Changing Your Name After Divorce

Posted by Delaine - July 10, 2011 - Career & Money, Career Growth & Change, Legal Matters, Midlife Divorce, Surviving - No Comments

By Certified Credit Counsellor, Suzanne Cramer

While changing your name is often not a priority in the throws of a divorce, somewhere along the line you may find you want to change your name.

Changing your name marks a new beginning or a return to the former you; it may not only make you feel better, it may give you a much needed fresh start.

The process for returning to your maiden or former name differs from state to state. In most cases you can have this information declared in your divorce decree.

In order to provide proof of the change you will need certified copies of the decree as proof of the name change.

With the certified copies in hand you can typically have your name changed on your identification and personal records.

Didn’t have the name change included in your divorce decree? No worries; you can still make the switch.

According to WIFE.org (Women’s Institute for Financial Education), here are the steps you need to take: 

  • Go to the County Clerk’s office. You will need your case number and the date when judgment of dissolution was filed with the Court (this information is public record and can be looked up if you are unable to locate it).
  • Request form. “Ex-Parte Application for Restoration to Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order.”
  • Fill out the form. In the section at the top that says “Attorney or Party without Attorney,” give your current name and address. In the section called “Marriage of,” be legally accurate about who was Petitioner and who was Respondent. You can verify the information from your decree.
  • Be accurate. Fill in your “former”/new name exactly as it should read. Sign with your present or married name. Then you will need to print the new name you are requesting.
  • Keep a copy of the form for your records. You will either receive the form from the clerk that day or receive your copy in the mail. Either way, once you have your copy, you can begin changing your name.
  • You can legally use both signatures, your new name preceded by “AKA” (Also Known As) until your divorce is complete.

List of places to change your name:

  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Social Security card
  • Banks
  • Credit cards
  • Employers
  • Utilities
  • Insurance

Changing your name is a big step and kind of a pain, so be sure you are ready before making the switch.

Did you change your name after your divorce? Did you run into any challenges along the way?

What have you done to save money post divorce?

Suzanne  Cramer is a certified credit counselor working in CareOne’s Ask the Expert forums as a coach and a Social Media Specialist for CareOne. Suzanne writes for Divorce, Debt and Finances and A Straight Talk on Debt blogs. Ask her questions, share your story or just follow Suzanne on her journey as she navigates dealing with divorce, debt, and finances. Suzanne is also very active on Twitter and manages two CareOne accounts: ADivorcedMom and Ask CareOne where she shares the latest debt industry news and tips to keep your finances in check.

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