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, which can typically be arranged through the court's clerk.
You will need to complete and file name-change forms for Social Security, IRS 8822, United States Passport, and your state driver's license. After filing those forms you will need to submit documents to all of your creditors such as banks, credit cards, insurances, etc.
What If my Divorce Decree Does not Contain an Order to Change my Name?
If your divorce has been finalized and your divorce decree does not contain a court order that changes your name back to your former name, you may be able to get a court order to change your name. There are always ways to change your name to your former maiden name if you have old legal documents or passports that provide your previous name. The only issues would be doing a lot of paperwork to change the name back to your maiden name.
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.
Can I Change My Children's Name to My Former Name After My Divorce?
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 to grant the petition:
- Length of time the child has used the father's name;
- The importance of the name change in helping the child to identify with a new family unit, especially when the custodial parent remarries;
- The strength of the mother-child relationship;
- The strength of the father-child relationship; and/or
- If its in the child's best interest.
What are the Costs Change my Name After a Divorce?
The cost to change your name after a divorce varies depending on whether it allowed you to change your name on the divorce decree. Usually the only costs involved would be filing fees and payment for certified copies.
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.