It’s possible to change your name in a divorce. The divorce petition form FL-100, which starts a divorce case, asks whether the petitioner wants to restore a former name. If so, the petitioner must specify the exact former name.
You don’t have to be the petitioner to restore a former name. You can specify in your divorce settlement agreement who wants to restore what former name. Also the divorce response form FL-120 gives the Respondent a chance to restore a prior name.
Eventually, when your divorce case has been decided or approved by a judge, you will receive a written divorce judgment. The divorce judgment causes all the terms of the divorce to become orders of the court.
So if you requested that a former name be restored, you now have a court order granting your request. And you can use this as evidence of your new restored name.
However, this is only the beginning of what you must actually do to fully restore your prior name. It can be a frustratingly long experience.
Divorce Name Change – Who to Contact
Following is a list of organizations and people you may need to contact and work with so that “the whole world” will make the switch from your married name to your restored name. For some of them, such as your passport, title changes and the DMV, there will be a charge.
- Social Security Administration.
- State and federal (and possibly county) tax authorities.
- DMV (for both your driver’s license and any vehicles you hold title to).
- The State Department for your passport.
- Each bank and credit union at which you have any sort of account, including credit card accounts.
- Stores that have issued you a credit card.
- Each financial institution holding your investment accounts and retirement accounts.
- Each lender you have a loan from.
- Each insurer you have a policy with.
- Your doctor and dental office.
If you have a trust, things become more complicated. Some or all of your assets will have been titled to the trust. The marital trust will need to be dissolved. You may then create a new trust just for yourself. And the assets held in your trust should reference you by your restored name. This will require the assistance of your trust attorney.
Items such as real estate and vehicles for which you are on the title need to have a change of title prepared and filed with the appropriate authorities and the affected organizations.
When you make the name change, it’s good time to review the beneficiaries on each account and make changes as appropriate.