The steps you’ll have to take to obtain a name change after a divorce will usually depend on the jurisdiction in which you seek a divorce. In general, however, the easiest way to obtain a name change after a divorce is to request it during the divorce process. This way, a judge can include the name change order in your divorce decree. If your divorce is already final, you may also petition the court to have the name change added to the decree. In most cases, it is easier to return to your maiden name after a divorce than it is to start over with an entirely new last name.
Since the laws regarding a name change after a divorce can vary from place to place, your first step may be to check the laws in your area to learn the requirements. You can typically do this by calling or visiting the local family court in your area, asking a lawyer, or visiting a jurisdiction-specific family law website. You may also find divorce books and guides with information specific to your area.
In the vast majority of cases, the easiest way to accomplish a name change after a divorce is via the final divorce order. You can request the right to change back to your maiden name during the divorce proceedings. In such a case, the judge will typically include the name change as part of your divorce decree. You can then use the finalized divorce decree to prove to banks, businesses, schools, and government agencies that your last name has changed.
If you have already finalized the divorce and received a copy of the decree, it may not be too late to request a name change. In such a case, you may petition the court to modify the divorce decree with the return to your maiden name. Once the decree is modified, you can then use a copy of it to prove to creditors, government agencies, and a range of businesses that your last name has changed.
Changing to a new last name after a divorce may require a little more work. Instead of taking your last name back via a divorce decree, you may have to petition a different court to change your last name. There are usually fees involved with this process, and you may have to publish the name change in local newspapers before it is finalized. As with returning to your maiden name, you will then need to inform government agencies, businesses, and schools that your last name has changed.