How to Reclaim Your Maiden Name After Divorce

The Arizona divorce process can be long and many find it to be draining. It may even leave you feeling out of control. Regardless of what has happened in the past, it can help to remind yourself that the future is a fresh start. Post-divorce, you’ve got the unique opportunity to build the life you’ve always wanted. Before you can get there, you have to determine what you want. Many determine that the best place to start is reclaiming your maiden name after divorce.

Having said that, it’s a very personal decision and might not be the best choice in all cases. The process is complicated and can raise a lot of questions. A few of the most common questions are addressed below.

Is it required to change your name after a divorce? No, you are not required to change your name after your divorce. Many women choose to do so because it’s a means of symbolically returning to your former self; a positive step.

How can I make sure that I can change my name when my divorce is final? If you decide you want to take back your maiden name, be sure to request that the presiding judge makes a formal order restoring your maiden/birth name. If the divorce decree includes a name-change order, it serves as legal proof of the intended name change when it’s time to file the necessary government forms.

Can I still change my name post-divorce if the original divorce decree does NOT include an order that restores my name? You can still change your name post-divorce if you did not get the name-change order included in the divorce decree. You will need to go back to court to do so.

How do I change my name? Changing your name back requires a number of forms to be submitted as well as calls to any and all creditors, banks, physicians, insurance companies, etc. It’s an arduous process to handle on your own, but most feel it is worth it after the fact. Because of the number of forms necessary, many also feel it’s worth it to contact an experienced family law attorney experienced in Arizona divorce proceedings and divorce decree modifications.

How do I know when the process is complete and I’ve got my maiden name back? Once all the forms are filed and all the proper organizations and institutions have been notified, the name-change is almost complete. You know the legal name-change is almost complete when you receive your new identification: social security card, driver’s license, and passport with your new name listed on them.

Once the divorce is finalized, can I change my child’s last name to my maiden name? Traditionally, courts have ruled that the father has an automatic right for his child to keep his last name as long as he continued in his parental role and duties, but now it depends on the best interests of the child. This would be achieved through a court petition.