What You Need To Know About Changing Your Name With Divorce

If you are getting divorced, you may have been asked by your attorney about changing your name. Many women go back to using their maiden name after a divorce, but changing your name can mean a lot of work to get everything updated correctly. If you are confused about how the name change works with divorce, read on for more information to help you make your decision.

What You Need To Know:

1.  It's important to note that no one can force you to change your name back to your maiden name, it is strictly your decision alone. Do keep in mind the potential for awkwardness and confusion if your ex remarries and his new wife also want to use his last name.

2.  The most common method of name changing is to simply add the provision right into the divorce decree. You can begin using your maiden name as soon as the divorce is final. You may still be able to amend your divorce decree to include a name change if you have already filed the paperwork and decide to do so, even if the divorce is already final.

3.  If you do decide that you want to take back your maiden name, get ready to update all your important documents by making a list so you don't leave anything out. You'll likely want to update:

  • Social Security card (the Social Security Administration will then inform the I.R.S. about the change)
  • Driver's license
  • Passport
  • Bank accounts, checks, bank cards.
  • Credit cards
  • Deeds and titles
  • Loans, such as mortgage, vehicle and student
  • Health, auto, home, renters, and life insurance policies
  • Utilities
  • Retirement plans, pensions, investment accounts
  • Voter registration
  • Children's school records
  • Your work-related personnel records, business cards, etc.

4.  The information here applies also to men. They can revert back to using their previous name if they were using a hyphenated name for the marriage.

5.  As with all legal matters, states have their own rules in regards to name changing, so your divorce attorney can best advise you about how it works in your state.

6.  These guidelines assume that you are taking back your maiden name. All other types of changes you want to make to your name, such as an entirely different name altogether, would come under the scope of traditional name-changing laws in your state. Using divorce as the vehicle for the name change is only available for those wishing to return to their maiden name.

If may be worth the trouble for you, as it is for many, to take back your maiden name as part of your new beginning. Take into consideration the above information and consult with a divorce attorney (such as Kenneth J. Molnar Attorney) so that you can make an informed decision.