How to Reclaim Your Maiden Name During a Divorce

On your wedding day, you never want to imagine the day that your wedding will dissolve. In the unfortunate event that your marriage ends, you have a lot that you need to think about. You have to divide your assets, file the appropriate documents and decide on a parenting plan if you have children. If you took your husband’s last name during your marriage, then you may also need to think about how you will take back your maiden name.

There are three common ways to reclaim your maiden name.

Request a Name Change

Most people choose to revert to their birth names. You can do this during the divorce proceedings. In your petition for divorce, you would add that you do not want to use your married name but revert to your maiden name. During the divorce hearing, a judge can order the name change without any further hearings.

Create an Amendment

Once you receive your divorce decree, you can make an amendment request. Make sure that there is no mention of the name change already! Some states will add this to the decree as a default. You will file an application to change your name and because it is an amendment to your divorce decree, you may not have to attend another hearing.

File a Petition

The other way to change your name is to file a petition with the government. You can do this before or after you have had your divorce. For instance, if you file for divorce but your spouse contests it, you can file a petition for a name change without a finalized divorce. If you are only separated or still in the marriage, then you can still revert to your maiden name. All you have to do is file a petition. In some states, you may have to put a notice in the paper that you plan to change your name.

If you want to reclaim your birth name, you can do so at the time of your divorce or you can wait until after the divorce proceedings are finished. It is ultimately up to you to decide how you want to handle the name change. Some people decide to take their maiden name back, whereas some people may decide to keep their husband’s last name. Whatever you choose, it can help to have an advocate in your corner. Whether you need to discuss the divorce proceedings or how to change your name, set up a consultation with a family lawyer, such as from May Law, LLP.