What’s In a Name Change?

gavelGetting your  name changed back to your maiden name after a divorce is relatively straightforward.

Your lawyer must include a written provision in the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage (that’s your final divorce decree) which provides you are granted the right to resume use of your maiden name, _________.

A woman has an absolute right to resume use of her maiden name and does not need to receive permission from her spouse or the court. If you and your lawyer somehow forget to include this provision in the Judgment, it is not uncommon for the judge to catch this during the final court appearance when the Judgment is being accepted by the court. The judge will allow you to add the provision.

Even if you think you do not want to resume use of your maiden name, it is most law firm’s practice to include the provision in the Judgment anyway. There is no time limit when it comes to exercising the provision. For instance, if you prefer to wait until your children are older, you can hold off on the name-change process for as long as you like or never exercise it at all.

Once your Judgment is entered with the court (and you are officially divorce), you will need to get a certified copy of the Judgment. Your lawyer should provide you with this or you can get it from the County Clerk’s office. If you know you want to change your name, ask for lawyer to give you a certified copy if he or she does not provide it.

With a certified copy of the Judgment, you will be able to obtain a new social security card and driver’s license. You must contact the social security office and DMV and also provide the other documents normally required for issuance of a new card and license.

Note that this process does not relate to changing your name to anything but your maiden name.

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