Separation Name Change
You may change names without being divorced, however, the process can be expensive and time-consuming. When you were married you simply showed your marriage certificate and assumed use of your husband's surname. Unfortunately the process to go back to your former name is unfairly more bureaucratic.
Request a legal name change
If your divorce is currently with the court you can ask that an order to restore your former name is issued before your divorce is finalized however not all states allow this. If you are unable to get your name changed before your divorce is finalized you may consider following the same process as a legal name change. Keep in mind, a legal name change can cost over $500 and take months in some states, so you may be best to wait. (continued)
Lodge a petition with the clerk of county court where you reside to legally change names. Filing fees vary significantly between states so contact your county court directly to ask about filing fees and processing times. Some states will be able to hear your case on the spot, others may need you to wait 3 months or longer to be heard. Usually the judge signs an order restoring your former name (or any other name of your choosing) at the hearing. You may be asked to return at a later date to collect the order.
Or wait for your divorce to be finalized
If you are in the process of divorcing it may be quicker, cheaper and less complicated to wait until your divorce is finalized. Ask the judge to issue an order restoring your former name as part of your divorce proceedings or you may be able to choose a totally new name. This court order is universally accepted as proof of name change. In the event you don't request this order, you may still change names with just your divorce decree, but some agencies may request additional identification to prove your former name. See our section on divorce name change for more information. Alternatively, return to the court and ask if a name change order can be issued post-divorce.
Then update your accounts
Easy Name Change kits provide all the forms and letters you'll need to get your accounts changed back to your old name (or into your new name!). Rather than call each company directly to learn the process, simply select who to notify from our database of over 1,000 listings. We'll send you everything you need to send on to get your records changed. We can even print it all and deliver to your door. It doesn't get any easier.
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