316 Comments

If there's an issue so critical such as whether a woman will take her husband's last name after marriage, it's holding onto the last name or making a decision to drop it off after divorce. It's an issue that most divorced folks talk about especially if the man keeps on complaining that the ex-wife has stuck to the name and has refused to drop it off even after remarrying.

Chances are that the two divorcees might not be seeing eye to eye and apart from discussing their kids, if any; communication is minimized across the board. The man might end up being irritated that the ex-wife is still using his name. Just like anything about divorce being legal the question in most people's minds is whether there are guidelines about this.

However, this does not stop at the divorce level. There are men who might be wondering why the women they have married have refused to drop their last name from a previous marriage. While it might not seem right to some men, sticking to a last name does not really mean the woman is holding on to hopes of remarrying her ex. Love is not involved in keeping a last name or even a maiden name, in particular if an acrimonious divorce was involved. There are newlyweds who are deeply in love but decide to maintain their own names for all kinds of reasons and deeply happy divorcees who refuse to drop their ex's last names for all kinds of reasons.

It is worth noting that after divorce you cannot force an ex-wife to drop her last name except perhaps politely requesting her to do it. Whatever she decides is no longer your business.

As such, there are many reasons you might choose to keep your married name after divorce.

Consistent identity

If a woman keeps the last name of her ex she came to hate and reminds her of a painful part of her past life it must be really worth it. Maintaining a consistent identity is one of the reasons why women justify holding on to the ex's last name. If people had known the woman by that name for over a decade, it makes every sense to stick on to it. At the same time, it's possible that all the academic papers, such as degrees and diplomas earned while still married, were provided with the last name. It is also clear that, professionally, clients and business contacts might be knowing you as Mrs. X and dropping that might bring another whole set of complications.

For instance, Tina Turner in 1975 refused to change her last name after establishing herself, career-wise, with the last name of her husband and keeping it after 13 years of marriage made a lot of sense. Some women believe their time in a past marriage, their investment and input has earned them the name and must be kept.

Children

Children are perhaps the main reason why any mother will maintain a last name after divorce. Any broken marriage that has children might compel the mother to maintain the last name of an ex or a dead husband. Most women cite their children as the reason why they still hold on to the last name since it means they will have the same name as their kids. For some mothers, even a new child in the new marriage ends up with a hyphenated surname combining the last name of the ex with the last name of the new baby's father. At the end of the day, everyone ends up with the last name of the ex.

Changing the last name back is a hassle

Women who have divorced and would like to have a sense of their own identity and forget the man who brought a lot of pain in their lives simply seek to have the last name dropped. However, it becomes clear the hassle involved in changing everything is a tall order, potentially expensive and a long process, especially if changing her maiden name and transforming other items to reflect her married status took a lot of trouble and money.

It means that if you decide to revert to your maiden name you have to remove the last name from your banking information, driver's license, social security card, passport and any other document with the ex's last name. If anyone has gone through this before the reality of going through it again might be reason enough to stick with the ex's last name.

Prestigious name

It goes without saying, a prestigious name is just that, prestigious! If you were married to the Kennedy's, Presley's or any Royal family you already know you have a famous name that can open many doors. It is an esteemed name with a lot of benefits and dropping it off for a normal name that doesn't click anything in the mind once mentioned might not seem very wise. This is why women who have been married to famous people, celebrities, kings, millionaires and presidents among others might not let the name go.

Business reasons

At times, married couples establish so many business relationships using the last name of the husband. Since no one can foresee a future where both of them are separated, it seems logical to support such a decision where the family name establishes businesses. However, in case of a divorce, it makes a lot of sense to maintain the last name of the ex if an established company that has reverted to the ex-wife bears his last name. Companies would lose their standing and good business damaged if the name were to be changed. At the same time, if the customers and business partners know the ex-wife better with the last name of the ex-husband, it makes a lot of sense to maintain that name.

Impossible to let go of former lives

There are times when the woman is not the one who asked for a divorce. She might find it hard for various reasons to just let the last name of the ex go. Chances are she might be emotionally attached and still have feelings for the ex and since no one really knows the future, she might decide to stick with it.

There are cases where the divorce was done in an honest and kind manner and both parties were friendly right through the emotionally wrecking process. At such a case, it might be hard for the woman who did not go through a spiteful separation to just drop her last name, especially if the ex was considerate enough to end the marriage with more than she bargained for.

Fun, unique and exciting

Women have been found to keep their ex's last name for all kinds of reasons. Some women claim that going to their maiden name is a no-no because they did not like their father's to begin with, particularly those whose dads were estranged, drunkards and always absent in virtually all their lives. To such women, the ex's last name is a better prospect, particularly if the divorce was not rancorous. The ex's last name can also be unique, exotic and more fun.

Your last name as the first name

At times, even if you want to change the last name circumstances might force you to stick with it. Apart from keeping the last name for the sake of the kids, business or how exotic and fun it sounds, there are those who might have another reason. For example, a woman in the military may find it easier to stick to their last name because the first name is the last name. You are known by your last name and it's your identity. Dropping it might mean changing your life completely yet unless you leave the military and the country, your colleagues in the military may always refer to you by your last name.

No matter the reason you have for sticking with your ex's last name, it is your right under the law. There are also places where you have to indicate in a divorce decree whether you are keeping the married name or not.

316 Comments

  1. daniel r luna

    Personally I think the person that wrote this article is ignorant. I don't care what the argument is I believe when a man marries a woman and the woman in marriage accept his proposal and is granted his last name that is sacred that is entailed in marriage.

    I think especially after divorce when they do not see eye-to-eye and they have grown apart and decide to separate that they're definitely should be a separation of the last name that was granted two his wife. I don't care what the argument is a woman should not be able to keep the married name regardless if they have children or not. The children are apart of the father but the ex-wife is no longer apart of the ex-husband.

    This should be common law that after divorce the name of the ex-wife returns to her maiden name. I believe there is still a connection left open when the ex-wife is allowed to carry on the marital name this should be illegal and considered as a counterfeit illusion and a fake name at that point.

    Reply
    1. Rina D'Angelo

      So true Daniel.
      I changed back to my maiden name after divorce.

      Well said.
      No excuses !

      Reply
    2. Lola

      I did not want to keep my ex-husband's last name. I only kept it because my children. They were young and they were devastated when I said I wanted to change my last name. They had already been through enough. I took my marriage vow sacred and did everything I could to make it work. He wouldn't go to counseling or even try to discuss anything. Instead he pushed me away and cheated on me. I am getting remarried whenever my current boyfriend and I are ready. I will gladly take his name for the rest of my life 😍 My kids will be old enough to understand.

      Reply
    3. Michael Dawson

      Says the guy who never had to deal with a name change himself. When you get married, you should know if your wife takes your last name, that becomes her legal name and that it continues to be HER legal name if you should get divorced, unless SHE decides to change it. You have no say at that point. You can ask her to change it, but that is 100% her decision.

      If this raises problems for you, you can agree to take HER last name when you get married, then if you should get divorced you can be the one to go through the hassle of changing your name back. But if she takes your name, it legally becomes HER name as well and you have no more right to the name than she does.

      If it bothers you that much that she retains your last name after divorce, then change YOUR name. I can hear you saying, "why should I have to change my name? This IS my name." Well it's every bit as much her name now, too. The best way to avoid the frustration is to never get married in the first place.

      Reply
  2. Julie

    Hello,

    I've been divorced almost 30 years, and like some of the comments, I kept it so I would have the same name as my daughter. I always said I'd change it back to my maiden name once she got married. She's not married yet, but I have a feeling it will happen in the next couple of years.

    Petitioning the court for a name change was mentioned a couple of times so I'm assuming that's what I need to do. If so, will I have to show divorce papers/ proof that I'm divorced?

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Petitioning the court for a name change was mentioned a couple of times so I'm assuming that's what I need to do. If so, will I have to show divorce papers/ proof that I'm divorced?

      No, you will not have to show proof of divorce.

      Reply
  3. Anonymous

    I went through a divorce and legally went back to my maiden name. I own and operate a business in my married name and elected to continue working under that name. I changed everything license, passport, etc and now I am struggling with needing to use two names and would rather have the married name back for personal and professional. Am I able to change my name back to the married name legally if I elect to do so?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Am I able to change my name back to the married name legally if I elect to do so?

      Yes, you can legally return to your previously married name.

      Reply
  4. Glenda

    I have kept my ex's name so I will have the same last name as my children. Now that my children are older, my youngest in college, I have decided to change my name to my maiden name. I changed my name first at SS then to DMV and my professional license. Little did I know that I still have a lot to change, banks, insurance companies, some professional docs, mortgage, life insurance, liability insurance, car insurance, loans….etc..etc. I now regret that I started this process. Can i revert everything and change my name back to my ex-husbands's name? I am known in my industry as Dr M, and M___ being my ex's last name. It will be difficult for everyone to identify me with my maiden name. Is it possible to go back to using my ex's name? go back to SS, DMV and professional license? I need help please…

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it possible to go back to using my ex's name? go back to SS, DMV and professional license?

      Yes, you can reverse the name change process, but you'll have to obtain a court order first. The government institutions you cited will need such a document to change your name again.

      Reply
  5. Nina

    hi, I was married back in europe and came with my husband in united states. Later we got divorced, but I did my divorce back home where i was married at. Cheaper that way. Its been 15 yrs since then and due to kids I kept his last name. Now i like to change it to my maiden. Since my divorce is from another country and I live in US, how can I change my last name? i do have it in english copy and noterized from back home. What do i do to start the process? thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Nina. If your divorce certificate contains an order to restore your maiden name, then you can use it. Otherwise, you'll have to petition the court for a general adult name change.

      Reply
  6. Krista

    So I was married before and changed my name. When I divorced I never changed my name back since it was easier not going through those motions.
    I am now engaged again and for my new marriage I would like to use my maiden name till I take my new husband name. What documents do I need to change and what can I wait till I get married?
    Could I just get social security and license changed? Then hold off on notifying my job as well as bank and credit cards?
    I am getting married next September and I realized I need to get this in the works well beforehand.

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am now engaged again and for my new marriage I would like to use my maiden name till I take my new husband name. What documents do I need to change and what can I wait till I get married?

      If your divorce decree includes an order restoring your maiden name, then use it to change your name with the SSA, DMV, etc. If it contains no such order, you must petition the court for a name change.

      Reply
  7. sevans

    I have been married twice..so obviously divorced once and looks like I will be going through another. Can I go back to my last name from my first marriage?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sevans. During the divorce proceedings request the judge restore your preferred prior name.

      Reply
  8. Ann Granato

    my husband and i were together for 14 years then we separated (not legal) i went to work but i used my maiden name for 35 years but my ss card has my married name on it and ss has my work history under my married name can i change my name back to my maiden name name before i collect my ss my husband has since died and we never shared anything in the 32 years we were apart

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ann. You will have to petition the court for the SSA to change your name back to your maiden.

      Reply
  9. Tamika

    I will be married for 7 years this June. I haven't changed my name on some of my documents like my social security card, or DL but everything else has been changed this day one. My question is when I change my name will it be counted for the 7yrs that I have been married or treated as the date it was changed. I'm from IL please help

    Reply
    1. Valera

      My question is when I change my name will it be counted for the 7yrs that I have been married or treated as the date it was changed.

      From the date it was changed. No backdating.

      Reply
  10. Dan

    So please answer me this. What if the new boyfriend is just unsettled with her retaining the last name of her husband since they have been divorced 8 years and he's remarried. They have kids together and now they are teenagers. It can't be as easy as well its my daughters last name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Dan. Ultimately, it's her choice to maintain the name or revert to a prior. There's been cases of spouses and spouses' spouses upset over their ex maintaining their surname, even when the divorce decree granted an order restoring a prior name. There's no recourse for them. If the person doesn't want to change their name, there's not much that can be done to compel them.

      Reply
  11. Dana shaffer

    hi I got divorced and still used my husbands last name, i on my passport, And Dl, now I’m getting married again and would like to change to my current husbands last name. What do I need to do? Do I need to provide paper work stating that I was divorced, and never changed my last name or would my current marriage certificat which was issued outside the United States work to change my passport and Dl to my new name

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Dana. You don't need to reference your divorce papers. Your foreign marriage certificate is sufficient.

      Reply
      1. Dana shaffer

        Thank you for your response, my marriage certificate is not the original as I was married outside the United States and the certificate is not in English, however I have a copy translated in English and notarized, would this be accepted, if not, what do I need to do? My husband is outside the United States and not a citizen.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Hi Dana. If your foreign marriage certificate is a certified copy, you're good to go.

          Reply
  12. Cody

    My ex wife told me she lost my last name, because I didn’t document that she could keep it.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      she lost my last name, because I didn’t document that she could keep it

      Hi Cody. I don't know what you mean by this. Please clarify.

      Reply
    2. Ma Leilani Naron

      Hello,
      My divorced came out last year, Sept 2018.
      I am Still using my ex’s last name until now .
      I am getting married to my new partner next year, feb 2020.
      Do I need to change my last name from my ex’s to My maiden name before I get married?
      We are filling up paperworks as we are getting married in the church.
      Does this mean I cannot use My ex’s last name But change back to My maiden name?
      I just want to avoid all the paper works it require like changing passports and drivers license.
      Please help.

      Reply
      1. Valera

        Do I need to change my last name from my ex’s to My maiden name before I get married?

        No.

        Does this mean I cannot use My ex’s last name But change back to My maiden name?

        When applying for your marriage license, use your current legal name, which matches your ex's.

        Reply
  13. Beverly

    I divorced my ex in 2006 and hyphenated using maiden-ex's name because i had two young kids and it would be easier having the same last name. Now my youngest is in his last year of high school and I want to remove the -Ex name. It is my legal name on all my documents (I think…) I know my bank accounts, w-2's, social security, license and passport are all in that name.

    How do I go about dropping the hyphen legally? Do I just need my birth certificate and the divorce decree or will the birth certificate alone do the trick since I'm hyphenated?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How do I go about dropping the hyphen legally? Do I just need my birth certificate and the divorce decree or will the birth certificate alone do the trick since I'm hyphenated?

      If your divorce decree includes an order dropping your ex's last name, then that's the only document you'll need. If it includes no such order, you'll have to petition the court to drop the name.

      Reply
      1. Beverly

        Thank you. I'll have to check my divorce decree… haven't looked at it in years!

        Reply
  14. Filipina J

    I came in the US thru Fiancé Visa and married my bf in Cali. We’re in the process of divorcing now after 10 yrs of marriage. I have all my documents under his last name like my very first SS card, US passport and DL. He wants me not to keep his last name after divorce. I have 2 children from my previous marriage from abroad, and they acquired citizenship through me. If I change my name, will it affect my children’s US passport once we’re renewing them since I’m having a different name? I established my identity in the US using my husband’s last name. It would be a pain for me to change my name after divorce. Please advice me. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If I change my name, will it affect my children’s US passport once we’re renewing them since I’m having a different name?

      No, it will not affect them.

      Reply
  15. Adina

    I moved to the US in 2007 and married an American citizen and took his last name. In 2012 we divorced and the judge asked me what name I want after the divorce; I said I will revert back to my maiden name so the divorce decree says that the maiden name is restored to me. After a little while I realized what a hassle would be o go through the name change process and chose to keep the married name. The issue is that now I want to register my marriage and divorce in my home country so I can obtain an ID with my married name but they want the divorce decree to say that I can keep the married name? What should I do? All my documents here were never changed to my maiden name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Adina.

      You have a few ways to go:

      1. You can contact the court and ask that your divorce decree be amended, but that's unlikely to be accepted.
      2. You can obtain a court ordered name change, which would override your divorce decree.
      3. You can explain that the restoration of your maiden name on the divorce decree was legally nonbinding and that your legal name is still your married name.

      Reply
  16. Barbara

    Can a person Ugo back to a last name they have no document for? Example I'm adopted I'm getting a divorce, can I go back to my name before I was adopted or do I have to use my adopted name which I have a birth certificate for. My name before I was adopted I have no birth certificate.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Barbara. During your divorce proceedings, you can request the judge restore your name before adoption. It's no guarantee it'll be accepted, especially without supporting documentation.

      If the judge denies your request, you'll have to petition the court for a name change, which doesn't require supporting documents.

      Reply
    2. Evie

      Barbara, I’m in a similar situation as you. I was adopted and given a made up birth certificate with the adoptive name. Then I married/divorced and kept that last name and now I’m divorcing again. That’s four names! I’m planning to offer my adoption papers as supporting documentation to go back to my birth name. I think it’s a slim chance but definitely worth a try! Otherwise I will just petition the court for a name change after the divorce.

      Reply
  17. Madison

    Do I have to change my last name back to my madien name when I get divorced or can I keep my married name forever? Tennessee laws

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to change my last name back to my madien name when I get divorced or can I keep my married name forever?

      You do not have to change it. You can keep your married name as long as you prefer.

      You can still ask the judge to restore your maiden name or a prior name in the divorce decree, but you don't have to actually change it. Having it there will give you the option to change it if you later have a change of heart.

      Reply
  18. Jenna

    I was hoping to get an answer because I haven't been able to get ahold of my lawyer and it's now the weekend. If I just had my divorce finalized on the 24th of march 2018 and when the judge asked me whether I wanted to keep my ex-husband's last name or take my maiden name back, I said I wanted to go back to my maiden last name. When he told my kids that I was going to have a different last name then them, they were very upset. After a lot of thought I want to keep his last name. Since I haven't even received any papers on the divorce, can I still change my mind and keep it legally? If it matters it is in the state of Ohio. Please and thank you for any help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Since I haven't even received any papers on the divorce, can I still change my mind and keep it legally?

      An order in your divorce decree restoring your maiden name simply gives you the option to revert if you so chose. It's not automatic. Do nothing, and your current name stays the same.

      Down the road, if you want to return to your maiden name, you can use your divorce decree to do it instead of having to petition the court.

      Reply
  19. Mary

    I am divorced and still has my ex last name. I am about to remarry and would like to have my maiden name on the marriage certificate. Is this possible? After marriage, I plan to change my last name to my second husband's last name.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Mary. It varies by state. Some will permit you to return to your maiden name or a previous surname.

      Reply
  20. Amarie

    Amarie

    I am divorce I kept my ex last name
    Now, I am remarried, I would like to know can I still keep my ex last name, and my current husband name as well? Reason being all of my certification high school Diploma and BA degree is in my ex last name. Also my DL and SS, Passport, will it be a problem if I leave every thing the way it is or do I ofto change them all to my current husband last name

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I would like to know can I still keep my ex last name, and my current husband name as well?

      You can hyphenate, if that's what you're suggesting.

      Also my DL and SS, Passport, will it be a problem if I leave every thing the way it is or do I ofto change them all to my current husband last name

      You can leave them unchanged.

      Reply
  21. Keneisha

    I'm divorce but still have my birth maiden- and my ex name I want to get married again can I drop my ex name and add my present husband or do I of to do paper work before getting married and after married. I just want to do my IDs once..

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Keneisha. You can make the change at once after your upcoming marriage.

      Reply
  22. ellen pugliese-spangenberg

    my husband passed away and i would like to use only my madien name, all the info i have read is about divorce and some just crazy on how to do it. is there an easy way to change a name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Ellen. No, there isn't an easier way. You'd have to petition the court to return to your maiden name.

      Reply
  23. Dinorah

    Hello,
    I was divorced 10 years ago but kept his last name, did not change it back to maiden. Now I'm trying to get married, at the courthouse they asked me for a certified copy of divorce decree, it says I have to change my last name back to maiden one. Do I need to change the name to maiden and then apply for marriage license, then change to new last name again? or Can I proceed to only change it once after new marriage?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I need to change the name to maiden and then apply for marriage license, then change to new last name again?

      No, you do not.

      or Can I proceed to only change it once after new marriage?

      Yes.

      Reply
  24. Cathy

    I was married for 15 years legally changed my maiden name to my married name. I have now been divorced almost 3 years. I took my maiden name back legally through the divorce. I now want to go back to my ex husbands last name. Is there anyway to do that? I already changed everything to my maiden name but wish I didn’t for numerous reasons. so can I take back my ex husbands name even though I legally already went back to my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I now want to go back to my ex husbands last name. Is there anyway to do that? I already changed everything to my maiden name…

      You'll have to head to court and file a petition for a regular adult name change.

      Reply
  25. C Minasto

    Hello group I have a question that someone mite to answer for me. Four months I got divorce and it was somewhat peaceful. Ten was a relationship and ten married and one of the reasons the was a divorce she is on the loose side. Now I have asked a lot of people and the law says she doesn't have to but I was reading something on the internet where if she fight you she can pay me money every month for using my name. Is this true of BS

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I was reading something on the internet where if she fight you she can pay me money every month for using my name.

      I don't understand what you're saying here. Fight you how?

      Reply
  26. Ken

    I wanna keep my current married last name while I legally add my new husband’s name. Is this possible? I live in Jacksonville and discussed with a divorce lawyer, but I keep asking professionals because I was not satisfied.

    Reply
  27. jen

    I have ben divorced for almost 2 years now and I am wanting to change my last name back to my maiden last name how can I do that since I have been divorced for going on two years?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Jen. If your divorce decree has an order restoring your maiden name, use that document to change your name. If no such order exists, you'll have to obtain a court order.

      Reply
  28. Liana

    I am in the process of getting divorces, and the decree will restore my maiden name. Do I have to go through the process to change everything immediately? Or, can I wait for as long as I want?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to go through the process to change everything immediately? Or, can I wait for as long as I want?

      You can wait for as long as you want. After the court grants you the order to restore your maiden name, it's not concerned about whether or not you ultimately go through with it.

      Reply
  29. denise

    My divorce became final last week I requested to go back to my maiden name and is granted on the decree now after thinking about it all the pain to change back to my maiden name Im thinking about just keeping my married name but the decree is final and the maiden name is official do I have to change everything or can I say to heck with it and keep my married name

    Reply
    1. Valera

      the decree is final and the maiden name is official do I have to change everything or can I say to heck with it and keep my married name

      You don't have to change anything. Your divorce decree simply provides you the option to go back to your maiden name, if you so choose.

      If you're sticking with your married name, file your decree away and forget about it. If you later reconsider and want to return to your maiden name, the option remains available.

      Reply
  30. Genea

    I was married 33yrs ago and taken on my ex's last name. Now I am engaged to someone and they want me to change my name back to my maiden name before we marry. Is this fair for me to go through the hassle of me changing my name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is this fair for me to go through the hassle of me changing my name?

      No one can force you to change your name. It's your decision to do so or not. If you do decide to go forward with restoring your maiden name, you can only use your divorce decree as a mechanism if it contains an order to restore your maiden name. If it contains no such line, you must petition the court.

      Reply
  31. Alisha Brosofsky

    Hi I divorced in March, I requested my name be restored back to my maiden name. The judge did grant this but do I actually have to switch back or can I keep my married name? As stated it is a pain to change your name!!!

    Thanks
    Alisha

    Reply
    1. Valera

      The judge did grant this but do I actually have to switch back or can I keep my married name?

      No, you can skip it.

      Reply
      1. Alisha Brosofsky

        Thank you so much I did not want to go through all the hassle of changing it. So do I keep it as it was when I was married or first,maiden,married?

        Reply
  32. Sulma

    I have a question. I divorced my ex but never changed my last name after the divorce because of the inconvenience of change all my documents and I was using his last name for more than 10?years. But now I’m getting married next year and I don’t know what last name I have to use for the ceremony and my new marriage certificate. My current last name ( my ex last name) or my last name previous married.
    Please help!!!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Sulma. When you fill out your marriage application, put down your current legal name. If there's a spot available to specify a new name post-marriage, put your new preferred name.

      Reply
  33. Louise

    I have been married two times I've never carried second hubby name I've always carried. My firs husband name everything is in his last name .I called as the other day and they have me under my second name. How do I get it back to the name I've used since I've been 16? Can I go to the small court house in my town and do it? What do I need top get this done ?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Louise. If you're talking about changing your name through court, which court you file in varies by state. Which state are you a resident of?

      Reply
  34. loraine

    Hi! I had a divorce last 2015 and requested for my name to change it back to my maiden name. But since then, I have not change or still use my married name in my IDs, account. I am now applying for citizenship and would like to know if my legal name would be of that in the divorce decree or what i am still using. thank you!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am now applying for citizenship and would like to know if my legal name would be of that in the divorce decree or what i am still using.

      What you're still using, considering you never legally switched back to your maiden name.

      Reply
  35. Laura

    First of all, thank you for keeping up with this conversation! I will be going through the divorce process soon. I do not want my ex last name or my maiden name. Is it ok to use another? It is my step fathers but he never legally adopted me.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is it ok to use another? It is my step fathers but he never legally adopted me.

      You can request it from the judge, but it's unlikely. Name change via divorce is meant to restore a former name. You'll likely be told to separately petition the proper court for a new name.

      Reply
  36. Dee

    I got divorced a couple of years ago and the decree says my name would go back to previous legal name. My passport is still in my ex’s last name. I also have global entry with ex’s last name. It is now time to renew my passport. Can i renew and keep under my ex’s last name to prevent hassle of changing global entry too? I rather not change the name back.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can i renew and keep under my ex’s last name to prevent hassle of changing global entry too? I rather not change the name back.

      Yes, you can maintain the status quo.

      Reply
  37. Cindy

    My situation is totally different, I am filing for divorce now but, during my marriage, I had changed my First Name. Do they allow me to keep my new First name and Maiden last name? Or I have to change to the name I had before I was married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do they allow me to keep my new First name and Maiden last name? Or I have to change to the name I had before I was married?

      Name change during divorce wouldn't affect your first name. You would be able to keep it unchanged. You can request your last name be returned to your maiden name or any prior legal surname.

      Reply
  38. Bonbon

    My fiance asked for his name back as part of the divorce and his wife agreed and signed it on the divorce papers. She is now refusing to change her name. What can be done about this?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      She is now refusing to change her name. What can be done about this?

      Nothing really. Your fiance's ex-wife can't be compelled to change her name.

      Reply
  39. Andy Lee

    My fiance kept her ex husbands last name. We are applying for a marriage license. Is she required to use her current legal name with her ex husbands last name? Or can she use her maiden name on the marriage license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is she required to use her current legal name with her ex husbands last name? Or can she use her maiden name on the marriage license?

      When the application asks for her name, it's referring to her current legal name. Some applications may ask for any prior name, but that would be a separate field.

      Reply
  40. Stacey

    I asked the courts to change my name after my divorce and now I want to keep it because of my kids. Can I do that? Do I have to go back to court to change my statement?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I asked the courts to change my name after my divorce and now I want to keep it because of my kids. Can I do that?

      Yes. Just do nothing and nothing changes.

      Do I have to go back to court to change my statement?

      No, you don't have to go back to court. You're not obligated to change your name just because you obtained a court order to do so. It simply gave you the option to. It's nonbinding.

      Reply
  41. whassinaname

    Hello, I've been divorced over ten years and have kept the married name because of children and a professional license. Now my children are (mostly) grown. One is married and the other is in college. And I'm about to get another professional license in another field, which I believe will be permanent.

    I'm unsure of whether to change my name because to my maiden name for the new license, it leave it as is and be stuck with the ex's last name for my child's sake for 2-3 more years.

    Or can I leave the ex's name on the old license, do, etc. and put my maiden name on the new (work-related) license?

    This is more of a moral dilemma than anything. Please help!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I'm unsure of whether to change my name because to my maiden name for the new license, it leave it as is and be stuck with the ex's last name for my child's sake for 2-3 more years.

      First, you have to decide if you're going to formally change your name. It appears that your legal name is not your maiden name. You wouldn't be able to update your license until you decide what to do here.

      If you do decide to change, whatever entity issues your professional license may want to be notified. Depending on your profession, this may be mandatory or at least highly recommended. Whether they require your license be reissued in your new name varies.

      Reply
  42. Maeline Smith

    I am getting a Divorce after 15 years of marriage to my 2nd husband But i am engaged and getting married in a few months.I asked the judge 4 me 2 go back 2 my maden name but my 13 year old little girl dont want me 2.so i dont half 2 change my license and ssi several times ( when she grants me my Divorce next month can i Change my name 2 my soon 2 be husbands last name so i dont half 2 do the changes several times?He wants me 2 have his last name and not my soon 2 be X husbands when we get married.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I asked the judge 4 me 2 go back 2 my maden name but my 13 year old little girl dont want me 2

      Asking that the judge includes this keeps your options open. You don't have to change it for real.

      when she grants me my Divorce next month can i Change my name 2 my soon 2 be husbands last name

      No, only a prior last name. When you get married again, your marriage certificate is what you'll use to change your name, not your divorce decree.

      Reply
  43. Danita

    Hi, I divorced my exhubby in 1995 in Nevada, but in January 2018, I received a certified letter stating that he’s divorcing me from NYC now.

    I’ve since called his attorney telling him this is a mistake, but unfortunately I don’t have the divorce decree anymore nor can it be found in the county clerks office.

    So here we are today where I’ve received the divorce papers stating that I can have my maiden name restored, which is what I want now since our daughter is an adult.

    Even thou I know I was divorced before, can I use today’s divorce decree to get my mainden name back without having to pay to have it changed now?

    TIA!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I don’t have the divorce decree anymore nor can it be found in the county clerks office.

      County clerk? Have you tried the court clerk?

      Even thou I know I was divorced before, can I use today’s divorce decree to get my mainden name back without having to pay to have it changed now?

      Probably. If whichever institution your changing your name with isn't aware of your divorce history, your most recent divorce decree may be taken at face value.

      Reply
  44. Carolyn

    I was legally divorced in the state of Texas last year. I never did change my name back to my maiden name and prefer not too, however I am curious to find out if there is a way to change my last name to something completely different.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I am curious to find out if there is a way to change my last name to something completely different

      It would have to be by court petition.

      Reply
  45. Sam

    My bf has been "seperated" not legally for 15 yr now about a month ago he decided to go on with divorce process. His ex dicided to keep the last name out of spite and don't want another woman to have the name there children are grown with kids of there own. In the state of IN can she be entitled to anything or is the name useless?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      His ex dicided to keep the last name out of spite and don't want another woman to have the name

      That is her prerogative. She's not obligated or required to change it.

      Reply
  46. Becca Estrada

    I have a question, say the judge said I could go back to my maiden name & I signed to get it changed but now I want to keep his last name but the judge already signed for me to change it back to my maiden name. Do I have to or can I just keep his last name ??

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Do I have to or can I just keep his last name

      You don't have to commit to the name change. The judge authorizing the change simply gives you the option to do so.

      Reply
  47. LadyRo

    Hi there: I was contemplating changing my last night back after divorce. However i'm trying to think differently about it. For instance. My name will tell a story right, and i'm still a winner right? Yes and Yes again.

    Furthermore, my 2 very young children already know we're not with their father anymore, so why confuse and add insult to injury. And this is what took the cake for me, so to speak. There;s a whisper of "your going backwards further into your past, back skipping back "the middle" to your birth name" So I will not be embarrassed, angry, bitter or ashamed, nor will I place over-blaming. Besides… the reality of the matter was! "it took 2 to tangle". *But don't stop dancing; just learn new moves and keep dancing.*

    To sum all that up: Continue on; in forward motion progressions. While being very sure to console and motivate your children so they will make better perception choices; than you earlier self! Amen and Good Day.

    Reply
  48. Carmen

    I just received my divorce decree and decided to take my surname back. I already made the changes after receiving the court order. Will I still qualify to receive my X spouse social security after a 40 years of marriage?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Will I still qualify to receive my X spouse social security after a 40 years of marriage?

      Yes, changing your name doesn't affect your social security benefits.

      Reply
  49. Deborah Goodwin

    I divorced in 2010 and went back to my maiden name. I recently found out that the man whose last name I have (my maiden name) is not my father! Can I go back to my ex husbands name, if he says it's ok and if so how do I go about reversing my name change?

    Reply
  50. Micah

    My question is from the ex-husband perspective. My ex-wife kept my last name at our divorce, but then quickly remarried and changed to her new husband's last name. She is now getting divorced again, but is going back to my last name, and not her maiden name. Is there any way that this can be prevented?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      She is now getting divorced again, but is going back to my last name, and not her maiden name. Is there any way that this can be prevented?

      No, there is none.

      Reply
  51. Sandy Collison

    Hello, I've been divorced for 8 years, but I'm forced to live with my ex, because of home ownership. I have no children. I did notxask for alimony. He is abusive. I kept his last.name, after the divorce. Now, the relationship has deteriorated so badly, I don't want it any longer. Nor do I want my maiden name, as they are not very nice people and I've been judged in the past…..based on that. Can I just drop my current married last name? And go by my first and middle name? What would the procedure involve? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I just drop my current married last name? And go by my first and middle name? What would the procedure involve?

      If you're just dropping your married name informally, then there's nothing to do. Otherwise, you'd have to petition the court for a name change.

      Reply
  52. Victoria Garza

    I was divorced almost 20 years ago. I never took completely took his last name. So I never changed from my maiden name. I have a disabled son with my ex, for his medical and legal purposes, can I use his last name still? Or do I need to stick to my maiden name. I have been married and divorced again. I am still using my maiden name. It would make it easier to use his name when I need to book his appointments, or any other legal stuff. Etc.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I have a disabled son with my ex, for his medical and legal purposes, can I use his last name still? Or do I need to stick to my maiden name.

      Your maiden name would be appropriate, because your ex's is not your legal name.

      Reply
  53. Ann Marie Skerl

    I was married for 25 years and have been divorced for over 20 years but kept my married name. I am now getting remarried. I would like to use my new husband's last name socially, etc but because of numerous documents, properties, trusts and children with my ex-husband's last name, I would prefer not to have to change all those documents legally. How do I complete the part that asks about new last name?Can I just put my new husband's last name on the application but not change it on any other documents?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How do I complete the part that asks about new last name?Can I just put my new husband's last name on the application but not change it on any other documents?

      Yes, you can put your new husband's last name, even if you don't plan to change it on any documents.

      Reply
  54. Dena Randall

    My husband filed a petition for divorce without a lawyer and within the order he states that my name would be changed to my maiden name. He worded it strangely. It says "Father agrees to change name to maiden name Xxxx Xxxxx". We have no children and I'm a woman. I think it's a typo. I do not want to change my name. Big hassle for me. I agree with everything else in the petition. Do I have to file a response to argue just the name change issue? If I just ignor it and keep using my married name will I get in trouble? What might be the repercussions if I don't file a response?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Dena. It doesn't hurt to file a response. It's not binding either way.

      Reply
  55. Kyle Burke

    I was divorced in 2001. i remarried in 2006. Both Marriages were in NJ. Why is my EX Wifes name on my new marriage certificate. How do I remove it.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Why is my EX Wifes name on my new marriage certificate. How do I remove it.

      That's how the New Jersey certificate of marriage is universally designed. The ex-spouse's name is shown at the bottom of the marriage certificate. It's a public, historical record.

      If you're adamant about having it removed, you can try to seek relief through a judge, but it's unlikely to be granted.

      Reply
  56. J. Johnson

    Hello, I’ve read through most of these comments but wanted to clarify; after getting a divorce is there a time-limit on changing back to your maiden name? Do you need to do it within a certain amount of time, or can you do it anytime after the divorce?

    For reference, I’ve been divorced for 15 years and I did not contest my divorce; I live in NC and am single, I have no children. I have wanted to change my last name for some time but really don’t care for my maiden name either. However, if I could more easily change back to my maiden name rather than go through the hassle of petitioning the court for a “new” name then maybe I would. I hope that makes sense, thanks so much for your advice!

    Reply
    1. Valera

      after getting a divorce is there a time-limit on changing back to your maiden name?

      No.

      Do you need to do it within a certain amount of time, or can you do it anytime after the divorce?

      It doesn't matter how long you take.

      However, if I could more easily change back to my maiden name rather than go through the hassle of petitioning the court for a “new” name then maybe I would.

      That's a valid option.

      Reply
  57. Bertha

    My husband’s ex wife remarried in another state, then divorced husband number two for husband number three and now is separated from husband number three and moved back here. She’s had her maiden name and all three husbands’ names also.

    Her divorce from husband number three isn’t even in the works. She claims she needs the divorce decree from her first marriage to get a new drivers license in this state now. Why? I know when you move from state to state, you have to get a new license but why does she need a divorce decree from 25 years ago for a license?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      She claims she needs the divorce decree from her first marriage to get a new drivers license in this state now. Why?

      It could simply be because she needs an identity document and any court document is considered valid.

      Or perhaps her first divorce decree contained a provision restoring her maiden name and now she wants to return to it.

      Or maybe she wants to go back to your husband's surname and will try to use the divorce decree as the avenue to get there.

      Reply
  58. Judy Anderson

    My ex husband filed a motion to demand i give up his last name. Can i be forced to give it up?

    Reply
    1. Judy Anderson

      Can i be legally forced to give up my ex last name? He did not care at the time of the divorce but his girlfriend does

      Reply
      1. Sc

        Can someone help with some clarity on this idea?
        My girlfriend and mother of our child has a last name from her ex whom was very abusive, etc.

        I thought it would be respectful to her father for her to go back to the maiden name after proposal so marriage is from her family name and my family name.

        She thinks this would be it of work to do. I just do not want to hear that nasty guys last name called out at our wedding.

        Is this a ridiculous idea? And is the name changing too much work?

        Reply
        1. Valera

          Is this a ridiculous idea?

          No, it's not ridiculous at all. She'll first have to determine what name combinations are allowed after marriage. She may or may be able to combine your last name with her maiden name.

          And is the name changing too much work?

          If the name change combination is allowed, the process is the same as any other marriage-based name changed.

          Reply
    2. Valera

      Hi Judy. Your husband can file or request anything, but he can't force you to change your name.

      Reply
  59. Phelisa

    Hi can i ask you a quation I was married and I divorce i haven't change the name now I want to get married again can I marry my new husband with previous husbands name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      can I marry my new husband with previous husbands name?

      Yes, of course.

      Reply
  60. Jessica

    Hello, difficult question here. Um, I am filing for divorce after 16+ years of marriage, we have been separated for 8 yrs.

    The issue is this we found out at year 3 that my husbands last name was not his legal last name. (so all papers were filed on a false and not legal last name) So our 1st child and myself have a hyphenated last name (our daughter was born before we were married so we hyphenated her name and I followed suit when we were married) However we did not know, nor did he that his last name was not his.

    I found out when filing to get all of our birth certificates. So 2 questions.

    1. Were we ever even legally married?
    2. He is now asking me to make it is legal last name in a name change in the divorce.

    Can the husband do a name change in the divorce papers?

    It is just so confusing and to top it off we have a son, now 13 who has just his dads false last name. (no hyphen his dad refused to hyphen his SONS last name).

    I will be obtaining my maiden name and trying to figure out how to change my 20 year old daughters name to my maiden name as well.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Were we ever even legally married?

      Yes.

      Can the husband do a name change in the divorce papers?

      Yes, if the judge allows it. Within limits.

      I will be obtaining my maiden name and trying to figure out how to change my 20 year old daughters name to my maiden name as well.

      She'll have to petition the court. You couldn't do it on her behalf.

      Reply
  61. Pawan

    Hi,
    I live in India, I divorced my husband 15 years back.but now I got remarried. I have son from my ex. We use his surname.. Now after remarriage. My son doesn't want to change his surname.. Now when it comes to property matters ..how do we go about it.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now when it comes to property matters ..how do we go about it.

      Can you please clarify what you're trying to resolve? Are you looking to update names in property records? Yours? Your son's?

      Reply
  62. Tami

    How about if in the divorce it says we are going to keep their last name but we decide at a later time that we would like to revert to our maiden name? That's where I currently am with my thought process.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      How about if in the divorce it says we are going to keep their last name but we decide at a later time that we would like to revert to our maiden name?

      You'll either need to get the court to amend your divorce decree or get a new court ordered name change.

      Reply
  63. Edith Kaess

    Hi, I was married for 16 years and been divorced for 14 years, and recently decided to change back to my maiden name. I changed my license, ssn, and at work. but after changing my name I feel I lost my identity after 30 years of having my ex-husband's name. I like his name better than mine. I didn't think it was going to bother me emotionally but it has. I loved that man with all my heart but things didn't work out. Can I change my mind and decide to keep my married name again or is it a done deal now. I own a home, which include a mortgage, deed, taxes registered at town hall, and citizenship papers, passport and more that I haven't change. What can I do. I live in NY.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Can I change my mind and decide to keep my married name again or is it a done deal now.

      It's a done deal using your divorce decree. At this point, you'll have to get a court to approve your name change.

      Reply
    2. Mia

      This is a good time for you to move on once and for all after 14 years this is the last thing your were hanging on to get over it and move on!

      Reply
  64. Barbara Borrello

    If my divorce decree states that I am free to use my maiden name, does that mean I can just change it and all my personal documents or do I still have to file a name change? Is my divorce decree enough proof for the DMV, bank, S.S.?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      does that mean I can just change it and all my personal documents or do I still have to file a name change?

      Yes, that's what it means. No need to file a separate petition.

      Is my divorce decree enough proof for the DMV, bank, S.S.?

      It's plenty.

      Reply
  65. Gina

    Can my sister who already got divorced use her old surname in renewing her passport

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Gina. If your sister's passport is already in her old name, she can renew it in her old name. If it's in her married name, she can renew it in her old name as long as her divorce decree restored her old name.

      Reply
  66. Zach

    After our divorce my x changed her name. Not back to her original maiden name but used her middle name as her last name now on the court document. She still and wants to Use my last name in other documents for our kids at school and personally. Is this legal? What can I do.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      She still and wants to Use my last name in other documents for our kids at school and personally. Is this legal?

      Yes.

      What can I do.

      Nothing really.

      Reply
  67. S. L.

    Ok. How about this: My Daughter has asked to have the ability to change her name when she first divorced. The judge ordered this and used the term “shall” be restored to her maiden name. That was in 2105 and she chose not to do so aftercare that, mainly because of kids. He ex recently filed a contempt charge for her not changing her name. The judge held her in contempt for not making the change! Ordered it done in 30 days.
    This is in WV. Is this legal or did judge overstep here? Thanks

    Reply
    1. Valera

      This is in WV. Is this legal or did judge overstep here?

      She'll have to contact an attorney. This story seems like it's missing a puzzle piece.

      Reply
  68. Luanne

    Hi,

    I was divorced in California in 1986 and the divorce decree has the box checked for "former name is restored to:" and shows my maiden name.

    I never went through the trouble of changing back and kept my husbands name until I remarried in 2000. Now I live in Minnesota and am applying for a Enhanced Driver License and they will not give it to me because I cannot provide evidence that I changed my name back to my maiden name between my divorce and my new marriage. They are forcing me to go back and try to amend my current marriage certificate to show my maiden name and not my former married name.

    This is not a simple thing to do.

    Am I legally required to change it back because the box is checked on the divorce decree? ( I have seen reading through the posts here that I do not have to change back).

    Is there a statute or specific law code that says I do not have to change it back that I can show them? if not what should I do?

    Thanks for any help.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Am I legally required to change it back because the box is checked on the divorce decree?

      No.

      Is there a statute or specific law code that says I do not have to change it back that I can show them? if not what should I do?

      You don't have to change it back, but they're looking for a document that shows your maiden name has been restored.

      Have you tried just using your divorce decree to restore your maiden name? First, update your social security card. Then update your driver's license.

      Reply
      1. Luanne

        The problem is I have been remarried since July of 2000 and now my name is my Husbands last name. They want to see a document showing I went back to my maiden name between my divorce and my new marriage but I did not, I kept my former husbands name the whole time.

        The want to see my maiden name on my current marriage certificate Since the box on my divorce decree is checked for restoring former name they are saying I had to go back. It's entirely ridiculous.

        Reply
        1. Valera

          The problem is I have been remarried since July of 2000 and now my name is my Husbands last name.

          To be clear, your new surname matches your new husband's surname? You're trying to go from OldMarriedSurname to NewMarriedSurname? Or are you trying to restore your maiden name on your driver's license?

          The want to see my maiden name on my current marriage certificate Since the box on my divorce decree is checked for restoring former name they are saying I had to go back.

          Can they document this guideline in writing? Or point to a statute?

          Reply
          1. Luanne

            That is correct. I went from Old Married name to new married name. I never went back to my maiden name. They are saying I had to go back since it is marked on the divorce decree "former name is restored to".

            I gave them birth cert, first marriage cert, divorce decree, new marriage cert (which has my maiden name on it). This is not good enough for them, they are saying I need to have my name on my new marriage cert to be my maiden name, not my former husbands.

            I have gotten a US passport but they will not give me this new Real ID. Also I have contacted the county in California where my current marriage license was issued and asked them to amend it to have my maiden name and they said No way!! It's just crazy.

            I was hoping there was a guideline or statute I could show them that says I do not have to change back to my maiden name after a divorce.

          2. Valera

            This is not good enough for them, they are saying I need to have my name on my new marriage cert to be my maiden name, not my former husbands.

            They're suggesting a remedy that's not possible. California doesn't allow such changes to recorded marriage records.

            Also I have contacted the county in California where my current marriage license was issued and asked them to amend it to have my maiden name and they said No way!!

            That would be their response to any similar request. Short of clerical errors, amendments are not allowed.

            California's page on amending vital records, specifically amending a marriage record, explains that they'll only accept spelling errors, adding missing information, or making a change under the direction of a court order.

            I was hoping there was a guideline or statute I could show them that says I do not have to change back to my maiden name after a divorce.

            But can they provide you the statute, guideline, or rule instead of the other way around? Do they understand that their suggested remedy is not possible in California? The problem you're facing is the split between federal and state. They operate on shared and different rules.

            Ultimately you may have to obtain a court order. Another thing to consider is asking the court that issued your divorce decree to remove the restoration order.

  69. Cheryl

    So my situation is awkward. I'm currently going through a divorce, we have been fighting custody for almost 2 years. He's moved on with his life and I have as well.

    I am engaged but really just don't know if I want to be married again. Can I have my last name changed to one that is different than my maiden or married name?

    Ex. To my fiancee last name, so technically I can keep my married last name and don't have to change documents but can use my fiancee name without actually getting married?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Cheryl. If you want to legally change your name outside of marriage, you'll have to go to court. If you want it done off the books, just use your preferred name informally and socially.

      Reply
  70. Melinda Kelley DeHerrera

    If I decided to change my last name back to my maiden name after 10 yrs can I still do it and yes my divorce decree stated I could right after I got a divorce

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Melinda. Yes, you can still change your name after divorce, even 10 years later.

      Reply
  71. The real Mrs

    My husband’s ex kept my husbands name even after a bitter and nasty divorce, she said to him recently when asked it’s because it sounds more “posh” than hers and also she didn’t want to change her email address, that was her reasoning.

    But the worse is when she said to my husband and some mutual friends after we got married last year that she will always be the real “ Mrs” because she was first.

    Every case is different but in my personal opinion in this specific case I’d absolutely change back out of self respect. I can’t imagine presenting myself to society with a name that associates me to someone I dislike so much, nooo way.

    Most people would agree with me unless of course, you are “ someone’s bitter ex “, like some women that left some comments here you can feel the anger through the words, to those women, please love yourself and have some self respect, no surname or men should come first before your own dignity, move on with your lives and let the next “ mrs” live in peace and with dignity. Love is all that matters.

    Reply
  72. Mike Webster

    My wife and I are both on our 2nd marriage and we have grown kids. She dropped her ex husbands name because we made a commitment to each other to live as one. We look forward, not behind us.

    If she kept her ex’s last name, well she should of stayed married to him then. We made a 100% commitment to each other and that’s part of it. I guess it’s a token of that commitment we each made to one another. We don’t judge if you chose not to however. Good luck to all

    Reply
  73. kanchan

    i am legally divorced 12 yrs backbut i kept my married name till date just because i have all my documents in that name and also because of my son who want to retain his name .now i am denied passport in my married name.please guide ,if i change it to my maiden name i will have to change all my documents which will create a lot of complications.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      now i am denied passport in my married name

      U.S. passport? Reason for denial?

      if i change it to my maiden name i will have to change all my documents which will create a lot of complications.

      No, it shouldn't be a problem as long as the method and document you use is valid. For instance, if you have a divorce decree that specifies your maiden name be restored, you should be fine.

      Reply
  74. Rita

    I am getting a divorce and want to return to the proper spelling of my maiden name. My father's lastname was misspelled on his birth certificate. I want my name to match the rest of the family's. Is this something that can be done in divorce or do I have to go to court twice for name change? I am in Florida, USA. THX

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Is this something that can be done in divorce or do I have to go to court twice for name change?

      You can do this through divorce as long as the judge approves.

      Reply
  75. Soon to have a wusband

    My court date for final decree will be coming up in a couple of months.

    I’m seriously considering taking back my maiden name.

    His whole family is/was rotten with one exception and I’d prefer no more attachment. I love my side of the family so no regrets there.

    I have a degree obtained while married and the college is defunct so I can’t change it. Also a special needs adult child. I haven’t discussed it with them yet as it will get back to their dad. Can’t always make the best decisions in best interest. Have an adult daughter who married and kept her maiden name.

    I’ve lots of investments, credit cards, deed to the house and all the other government issued stuff I’d have to change but as long as I have to change address on everything anyway….
    Should my kid’s opinions count? Thoughts in general?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      I’m seriously considering taking back my maiden name.

      Whether or not you'll change, you can still request the maiden name restoration so that the option remains open to you.

      I’ve lots of investments, credit cards, deed to the house and all the other government issued stuff I’d have to change but as long as I have to change address on everything anyway

      Since you have to update your address anyway, changing your name at the same time would kill two birds with one stone.

      Should my kid’s opinions count? Thoughts in general?

      Even if your divorce decree restores your maiden name doesn't mean you have to follow through immediately or at all. You could decide to change several years down the line.

      You could also consider legally changing your name on your identity documents, but permitting your children or whoever else to continue addressing you by your married name informally.

      Reply
      1. Soon to have a wusband

        These are all excellent thoughts! I thought I’d have a small time frame to change. I’ll have to check on things such as guardianship and POA papers regarding this so I’ll have time.
        Thanks so much!! I feel less alone.

        Reply
  76. Anonymous

    Question: If a man and a woman has been separated since 2003,but they still haven’t handed in their completed divorce papers,according to Illinois law does she keep his name post divorce?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      does she keep his name post divorce?

      Showing a name change on the divorce decree doesn't automatically result in a name change. Her name doesn't change until she notifies various government agencies of the change.

      Reply
  77. Jill

    Can a man have right to ask the court or petition to get his last name back from his ex?

    Reply
  78. Becky Boysen

    This may be an unusual request. I have been remarried for 22 years now, but it has always bothered me that I have a different last name than my sons and now grandchildren. I regret not keeping my previous last name. Is there any way to go back to my previous last name and add it to my present last name…either hyphenated or not?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Hi Becky. If the only document you had to deal with was your social security card, you could initiate a name correction by reverting to your prior name within the same marriage using your marriage certificate.

      The problem is when you've updated other identity documents (e.g., driver's license, passport, insurance) where it's not feasible to switch back. In such circumstances, you'll have to obtain a court-ordered name change.

      Reply
  79. Iryna

    Hi Becky. Me and my ex-husband were USA permanent residents, but got our divorce finished in our country of origin in 2009. On divorce decree it specifically says that my last name WAS changed to maiden name. I never followed in USA with my last name change, because of complicated procedure and I thought it was optional. I got remarried with my current husband and changed to his last name directly. Now I worry that my current marriage is not valid, because I never followed with decree order. I also need to apply for naturalization and not sure if it may be a problem as well. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Now I worry that my current marriage is not valid, because I never followed with decree order.

      Your current marriage is valid. The name restoration in your decree was optional and nonbinding.

      I also need to apply for naturalization and not sure if it may be a problem as well.

      It won't be. Gaps in name changes (or non-name changes) can be explained between the various name change events that occurred in your life by showing the name change documents (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree). These documents link your name transitions, even if you never formally went through with a name change for that particular occurrence.

      Reply
  80. Kay

    I am a widow. My husband died in a car accident. I am recently remarried. If for some reason we get divorced can I go back to my first husband name, or would i have to go back to my maiden name?

    Reply
    1. Valera

      If for some reason we get divorced can I go back to my first husband name, or would i have to go back to my maiden name?

      You could return to either name as long you as make the judge aware of your request during the divorce proceedings. Your preferred name would be shown on your divorce decree.

      Reply

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