Changing your name when you get married is a great way to build harmony. Sadly, many marriages don’t last. If you’d like to revert to your maiden name, you can’t simply start using it again after your divorce. You need to have the legal authority to do so. There are three ways to go about this.

Ask the Court to Make It Part of Your Divorce 

In most states, you can request to revert to your maiden name as part of the divorce documents. You don’t need to go to court an additional time. The judge may want to ask you about it, making sure that you are restoring your maiden name. Once you get your divorce decree, you can use this document to change your name with your bank, Social Security, and other agencies.

Make an Amendment to Your Divorce 

If your divorce is finalized, you may be able to ask the court for an amendment to the divorce. You file a motion to make the change. You may need to go before the judge, but it is a fairly straightforward process. One caveat, check your divorce decree as in some places, it’s added to the decree by default.

Petition the Court for a Name Change 

The third way to change your name is to make a petition to the government for the change. You can even change your name while you’re still happily married if you like, but many women use this method to get their maiden name when the divorce is dragging on. The process may vary a little based on location, but you would find the forms for your state and fill them out. Take the petition to the court clerk. You’ll likely have to pay a filing fee.

Depending on the laws where you file the petition, you may have to place a public notice in the paper to let people know you’re changing your name. You will have to appear before a judge to answer questions about the name change. The judge wants to make sure that it’s permissible under the law. If you get the judge’s okay, the court clerk will give you a certified form that you can submit to the agencies who require it.

Talk to your divorce lawyer, like a family law lawyer in Arlington, VA, about a name change as part of your divorce. It’s very common and easily handled in the same legal proceedings. Make sure your name change is legal.

Thank you to the experts at May Law, LLP, for their time and input into family law.