A woman in Indiana may take back her maiden, or any previous name, after divorce just as she can take her husband’s name when getting married. Having your maiden or previous name restored to you in a divorce is not automatic, and requires a few simple, albeit possibly time-consuming, steps. The first of which is to ensure that your attorney knows you wish to take back your previous name, as this must be stated in your petition for dissolution. If you are not the petitioner there is no need to worry, your attorney can file a cross petition or request the name change when the decree of dissolution is entered at the end of the divorce proceedings.
It is very important to remember that if you do not change your name in the divorce and this is not contained in the decree, you will have to file a legal action to later do so. This is a significant hassle.
After your divorce is final, you will need to obtain a certified copy of your decree of dissolution. Certified copies can be obtained through your attorney or by visiting the court clerk’s office in the county where you were divorced. You might want to consider requesting more than one certified copy, as some agencies will require that the decree you provide in order to change your name is certified. The clerk’s office will charge a small fee for copying and certifying your decree.
Once you have your certified decree you will need to complete an application for a social security card and either take it to a Social Security office in person or mail it to the address on the application with supporting documentation. Your supporting documentation will be your certified decree, which must identify you by both your old and new name. If your name change occurred more than two years ago, or your decree does not provide enough information, you will also be required to provide proof of identity in your old name. If required to provide proof of identity in your previous name, the Social Security Administration prefers that your documentation be issued in the U.S. and provide information such as your age, date of birth, physical description, or parent’s names. When mailing the application with photo identification, your documentation must include your date of birth, age, or parent’s names. All documents submitted as proof of your identity should have been issued within the last two years, unless they contain an expiration date beyond those two years.
The next step in getting your name changed is having your driver’s license or identification card reissued in your previous or maiden name. This cannot be done online. You must visit a Bureau of Motor Vehicles (“BMV”) branch personally within thirty days of the name change to apply for an amended license or identification card. It should be noted that you must wait at least one day after the Social Security Administration issues your new card.
Now that you have your social security number and state issued photo identification cards showing your previous or maiden name as your new legal name, you should start using that name when signing documents and opening any new accounts. You will also need to present the new cards to any institutions currently holding accounts in your old name in order to have your new name placed on those accounts. This may include, but is not limited to, utility companies, bank accounts, insurance policies, credit card companies, doctors' offices and hospitals, and any company from which you have taken out a loan. You should also be sure to change your name with your children’s schools, your employer, and on any special licenses you may hold for employment purposes.
If you have a passport, you will need to change your name on it by submitting your certified decree of dissolution as well as other forms and documentation to the U.S. Department of State. The required forms and documentation are dependent upon whether your passport is more or less than one year old. For complete information about how to change your name on your passport, see Name Change for U.S. Passport.
This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. This blog is written for general educational purposes. It is not intended to be relied upon in any given legal situation, nor is it legal advice. It is an advertisement.