Changing Your Name After a Divorce

Your name is your identity. If you changed your last name when you married, you may want to change your name after your divorce. Women sometimes keep their ex-husband's last name, but whatever the decision, the choice is yours to make.

Many women choose to resume using their maiden names after a divorce. If you choose to change your name after your divorce, it is often easiest to include the name change in the judgment of divorce. You would ask the court to include a notation in your divorce papers stating that you will be returning to your former last name. Or you can take this opportunity to create a new last name, if you are so inclined.

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. The judge will include this in the order, which you will then be able to use to change your name on your drivers 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 petition for name change with the court.

Once your order has been signed by the judge and filed with the clerk, you can request several copies to keep with you in order to change your name on your accounts and drivers license and social security card.

First, you must bring your current identification – drivers license, passport, social security card – and your order to the Social Security office to make a request for a name change. Once you have a new Social Security card, you may take that and your court order, along with your old drivers license, to get a new drivers license or identification card at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

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. Also change your name with the Secretary of State so that you are eligible to vote in upcoming elections. Your passport should be updated with your new name with the United States Department of State.

You should also be certain to have your name changed on any powers of attorney, health care directives, wills, trusts or title papers you have. Inform your doctor, dentist and pharmacist of your name change so that you won't have any issues with medical care and insurance.

Let your employer know of your name change so that your email address, company business cards, paychecks, health insurance and other forms are modified accordingly. This should be handled through the Human Resources department, or the department than handles personnel issues.

These name changes will take time, so be sure to give yourself ample time to take care of these issues. If you need assistance in this matter, contact my office today.

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