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  • 3 min
  • 08/18/2022

Changing Your Name After Divorce

If you are getting divorced and no longer want to use your ex-spouse’s last name, there are a few ways you can be granted a name change post-divorce. State laws may vary a bit regarding divorce and name changes, so it’s important you check with local laws, however, in this blog you’ll find some general information on how to change your name after a divorce.

Within Your Divorce Decree

If your divorce has not been finalized, one of the easiest ways to reclaim your maiden name is to ask the judge presiding over your divorce to restore your former name within your divorce decree. If granted, the judge will include an order in the decree changing your name, and you can go back to using your former name immediately without requiring any further intervention by the court.

Amend Your Divorce Decree

If your divorce has already been finalized, some states will allow you to ask the court to amend the decree to include language regarding changing your last name. If your name has been changed in a divorce decree, whether it is the original or amended decree, be sure to keep a copy of the order as proof of your name change.

File a Name Change Petition

In some states, a legal name change after divorce can be done by filing a name change petition. This is the same process as anyone who wants to change their name for any reason. Before choosing this approach make sure your state requires such a petition, or you may find yourself completing unnecessary paperwork.

Begin Using Your Former Name Again

Some states do not require any paperwork when returning to your maiden name after divorce. Instead, you are simply allowed to go back to using your former name. In these states as long as you use your maiden name consistently, you will not need to file any additional paperwork with the state.

As with any type of name change situation, you should take the time to update all of your identification and personal records, including:

  • Social Security card
  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • State tax authority (IRS is notified automatically through the SSA)
  • Bank and other financial/investment accounts
  • Professional licensing boards/associations
  • Credit cards
  • Mortgages/deeds/leases
  • Insurance policies
  • Utility bills
  • Phone/cable bills
  • Student loans
  • School records if you’re a student
  • Work documents such as payroll and retirement plans
  • Voter registration
  • Doctor’s office
  • Your attorney’s office

Change Your Name Online

Changing your name after your divorce can also be accomplished using online forms if your state requires a petition filed with the court. If this is the case, all you need to do is download and print the forms, fill them out, file them in your local courthouse. Then simply follow the rest of your state’s procedure for name changes.

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