- Take your divorce certificate and proof of U.S. citizenship (a birth certificate or a U.S. passport) to your local Social Security Office along with form SS5. There’s no fee.
- Once your Social Security Number reflects the name change, you go to your local DMV and update your driver’s license. There is a fee and you’ll bring the same documents with you (divorce certificate, birth certificate or U.S. passport and old license).
- Then, you update it with your HR department, bank and credit cards.
Those are the most important things and 90% you will not have any issues. (For those of you that do, don’t worry, we have you covered too!)
Get your state specific divorce name-change forms and instructions. Select your State here:
Going back to your maiden name after a divorce?
Before the Divorce
Make sure to tell your lawyer or request that the judge restore your maiden name in the final order. That order in the divorce decree is the document you use to change your name just like you did with the marriage certificate.
What if my Divorce Decree does NOT say I’m going back to my maiden name?
In short, it gets tricky. Try these steps in order:
- First, you can try to use your divorce decree and an old official document with your old name, such as your birth certificate or an old U.S. passport. Fill out form SS5 and go in person to your SSA office. It may work, especially if you do it in person. If this works, proceed down the list at your State’s name change page.
- Second option is to ask the court to change your divorce to include the language. California has a simple form to help make the request (FL-395). Check your state’s name-change page to see if it has a simplified process too. If the judge approves your request, this will be your official legal name change document.
A note about changing your children’s name. Changing the name of your children is detailed in our Legal Name Change area. In short, it will be hard to change your child’s name without your spouse’s approval. Get an attorney’s help.
The process is the same as when you changed it
Your divorce decree (or updated order) will now be your legal name change document. You will use it when you notify the SSA, DMV and all the other agencies and third-parties you did after your marriage. Proceed to your State’s name-change page for detailed forms and help.
Do you need to visit a court for a legal name change?
It’s very likely, IF (as described above) your divorce decree DOES NOT STATE YOU’RE CHANGING YOUR NAME BACK TO YOUR MAIDEN NAME. While some states have a procedure for correcting this, or you may be able to use the divorce decree combined with your birth certificate, please be prepared for the worst-case scenario–going back to court to get a legal name change. Go to our Legal Name Change section for a summary of that process.