How to Change Your Name During or After a California Divorce

Divorce poses many demands on a person, from figuring out a new financial situation to engaging in stressful child custody battles. Changing your name may be the least of your priorities. However, for many people, regaining a maiden name restores a sense of self, purpose, and freedom. Here is everything you need to know about changing your name after a divorce in California.

Situation 1: Submit a Request to the Divorce Court Judge

If the courts have finalized your divorce, you can complete an application asking the divorce court judge to restore your former name. You can find the form online by searching the phrase “name change in California.” You can also visit your county clerk’s office for the form in person. The courts refer to this as the Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order.

To request restoration of your former name, you must give the court clerk the date of the judgment filing and your stamped petition and case number. If you are unsure about any of this information, you can ask your divorce attorney for assistance gathering the data you need. It typically takes the courts two to four weeks to process your request. If the courts finalize your divorce and receive an order to restore your maiden name, you can return to your former name without a hitch.

Situation 2: If the Courts Have Not Finalized Your Divorce

If your divorce is not yet final, you can still ask to restore your former name. When you submit your Judgment form regarding your divorce, you can include a request to restore your maiden name or a former last name at the same time. Ask your Sacramento, CA divorce attorney for more information about how to complete this request.

When the courts finalize your divorce, the decree should contain an official order restoring your maiden name or name your requested. When this is the case, that is all the paperwork you need to leave your married name behind for good.

Situation 3: If Your Divorce Decree Does Not Contain a Name Change Order

If you receive your final divorce decree but it does not contain the formal order concerning your name change, you can check to see if the judge will modify the decree. In California, the judge can modify your divorce decree even after the divorce is final. Despite the fact that the formal order did not come through, you may still go back to your old name via other outlets. If you still have proof of your maiden name on a social security card or birth certificate, you can request the courts change it on your personal records. In the meantime, you can use your former name instead of your married name—as long as you are consistent.

After Your Name Change Is Final

Once you have successfully restored your former name, you need to take steps to changing your name on other official documents. Just as you did when you first married and changed your name, you have to fill out the proper paperwork to change your name in the system officially. This includes changing the name on your financial accounts, driver’s license, social security card, and place of employment. You can use your divorce decree with the name change order as proof of the change.

If you need some of the best family attorneys in Sacramento, CA for help regarding name restoration, divorce finalization, or other family matters, come to Boyd Law Attorneys at Law. Our attorneys have experience handling California law and can help you settle matters concerning legal separation, divorce, alimony, and name changes—including changing your children’s last names. Contact our offices online or call (619) 756-6155 to get in touch with us today.