Name Changes After Divorce: Why, How, and What Is New in Illinois?

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce and name change attorneyIn the year 2020, it will be much easier to change your name after a divorce. This is due in large part to a new law. There are many reasons why a divorced person might want to change their name, and certain steps must be followed when doing so in Illinois.

Why Change Your Name After a Divorce

There are many reasons you might wish to change your name following your divorce. Here are just a few:

  • Liberation and “Fresh Start”—Being able to change your last name back to your original name or even an entirely different name of your own invention will grant you a sense of liberation. You will feel like you are taking steps forward in your new life without your spouse.

  • An Easier Time Dating—While potential new partners will likely not know about your ex-spouse (at least not initially), you may still want to avoid associating yourself with your past relationship. When you begin dating, you will probably prefer introducing yourself with a name that does not carry negative associations or other “baggage” that may be attached to your married name.

  • Honoring Your Biological Family—If you choose to revert back to your name before marriage, this can serve as a loving tribute to your parents and biological relatives.

  • You Liked Yourself Better Before Marriage—Some marriages and divorces can result in a great deal of resentment and bitterness. Perhaps the way you changed throughout your marriage is part of the reason you sought a divorce in the first place. You might have even preferred who you were before you got married. Changing your name back is an easy way to reclaim the parts of yourself you loved prior to your marriage.

How to Change Your Name After a Divorce in Illinois

While it can be a hassle to change your name after divorce, it is actually a fairly straightforward and simple process. It is recommended that you simply change your name during the divorce process, but if you cannot do that, here are the steps you can take to change your name after divorce:

  • If you did not include a clause in the divorce decree stating your desires to change your name, you will need to petition for the name change through the standard process.

  • Complete the necessary paperwork (Petition for a Change of Name Form).

  • File the petition with your local circuit court.

  • Attend a public hearing with a judge affirming your decision to change your name. The judge will ask you why you want to change your name to ensure it is a reasonable decision.

  • Upon approval by the judge, a certified court order will be issued to you. Provide that to the local Social Security Office and DMV in order to get a new social security card and driver’s license with your changed name. Upon receiving these vital pieces of identification, you will be able to use them to change your name on all of your other accounts, including banking, utilities, mortgages, and more.

New Law to Make Name Changes Easier and More Private

As of January 2020, the state of Illinois is making it easier to change your name after a divorce. A new law has eliminated the requirement for petitioners to publish a notice in the newspaper about their pending name change. In the past, this requirement slowed down the process significantly, and it often took as long as three weeks. Fortunately, this new law offers the following benefits:

  • A quicker, more streamlined name change procedure

  • Improved privacy (as advocates for the new law suggest, no one in the greater public deserves to know about your relationship status)

  • An increased likelihood of divorcees following through with their name changes due to a less intimidating and involved process

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

Due to the new laws in Illinois for 2020, you need to work with a Wheaton divorce attorney who can help you stay abreast of all the latest legal updates. That is why you should work with Andrew Cores Family Law Group. Our knowledgeable lawyers can help you with your divorce and offer you advice on your name change after divorce, if necessary. Reach out to us at 630-871-1002 for a complimentary consultation.


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