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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chapter 21, or Name change process: part 1

For any woman who has changed her name upon getting married, you know the process is a real bitch.  It goes something like this (at least it went like this for me):

  1.  Wait for your marriage certificate (which can take about a month)
  2.  Go to the social security office. 
a.     Bring your marriage certificate and current social security card. 
b.     Wait several hours. 
c.     Get temporary social security card with new name.  
d.     Get shots to protect yourself from whatever crap you may have picked up from the people at the social security office.
  1. Wait for new social security card (which can take about two weeks)
  2. Go to the DMV
    1. Bring marriage certificate, new social security card and current driver’s license.
    2. Wait several hours
    3. Get temporary license while waiting for new license, which can also take about two weeks.
  3. Use new social security card and/or driver’s license as proof to change name on utilities, passport, credit cards, bank accounts and any other legal documents.

It’s a blast.  And what does the man have to do?  Big fat nothing! 
            How lucky are we divorced broads who get to do it twice?  There was no way I was keeping my crappy old married name so I was going to have to go through the process again.  This time it would be a little more complicated because I had a house.  That meant changing my name on the loan, the insurance, and the deed along with all the other stuff.  Yippee!  Instead of waiting for a marriage certificate I had to wait for a divorce decree.  It’s not a pretty slip of paper representing happily ever after.  It’s a stack of papers stapled together with words like “judgment” and “dissolution” and signatures from attorneys and judges and clerks.  It’s a big packet full of unhappily ever after. 
            [On my third trip to the social security office] I had a guy helping me.  He typed some stuff in the computer and printed out a slip of paper.  It was the paper that said due to divorce my name was no longer what it had been for the last seven years.  I had to sign my old name and my new name.  If you’ve never had to do this, and I hope you never do, it is one of the most painful experiences.  My hand started shaking and I started crying.  I felt like a piece of me was being ripped away.  I felt lost, like I didn’t have an identity anymore.  I felt nameless and hopeless and empty.  If I wasn’t Jennifer (insert Dick Weed’s last name here), who was I?  I had to sign three different papers and then I was given my temporary social security card.  As much as I tried, I couldn’t stop crying.  Now I felt nameless, hopeless, empty and humiliated.  The poor guy did not know what to do with me.  He gave me a tissue and said I could leave out the back door if I wanted.
            When I got in my car I looked in the rear view mirror.  My face looked like a Halloween mask.  Eyeliner and mascara had pooled under my eyes and were streaking down my cheeks.  No wonder he sent me out the back door.

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