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Requesting a name change during divorce

When many New Jersey residents decide to get married, one spouse may wish to change their last name to match the last name of their spouse. However, if the couple decides to get a divorce down the road, the spouse that changed their name may wish to have their maiden name restored.

In general, there are two ways a person can change their name should they get divorced from their spouse. It is usually easiest to request a name change while the divorce is still ongoing. A formal order that allows the person to restore their maiden name may be entered by the judge during the divorce. Once this formal order is filed, the person will receive a certified copy. This copy can be used to obtain new identification cards and change the name on bank accounts.

If a formal order was not filed during the divorce process, the person seeking a name change will be required to file a post-judgement motion requesting the restoration of their maiden name. The person may also be required to show proof of their maiden name, such as a birth certificate. Once the request is signed, the person will receive a certified copy of the name change request, which can be used to make the name changes on new identification cards and bank accounts.

During a divorce, there are many steps that must be taken before the process can be finalized. Besides the issue of restoring an old name, spouses may also need to deal with dividing property as well as determining child custody, visitation schedules and alimony. A family law attorney may assist with ensuring that a request is filed while negotiating with the other party to expedite the finalization of the divorce.

Source: FindLaw, "Changing Your Name After Divorce," Accessed Jan. 22, 2015

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