Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Over the long weekend, The Foliage and I went to the DMV in Delaware to change our names.
Let's set the stage, shall we?
1. For the purposes of this post, The Foliage's full name since birth has been Foliage Edward Mopsy
2. His mother's maiden name was Flopsy
3. My full name since birth has been Ceej Cottontail
4. I was confirmed in the Catholic church with the name "Cecilia" when I was 13, but have never legally had a middle name
5. We would like our legal names to be Foliage Edward Flopsy Mopsy and Ceej Cecilia Flopsy Mopsy
6. The Social Security Administration (SSA) totally let us do this without any problems, regardless of gender, or the fact that the marriage license doesn't mention my middle name. They mailed us our new social security cards, with the correct new names a few days later.
  6a. We even specifically asked about needing a court order to change our names.
  6b. And were told the marriage license IS the court order.
OK. Now.
8. We go to the DMV. The right DMV. Not the dumbest DMV ever in the history of the world. Like, a month after getting our new social security cards so we are DEFINITELY IN THE STUPID SYSTEM.
9. There's no line! We only wait 5ish minutes! Hooray!
10. Go to separate windows. Foliage has the original of the marriage license, I have a copy.
11. At YOUR window, is a sassy middle aged black lady who is NONE too please to be working the Friday before Christmas.
  11a. Not my (or your) problem.
  11b. Oh, wait. Yes it is. Yes it so, so is.
12. Give her your old license, new social security card (with new and improved name!), and copy of marriage license.
13. Get ready...this is when you start getting raised eyebrows. The funnest of all DMV Christmas favors!
   13a. Optional: your DMV representative ignores your explanations in favor of leaning over to the next DMV employee to discuss how ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS your proposed name change is
  13b. Maybe also repeatedly tells you the SSA will basically change a person's name to anything and you can't just do that.
  13c. ...
  13d. Right. That's what the SSA is known for. Not caring about things.
  13e. Step off it DELAWARE. Other states don't even reports traffic accidents to  you because you are SO UNIMPORTANT YOU JERK.
  13f. And you can't change your middle name anyway, [you idiot,] because that's not indicated anywhere on the marriage license.
  13g. But what possible harm could changing a middle name have? And the SSA did it!!
  13h. ...!!!!!
14. Your representative asks you for the original marriage license, which you retrieve, and she emits total confusion/borderline disgust that your HUSBAND HAS IT at ANOTHER WINDOW.
  14a. Um, your husband can't change his last name.
  14b. ...Why not?
  14c. Because he's the husband.
  14d. (summoning all the calm in the universe) I understand that that's not how it's normally DONE but why is that a RULE?
  14e. (Nothing. Judgyface.)
15. Your representative tells you that you can be Ceej Mopsy or Ceej Cottontail. That's it. Would you like a new license for $10?
  15a. No you stupid twunt, I do not want to spend $10 on a liarcense.
  15b. Give me back my goddamned papers.
Stalk over to your husband's window
16. Mutter to yourself about how bullshitty this whole stupid thing is.
17. Every time you utter a profanity, notice the representative stop and stare at you, ceasing whatever he's doing.
18. The representative asks you not to curse because he doesn't appreciate it.
19. In your head:
  19a. All the curses, ever
  19b. Maybe you shouldn't work at a DMV you moron
20. Outside: teeth grinding
21. Your husband, in an effort to over-correct for your rage, is crazycalm and pays $10 for a license with Foliage Edward Mopsy on it. You know. The name on the license he ALREADY HAS.
22. Speedwalk to the car and arrive just in time to burst into ragetears.
Now we have to
23. Pay $100+ each to post a Notice of Name Change in a Delaware newspaper for 3 weeks, and have them send us an affidavit that we did so
24. Go to a Delaware Court of Common Pleas with affidavit, marriage license, kidneys on ice, original birth certificates, etc.
25. Maybe get approved, maybe not. Pay $78 + fees, each, for court appointment.
26. Wait? I think? For approval to come in the mail? I don't think we get it the same day as our court appointment. Which is awesome.
27. Go back to DMV.
28. Walk up to that stupid lady's window and drop the mic. After you get the new license, that is; you don't want to be escorted out by security or anything and then NOT get the license.
So that's at least $350 (probably more) and 2 days out of our respective offices. Because the DMV website was unclear. That's my main frustration: WE FOLLOWED ALL THE RULES THEY POSTED. Had they posted their ACTUAL rules, we would've been able to plan accordingly.
And apparently it's the turn of the 20th century yet again because, public notices in newspapers?? Seriously?! This blog should be public enough. Dear everyone, my new name is Ceej Cecilia Flopsy Mopsy. You have 3 weeks to disagree. I'll be printing out the comments to this post and taking them to court.


Anonymous said...

Dear Judgy McJudgerson,

Let The Ceejus and The Foliage change their god damn names you stupid heifers!


Rachelle said...

I'm sorry they sucked so much about this! I think maybe they should just make everyone get a court order to change their names no matter what the names are because that's really the only fair way, instead of letting women who are just taking their husband's last name get a free pass on it. And everyone ever needs better info on their websites about it, because I really could never figure out what order I needed to do what in.

Here's a link to Mouse's attempts to get her name changed BACK to her ORIGINAL NAME: http://www.sourismariage.com/search/label/Names.

Jo said...


This is why we didn't change our names. Even though we kind of wanted to. I made a stand in the marriage license office about "You aren't going to offer HIM the name change paperwork?" but then we left it. I don't want his name (that sounds mean), but it's not--I don't specifically want mine either. :)

Why they gotta be grouches? It doesn't make anyone's day better, and it actually makes their job HARDER because everyone then has an attitude with them.

irisira said...

UGH. Every state is different.

I legally changed my last name when I was 18 (long story), and the State of New York made me jump through hoops in order to do so. In New York, if you get married, you can do the following:
- You can take his last name
- He can take your last name
- You can hyphenate your names
- You can NOT hyphenate and have two last names (so, like what you guys want to do here)
- You can make a new last name that's related to your old name. Friends of mine did that. Instead of becoming John and Jane Smith-Jones, they became John and Jane Smithjones. (It flows better in real life.) You can also do, say, if your name is Mcbread and Butter, you can change it to McButter.

Yeah. All that. Pretty nifty, huh?

You know what you can't do? Change your middle name. So say your name is Jane Marie Jones, and you marry John Joseph Smith. You can't become Jane Jones Smith and he can't become John Smith Jones (or vice versa). You can be Jane Marie Jones Smith (no hyphen), but then your last name is Jones Smith (2 words) and not just Smith (1 word).

Confused yet?

Here's the thing though - in nearly every state, you can assume any name you damn well please so long as there is no intent to defraud. You just can't do so on most legal documents. So, my last name is hyphenated (because I don't have enough punctuation in my name to begin with), but at work I don't use the hyphenated last name. My name badge, my email, my business cards all say my maiden name (well, the one I legally changed, that is). My I-9 forms, however, (and my driver's license) say my hyphenated name.

So, there's that option. But I know the feeling of wanting to make it real. Hell, I hyphenated my name and DON'T EVEN USE IT. But I like knowing it is there. I'm weird like that.

They made me do the stupid newspaper ad, too. Here's the good news - it can be any newspaper in the state (at least, in NY it could - I imagine. Pick the cheapest one.

Laura said...

Delaware requires newspaper postings for everything. every stupid thing you can imagine.

ceejus said...

Thanks you guys!! I really appreciate the feedback. We're definitely going to go through with the process to make everything legal, regardless of how difficult they make it.

I just get so frustrated that they act like we're somehow doing something WRONG. I'm pretty sure we're American citizens and therefore can do whatever we damn well please with our names. Ridiculous.

irisira said...

Anytime you do anything that is outside of The Norm, people will want to make you feel bad about it. Because you're not validating their choices by doing The Norm. Hey - there's nothing wrong with a woman just taking her husband's name at marriage. Lots of people do this (hence why it is The Norm), but it doesn't mean you deserve scorn for wanting to do something different.

I mentioned my friend above, who her and her husband mashed their names together for a new last name, and people are CONSTANTLY making snide remarks to her about it. It's really stunning how people think they have the right to sh*t all over other people's independent choices just because they can.