How to Go Back to Your Maiden Name or a New Name
If you have decided to revert to your former name (or get a new one) after getting divorced, you will be happy to know there is a pretty well defined process for initiating the name change. But just like changing your name after marriage, there are a number of organizations you will have to notify to make the name change effective. “Name change form kits” and “name change services” are available for purchase online, and they can help simplify the whole process, but if you would rather do it yourself just follow the key steps outlined below.
After Divorce Name Change Form Kit
(from US Legal Forms, starting at $27.95)
Similar to the process of initiating a name change after marriage (where you put your new name on your marriage certificate), you can take the first step in changing your name after divorce by asking the Court to include a notation in your divorce papers stating that you will be returning to your former last name (or any new last name).
Post-divorce name change is an accepted practice in every state and some courts will address this issue as part of the divorce procedure. In instances where the name change is not addressed by the courts during the divorce proceedings, you may deal with the issue after the divorce has been finalized. Some states, such as California, allow you to submit a separate form to the trial judge who presided over your divorce proceedings to get an ‘order’ for the name change. Some other states treat the name change as a separate issue once the divorce has been finalized and require you to file the necessary name change documents just as anyone else would, without regard to your recent divorce.
Either way, once you follow all the necessary steps and contact all the organizations listed below, you will have legally restored your former name.
After Divorce Step-by-Step Name Change Process
Requesting a name change is a process that can typically be done without hiring an attorney. Here’s how to do it:
- Initiate your name change with the Court:
- If your name change is addressed in your divorce order (if your divorce order does not yet include anything about changing your name, you may still be able to file a modified order that includes the appropriate language regarding your name change). Once your Divorce Order has been filed and signed by the judge, request several certified copies of the order from the court clerk.
- If your name change is not addressed in the divorce order file a “Petition for Name Change” with the court, followed by an “Order for Name Change” in the county where you live. Once a judge approves and signs your Order for Name Change, request several certified copies from the court clerk.
- Get a new Social Security card. Bring the certified copy of your ‘Divorce Order’ or ‘Order for Name Change’ and your current identification to the Social Security office to make the request.
- Get a new drivers license or ID card from the department of motor vehicles (DMV) (locations)Bring your new Social Security card and current identification, as well as a copy of your court order as supporting documentation for the request.
- Tell your employer about your name change so they can modify your email address, any company documents, correct future paychecks, and/or business cards accordingly. Also, alert your company’s HR department – or whoever handles personnel – to ensure they have modified your income tax deductions and withholdings to reflect your new “single” status.
- Contact other institutions and organizations with which you have accounts and memberships. Once you have your new Social Security card and drivers licence or ID (and more copies of your divorce order) you will be able to restore your former name with other organizations (banks, credit cards, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), voter registration,utility providers, post office, stocks/bonds/mutual funds, retirement plans, etc.). You will need to contact each institution individually, so allot yourself plenty of time to complete this process.
- Start using your new name. Once you’ve obtained new identification bearing your new name you should begin to consistently use that name as your own. And that’s the final step.
Using Name Change Kits or Services
Changing your name with every institution you have a relationship with does take a lot of time, research, and administrative work. Many people simply find it too time consuming. “Name change form kits” and “professional name change services” are available for purchase online – they can make the after divorce name change process much easier to manage:
After Divorce Name Change Forms Kit – from $27.95
The after divorce name change kit – somewhat confusingly titled “Name Change Notification Package for Brides, Court Ordered Name Change, Divorced, Marriage for [State]” – does help simplify the name change procedures. The kit provides forms for notifying government and other agencies of your name change, and even addresses optional items like changing your name in contracts, wills, and other documents. It includes:
Instructional Guide; Checklist; All forms needed to change records for Social Security Card, Employer, Passoirtm Drivers License, IRS, etc. It also includes forms and instructions for Voter Registration, Banks and other Financial Institutions, Clubs and Organizations, the Post Office, Insurance Companies, State Tax Commission and others.
US Legal Forms’ professional name change service is also available to those who wish to have a professional review the name change forms on their behalf. The name change service includes all the forms from the do-it-yourself kit above, but also helps ensure that filings are all handled correctly because each form is reviewed by a US Legal representative. Each of the forms from the kit above will be checked for accuracy by specialists before paper copies are mailed out to you. If you need your name change to be handled right the first time, you will appreciate the accountability of the name change service.
More About Name Change After Divorce:
Technically, you don’t have to wait until your divorce is finalized to change your name. You don’t need to wait for the courts to address the name change matter, either. You may actually change your name at any time.
Changing your name after divorce tends to go more smoothly if you are reverting back to your former name, as opposed to changing your name to something else entirely. If you opt to use a different name than what you were immediately before you were married, you will typically have to do an Order for Name Change instead of using the divorce order method. You may also experience more hassle if you are a recent immigrant or if you don’t have much proof of your former name (like your birth certificate or old passport).
During the time when your name change process is not fully completed, you may choose to use both names and signatures, separated by “also known as” (AKA). Some even choose to put both names on their checkbooks or credit cards (separated by “AKA”), if they opt to keep their married name for professional reasons but legally change it back for every other aspect of their life.
Regardless of how you proceed, deciding to restore your name means having to follow the appropriate steps to have it changed legally in order for all institutions to recognize it as valid.