When I got married seven-plus years ago, I decided to jump headfirst into changing my last name. Within weeks of our nuptials, I took the morning off of work, dragged myself to the social security office, and waited for more than an hour—behind, I might add, a woman who had already lost her two-month-old son's social security card, and a man carrying a pile of scrawled letters from his priest and neighbors as proof that he was staying in the U.S. for good.
Once I reached the agent, she told me, "You're an easy one!" since this was my first marriage (fyi: I intend to make it my last), I was keeping my first and middle names, and I had all of the necessary paperwork. Clearly that's not the case for most people—and that was only the beginning. The passport and DMV trips were a helluvalot more time-consuming, which is why I avoided them until well past our first anniversary.
But now there's a reason for you not to wait so long. A mutual friend recently introduced me to the founders of hitchswitch.com, a full-service site that seeks to simplify the name-changing process. The site began when Josh Gelb and Jake Wolff, two law school classmates at Fordham University, were blown away by how complicated it was for their respective wives to switch their last names and were disappointed with the online options available to newlyweds.
For $39.99, hitchswitch reduces the process to filling out an easy online form and waiting three to five business days for your pre-filled-out documents (with indicators for the few places you need to sign or add your social security number) and pre-paid, pre-labeled envelopes to arrive. Pre-paid and pre-labeled are key steps if you're like me and can't seem to get the stamp to the envelope to the mailbox. Come across legal questions along the way? Josh and Jake are available to help sort out the legalese for you, because their goal is to make the experience as painless as possible.
And, get this: Not only can you buy a hitchswitch bridal shower gift certificate for a friend, but because giving back is an integral part of the culture at hitchswitch, a portion of the proceeds from each transaction is donated to breast and ovarian cancer research. How great is that? —Amber Harris