You meet someone.
You fall in love.
You move in together.
You get engaged.
You get married.
You love your day. Your dress. Your friends and family celebrate with you. You party. You may drink too much. You may even almost get in a fist fight with a girl your new husband invited to the wedding. Every one has a little different story.
You get back from your honeymoon.
Then it hits you!
You, as a woman, get the privilege (and trouble) of changing your last name, if your heart desires.
When I got married 13+ years ago, I did NOT want to change my last name. I love my maiden name. My parents seriously picked a badass name for me.
But, my husband wanted me to take his last name. I guess maybe this was a conversation we should have had before marriage. So more than eight months after the wedding, I very slowly started the process.
Social Security Card. Check.
Driver’s License. Check.
Bank Information. Check.
Credit Cards. Check.
Car Loan. Check.
Guys, if you are reading this, maybe you should take your wife’s name.
You make appointments.
You take time off work.
You sit in waiting areas for hours.
All. In. The. Name. Of. Love.
The marriage doesn’t work out.
You don’t have any kids together, so you make the decision to change your name back to your maiden name.
The judge agrees to let you do this. (These days, a judge has to approve every name change)
Then you have to repeat the process above, to get everything changed back.
We filed for divorce in March of 2011. We filled out the paperwork together, he paid the astronomical California court fee and we waited.
I received lots of paperwork in the mail. Lots and lots and lots of it. I put it all in a little file folder. We weren’t fighting over anything, so I didn’t care much about it. I finally got a court paper in the mail that was stamped by the court and signed by the judge.
Ok. It’s over.
In April 2012, after I received the signed court paperwork, I looked online to start the process of changing my name back.
Social Security office: Fill out paperwork and mail to the state with a copy of your driver’s license, your passport, your marriage certificate, your birth certificate, your first born, your actual right index finger and a certified copy of your divorce decree. I’m sorry, what?!?! What in the actual fuck does my divorce decree look like? I don’t have one of those!!!
I called my ex-husband. Do you have a certified divorce decree? No? What is it? Are we still married? What the hell? Did we miss something? Oh and by the way, if we are still married, I’ve cheated on you…A FUCKING LOT.
Ok. I didn’t really say that last part to him, but I was thinking it.
I went online and saw that you can only get a copy of your divorce decree by going to the actual courthouse. You can order birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses and whatever else the fuck you may need online, EXCEPT divorce records.
That was almost four years ago.
And I’m still legally going by Andi Married Last Name.
I took Wednesday off work to go to the courthouse and take care of this shit, once and for fucking all. My mom was ready to accompany me, to keep me company during the long wait at the courthouse. That’s what she says. I think it’s because she knows I’m a procrastinator and probably wouldn’t really complete the damn task.
I woke up Wednesday morning and dug out the paperwork I had.
Low and behold, I had the correct paperwork all along. I had been thinking in my head that a divorce decree would be a fancy certified something from that state that said “CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR DIVORCE, HERE’S YOUR DECREE!!” You know, on some pretty paper, like your birth certificate or wedding certificate.
Turns out, they do not believe divorces should be fancy.
For anyone who might be curious and isn’t as naïve as I am, a divorce decree is just the final paperwork from the court that has everything listed on it and is signed off by the judge and stamped by the court. There is not once mention of the word “decree” on the whole entire 12 page document.
So on Wednesday, my mom picked me up and I took my divorce decree to the social security office. I changed my name.
Today, I took my divorce decree to the DMV and bank and changed my name.
I am finally back to me. Finally back to Andi Maiden Name.
And I couldn’t be happier.