Should You Change Your Name After a Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsOverview

Divorce changes a lot of things including names. When you get married you change your title to the same as your husbands. Should you do the same thing with divorce? Should you change it back to your family title or should you keep it the way it is? The answer mostly depends on what you prefer, and the reasons differ from individual to individual.

If you want to change your name, then the process depends on the state you are currently residing in. In most states, it is an easy process, you can simply request your court judge to pass a formal order to get your name changed as part of your divorce judgment/decree.

Reasons to consider

You might think that having a different last name than that of your children might create problems. People might think differently towards you after you get your name changed, but that is not such a big issue. Talk with your family, and if no one makes any serious objection, then go ahead and get your name changed.

Some women want to retain their family name after they get divorced based on emotional grounds. They have had their last name until they got married and want to change it back because of the love they feel for their parents. It is perfectly fine to feel that way and quite natural after a divorce.

If you have worked in a company for a long time or you have a business where you use your husband’s name, then should you change your name? If you think changing your name might have a negative effect on your work, then it is probably a good idea to keep it the way it is. If not, then it is up to you.

Changing your name in California

So, you have decided to change your name. Then you should also know the procedure to do so in California.

  1. Visit the court and ask for two D-20 forms. These forms are titled “Ex-Parte Application for Restoration to Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order.”
  2. Fill the form with relevant details. There will a column for New Name. Fill it carefully. You will be asked for it again in another column.
  3. Use your current signature while signing.
  4. Submit the document and wait. You might get your name changed that very day or in the following days. You will get a notification.

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