After a divorce, many women want to be rid of their ex-husband's last name. Our names are closely associated with our identities. Going back to your maiden name can feel transformative and empowering. Many women see it as a symbol of beginning the next chapter of their lives. Divorce is full of emotional difficulties and stresses and, for many, a name change symbolizes moving past that and into the future.
There are also plenty of women who need to take a little time before changing their names. Still others opt to keep their ex-husband's last name because they want to have the same name as their children, or for a myriad of other reasons. Most women who get divorced and opt to change their names revert to their maiden names. However, in North Carolina, you may also choose the name of a deceased husband or the name of another former husband who is the father of your children, only if they have his last name.
Legally, you have two options if you decide you want to stop using your ex-husband's last name.
Option One: Complete Your Name Change as Part of the Divorce Process
If you already know that you want to change your name while you are in the process of getting a divorce, you can make your request for a name change part of your divorce petition. As long as you make this request properly, the name change should be allowed by the judge as part of your divorce relief.
Option Two: Complete Your Name Change After the Fact
If you needed more time to think or just didn't remember to request a name change during divorce proceedings, it isn't too late. In North Carolina, the form for requesting a reversion to your maiden name has been made available online or you can pick the form up from the Clerk of Court in the county where you reside. You will need to fill out a form, provide your divorce decree, a valid photo ID, and pay a $10 filing fee.
Once your name change has been allowed by a judge, you need to update all of your documents. This includes your driver's license, social security card, tax forms, vehicle titles and registration, and passport. You will need to inform the NCDMV and the Social Security Administration of your name change.
In North Carolina, changing your name after a divorce is fairly simple and straightforward. As always, we are here for you through the process. We're always happy to answer your questions and help you make sure the name change process goes smoothly. If you are getting a divorce, contact us today for help with name changes and more.