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How to Change Your Name During or After Divorce

Divorce is demanding. A person getting divorced must figure out how to handle a new financial situation. They have to engage in stressful negotiations. They may need to cope with the turmoil of custody battles. In the midst of everything going on during a divorce, it’s not surprising that changing your name falls to the bottom of the list for many. However, for others, reclaiming their maiden name is a top priority. They see it as a means of restoring a sense of self and declaring their freedom.

How to Change Your Name During Divorce:

If your divorce is not yet final, you can include a request to restore your maiden name or a former last name when you submit your judgment form regarding divorce. When the California court finalizes your divorce, the decree should include an official order that restores your maiden name or the other last name you specified.

How to Change Your Name After Divorce:

If your divorce has been finalized, you can complete an application, the Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order, requesting that the divorce court judge restore your former last name. You will need to provide the date of the judgment filing and your stamped petition and case number to the court clerk. The court will usually take approximately 2-4 weeks to process the request in this situation. If the court finalizes the divorce and receives an order to restore the maiden name, returning to the former name should be done without much hassle.

How to Change Your Name When the Decree Does Not Contain a Name Change Order:

If you already received your divorce decree and it does not include a formal order about a name change, it is possible to request that the California judge modify the decree even after the divorce is final. While the formal order did not come through, you may still return to your old name through other means. If you hold proof of your maiden name on a social security card or birth certificate, you can request that the courts change it on personal records. While waiting for the process to be complete, you can go ahead and start using your former name instead of the married name you no longer want to keep, but you should be consistent in the usage of your former name to avoid confusion.

Once you have returned to your former name, you will need to take the necessary steps to change your name on any official identification and/or documents. Similar to when you were married and you changed your name to your married name, you will need to fill out the required paperwork to change your name on financial accounts, your driver’s license or state id, your social security card, your employment records, etc. As proof of your name change, you can use your divorce decree including the name change order.

If you need assistance returning to your former name during or after divorce or if you need help filing for divorce, please get in touch with the experienced California family law attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm today.

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