may need to clarify this more often than you care to if you decide to keep your maiden name.
- You and your partner will have different surnames.
- Your children are also likely to bare your husband’s name, which will differ from yours. Some couples use compound names for their children to help address this issue.
- Not that you need to care, but it is easier for people to address and introduce you and your spouse as Mr. and Mrs “whoever”, rather than having to say your names separately and explain that you are married to each other.
For those of you who have decided to change your name after marriage, below is the procedure to do so in Ghana:
A. You will need the following documents
A copy of a legal photo ID with your current legal name [birth certificate/passport / national ID (Ghana card)]
- A signed affidavit, signed by a commissioner of oaths or notary public, stating your current name and address, the intention to change your name, and the new name you would like to go by. The public officials mentioned above usually have templates for this affidavit, that can be used, and filled out with your unique information.
- A copy of your marriage certificate
- A filing fee of GHS 250(Mid 2018)
B. Take the following documents to Assembly Press, Accra city center, and put in your application. You will be given a form to fill and asked to return within a time frame of 10 – 15 business days.
C. Your name change will be published in a gazette. You will be given copies of the gazette for your records when you return. There will be a section in it that will state your new name, and also states that documents with your old name are still valid.
D. If you have any documents with your previous name, they will still be valid. However it is good to change your name on them, otherwise, you may encounter situations where you have to justify why you have different names. Once you get used to writing your new name, IDs you present must match that name. Documents to consider amending include your passport, voter’s and national IDs, bank documents, phone records, land titles, car papers, among others.