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Changing your name after divorce

Every name has a story. If a woman has changed her last name after marriage she may choose to change it back to her maiden name after a divorce in order to facilitate moving on from the relationship.

One way to obtain a name change is to have a provision included in the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage that will allow a woman to use her maiden name if she so chooses.

It's important to note that the wife does not have to immediately change her name even if the provision is included in the judgment. If she wants to continue to use her married name for a while she can, but having the provision in the judgment gives her flexibility to change it in the future.

Some attorneys will suggest getting two certified copies of a divorce judgment in order to help facilitate a name change quickly.

After obtaining the divorce decree it is very similar to changing a name after a marriage. A new Social Security Card, Driver's License and updating bank accounts are needed to obtain a name change.

To get a new social security card the divorce judgment and proof of identity and proof of U.S. Citizenship, which can include a birth certificate or passport, must be taken to a local Social Security office. An alternative is downloading an application at www.socialsecurity.org.

A new driver's license is similar, however, a trip to the DMV is necessary. A copy of the judgment, proof of signature and proof of date of birth is necessary. Several documents are acceptable for these categories.

It's always best to ask your attorney if you have questions about changing your name while going through a divorce.

For more information on divorce, please feel free to contact The Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler in Rockford, IL at 815-981-4859 for a free consultation. Please note, the above does not constitute legal advice. Please discuss your specific rights with an attorney in your own jurisdiction.

Sources: Jennifer S. Wintroub "The Name Game: Changing Your Name Post-Divorce in Illinois," Jan. 21, 2014.

Rocket Lawyer, "How to Get a Legal Name Change in Illinois after Divorce"

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The Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, Inc. 728 North Court Street, Suite B Rockford, IL 61103 Phone: 815-981-4859 Fax: 815-997-5129 Rockford Law Office Map