Refinery 29 published an article on this subject, looking specifically at the requirements for a woman changing her name in New York.
"Capalad is hoping to use her maiden name as a middle name — a trend that's been steadily on the rise in the last decade. However, New York state recognizes a name change by marriage only if she tacks on her married name as a hyphenated double-barrel, or if she drops her maiden name altogether. Since Capalad is hoping to essentially change her middle name and last name, she is required to appear in civil court and petition in front of a judge. The court fees vary by location — with some courts upstate charging up to $300 for an appearance — so Capalad opted for the relatively cheaper Kings Civil Court in Brooklyn. This will still cost her $65 to go in front of the judge, not to mention the weeks spent to schedule a court date."
It also takes a good look at some of the costs you might not initially think about:
"I feel like the real money loss is having to take time off work to do all of this," Capalad said. There are so many variables that affect how much time you need to get your name change request approved, so taking half-days or full days off work seems necessary. Since Capalad is self-employed, she has no annual leave to use for such trips. She estimates that she lost a total of 1.5 to two days of income between the civil court petition and the DMV visit.
What about those Name Change services popping up everywhere?
"With services like Hitchswitch and MissNowMrs claiming to help with changing your name starting at $29, it's tempting to go with the seemingly most hassle-free option. However, these sites don't file the forms for you; rather, they send you a completed version of everything — which you could just download from the state agencies anyway — and supply the envelopes for you to mail. If you hate filling out paperwork, this is a great tool to use, but we suggest considering your situation and making the judgment call to deliver your application by post or in person."
It looks like these websites generally provide filled out paperwork for Social Security, IRS, Passports, Postal Services, Driver's License, and Voter Registration and customized notification letters for non-governmental agencies at the lowest cost option.
As I've already written about before, this is generally significantly easier and cheaper for women than it is for men, but it still can really add up! However, everyone has different experiences, and several of my friends on Facebook said that it wasn't an issue for them at all.
"I only remember that in Kansas, one of the state offices had to snail-mail me something and the post office wouldn't deliver it because my name wasn't registered at that address so I had to deal with the post office on that. Otherwise I don't think it was that big of a pain, but also I was so stupid in love at the time that I would have walked to the ends of the earth for him." - Beth Lawton (former boss extraordinaire!)
"M[y name change] was super easy, too. I didn't do a traditional change (added another middle), so I read up on that beforehand and the recommendation was to do social security first. Reason being I read about people who did their license first and the license people argued and/or didn't format it as requested. When you do SS first, they can't argue. So I did that and it was a breeze. Bank and everything else was even easier. Facebook let me change my name, but I had to submit proof to add my maiden name, because they flagged it as inappropriate." - Elizabeth Miller