Legislation that makes it easier for newlyweds to change their names was approved by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizen Committee.
“Newly married couples shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to do something as simple as updating their name,” said Sen. Anthony Bucco, who sponsored the legislation. “Currently, newlyweds who wish to change their name must navigate a complex process that can be overly expensive if courts are involved. This legislation simplifies the process by allowing name changes to be made on marriage certificate applications.”
Under current law, newly married applicants cannot make changes to their name using New Jersey State marriage license forms. Instead, a spouse must go through the burdensome process of changing their name through their local social security office, motor vehicle commission, or by paying a fee in court.
Senator Bucco’s bill, S-679, streamlines the name-change process by requiring the Commissioner of Health to revise state marriage application forms to provide applicants with the ability to update their middle or last name.
The bill mandates that the new application forms include several elections for applicants that include using the current or former surname of either spouse, hyphenating their last name with their spouse’s last name, or choosing to not change their name at all, among other options.
Applicants who decide to update their name would also be encouraged to contact their local social security office to reflect the appropriate name change.
“This is a common-sense solution that will save marriage certificate applicants time and money,” Bucco added. “Our bill would streamline an applicant’s ability to update their name without the hassle of dealing with multiple government agencies or the courts.”