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Name Change After Divorce In California

How To Change Name After Divorce In California

What are the possibilities?

Name Change After Divorce is often something you decide after the court case is over. And, it’s always an intensely personal decision, whether you think about it before or after the divorce.

Divorce is not when most people are thinking their best. Name Change After Divorce is an intensely personal and important decision. What should your name be going forward?

Once you have decided on what your after-divorce name will be, then you probably want to know how to get it done in the easiest, surest and most cost-effective way. You may have decided on your post-marriage name before, during or after your divorce is final. There are options for you, depending on your situation.

There are three basic ways to accomplish your Name Change after Divorce:

  1. Have Your Name Change be part of your divorce decree
  2. Modify Your divorce decree
  3. Get a New Decree Changing Name from your California County Superior Court.

All three of these Name Change After Divorce options result in your having a Court Order establishing your New Name. That order can be certified in the same courthouse by the clerk. A Certified Copy of your Name Change After Divorce is what you’ll need to get your Social Security, Driver’s license, Passport, financial accounts, and other personal records changed over to your New Name.

Changing Your Name During the Divorce Process

If you want to retake a maiden/pre-marriage Last Name, it will always be easiest and least costly to do it before your divorce is final so that the Decree includes your Name Change. If you’ve used an attorney, just make sure the attorney has your New Name included in the Divorce Decree forms the judge will be signing.

Using Your Local County Superior Court

Any California resident can use California’s Superior Court to Legally Change your Last Name, or any of Your Names, or ALL of Your Names at any time, even if one of the other Name Change routes is also available to you. Changing Your Last Name back to your Maiden Name after marriage can be done through Superior Court in the same exact way as if you were going to get your Maiden Name back, or take a completely New Name.

There are 5-15 forms to fill out for a Name Change Petition. You can do it yourself, have a Specialist like EZ Name Change help you, or hire an attorney. Obviously, using an attorney will be more expensive if you go that route. Doing it yourself will take between 5 and 20 hours, but will be the least costly. You can review EZ Name Change Fees here.

Your Petition is filed in Superior Court and then you give the community notice of your intended Name Change by posting an ad in a legal notices newspaper for 4 consecutive weeks. The Court sets a hearing date, normally a couple of months after you file the Petition. You are usually able to receive your Decree Changing Name at that hearing! This process does take a little longer and costs more. But the Decree Changing Name allows more types of Name Changes, is good forever and works for every type of ID or records changing you need to do.

Using Your Divorce Court to Change Your Name

In California, women and men can both Change Names through marriage and after divorce. Either one can use the divorce court process to:

1. Retake an exact maiden/pre-marriage Name

2. Return to a birth Name or any earlier Legal Last Name

If your divorce is still ongoing, retake a Former Legal Name before your divorce is final. That’s the easiest and least costly way you can accomplish that. Make sure you have the Name you want written in your Divorce Judgment. When your judge signs it, you’ll have your Name Change right there. If you’re doing it yourself, ask the clerk for the right forms.

Many people decide to make a name change after the divorce is over, and there’s usually no big problem or expense getting it done later. Your divorce decree should have all the data you need (court case number, judgment date, Court address, etc.) to fill out our short questionnaire or the court Application documents. This is a shortened process and very effective when you only want your maiden name back. You can do this yourself through your divorce court or you can have us do it for you.

Once you get your name changed after divorce court order, you can get a Certified Copy of it to use changing your records. A Court Order Restoring Your Maiden Name After Divorce has just the same use as any other Name Change Court Order when it comes to changing your name with Social Security, DMV, Passport, even Birth Certificate if you want.

Name Change After Divorce Options in California

You get your Decree from Superior Court. Which Superior court? If you were divorced in California, then you might be able to get it from that same court without having to file a new case.

In California, women and men can both Change Names through marriage and after divorce. Name Change choices after divorce depend a little on whether and how Names were changed in marriage. However, regardless of the marriage Name Change choices, the set of possibilities for Name Change after divorce are these:

  1. Retake a maiden/pre-marriage Last Name
  2. Return to a birth Name or any earlier Legal Last Name
  3. Take a New Name-First, Middle, and/or Last Name

Changing Your Name After Divorce in California – Retake Maiden Name or Choose a New Name

Many people divorcing decide to make this change after the divorce is over, and there’s usually no big problem or expense getting it done later. In California, use form FL-395 (ex parte application for restoration of former name after entry of judgment and order) to get your old Last Name back after divorce. You can look for the form here: Your divorce decree should have all the data you need (court case number, date, etc.) to fill out the new form and you may be able to get your new court order signed very quickly.

Name Change After Divorce isn’t one set thing. You can choose ANY name you want. If you want to retake your maiden name, or any former legal name you had, you’ll want to consider applying to your divorce court for your name change. If you want a different name after divorce – a completely new name, or a new first or middle name change, or the last name of a respected family member, etc. – you can Petition the Superior Court where you live now for the new name of your choice. You can also use your local Superior Court if you don’t want to (or can’t) bother with your divorce court to get the name change.

Using your California Divorce Court can be easier and less expensive, so check that option out if your situation fits that circumstance.

Other Certificate

A Citizenship (or naturalization) Certificate is also a proper Name Change Document, if properly done. This too must show your full legal name before Citizenship and After. It must be signed by a legally authorized government authority who reviewed your background. That person must also have had authority to grant the name change. An original or Certified Copy of your Citizenship Certificate Name Change will be needed to comply.

Court Certificate

If you don’t have the right Marriage or Citizenship Certificate, you need a Superior Court Order.
Your Court Order can be a Decree Changing Name from a proper Civil Court. First Name Change, (change of mind) Last Name Change, Child’s Name Change and Retaking Your Maiden Name (while still married or as widower) can all be done by Petition for Change of Name in Civil Court. You get this after filing a Name Change Case in the correct Superior Court of the county where the person changing Names lives now. Use this process to legally change the names for adults, children and families. A Certified Copy of this court order will have the Seal of the State, the signature of a duly authorized clerk or other officer of the court, and the judicial officer who granted the name change(s). It will also show the former legal name(s), side-by-side with the New Legal Name of each person changing names.

A Family Law Court can also issue Certified Copies of Name Change Court Orders. For instance, when a California Divorce is Final, the Superior Court will Order any Former Legal Name to be Restored of either (or both) spouses upon request. You have to formally ask for that AND be sure it’s part of your divorce judgement. Otherwise, you don’t have it. A Family Law Court can also Order a child’s name to be changed by Court Order in a Child Custody or Adoption Case. If that Court Order does not Order the Child’s Name to be changed From………… To……………., right there in the Order signed by the judge, it may not be an effective Name Change Document.

As long as you have one of these Name Change Documents for each person to be getting Name Change After Marriage, you are fully half way home! If not, get them before trying to change ID if you want to save time and aggravation. If you have what you need, let’s go!

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