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:
- Have Your Name Change be part of your divorce decree
- Modify Your divorce decree
- 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
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:
- Retake a maiden/pre-marriage Last Name
- Return to a birth Name or any earlier Legal Last Name
- 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: https://www.courts.ca.gov/allforms.htm. 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.
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 on!
Costs Of Changing Last Name After Marriage California
(How much $$??) If you didn’t change your name when you got married and now you want to take your spouse’s last name or a variation of it, the cost to legally Name Change after marriage or divorce is the same as it would be to change your name for any other reason. You will just file a Petition in Superior Court in California and, upon approval by a judge, get a court order legally changing your name. For a short article about the Name Change Costs, including an itemization and totals, click here. Using this method, you can change any part of your name, or every part of your name…it’s not limited to just Last Name Changes.
If you want to change your name after divorce and just want to take Your Maiden Name Back, the cost is much less IF you have a copy of your final judgment or Decree. You can do this yourself by filing an Application in your divorce case or, we can help you if your divorce case was in California.
Marriage Name Change California Options
Wife Last Name Change After Marriage
Husband Surname Change After Marriage
Same-Sex Couple Name Change After Marriage or Domestic Partnership
Although called the Name Equality Act of 2007, it wasn’t effective until January 1, 2009. The new law also allowed same-sex couples to change their names, via domestic partnership (not marriage), at the time they were entering into that commitment and without additional costs for court. The upshot of this all was to allow men and same-sex couples to change their names the same way that only opposite-sex wives were allowed to do before the Act.
Hyphenating Last Names After Marriage
Changing Child Last Name After Marriage
Changing your kid(s) last name after marriage, can only be accomplished through a court order process. Name Change, Adoption and Immigration all result in a legal Name Change Court Order. A Petition for Name Change is the least expensive and shortest of these processes. If you or your spouse changed your name through the marriage license, this is how to let your kid(s) share your new family name. Learn More.
Marriage Certificate Name Change
In California, government issued Marriage Licenses will allow either husband or wife to change their middle or last names in certain ways only. (see Name Equality Act of 2007) Generally, you can legally take your spouse’s last name or a combination of your last name and your partner’s. And, you and your husband/wife can move your own family name to your middle name. There are other variations of these types of middle and last name changes allowed in California civil marriages, if done correctly. However, a first name change isn’t allowed through the Marriage Certificate process. For a legal first name change, you can do that through the Superior Court Order process. Some people who want a legal first name change when getting married, use the Superior Court Petition process to do all the married name changes at the same time to simplify the legal and Official Records changing activities.
Non-Traditional Options (Both Change To New Name)
Due to Fan devotion to the Twilight saga, Abigale Kirk and Andy Weeks got married and took the last name “Cullen“. This Last Name wouldn’t be available to them through the Marriage License process in California. But, they could do that by getting a Decree Changing Name. This couple actually did it, because of Abigale’s devotion to the “Twilight” saga. A central character in that is a telepathic vampire named…Edward Cullen. Now, don’t get all judgmental. The point is, you can have exactly the name change after marriage you want. You’re not stuck with only some variation of your current legal names in California.
New Official Records and ID After Marriage
There is a Top 4, and Social Security is #1. To get all this done efficiently (using the least amount of your time), gather up your existing ID and Official Records. You’re going to need them in different situations while getting your name changed after marriage. Plus, you can take a fresh look at them to see if there are any variations of your name that may have to be explained or documented. As long as you’re doing this, get everything fixed while you’re at it.
New Social Security Number After Marriage
Social Security Card – Do this first. This will take an hour or less. Go to a convenient SSA Office. You must have your Name Change Document and a completed application. No fee for this.
New Drivers License After Marriage
Driver’s License or State ID Card – It’s best to do this second.This may take 3 hours or so. You must go to a DMV Office to get name change after marriage for your Driver’s License or State ID Card. To get your new DMV ID to be REAL ID COMPLIANT, take a look at their Checklist before going in. DMV has a small fee for this (usually $31 or $28 per person), depending on the type of ID you’re applying for.
New Passport After Marriage
Passport – Do this third if you can. You can do this by mail, go into one of their offices or a private service can assist you for an extra fee. It will take about an hour to initiate the process and then you will get your Passport by mail, usually in a few weeks.You’ll need a completed application, your current passport,1 color photo, and the applicable Fees. It’s free if you renewed within a year, $30 for a passport card and/or $110 for a Passport book.
New Certificate Name Change After Marriage
Your original birth certificate, together with your original or Certified Name Change Document, will be all you need to prove your legal name in every situation. That’s why most people never bother with getting a new or amended birth certificate. The exception is for infants. New parents have emotional reasons for getting an updated birth certificate after name change. If you want to get one, go for it:)
Changing Everything Else – Bank, School, Job and More
About 2 months to do this.
For EVERYTHING else, be practical. Proceed at your own comfort level. Set up 2 groups: 1) Active Accounts (e.g., Professional Licensing, bank accounts, 401K, credit cards, School, etc.); 2) Inactive or Payment Accounts (e.g., property title, loans, auto club membership). Go to the main 3 or 4 of these and let all the others come to you. They all have periodic mail or email to you. So you can reply or follow their links to advise them of your legal name change. There are just a handful of these that are important in your daily life. Take care of those first. Keep advising and responding so they know the change you want in each communication. Pretty soon, they will all have adopted your new legal name as the one they carry for you.
Each place will have its own process for accommodating your name change after marriage. They’re used to it. Your main bank and any school is likely to want to see the Original or Certified Name Change Document. So bring one with you when you do the bank. Until you have all the rest changed over (or almost all), keep a copy of your Original or Certified handy. Some places may ask to see it, others will just do as you ask. Check them off your list as each one gets done and you have confirmation. Before you know it, they will all be switched over.