Your state may have issued either a court order restoring your former name or a divorce decree that lists your married and former names. Either of these documents can be used as proof of your former name.
As with all name changes, always start by getting a Social Security card issued in your new name. Other government agencies check your name with the SSA before they allow a name change to match.
What document do I need to change names with the SSA after divorce?
Applicants can either complete the paper form SS5 – Application for a Social Security Card form, or else complete the online SS5 form to request a card issued in their new name. Online applications are preferred as applicants do not need to show full evidence of identity documents. The online form will step you through the application process and determine what identification documents will be required. Paper form applicants need to show the full range of identification documents. No matter which form you use, it is recommended you attend an SSA location in person with original identification documents, saving you from sending these sensitive documents by mail.
Didn’t request a name change order when divorcing?
Some states, such as California, allow you to modify the petition after the final judgment. Check with your court to see if this is possible. If not, you may still be able to use only your divorce order to change names. Start by checking with your DMV to see if they allow you to go back to your former name with only a divorce order. If this is allowed, update your name with the SSA then go on to change names with the DMV. With your divorce order, SSA name change and updated photo ID you should find all other companies allow the change. If not try closing your account and opening a new one. If your DMV does not allow a name change with only a divorce order you may have no choice but to apply for a legal name change in your state. Read more about legal name change here.
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Receive a replacement Social Security card in your new name
Wait to receive confirmation from the SSA that your name change has been processed. A replacement card in your new name and existing SSA number will be delivered about 2 to 4 weeks later or you may receive mailed correspondence in your new name. The DMV and other agencies can access your SSA records online, so you can visit your state DMV and request an updated license once the SSA has processed the change.
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Need to change names with other companies?
You’ll also need to update your bank, credit card, insurance policies, shopping and travel rewards, professional memberships, utilities and more. Save yourself an entire day of research and mind-numbing paperwork. We provide ready to send name change forms, letters and emails together with step-by-step filing instructions for over 1,000 US organizations. No need to call each one to verify procedures or search for forms.