So after we got married, we decided to wait for me to change my name because we were delaying our honeymoon until after Chase took the bar and I was concerned there wouldn’t be enough time to get a new passport betweent the wedding and the trip. However, a couple weeks ago, it was time to bite the bullet and begin the name change process.
So I started at the Social Security Administration office. I link to their website because when in the office, they had ads everywhere encouraging people to go to the website. It seemed like a complete waste of taxpayer dollars to have characters of Star Trek and penguins on icebergs advertising to people in the office to go to the website. Then again, I am no marketing expert. So I take my birth certificate, social security card, driver’s license, marriage license application, sealed marriage license, etc to the office and tell them I want to change my name from Meaghan Elizabeth Klem to Meaghan Klem Haller. Simple enough? So the friendly lady at the desk changes my name and then tells me she has to destroy my old social security card. What? Why can’t I just keep it? Could I somehow steal my own old identity if I were to keep it? Whatever. She clearly holds the cards. So I hand it over and she proceeds to stick it into a shredder right in front of me. Seriously? Is it really necessary to do that while I stand there? I was already upset at the idea of changing my name and then she has to destroy the identity I have had for 26 years. Even Chase had to agree it was a harsh gesture.
So with my name changed, I repeat, with my name changed, I head to the BMV the next day. I take all the same documents I had the day before but also take along my new social security information, my vehicle registration, two bills to prove change of address, etc. I get to the office when it first opens and am immediately helped. So far, I think to myself, this is going really well. The woman helping me is very nice and quickly takes care of everything. She then asks me to verify that my new information is correct. My license says Meaghan Elizabeth Haller. I point out that I have changed my middle name to Klem, not Elizabeth (sorry to my mom, who is less than thrilled with the middle name dump), and she tells me she cannot change my middle name to something different than my birth certificate. What? Why? My birth certificate says my last name is Klem and she changed that! She tells me to get my birth certificate changed if I want the name changed on my license. Am I supposed to be reborn or what? I don’t put up a fight because I need to get to work and it doesn’t seem like a big deal. I leave with another new name – Meaghan Elizabeth Haller.
I get to work and realize this is a problem – I need all my documents to match in order to travel. So I call the BMV number to clear it up and get a lady dumber than the last. She tells me I need a court order. A court order? Lady, you just made a false statement of law to a lawyer; you are about to get an ear full. I tell her I am a lawyer and know that I do not need a court order since I got married. It’s like the free pass of name change! I don’t have to publish it in the newspaper so any creditors I may have can find me, etc. I just get to change it. I ask her where exactly she wants me to file this claim to get a court order and what exactly I am supposed to ask the judge to do. Does she want me to ask the judge to change my name to my name? Because my name was already changed. We can leave the judge out of this one! She continues arguing with me and I hang up.
So now what? Evidently the BMV has decided it controls name changes, not the Social Security Administration. I mean, my name was already changed!! It wasn’t up to the BMV to decide what to put on my ID. So I call back again and get someone new.
Well praise, God! She and her manager are intelligent and kind and realize that I was right! They laughed at the statements I relayed to them that I needed a court order or a changed birth certificate. So they call the manager at the local branch and instruct me to go back and ask for her. When I go back to the branch, she seemed to get everything cleared up and was very kind. I realize now that she probably wasn’t the brightest either since I paid for an amended registration and the one I just got in the mail has my old name and my old address. What a disaster!
Has anyone else experienced this kind of craziness in changing their name? Do you have any amazing BMV stories? Why is the social security office paying actors from Star Trek to advertise their website? And why do penguins on icebergs need to go to the social security office?