Restoration of maiden name is important for many women who see it as a sign of empowerment or as a untying of the last links that still connect them with their ex-spouses.
While maiden name restoration is mostly a simple and straightforward process if the divorce is not yet final, changing your last name after divorce usually involves a few additional steps and can vary from state to state.
To begin with, if you are still in the process of getting the divorce, you can include a request for changing back your last name in the petition you file for divorce. Some online divorce sites include a free provision for name change after divorce in their packages. Or if you have hired an attorney for handling your divorce proceedings, you can tell him that you wish to have your maiden name restored and he can add it to the divorce petition for you.
In such cases, the court can then include an order allowing the restoration of maiden name in the final divorce decree.
Restoration of Maiden Name after Divorce
Naturally, changing your name after divorce is not a simple decision for many. For example, some women with children may wish to retain their husband’s last name even after divorce in order to avoid having a different last name from their children. Others may choose to continue with the same last name due to professional reasons.
The good news is that even if you take years after divorce to decide to revert back to your maiden name, you can still do it. In most cases, you will need to file a notice of motion or petition with the court and pay a filing fee to begin this process. While in some states, for example New Jersey, you can do this as a post-judgment motion, other places like Massachusetts may require you to file a new petition in family court.
Since name restoration is governed by both local and federal laws, the specific procedures for restoration of maiden name in your state will essentially determine what steps you should take. The clerk’s office at the local county court may be a good place to find out what are the requirements in your area for getting back your maiden name after divorce.
Since changing a name has many implications, you may be required to appear in person in court to testify about your reasons for wanting the same. You may also be asked to submit supporting documents such as your final divorce decree, your marriage license, and your birth certificate. In some states, you may also have to pay an additional fee to publish a notice of name change in a newspaper. Generally, the process will take three to five weeks for completion. Most name change requests are granted by the court. However, if you have a suspicious criminal background, the court can deny your request or request for additional information.
After the restoration of your maiden name, you will have to begin the process of informing government authorities, your employer, and other establishments like your insurance provider and your banks of the name change. Most establishments consider a copy of the divorce decree or the order from the judge allowing the name change as sufficient proof.
As you can see, the restoration of your maiden name after divorce is not a very complicated process. Proper planning can help you make sure that you come across no bumps in the road.