A woman who is going through a divorce is presented with the option of changing her name back to her prior name. She is not required to do so, and there are a few issues she should consider before she makes the decision. Continue reading to learn more.
Changing Your Name during the Divorce Proceeding
As a woman, one advantage of changing your name at the time of divorce is that the matter can be taken care of in the one proceeding for the Dissolution of Marriage at no additional cost. Specifically, the petition form in most counties will ask whether the party wishes to change her name as part of the divorce. If the issue is not covered by the petition, it can be handled in the final order or in the marital settlement agreement. Keep in mind that your ex-spouse cannot object, and no additional court filings or fees are necessary.
The cost of a name change apart from a divorce proceeding is set by statute and is $401. This fee does not include additional costs that may apply depending on the particular county and situation. In some counties, it is possible to petition the court to reopen the divorce case and add the name change to the decree. Although less expensive than a new separate name change petition, it is up to a judge whether to grant such a request.
The judge will write the new full legal name in the Final Order for Dissolution of Marriage. You should obtain certified copies of the order so that you can use it to have your name changed on identification and personal records. You will also need to notify the Social Security Administration, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, banks, and any other institution with which you do business. There are additional fees associated with these name changes which vary by entity.
Reasons Why Some Women Choose to Keep Their Married Name
Although it is cheaper and more efficient to change one’s name during the divorce proceeding, there are several reasons why many women choose to put off the decision, or decide against it altogether. Some women wish to keep the same name as their children, who have their father’s last name. Other women have businesses or professions built on their married names and do not wish to cause confusion or even loss of business from a name change. Finally, many women are just too overwhelmed by the whole divorce process to give careful consideration to the matter. It is a very personal choice, and a woman should take the time to think it over and feel comfortable with the decision.
Filing a Name Change Petition Post-Divorce
A woman who decides against changing her name during the divorce, but later changes her mind, has the option of filing a Petition for Change of Name with the county circuit court. Florida Statute 68.07 outlines the requirements for a name change. When a petitioner seeks the restoration of a former name, no fingerprinting is required. The petitioner must obtain a hearing date, but in some cases a petition for restoration of a former name may be heard immediately after filing.
The decision as to whether to change your name during or after a divorce proceeding is a very weighty matter. It has implications for your personal and your professional life. The counsel and assistance of a Palm Beach Family Law Attorney is your best resource for making this decision. The Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A. is experienced in every aspect of family law and assists clients in Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Lake Worth, Jupiter, West Palm Beach, and Palm Beach Gardens in Palm Beach County, as well as residents of Broward, Hendry, Martin, Miami-Dade, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie Counties. Please call us at 561-429-3924 to schedule a consultation.