The divorce process just naturally includes many opportunities for making big changes in your life, and the name that you use is just one of those changes. A divorce presents you with the chance to take back your maiden name, or the name you were using prior to your most recent marriage, without having to file a separate court hearing request. This is about more than just a symbolic gesture however, so read on to learn more about what this move entails and how to get ready for it.
It's your choice. No one can dictate that you go back to your previous name; it is up to you. You should decide before your divorce becomes final, however. You can, in some instances, go back and amend a final decree to address a name change, but it's best if your final agreement addresses the issue. You just need to show your final decree to any issuing authorities and begin using the name right away. While this issue alone should not sway you, you should consider the potential for confusion if and when your ex remarries and the new wife also wants to use his last name.
Who to contact. It's best to make a list of pertinent documents to change to ensure you don't accidentally leave anyone out.
- Driver's License: This should be a top priority since law enforcement requires that your DL info is up to date at all times. You will likely have to pay a fee to have the change made, and you may even get a new photograph.
- Social Security card: This is almost as important as the driver's license, and as a bonus, the Social Security Administration will go ahead and notify the IRS of the name change for you.
- Checking and savings accounts, including new check cards or bank debit cards.
- Investment and retirement accounts.
- Car registration.
- Auto insurance.
- Titles to cars.
- Real estate deeds
- Utilities (electric, phone, etc).
- Voter registration.
- Work related: id cards, health and life insurance, personnel records, new business cards.
- Credit cards and other loans.
- School records for your child.
What else to know. While this info primarily addresses women, men often change or amend their names when they marry as well, such as adding a hyphenated version of their wife's name to theirs. If this is the case, they can also revert back to their pre-marriage name using a divorce decree as well. You cannot choose a random name to begin using, you can only use your maiden name or the name you used prior to your most recent marriage.
Contact a divorce lawyer for more help.