After going through a divorce, many people want to change their last names back to what they were before their marriage occurred. If you’re one of them, you may be wondering what the legal name change process entails.
The laws for name changes can vary slightly from state to state. However, there are a few key steps that you’ll likely need to take.
Before you can start updating your identification cards and personal records, you need to make your name change official with the court. To ensure all petitions are approved, make sure to follow this name change checklist:
Once your name is legally changed, you can update any organizations that still have your married name on file. One of the most important organizations to update is the SSA.
To get a new SSN card with your updated name post-divorce process, you must:2
To make this step quick and easy, consider an all-in-one platform that helps you manage and update government forms. Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be sent your new Social Security card in the mail.
Next, you may want to update your driver’s license and passport. You can have these documents changed by contacting your local DMV and the U.S. Department of State, respectively. You may need to show them your divorce decree or name change order from the court, as well as a birth certificate, passport, or driver’s license from before you were married.
It’s also important to update the following institutions about your name change:
One reason why some divorced couples decide to keep the same last name is that they have kids together. Sharing the same last name as your children can make life simpler, especially while they’re still in school.
So, what if you want to change your kid’s last name too? If so, you can file a name change petition for your child. During the court proceedings, the judge will determine if a name change is in the best interest of your child using the following information:
Ultimately, the name change decision will be up to the discretion of the court. Just keep in mind that changing your child’s name won’t have any effect on you or your ex-spouse’s visitation rights, child support responsibilities, or ability to leave your child an inheritance. For more information on how to change your child’s last name, make sure to check out our resource center to get the appropriate help you need.
Divorces can be draining. The last thing you need is to navigate the name change process alone. Luckily, you don’t have to. GOV+ can simplify your name change request so you can seamlessly step into your next chapter.
1. California Courts. Change your name in your divorce case. https://selfhelp.courts.ca.gov/name-change/divorce
2. FindLaw. Changing Your Name After Divorce: FAQ. https://www.findlaw.com/family/divorce/changing-your-name-after-divorce.html