How to Change Your Name after Divorce

Saturday 21 January 2012 - Filed under Info

Divorce is described as a legal dissolution of the marriage contract by a court or other body having competent authority. Generally, divorce is a long and hectic process that may drain your energy and leave you feeling out of control. But this is a phase in life where you need to forget about the past and think about a fresh start. Get yourself a new identity by changing your name after divorce. If you have changed your name after your marriage and want to change it back to your maiden name after your divorce, you can easily do so. You can choose a new name or use your maiden name and get ready for a new beginning. In USA, the process of changing your name after divorce is simple and easy too. But as the judicial system in the United States is Federal, it takes into consideration two laws – Federal laws which are appliance to all states and secondly, the individual state laws. So, the procedure for changing your name after divorce varies from state to state. Depending on the state you reside, you need to follow certain rules and regulations laid down by individual state authorities.


Here is how you can change your name legally after your divorce:


Know the Process: The whole divorce process can be tiring for you but it is important that you take out some time to gain information on how you can change your name after marriage. The overall process can be complicated but if done in a systematic manner, you can do the same in a hassle free manner. Check out the official websites of state you are residing to gain information. You can also visit your local court to know about the whole procedure. There are many important things that you must have an idea about like which form do you file first, what are required fees, will a copy of your marriage certificate be needed, can you change your name during the proceeding of your divorce case and so on. If you know the answers beforehand, it will be of great help for you.


File a Request for Name Change: After the divorce, you need to file a request to change your name to your former or maiden name once you get divorced. You can include a name change request with your divorce petition. You need the appropriate name change request form to file the request for further processing. In most states in USA, the judge who is handling your divorce case can give a formal order saying that your name is restored to your former name. Fill out the form correctly to avoid processing delays. In case of any problem you can take help of your lawyer too. A certified copy of the judge’s order is all that you will need to change a name on other important documents.


Check Divorce Decree: Your divorce decree will have the order declaring that your name has been changed legally after your divorce. This order is important as you will need it to change your name back to what it was after your divorce. Get certified copies of your divorce decree. These copies will help you to have your name changed in personal identification records. If your divorce decree doesn’t include the order to restore your former name, you can always file a new request to have it added. You will need an official proof of your former name such as your birth certificate or even an expired passport.


Contact Social Security Office: Once you get the order from the court approving your request to change your name after marriage, it is time to make necessary changes in your Social Security Card. Get a form from your nearest Social Security office or you can download the form from the Social Security website. Fill the form and submit the same along with the necessary documents such as your divorce decree and an approved name change petition form, and some document with your former name. It will take 7 to 14 days to get your new Social Security Card.


Contact US Passport Office:  After the change is done in your Social Security Card, it is time to make your passport updated with the new name. In case, your passport was issued less than 1 year ago, you need to contact US Passport Office with most important documents like your current passport, a completed Application for a U.S. Passport: Name Change, Data Correction, and Limited Passport Book Replacement, one recent photo and an original or certified copy of your divorce decree. If your passport was issued more than 1 year ago, then you must have documents like your valid US Passport, a completed Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail, payment for renewal fees, a Passport photo and an original or certified copy of your divorce decree. In either of the case, it will take some time before you get your new passport.


Get a new Driving License: Visit the office of Department of Motor Vehicles to apply for a new license under your new name. Bring a copy of your divorce decree with you to apply for a new license. Also get your vehicle registration changed to show your new name.


Make Other Changes: Once you get the necessary changes done in your Social Security Card, Passport and Driving License, you need to inform about the change in your name to other financial institutions like your bank, credit card companies, insurance companies, medical providers, utilities, employers, professional license bureaus, associations, clubs and many more. All these companies require notification of your name change. The policy of each company is different and also the time period. Follow the instructions properly.


Make Formal Announcement: Once you have obtained new identification bearing your new name after your divorce, you should start to use that name as your own. You can make the announcement about the change to your friends and relatives so that they can also help you in your new beginning. A reference to your old name will definitely bring back memories and you will surely not like that. So, inform people about the change in your name and they will start addressing you with your new name.


Well, this is the simple procedure to change your name after divorce. Most people start the process during the hearing of their divorce case, but you can opt for the change anytime after your divorce. A new name will give you a new identity and a new meaning to your life. 

2012-01-21  »  writer

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