Divorce name change checklist

Written by samantha darnell
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Divorce name change checklist
There are two different ways to change a last name after a divorce. (man and woman divorced image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com)

It is not uncommon for a woman to change her last name during or after a divorce. There are two different ways to change a last name: during the divorce proceedings or as a separate procedure with the clerk of court. After changing the last name, individuals need to update vital records.

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Name Change as Part of a Divorce Decree

One way a woman may go about changing her last name during a divorce is to have request a name change during divorce proceedings. The most common way to obtain a name change during this stage of a divorce is to ask the judge handling the divorce to include the name change as part of the divorce decree. A divorce decree is a document stating the condition and terms of the divorce. No lawyer is needed to change the name. The judge will then add the name change request as part of the divorce decree.

Name Change After a Divorce Decree

The second way to obtain a name change is to file a petition requesting a name change with the clerk of court in the county where the divorce is taking place. The clerk of court's office has all necessary paper work. To help the process along, keep the case number assigned to the divorce and the date of the divorce handy when filling out the name change papers. The person requesting a name change needs an affidavit in most cases. The affidavit should include how long she has used her current last name, why a name change is being requested and the new name that will be used. After the court approves the name petition, she will receive a court order issuing her a new last name. This process varies from state to state so it is best to check with the local county clerk of court to ensure that the name change process is completed correctly.

After the Name Change

After a woman has changed her last name, there are several documents that need to be updated. She will need to change her name on her Social Security card, driver's license, bank cards and credit cards. To get her name changed on those documents, she will have to take a certified copy of the court order that issued the new last name. She needs to notify her place of employment, as well as her insurance company and utility companies, of any change in name.

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