Name Change and Divorce
If you are in the process of getting a divorce, or have completed the divorce process and no longer want to use your ex-spouse’s last name, there are a couple of options for getting your name changed.
Name Change During the Divorce Process: The Divorce Decree
If you are in the process of Divorce, you may request a name change restoring you to a former name, as part of the divorce process. Once the divorce is finalized by the judge, the signed Divorce Decree will contain an order changing your name. You will then use the Divorce Decree as proof of your name change in order to change your name on your Social Security Card, driver’s license or state ID, and other accounts under your name.
Name Change After Divorce: Amend the Divorce Decree
If your divorce is already finalized, and you decide you want to change your name to your maiden or former name before the divorce, some states allow you to amend the divorce decree. In order to find out if you live in a state where this is allowed, you must call the clerk’s office in the county where your divorce was finalized. You can explain that you did not change your name as part of your divorce, but would like to know if you can amend your Divorce Decree to include a name change.
Some states have a different process for changing your name after a divorce. For example, if you live in California, you can file an Notice of Entry of Judgment (Family Law — Uniform Parentage — Custody and Support) (Form FL-190) with the court where your divorce was finalized. The court will require you to file a copy of your Notice of Entry of Judgment (Family Law — Uniform Parentage — Custody and Support) (Form FL-190) that was filed in your divorce.
In Pennsylvania, if you are newly divorced, you need to complete a Notice to Resume Prior Surname, which is available at the Prothonotary’s Office/Clerk of the Court, in the county where you were divorced. If your divorce was finalized in a different country or state, your county may advise you to also file an official copy of your Divorce Decree.
File a Petition for Change of Name
When you purchase a name change through TotalLegal.com, this is the process you are selecting. If your name has not been changed as part of your divorce process, you cannot amend your Divorce Decree to include a name change, and your county offers no other option, you will need to file a Petition for Change of Name, which starts the legal process in the court to change your name. TotalLegal includes everything you need to file your name change with your county court: filing instructions and the forms required by the court you are filing in. Some counties may require a short hearing. Once the judge approves your name change, you will receive a signed Order/Decree Changing Name (or similar document). You will then use the Order/Decree to change the name on your identification cards, bank accounts and credit cards.
It is important to know the process for changing your name after a divorce in your state, and the county your divorce was finalized in. A simple phone call to the clerk where your divorce was finalized can save you a lot of money and a lot of wasted time. Some people attempt to file a Petition for a Name Change, only to find out their county offers a cheaper, and simpler process.