Changing your name when you get married is common tradition for women, but more and more men are also deciding to change their name, either taking on a hyphenated version of both last names or sometimes even taking their partner’s name. If you are changing your name after a marriage, you can do this right away without any legal steps, but this has pros and cons. If you get a divorce later on, you will not have to go through any legal steps to return to your former last name, but you will also have to continue to use your prior name on all government documents.
If you decide to change your name legally on all of your government documents, such as a driver’s license and passport, you will need to complete the Election to Change Surname after the marriage. You will need your marriage license or the Joint Declaration of Conjugal Relationship form if you are cohabitating with your partnerbut not married.
Just like with marriage, you can begin using your desired name as soon after your divorce as you wish or you can choose to legally return to your former last name. If you choose the latter, you will need to complete the Election to Resume Former Surname form and provide a copy of your divorce decree, your birth certificate and the change of name certificate from the previous change. There is also a $25 fee, as of 2015, to complete the name change.
If you have questions about whether you should change your name after a divorce, how to fill out the paperwork or where to send your materials, a lawyer can help.
Source: FindLaw, “Changing your name upon marriage,” accessed Oct. 01, 2015
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