Reverting to Your Maiden Name After Divorce: 4 Common Questions and Answers

Woman divorcing and taking off wedding bandMany women would like to revert to their maiden name after a divorce, but are not sure how it is done or whether they are expected to do it or not. Others may not be sure it is necessary, or may even want to change their last name to a third option, neither their maiden name nor their married name.

It’s good to know the answers to common questions such as these.

1. What’s the procedure for changing my name back to my maiden name after the divorce?

It’s very common for divorce decrees in both New York and New Jersey to include a provision to change one’s name back to a previous name. While this is often used by women wanting to change back to their maiden name, the provision often applies to both men and women, since some men change their names upon marriage (eg, a hyphenated last name). Signing the papers, including the provision, will change your name.

If your divorce decree doesn’t include this, you can simply legally change your name back, by following the legal procedure to change your name in your area.

2. Can I just use my maiden name without legally changing it?

Nothing is stopping you from using your maiden name if you want to, without using the divorce provision or changing it legally. But bear in mind that it must be legally changed to appear on official documents, such as your driver’s license, Social Security card, or passports. Two last names can be confusing, and even cause issues or delays in using these documents.

3. Can I use a third name of my choosing (neither my maiden nor married name?)

Sometimes, people don’t want to use their married surname, but they don’t want to use their maiden name either.

Usually, divorce provisions give only the right to revert the name back to the previous one. If that’s the case, you wouldn’t be able to choose a third name. However, you could change your name to one of your choosing via a legal name change ex divorce decree.

4. Will changing my name have any impact on the financial settlement?

Name changes have no impact on the financial settlement one receives or is responsible for in a divorce case. These are decided on completely different criteria.

If You Need a New York or New Jersey Divorce Lawyer

The experienced Rockland County and Bergen County divorce attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have been handling all matters pertaining to divorce for more than 40 years. We are committed to long-lasting, fair, and reliable solutions that benefit you. Call us today to schedule a confidential consultation.

Additional Resources:

  1. Reverting to Maiden Name. Woman’sDivorce.com. https://www.womansdivorce.com/reverting-to-maiden-name.html
  2. Inspiration for Starting Over. Woman’sDivorce.com. https://www.womansdivorce.com/inspiration.html