For all those who are not yet married, let this be a warning. All the stress is NOT over after the wedding is done. There is so much you have to do afterward, especially if you are marrying into the military. Maybe this isn't the case for everyone, but when you live 1500 miles away from your husband and are dealing with the MN government systems it can be a royal PAIN IN THE BUTT. So let's walk through the lovely steps one has to take after marriage.
First, start by marching your butt down to a crowded courthouse to renew your license. Now, I don't have any complaints about the St. Cloud Courthouse. They are all wonderful ladies and they do whatever they can to get people in and out as fast as possible and better yet, they know what they are doing! I got my license renewed no problem.
Next, if you don't already have one get yourself a birth certificate. Not only will your military husband need it to add you to "the system" but the Social Security office also requires it to prove you are a U.S. Resident. If the county you live in offers, complete the application online and bring it into the courthouse with you. It will save a lot of time and the employees will love you. Here in MN I was also able to pay for it online so I just handed over my application and they printed it off right then and there for me.
In addition, You will need your name changed with the Social Security office. This is where I ran into the most problems. The Social Security office in St Cloud, MN is TINY! We waited for over an hour, and was told the previous day people were waiting for several hours for service. Today, they had to call in FOUR extra employees to take care of all the people that were waiting. Also, complete the application online! It saves tons of time! Make sure you have your marriage certificate, Valid ID, and birth certificate! Now, I walked into that office to not only change my name, but to also get a document certifying that I did change it because the military needs proof of this as well! However, I was so graciously told that their computer systems need to "reboot" overnight in order for my name change to be "official" in the system. Therefore, I was not able to get my certificate today. So I thought "Oh that's ok I'll just stop in after work tomorrow and get it" NOT. Because conveniently on Wednesdays the office closes at noon. I get off work at noon. So I called up the office and spent 30 minutes on hold to ask them if I could have my mom pick it up for me. They told me I could and all I had to do was write and sign a letter with all my information and all of hers granting her permission to pick it up for me. So if all goes well tomorrow my mom will be able to mail out all the required documents to my husband so he can take care of things on his end. Normally, it wouldn't be that big of a rush. BUT Jake has to find us a house, set as much up as he can and get everything settled before I get there in May. Who knows how long it will take to find us a house to begin with so the more time he has to figure things out the better.
Aside from those things you have to change your name on your credit cards, and bank accounts. Jake and I also made a joint account that we will only be using for bills. So I can contribute even though I am still stuck here in MN. It's just easier for me to put money into our account when needed then to send him money directly. Changing your name on these things is pretty easy. Just call up the company or march down to the office with your marriage certificate and 2 forms of ID and they take care of it for you. The only inconvenience we ran into was when we set up our joint account we forgot to bring our marriage certificate and I didn't not have an updated license yet so I had to put down my Maiden name on the account. Then I had to go back in and change it a few days later. Not that big of a deal but they sent me a debit card in my old name and now I have to order a brand new one in my new name. Not hard to do but talk about a waste of resources. I also have to stop into the main office at my work, visit HR, and have my name changed with them. Not a big deal
Next, I had to get my vehicle put in my name. I paid for my vehicle but my parents got me the loan so naturally it was in their name. So we had to go get a new title stating that my vehicle is now loan free and as soon as the title comes in the mail we have to sign it, go back to the courthouse, and have them officially put it in my name.
You will need to be put on your husbands Car Insurance (if that's the route you decide to take) You end up saving money that way in the long run and it's just easier to balance the bills when everything is combined. In May, we will also be getting joint cell phone plan but it didn't pay to do it right now since I'm on my parents plan and pay next to nothing for it (Cheap T-Mobile).
While all of this stuff is time consuming, I've found the hardest thing to do is remembering to sign my new name! Gosh. I keep on signing my old last name. It's going to take awhile to get used to!
As for all the military stuff, Jake is handling that on his own so for right now. When I get to California I will need to get my Dependent ID, get enrolled in DEERS in the process, figure out Tricare and my Dental Insurance. I will also need to go to base and get a decal for my car so I am allowed to drive on base on my own in my own vehicle.