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Name Change After Divorce


Many people find that it's time to reinvent themselves filing for divorce. According to a report by the Christian Science Monitor, some people decide to start with a name change.

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When it comes to making name changes, women may choose to go a few different routes. Some women with children will stay with the husband's last name to keep a sense of unity with the children, while women without children may choose to go back to their maiden names. Women who have used their husband's name professionally may also choose to keep the name so not to complicate their career.

Many women are now finding that the two traditional options just don't fit their circumstances and decide to make up a new last name, taking neither their ex-husband's name or their maiden name. Sometimes the new last name is a combination of names, a family name or something reflecting the women they have become since they got married and later divorced.

No matter how the new last names are derived, they are generally completely unique and different from both the married and maiden names.

Making a Name Change Legal

Most states allow you to request the divorce court handling your divorce to make a formal order to restore or change your name. As long as your divorce decree has a name change order in it, your last name is officially changed.

Speak to a local divorce attorney about how you can obtain certified copies of the name change order from the divorce court. This documentation will allow you to change your name on identification and personal records.

You may petition the divorce court to modify the divorce decree to change your last name if the original divorce decree doesn't include it. Some states may allow you to just start using your former name consistently and request changes on all your personal records.

If you are deciding to a completely new name, there may be some legal issues you will have to handle. A local divorce attorney can talk to you about legal issues with name change after divorce and requirements you will need to meet to adopt a new last name.

Cost of a Name Change

The cost of a name change varies depending on the location of the court, but the fees are not generally exorbitant. Some women may have concerns about a legal name change after divorce because of the chance it could cause complications when trying to collect benefits from retirement accounts later and cause them to have to prove that they did not remarry and still eligible to collect the benefits.

In addition to the costs and possible complications involved with a legal name change, it also takes a little time. The name change has to be reflected on the driver's license, Social Security card, passport, bank accounts, insurance cards and all other legal documents and accounts. For professional women, the name may also need to be changed on all letterheads, business cards, signage, Web sites and promotional materials.

The Christian Science Monitor also notes that some men also petition the court for legal name changes after divorce. For example, if a couple had decided to hyphenate the last names when they got married, after a divorce an ex-husband may wish to legally change his name back to the non-hyphenated version of the last name that he used prior to the marriage.


Speak to a Divorce Attorney about Name Change

A local divorce lawyer can further explain the legal issues and costs with a name change after divorce. Get in touch with a divorce attorney near you by calling 877-349-1310 or filling out a divorce case review form. Find out how you can take simple steps to move forward in your new life after filing for divorce.

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