Process of Changing Name after Divorce

In the US, the overall divorce process can drain your energy and leave you feeling out of control. No matter what after the whole legal process is over, you need to think about your future and start a new life again. Many divorced couples first prefer to change their name. It is ok to think about getting a new name as it can be just the action necessary to kick-start the new you.

Just like divorce laws, the procedure to get a new name after divorce in the US varies from state to state. Depending on the state where you reside, you need to follow the rules and regulations of that particular state.

If you are divorced and need some advice regarding how to get a new name, here are the steps:

Gain Knowledge:

Knowledge is important for any important task and getting a name after getting divorced from your spouse is definitely an important task. As the legal process for doing so mostly depends upon your state laws, you can ask your attorney to guide you. Once you know the whole process, things will become easier for you. As each US state has different rules and regulations, the best place to get the right information is the official websites of the state where you reside. In the official website of the state you can find detailed information regarding the process, fees, list of important documents that you will need. Also there will be contact numbers in the official websites. You can always give a call to the office to get necessary information. Gain as much knowledge as possible as it will be of great help.

File the Request:

After the divorce, you need to file a request in the local court to change your current name to your former or a new one. Fill up the appropriate request form to file the request in the court to make the desired changes legally. You can collect the form from the court or download it from the official website of the state where you reside. If you are filling out the form on your own, the court clerk can assist you if you have any questions or concerns. Although most of such requests are granted by the court without any question, you should mention in your application the reasons why you want to do so. Fill the details accurately to avoid delay in the overall legal process.

Other Documents:

When you file a request in the court to change your name after divorce, you need to attach a copy of your divorce decree and other important papers. State in your request your existing name as well as your previous one, which you want to use again, and sign the petition in the presence of a notary public or before the court. You will also need to pay a fee. The filing fees range from $21 to over $360 as of September 2011 depending upon in which state you reside. Once you file the petition, you will get a case number and a date for your court hearing. Remember the number and date and try to be present in the court on that day.


Attend Court Hearing:

On the given date, be present in the court. The judge will look after your petition and might ask you some minor questions. Answer all the questions confidently. Once finished, the judge will sign you an order, and you will be given a copy of the order. The order will allow you to assume the new name after 30 days from the date of the hearing. A certified copy of the judge’s order is all that you will need to change your existing name on other important documents.

Change your Social Security Name:

Once you have court order, the next big step is to make changes on your Social Security card by going to the Social Security Administration (SSA) office. Complete the Social Security name change application and either mail it or bring it with you to your local SSA office. It might be easiest to go in person since you will also need to provide several official documents such as the order of the court, your divorce decree, proof of U.S. citizenship and proof of identity. Depending upon the state where you reside, it may take 7 to 14 days to get your new Social Security Card.

Change your Driving License:

As soon as you get a new Social Security card, it is time to make necessary changes in your driving license. Visit the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your state to get a new driving license with your new name. Here you will need certain documents such as your new Social Security card; your divorce decree; current drivers’ license. You might also need to pay some fees.

Notify Others:

When you have successfully changed your name legally after divorce and you have made changes in your Social Security card and drivers license, you need to notify others. Start with your employer and your bank(s). Other important contacts can be your mortgage lender; car loan lender; insurance carriers; retirement and other investment accounts; hotel/airline frequent flier programs; doctors, dentists and other professionals; and magazine subscriptions.

To conclude, it is true that getting a new name after divorce can be of great help to re-establish your identity and get you back on track. With the above mentioned steps and tips you get a clear idea about the specific legal procedure. Once you know the procedure, it is a very manageable process and you can do it easily without any assistance.

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