Changing Your Name After Divorce
Going through a divorce can be challenging, so it’s not uncommon for the parties involved to feel as though they are responsible for making an endless series of decisions. Amidst all this turmoil, changing one’s name can feel like just another task to be accomplished. The reality, however, is that changing one’s name can also be an important step and symbolize a major change in a person’s life and identity. If you are thinking about changing your name after divorce, you may find the following information helpful, as we discuss why people often choose to change their names, as well as the process of doing so.
Deciding to Change Your Name
Deciding to change one’s name or keep a married name is a very personal process. Many people find that changing their name provides a sense of emotional closure, allowing parties a symbolic fresh start. In other cases, a party may wish to distance him or herself from the unwanted associations of a married name. This is especially common in situations where a relationship was contentious or even abusive. By changing their name, parties in this position can gain a new sense of independence and renewal. Finally, some individuals choose to revert to a previous last name in an effort to return to a pre-marriage identity. This can be particularly important for those who had established careers or reputations under their maiden name.
Alternatively, many people decide to keep their married name even after divorce. The reasons to do so include:
- An attempt to maintain consistency and stability for a couple’s children;
- Administrative ease, as the process of changing one’s name after divorce can be time-consuming and also requires the updating of a variety of accounts and records;
- Professional reasons, for those who have built a business or professional reputation under a married name and want to avoid confusion among professional contacts, clients, and colleagues; and
- A reflection of their personal identity, which may now involve their married name, regardless of their actual marital status.
Individuals who do decide to change their names during or after divorce will need to follow a specific process to do so.
The Process of Changing Your Name
Those who wish to change their names during their divorce will need to include a request for a name change with their divorce petition or response. This allows courts to automatically include the name change in the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. Those who don’t submit the request at the beginning of the process, however, can amend their petition at a later date, as long as it’s before the finalization of the divorce.
It’s also possible to change one’s name after a divorce has been finalized. In these cases, the party will need to complete and file a Petition for Change of Name and may also need to attend a final hearing. Eventually the petitioner can obtain a signed and certified copy of the official name change. At this point, the party will need to update his or her name with various government agencies.
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With the right legal support, changing your name during or after divorce can be a relatively smooth process. Call 954-945-7591 to learn more about how experienced Florida divorce lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. can help.