For many people, their name is a crucial part of their identity. Recently, it has become more common for women to keep their birth name when getting married to maintain this part of their identity. Those who do take their spouse’s name in marriage may wish to change it back if the marriage ends in a divorce.
Legally changing your name after a divorce is a valid option. However, there may also be disadvantages to doing so; for example, if you are professionally known by your spouse’s last name, or if you share the name with your children from the marriage. It may be easier to wait on changing your name legally until after you are retired or your children have started lives of their own. It is important to know that there are no legal requirements to change your name when getting married or divorced; it is a matter of personal preference.
Including a Name Change in the Divorce Process
To return your name to what it was before, the easiest way is to include the name change request in your divorce filing. This is then signed by the judge as part of the final divorce agreement. You may be asked to explain why you wish for a change of name to ensure there is no malicious intent in regards to fraud. An amendment to your divorce petition can be filed if you decide to change your name after your initial filing.
If you decide to change your name to something other than the name you used prior to your marriage, or if your divorce has been finalized and the name change was not approved by the court, you will need to file a separate request.
Other Name-Change Options
Anyone over the age of 18 who has lived in Illinois for at least six months can legally change his or her name as long as the petitioner does not have a felony conviction. To begin the name change process, you file a request for a name change with the court. You will also need a witness’s signature, which can be from anyone who knows you.
If the court accepts your request, it will usually issue an order of publication to place in the legal notice section of a newspaper of general circulation, though this publication requirement may be waived for victims of domestic or sexual violence. The order will have an objection date, giving anyone who would possibly object to your name change time to do so. Name changes in Illinois need to be published once per week for three weeks. After the publication, you will receive an affidavit, or proof of publication, which you file before your hearing, and a judge will deny or grant your name change.
Contact a Wheaton Divorce Attorney
As you begin the next chapter of your life, it is understandable that you would want to use the name you feel the most comfortable with. Contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney to learn about how to include your name change as an element of your divorce. Call our office at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.