If you are preparing for or are in the process of getting a divorce, you will want to consider whether or not to restore your former name. New Jersey has a way to do a name change as part of your divorce process.
If you want to have your former (maiden) name restored, you should take the following steps:
Request the change in your initial filing. If you are initiating the divorce action, ask your attorney to include a request for the restoration of your maiden name in your initial complaint. If your spouse initiated the divorce, be sure that your answer (counterclaim) to the complaint includes your restoration request.
Check the final decree. Your final decree should have the name change provision included, but it’s always wise to make sure that the final decree mentions the restoration of your maiden name.
Submit a separate request to the judge. If a name change request was not submitted in your initial filing, you can have your attorney file an amended complaint or make a motion to change your name at the final hearing. You may also file a motion to change your name after the final hearing.
Once your name change is approved by the court, you will need certified copies of the order to apply for a new Social Security card, driver’s license, and other official documents you need to reflect your change.
Even if you are unsure whether or not you want to change your name after your divorce, you should go ahead and make the request anyway. If you do decide to change back to your maiden name, having already made the request saves you the time and trouble of having to amend your pleading or file a post-judgment motion.
If you decide to make the change at some other time after your divorce, you will need to follow New Jersey law for a legal name change, you may make an application upon motion to the Court. It is much easier to change your name at the time of your divorce.
We know that family law issues are often difficult, life-changing events. We also know how much it helps to have knowledgeable legal advocates on your side to help you obtain the best possible outcome. Contact us today for your free consultation.