Category: name change

How to Change Your Name After a Divorce in Kentucky?

How to Change Your Name After a Divorce in Kentucky?

A divorce is usually one of the most difficult events in a person’s life.  Keeping a married name after a divorce is often a painful reminder of the experience.  For this reason, many women choose to return to their maiden (or just a previous) name after a divorce is over.  (Side note, I have yet to see a judge order that a wife must return to a maiden name at the request of a husband.)

By far the easiest way to change your name is to do it within the divorce case itself.  Kentucky statute provides that “[u]pon request by a wife whose marriage is dissolved or declared invalid, the court may, and if there are no children of the parties shall, order her maiden name or a former name restored.”  Using this option, the name change is included in the final divorce decree and requires much less work.

The other option is to file a separate action in district court for a name change.  Any person at least eighteen (18) years of age may have his or her name changed by the district court of the county in which he or she resides.  In many counties, the district judge does not require a court appearance and will simply grant the request as a matter of course.  The form to use to change your name can be found here.

Once you have received your divorce decree or district court order changing your name, the work is not yet done.  Next, you will need to take your order or decree to the social security office to have your file with the United States government changed.  You will also need to have a new drivers license issued which will require a trip to the district court clerk’s office.  You may also need to contact your bank, credit card companies, and any other office or institution that has records under your married name.  This process may take some time, but it is worth it to save yourself a lot of headaches down the road.

Photo courtesy of Alan O’Rourke

When Can I Get My Former Name Restored . . . or Can I Make Her Give Up My Last Name?

When Can I Get My Former Name Restored . . . or Can I Make Her Give Up My Last Name?

One of the things about a divorce is a that, for the woman at least, you can literally become a different person.  This happens by requesting that a maiden (or former) name be restored at the conclusion of the divorce action.  Unfortunately, for a lot of frustrated now-ex husbands, I have yet to see a judge force a woman to give up her married name.

The decision of whether to return to a former name is not one that should be taken lightly.  First, if there are children involved, a mother may not want to change her last name because children often have difficulty dealing with their mother having a different last name after a divorce.  As a matter of fact, at least one judge I routinely practice in front of refuses to allow a mother to change her last name if there are minor children.  Another difficulty is that most agencies will not recognize your name change unless and until you have provided each of them with a copy of your divorce decree.  You will also need to change all of your state-issued identification, social security cards, mailing addresses, etc.  Think of everything you had to change when you got married and then reverse it.

If you decide not to return to a former name during your divorce and later change your mind, you still have options.  A name change for an adult is a fairly simple proposition that normally does not even  require a hearing unless your going for some bizarre name change.  You will, however, have to file a separate action and pay an additional filing fee.  If you want to change your last name tell your attorney before the divorce is completed.  If you have other questions, contact the Alford Law Office.

Photo courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski