Me: Do you know if it’s possible for my husband to get his name changed here [at the Social Security Administration] like I’m getting mine changed.
Officer: He’s changing his name?
Me: Yes, he’s changing his name. We’ve heard he might need to go through the county clerk–do you think it can just be handled here? We have the marriage certificate.
Officer: Wait. What–what’s he changing it to?
Me: *eye roll* The same as mine. Hyphenated.
Officer: He’s… What? Wow.
Greg: Yes, I’m changing my name.
Officer: *incredulous laugh* Well, I just don’t know… You’ll probably have to go through the courts–look, I don’t know, just go ask back there and see!
All online research in the preceding months, all questions to the Registrar of Deeds‘ personnel led us to believe that a married man in North Carolina would need to go through a complete identity change process in order to change his name, while I could just sail through Social Security.
Oh, and that no man in Charlotte had ever tried to change his last name before.
The fifth (or seventh, or twelfth) time asking was the charm. Turns out, we could change it at the Social Security Administration (SSA) office. I filled out my application for a name change at the SSA office on Thursday afternoon and waited in line with Greg amongst grumbling people trying to find an untorn and English application. When we sat down with the official, I asked, “Hey, just tossing this out there: is there any chance he can change his name, too, while we’re here?”
After the requisite short period of incredulity, the awesome official said, “Yeah, sure, just fill out the top part of this application, and we’ll get you in.”
We both walked out 10 minutes later with our names changed federally.
Monday morning, the DMV processed our changes without a single hitch, although Greg may have had to suffer through one more round of sputtering incredulity.
The local Charlotte state officials (at the Registrar of Deeds) apparently don’t realize how progressive the nation is yet.