Many people want to change their last name after their divorce has been finalized. While not nearly as complicated as divorce, the name change process in and of itself can be a bit of a journey. Here, we will help guide you through what you will need and what you will need to do to start this new chapter of your life with a name change.
Changing Your Name After Divorce
In order to get your name legally changed after a Florida divorce, you will need proof of identification, proof of age, and a certified copy of your divorce decree. As far as identification goes, a driver’s license, passport, or state ID will suffice. For proof of age, you can provide something like your birth certificate or adoption decree.
Deciding during your divorce whether you want to be restored to your maiden name is a crucial decision that could save you much time and expense after your divorce is finalized. If requested in your divorce petition, the Court can restore your maiden name in the Final Judgment. When you receive a copy of your divorce decree, be sure to check that it includes an order to legally change your name. If it includes a provision granting your name change, it will act as legal proof of your name change. If the name change provision was not included in your divorce decree, reach out to the relevant court and request that the decree be amended to include the name change order. In the event that your request is denied, as some courts will not allow amendments if not requested in the divorce petition, you will have to go through the process of filing a Florida Petition for Name Change in a separate action. Note that this will require a filing fee and a separate hearing to take place before the Court will enter the name change.
It is important to note that your divorce decree with order of name change or a name change order resulting from a Florida Petition for Name Change that was filed and processed will only act as proof of your legal name change. You will still need to go through the rather extensive process of notifying the necessary government agencies and private entities of your name change. For instance, you will need to notify the Social Security Office of your name change which will require you to complete Form SS-5. Filling out this form in advance of your appointment with your local Social Security Office will help reduce your processing time. Staff at the office will verify the personal documents you provide and, if everything is in order, will issue you a certificate demonstrating that the Social Security Office approves your name change.
You will also need to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of your name change so that your name can be changed on your driver’s license and state-issued ID. This must be done in person at your local Department of Motor Vehicles office. You must do the above change with the social security office first before the DMV will change your license or identification. You can typically change your name with the Department of Motor Vehicles while you wait to receive your new Social Security card so long as they have given you a certificate that it was approved and you are just waiting on a new card.
When you receive your new Social Security card, which usually takes no more than six weeks to receive in the mail, you can go on with changing your name with other offices using your new card as legal identification. Think of all of the places where your name is listed. Think of all of the accounts and cards you have under your name. For instance, you will want to change your name on your voter registration prior to the next election to make sure there is no issue about your name change. You will also want to notify all of your insurance companies, including health, life, and auto, of your name change. Your financial institutions such as your bank and credit card companies should also be notified of your name change. This can often be done via the phone or online. It is likely that you will need to provide these entities with a copy of your name change court order.
Florida Family Law Attorneys
For all of your divorce questions, whether it be pre-divorce, post-divorce, or during divorce, the trusted family law team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou has answers for you. Contact us today.