Moving Forward as Your Own Person with Your Own Name
assets are divided,
child custody has been decided, and the
divorce is finalized, the reality of no longer being married can start sinking
in. While this presents a potentially liberating opportunity to start
anew, certain elements from your past relationship may be holding you
back, like keeping your spouse’s last name.
Changing Your Name After Divorce
The process of reclaiming your maiden name will vary slightly depending
on your divorce decree and the court that issued it. In some cases, a
decree may include a provision for a name change. If this is the case
for you, your divorce decree serves as acceptable legal proof of a changed
name that you can use to formally revert back to your
former name. You may only reclaim a name you previously held. The decree does not
provide any right to claim a name that is entirely new.
If a provision for a change was not included in your divorce decree, you
will have to take a few additional steps. You may contact the court responsible
for your divorce and ask them to amend the document to include such a
provision. However, it’s important to realize that not all New York
courts will permit amendments to the document. If your decree neglected
to include a provision and your court cannot adjust your document to account
for a change of name, you can proceed with a Petition for Name Change.
A divorce decree offers the necessary documentation to revert to your maiden
name, but it does not account for the entire process. It is up to you
to notify the necessary government agencies, including the Social Security
Office and Department of Motor Vehicles.
You should file form SS-5 either in person or by mail to the Social Security
Office while also providing a copy of an ID, proof of age, and divorce
decree. Once approved, you will receive certification that Social Security
approved your change and a new Social Security card will be mailed to
you in about six weeks.
You can take the certificate showing Social Security’s approval to
the DMV to request a new driver’s license with your maiden name
on it. The new copy will be mailed to you, also typically in about six weeks.
After correcting these documents, it’s important to notify other
- The post office
- Your bank(s) and creditor(s)
- Your insurance agent and company
- Your doctors
- Your child’s school
Trust Attorney Michael O. King, Jr. to guide you through your divorce and
help you rebuild your life as an individual. For more information on how
The King Law Firm can help,
contact us online or by phone at 914-752-5333.