If you want to go back to your former name or take a new name, like everything with divorce, the process varies between states.
If you are in the process of divorcing
If your divorce is currently with the court you should request an order to restore your former name is issued before your divorce is finalized. Not all states allow this, so check with the court what options are available. In most cases, the easiest way forward is to request a name change order then wait until your divorce is final. That’s because your court may not allow you to apply for a legal name change whilst you are in legal proceedings. An order to restore your former name is included with your divorce, so there’s no separate petition or filing fee. It’s always worthwhile to request the name change order, even if you are not certain if you will change your name immediately. The court order can always be used at a later date.
If you have not yet filed for divorce
You won’t be able to change names without either an order restoring your former name, a name change order or a divorce order. Some states will not allow you to apply for a legal name change while you have pending court proceedings, so you may choose to either wait for your divorce proceedings to be completed and press ahead with an order restoring your former name, or file for a legal name change before you file for divorce, allowing sufficient time for the legal name change process to be completed before commencing any new legal proceedings.
One of the benefits of filing for a legal name change before your divorce is that you can choose to be known by any name you like, so you are not limited to only your former name. The process to file for a legal name change and processing times are different between states. Fees vary from $35 to over $500, with the average cost being under $200. Some states may require permission from your spouse (although if not granted the court will still consider your situation), so check with the court clerk and request a legal name change petition to learn more.
If you plan to file for a legal name change before applying for a divorce, be sure that you allow sufficient time for the legal name change to be processed. This is typically 3 to 4 months, but can be longer. This allows the applicant time to publish their intent to change names and set a hearing date. If you have safety concerns you may be exempted from publishing your intent to change names in a newspaper and the process could be fast tracked.
See how much time we can save you!
Updating your accounts
No matter if you revert to your former name or apply for an entirely different name, Easy Name Change saves you hours looking for forms and figuring out what to send where. Get step-by-step instructions and all corresponding paperwork from over 1,000 organizations. Simply attach your court order and send! Save hours of administrative hassle!