When Can I Get My Former Name Restored . . . or Can I Make Her Give Up My Last Name?

One of the things about a divorce is a that, for the woman at least, you can literally become a different person.  This happens by requesting that a maiden (or former) name be restored at the conclusion of the divorce action.  Unfortunately, for a lot of frustrated now-ex husbands, I have yet to see a judge force a woman to give up her married name.

The decision of whether to return to a former name is not one that should be taken lightly.  First, if there are children involved, a mother may not want to change her last name because children often have difficulty dealing with their mother having a different last name after a divorce.  As a matter of fact, at least one judge I routinely practice in front of refuses to allow a mother to change her last name if there are minor children.  Another difficulty is that most agencies will not recognize your name change unless and until you have provided each of them with a copy of your divorce decree.  You will also need to change all of your state-issued identification, social security cards, mailing addresses, etc.  Think of everything you had to change when you got married and then reverse it.

If you decide not to return to a former name during your divorce and later change your mind, you still have options.  A name change for an adult is a fairly simple proposition that normally does not even  require a hearing unless your going for some bizarre name change.  You will, however, have to file a separate action and pay an additional filing fee.  If you want to change your last name tell your attorney before the divorce is completed.  If you have other questions, contact the Alford Law Office.

Photo courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski

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