By Mary Ellen Flynn, Esq.
Remember when you got married and decided to change your name?
Well, the process of restoring your former name after divorce is very similar. If not done correctly, it can be time consuming and extremely frustrating. This blog provides tips and insight to help make restoring your former name a walk in the park.
Decide whether restoring your former name is something you wish to do.
Every divorcee feels differently about restoring their former name. For instance, if your children have your ex-spouse’s last name, many will not restore their former name because they wish to have the same last name as their children. Others feel the need to have a fresh start and that restoring their former name is necessary for closure. Whatever your reasons may be to restore or not restore your former name, it is purely a personal preference and solely your decision.
Inform either your attorney or the Court that you wish to restore your former name.
The easiest way to change your name in Maryland is to do so at your final divorce hearing. If an attorney represents you, tell them immediately that you would like to restore your former name so that they can make the appropriate request to the Court. If you don’t know right away whether you would like to restore your former name, inform your attorney.
If you are representing yourself, be sure to inform the judge at your final divorce hearing that you would like to restore your former name. The judge may ask you some questions but ultimately should have no issue granting this request. The only instance where the Court will deny your request is if you are changing your name for an illegal purpose. If you have questions about what constitutes “an illegal purpose,” be sure to consult with an attorney.
Ensure your divorce decree or judgment of absolute divorce restores your former name.
After your divorce hearing, you will receive a judgment of absolute divorce, or also known as a divorce decree, within 30 days of your final divorce hearing.
Once you receive your divorce decree, immediately make copies and submit a request to the Court that you would like certified copies as well. You can request that your attorney help you or see if this information is online. Keep in mind that this may cost a small fee, but it is entirely worth it if a state, federal, or private agency requires a certified copy.
Be sure to update all essential legal documents.
Once the Court issues your divorce decree restoring your former name, you must update several important legal documents, including:
- Driver’s license
- Social Security card
- Bank accounts
- Credit cards.
These documents can be updated by following the instructions for each institution or agency and providing all necessary documentation that your former name is restored. The Social Security Administration, DMV, and the Department of Homeland Security will certainly require a copy of your divorce decree, hence the necessity of obtaining certified copies just in case.
Keep documents that show your former name.
Although your divorce decree should allow you to restore your former name on all important legal documents, some state, federal, and private agencies may require additional documentation showing proof of your former name, such as your birth certificate, passport, or social security card.
About Andalman & Flynn, P.C.: Founded in 1998 in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, Andalman & Flynn has forged a distinguished reputation for legal excellence. The firm represents individuals seeking disability benefits throughout the country and practices family law throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia. The firm focuses on cases that impact the rights of everyone, and are there for clients when responsive legal help is most critical. The firm has provided legal analysis on national and local television and radio, and their attorneys often testify before legislative bodies and are routinely invited to contribute to prominent legal publications. For more information about Andalman & Flynn, please visit the website at andalmanflynn.com or call 301.563.6685