Reverting back to a maiden name is a common process for many women after divorce. There are a couple of different ways to ensure your name is legally changed, but other questions may arise as you’re going through the divorce proceedings. Here are the most common questions regarding the name change process.
Can I Change My Name If We’re Separated?
While you can start using your maiden name in non-binding situations, it will not be considered legally changed. This means your driver’s license and other legal documents will still contain your married name. To legally change back to your maiden name, you would need to go through a divorce or other court proceeding.
How Do I Change My Name After the Divorce?
While this process varies by state, it’s usually quite simple to request a legal name change during the divorce proceedings. Most finalized decrees contain a court order that serves as legally official record of you reverting back to your maiden name. When going to change your name on other legal documents (license, subscriptions, social security cards, etc), just present a copy of the court records.
Do I Have to Take Back My Maiden Name?
There may be certain situations where you don’t want to revert back to your maiden name. Maybe you have young kids and don’t want to make the process any harder on them. Whatever the case, the court cannot force you to change your name back. Even if the court order contains a name change stipulation, you are under no obligation to legally revert back to your maiden name.
Even if you decide to keep you married name when the divorce is finalized, the decision is not set in stone. Several years later, you can still use the divorce court order to change your name on legal documents.
What If the Name Change Provision Isn’t in my Divorce Decree?
In some jurisdictions, a name change is not included in the divorce decree. To go through with this change, you would need to research the laws in your state. For example, in California, you must file an Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment of Order, or FL-395 to legally change your name after the divorce is finalized. In other states, you may need to visit the court clerk’s office to determine the right procedure. If not handled in the divorce order, you may need to submit additional paperwork such as a notice of motion for a name change. This process could take longer as name changes usually require publication in the local newspaper.
Divorce can be a tricky process — even when it comes to something seemingly simple like reverting back to your maiden name. If you or someone you know is going through a divorce, reach out to a divorce lawyer in Fairfax, VA. They will ensure your divorce proceedings go as smoothly as possible.
Thanks to May Law, LLP for their insight into family law and changing your name after divorce.