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How to Take Your Maiden Name Back

It’s estimated that about 50% of marriages end in divorce or separation. If you’re thinking about taking back your maiden name, here’s what you need to know. You can’t simply start using your maiden name without a court order, even though it might have been your name at one time.

If You Aren’t Divorced Yet 

In some states, to take your maiden name after your divorce, you can include the motion as part of your divorce decree. In some jurisdictions, the order is automatically included in your divorce. Just ask your lawyer to include it in your initial paperwork to the court. When your divorce comes before the judge, he or she may ask you a few questions to make sure that you are taking your maiden name back and that you aren’t doing any nefarious. When you go to your bank or other authorities, you just show them the divorce decree that enables you to take your name back.

If You Are Already Divorced 

In some cases, you can make a motion to amend your divorce decree to take your maiden name back. You may also need to appear in court again, but the judge will have to review your request. Once the request is approved, you will get official documents that let you change your name on your official documents, such as with Social Security, your bank, titles, etc.

If You Don’t Want to Go Through the Same Court That Processed Your Divorce 

You don’t have to go through a divorce to change your name. If you’re only legally separated or the divorce was years ago and you just don’t want your name change associated with the divorce, you can petition the court where you currently live for a name change. Every state has its own process, so you may want to talk to a family lawyer to make sure you’ve got everything in order. In some states, you may have to place a public notice in the paper to let the public know. You will probably have to appear before the judge, too. You will be asked why you want your name changed and may need to provide evidence. Again, once the judge approves the change, you will get your certified documents that let you change your name with other entities.

A name change is a personal decision. You don’t have to revert to your maiden name immediately when you divorce, but you can. Discuss your situation with a family lawyer, such as from May Law, LLP.