How to Go About Changing Your Name After A Divorce

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsAlmost all women change their last name to their husband’s last name when they get married. After a divorce, most women want to change their last name again. Doing so should not be problematic and there are provisions to help you do so.

There are different ways of doing it. Depending on the laws of the state that you live in, you can choose from the methods discussed below.

Request for a formal order – You can ask the judge dealing with your divorce case to make a formal order about changing your marital name back to your birth or former name. You should retain certified copies of the formal order as proof of your name change. You will need this proof to make changes to your personal records and identification.

Request for modification of divorce decree – If the law does not permit the judge to make a formal order, request for a modification of the divorce decree where it will be mentioned that your name has been changed back to your former name. In some states, such as California, you can fill a form called Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name after Entry of Judgment of Order (FL-395) after a ruling has been made to change your name.

Other method – If you cannot get your name changed by an order from the judge or cannot file for name change after the divorce ruling, you need not worry. If you have any proof of your former name (your birth certificate or an old passport), you can still change your last name by filing a petition to do so in probate court.

Restoring your earlier name is not much of a hassle. Recent immigrants and those without some sort of identification or legal documentation (that can serve as proof of your earlier name) will have trouble changing their last names but not the others.

Sometimes you may be allowed to change the last name of your children to your last name. Generally, it is the accepted norm that the children will retain their father’s last name. But if the father does not have an active role in parenting, the children’s last name can be changed too. Just file a petition in the court.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation