Changing Your Name After Divorce

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Most Common Family Law Issues:

How Do I Return to My Former Name after a Divorce?

In most states, you can ask the same judge handling your divorce to include a formal order restoring your former or birth name in the divorce decree.  In such a case, the order in the divorce decree is sufficient as official documentation of a legal name change.  It is wise to get certified copies of the order as proof of the name change; this can typically be arranged through the court's clerk.
If your divorce papers don't show your name change, you can still restore your former or birth name if you have some proof of that name, such as a birth certificate or old passport.  In most states, you can just start using your former name consistently, and then request that it be changed on your identification and personal records.   However, it is wise to first check to see if your state will allow your divorce decree to be amended to include an order restoring your former name.  In some states like California, this amendment is possible even after the divorce is final. 

After My Divorce, Can I Change My Children's Name to My Former Name?

Generally, you can obtain a name change for your child by court petition when it is clearly in the best interest of your child to do so.  Courts consider several factors when deciding whether or not to grant the petition: 

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me Change My Name after Divorce?

Most likely you already have a divorce attorney who can assist you with your name change.  An experienced family lawyer can make sure that you have the appropriate documentation to begin changing your name on all your identification and personal records.  If you are seeking to change your child's name, a family lawyer can help you advocate for your child's best interest.

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Last Modified: 07-09-2014 01:43 PM PDT

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