Congratulations, you tied the knot! You’re probably ready to kick back and enjoy your newlywed bliss, but don't forget there's still some paperwork to take care of.
What should I do now that I'm married?
The guide to Getting Married in Massachusetts: Before the Wedding filled you in on what you need to do before the wedding to make it official. Now, read up on some key things you’ll need to take care of in your first year of marriage, including how to get proof of your marriage, obtain new identification, and file taxes.
Getting proof of your marriage
There are many reasons why you may need to provide proof of your marriage, like changing your health insurance or getting a new license.
After your wedding, the officiant should file your marriage license with the city or town clerk in the place where you got it. You can pick up a copy of the license at the Registry of Vital Records in the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (HHS).
You can order a copy of your marriage certificate online, by phone, by fax, or by mail. Service fees vary depending on how you order it. The original and any certified copy serve as proof of your marriage.
Changing your name and getting a new ID
You can choose to change or keep your name when you get married in Massachusetts. If you’ve chosen to change your name, you should have included the new one when you filled out your marriage license before your wedding. Your name is automatically changed to the one listed on your certificate after your wedding.
After you get a copy of your marriage certificate, you can apply for identification with your new name, including a Social Security card, Massachusetts driver’s license, and U.S. passport. You should get your Social Security card first, because the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will check your Social Security number when you apply for a new license.
Once you have a new license, you should also update your voter registration with your new name to avoid any issues at your polling place. If you’re taking your honeymoon right away or soon after your wedding, you might want to wait until after you get back to get all of your IDs changed over. The names on all of your documents, including plane tickets, need to match.
Keep in mind that you may also need to change your name with other organizations, including your employer, health insurer, bank, and more.
Changing health insurance after you get married
If you don’t have health insurance, you may be eligible to sign up for health insurance through the Massachusetts Health Connector within 60 days of your wedding. You’ll need to provide your marriage certificate to enroll.
Filing taxes after you get married
Once you and your spouse are married, you can choose to file your state and federal income taxes as a couple, known as “Married Filing Joint,” or you can continue to file individually, known as “Married Filing Separate.” However you choose to file your taxes, you don’t need to provide proof of your marriage to the Department of Revenue (DOR) or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
If you file separately, there are limitations on the tax deductions and credits you can claim, so you should discuss both options with your spouse to figure out what makes sense for you. You may not be able to file a joint return in Massachusetts right away in certain situations, including if you and your spouse weren’t Massachusetts residents for the same portion of that year or if you weren’t legally married as of the last day of the year.
Marriages outside of Massachusetts
If you’re a resident of Massachusetts getting married out-of-state or if you move here after you’re married, don’t worry. Ceremonies conducted in other states — as well as by designated people in foreign countries — are recognized as valid in the Bay State. To provide proof of your marriage or get new IDs in Massachusetts, just follow the same process with your out-of-state marriage certificate, as well as any additional steps you may need to take to convert an out-of-state license. Massachusetts doesn’t keep records of out-of-state marriages, so you’ll need to get your certificate from the state where you were married.
By taking care of all your newlywed paperwork up front, you and your spouse can relax and enjoy life as a married couple.
Share this guide with family and friends who have gotten married in the Bay State. Have questions about your big day? Tweet us @MassGov.