Your Last Name: To Change or Not to Change?
If you changed your last name when you married, you may want to change your name in the divorce.
If you choose to change your name after your divorce, it is often easiest to include the name change in the paperwork filed with the court. You would ask the court to include a finding in your divorce papers stating that you will be returning to your former last name. Some women choose to go back to their maiden names after a divorce. Or, you can take this opportunity to create a new last name.
Whichever new name you choose, you would submit a request to the judge handling your divorce proceedings to note in the judgment that you are requesting a name change. Then the judge will issue an order that you can use to change your name on your driver’s license, social security card, bank accounts and other financial documents.
If you do not have a name change as part of your divorce order, you must file a separate document, called a petition, for name change with the court.
However you obtain the order from the Court, you will need to request several copies to keep with you in order to change your name on your accounts and drivers license.
Be sure to change your name with the Internal Revenue Service and your state and local tax authorities so that your tax issues are not affected. You should change your name on your social security card and with the Secretary of State so you can vote. If you have a passport, that will need to be changed as well.
Finally, you should be sure to update your name in your will, Powers or Attorney, healthcare directives or any trusts you have in place. Let your insurance companies and medical/dental providers know of your new name as well. Your employer should also know of your new name.
Know that it takes time to plan name changes so you should give yourself lots of time to figure out the specifics of your name change.
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