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    Going through a divorce is never easy for either party. If you are ready for a fresh start and would like to restore your former name, you can do so through a relatively straightforward process. There are a few ways to file for a name change during or after a divorce. The process you must use will vary by the state you live in. Some states do not require paperwork, while others do. So, it is important to conduct some light research to find out what your state requires.

    How to File for a Name Change

    Regardless of the state you live in, the first step of the name restoration process is to receive your divorce decree. In many states, this document will serve as your legal name change order, allowing you to file for a name restoration back to your original name without any further petitioning. An LDA from ProSe Legal Service is more than happy to help you file this document with the appropriate parties.

    If the divorce decree is not enough to authorize a name restoration, you can file a simple court petition. After filing your petition, the court may summon you for a hearing or ask for further paperwork. A ProSe Legal Service LDA can also provide guidance as you file these extra documents.

    What You Need

    You can file to change your name either during or after the divorce. The point at which you’d like to change your name will affect the forms needed.

    If you would like to change your name during the process, simply ask the judge handling your divorce. The judge will instruct you which documents you need to file as documentation of your new (old) name.

    If the divorce has been finalized and you would like to change your name afterwards, there is still a way. First, you will need to acquire the case information of your divorce. This will consist of the case number and the county where you filed the divorce. Next, you will file a Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgement and Order. This document will officially ask the court to change your name back to your former name. Keep a certified copy of all your name restoration documents for your reference. More information about these documents can be found here.

    Next Steps After a Name Change

    Once you’ve reverted to your former name, you will need to update to other legal documents. These documents include your driver’s license, social security card, passport, important financial accounts, or other documents that feature your married name. You should also change your name on any important accounts you hold like your car loan, mortgage, and utilities.