Can I Change My Name After Divorce?

During a divorce, there are a lot of changes going on.  Separating households and trying to figure out child care arrangements are some of the most stressful changes.  But there is one change women often look forward to at the end of a divorce.  Changing your name after divorce can feel empowering.  Usually women choose to go back to their maiden name but it can be changed to a any name allowed by statute.

There are two ways to go about changing your name.  The first is to have the name change ordered in the divorce judgment.  The second is to file a form with the Clerk of Court’s office. In either case, make sure to follow up with the Social Security Office and DMV.

Name Change Included in Divorce Judgment: This is the easiest way to ensure your name is changed. To have it included in the divorce judgment, simply include the request in the complaint for divorce or a counterclaim for divorce.  Then, make sure the divorce judgment includes an order for you to resume your former last name.

You can do this yourself if you choose to do your own uncontested divorce or your divorce attorney can do it for you.  Before a divorce judgment is entered, make sure you are not giving up any of your rights.

Name Change Not Included in Divorce Judgment: If the name change is not included in the divorce judgment, do not worry.  You can also file a form,  AOC-SP_600 (Application/Notice of Resumption of Former Name), with the Clerk of Court’s office.  Once you file the form, you may resume the use of your selected former name.

The process is relatively straightforward.  Simply:

  1. Print the form, fill it out and have it notarized;
  2. Take the form to the Clerk of Court’s office in the county you reside or the county you received your divorce;
  3. Provide the clerk with the notarized form, a valid photo ID and a certified copy of the divorce judgment if you are filing your notice in a county other than the one in which you received your divorce;
  4. Pay a nominal fee;
  5. Follow up with the Social Security Office and DMV as soon as possible.