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Divorce and the Presto-Chango Name Change

After a contentious divorce, you may want few reminders of your ex-husband, including his name. If you took your husband’s name when you got married, you may wish to get your maiden name back after your divorce.

Changing your name back to your maiden name after your divorce is very common. It can also be empowering because it is one thing that your ex-husband will have no say in. He cannot force you to keep your married name, nor can he force you to change back to your maiden name. This is a completely personal decision for a woman to make, and it’s usually not too difficult to do unless you are an immigrant and don’t have any documentation of your former name.

In Florida, you can include a provision in your marital settlement agreement providing for the name change, or you can petition the judge in your divorce case to enter an order restoring your former name if your divorce case is still pending. There is no charge to change your name while your divorce case is still pending.

If your divorce is already finalized and your final divorce judgment did not contain an order changing your name, you will have to pay $400 to file a name change petition if you want to restore your maiden name.

You could also petition the court to have your divorce case reopened for only $50, but it’s up to the judge whether to grant the request and it could open up a whole new can of worms.

Regardless of which method you choose to initiate the name change, once the order restoring your maiden name is entered, you should obtain several certified copies of the order to use as proof of your name change. You can take the order to your bank, the department of motor vehicles, the Social Security Administration, the post office, and anywhere else you can think of that needs proof of your name.

If this situation applies to you and you would like to switch back to your maiden name after your divorce, our Pinellas County family law firm can help guide you through the process.

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