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Legally Changing Your Name After a Divorce

Anyone is legally allowed to change his or her name at any time. There are several methods for changing your new name, including advising officials and businesses of the change and simply beginning to use it.

As long as you are either changing to the name of your new spouse or returning to your maiden name, you can start using your new (or old) name without the need for legal action. Some entities may require you to provide proof of a name change, but a divorce decree or marriage certificate is usually all you’ll need.

With regard to changing your name after a divorce, you are not required to change your name. Your divorce decree will allow you go return to any prior surname.  Once you are divorced, you can present a certified copy and change your name with such agencies of motor vehicles and social security.

There are, however, some people and institutions you might wish to inform of your name change to make matters easier in certain areas of your life. These include the following:

  • Employers
  • Schools
  • The Department of Motor Vehicles
  • The Social Security Administration
  • The post office
  • Banks or other financial institutions where you have accounts
  • Creditors and debtors
  • The Department of Records of Vital of Statistics, which issues birth certificates
  • Insurance agencies
  • The U.S. passport office
  • The Veterans Administration
  • Telephone or utility companies and cable providers
  • Professional licensing or certifying organizations

In addition, if you previously established a will or other estate planning documents using an old name, it is a good idea to replace that document with a new one that has your current name on it so as not to confuse the probate court and/or your beneficiaries. Finally, change your name on important legal papers, such as living wills, contracts and powers of attorney.

For more information related to changing your name after a divorce, speak with a knowledgeable attorney at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.