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How to Change Your Name After Divorce

Divorce is worrisome, and life takes a new turn after separation from your spouse. Probably, the first step towards your new life would be to disassociate your name from your spouse's name. This can be a long drawn process, and in this Buzzle article, we give you tips on changing your name legally after divorce.
OpinionFront Staff
Most women are posed with a lot of difficulties in trying to make the transition from being a couple to being single. But the truth is that one needs to move on with life and start afresh. Also, one needs to turn back to a lot of things prior to marriage. An important issue faced by most women is changing their name after divorce.

A lot of legal procedures are involved to change your name after divorce. You may either want to obtain a new name or may like to revert to your maiden name. Most states permit you to request the court that handles your divorce for a formal order to change or restore your name. You can even seek the advice of a divorce attorney about how to change your last name, and obtain a name change order from the divorce court.

Whatever name you want to be known as, you have to go through a few legal procedures. Here are a few simple steps that you need to follow.
  • First of all, decide what you would like your name to be. Would you prefer a new name, or would you like to be known by your maiden name? If you have decided to have a new name altogether, then make a list of all the possible names and decide on the same.
  • Once you have decided your name, go to the court clerk's office. You should have the case number and the date when the judgment of dissolution was filed with the court. Also carry a self-addressed stamped envelope with you.
  • Take the D-20 form (application for restoration of former name after the judgment and order). This form is available free of cost. Fill in the form carefully with all the necessary information.
  • Be attentive while filling the form, use black ink (preferably) and be specific about what you want your new name to be. Sign the form with your present name or married name.
After submitting the form, in most cases, it doesn't take long for the court to approve the change of name. Once this is done you would be recognized by your new name.

In some states you do not have to fill in the form. Instead, you can request the divorce lawyer handling your case to include a formal notification that you will be returning to your former name. If your divorce decree contains an order to restore your former name, all you need to do is get the certified copies of your document as a proof of name change. You can use this official document to have a name change on your other documents.

After the approval of your new name, you should publish a legal notice in the local paper of the town you reside. For this you have to bear the expenses. Remember to change your name on all important documents like your social security number card, driving license, passport, credit/debit card, bank account, legal documents, etc.

Changing your name after divorce is simple and does not take a long time. While it is in process, you could use your new name for signatures, but only when accompanied with your old name. You could sign using an AKA (also known as) followed by your new name.

If you have children, make them understand about your divorce and change of name. Your child may accept the change faster than others. If you wish to change the last name of your child as well, then there are certain things that have to be taken into consideration, like for how long your child has been using his/her father's name, whether your child is a minor, whether your child is willing to change his/her name and several others. You have to go by the order of court in this case.

So, follow all the legal procedures and try to start afresh with your new name. Meet new people, make friends and go out. Do not lose confidence and move ahead in life.