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Should I Change my Name During a Divorce?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all Americans to evaluate and reevaluate their life choices, enhanced the scrutiny of our decision making, and severely disrupted conventional routines. When it comes time to decide which Jefferson City Divorce Attorney you should hire to help put the pieces of your life’s puzzle back together, make sure you hire a lawyer with the experience and track record to see your case through to the end. At Call & Gentry Law Group, we take great pride in providing our family law clients with excellent service, alleviating fears about the oftentimes complicated legal process, and ensuring your needs are met – no matter how big or small.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus outbreak has caused or contributed to an increase in the number of married couples seeking a divorce or separation and accompanying child custody disputes. Divorce can be a painful, traumatic, and overwhelming endeavor. To get through the process, you need a leader who can help solve all problems, big and small, associated with your divorce proceedings. We go the extra mile to make sure our clients get the most out of their case. One example of the “little things” that matter to most women seeking a divorce is officially reinstating their maiden name as their legal name.

While it may be a small issue compared to “who gets the house,” holidays and celebrations with kids, and alimony or child support determinations, a person’s name is also highly important. Most women take the last name of their husband upon getting married, and understandably, are not so attached to the name after making the difficult decision to get a divorce. During our team’s sixty-five plus years of cumulative legal experience, we’ve come to realize the majority of our women divorce clients frequently ask the same question during their initial consultation: How do I change my name after a divorce? While we feel it is best to do things all at once and formally request an official change of name during the pendency of the divorce, some clients prefer to wait until after the divorce is finalized to retake their maiden name.

Requesting a Name Change during Divorce vs. Name Change after Divorce

The earlier you request a name change during a divorce, the easier it is for you, your attorney, and the judge assigned to the case to include the name change within the divorce proceeding itself. Your attorney will state in your pleadings that you are requesting to be returned to your maiden name and will submit this request with your divorce papers, pleadings, and accompanying documents. The process takes a bit longer if you wait until after the divorce proceeding to request a name change. That process involves:

  • Filing a Petition for Name Change: Instead of including the name change request with your divorce papers, an entirely new “Name Change Petition” will have to be filed with the court in a legal proceeding completely separate and distinct from your divorce case. You’ll pay a small sum in the form of filing fees.
  • Attend a Hearing: A name change request will require a formal legal hearing in front of the court. When you are summoned by the court, ensure that you attend the hearing with your lawyer and have the necessary documentation and paperwork with you.
  • Judge Approval: Upon the Judge’s verification of documents, your name change will almost certainly be approved. The Judge will execute an official Judgment for Change of Name.
  • Publish Name Change: Notice of your formal name change must be published within twenty days after receipt of the judgment and must occur once a week for at least three weeks. This process can be completed by filing a Notice of Change of Name with the Clerk and requesting publication of the notice with the local newspaper.

Once the publication period has ended, you will receive a Notice of Publication from the publisher. After that notification is filed with the court, your name change is complete. Hiring a knowledgeable attorney will help achieve your divorce-related goals, whether it be something as simple as filing for a change of name during or after the procedure or filing complicated child custody documents to ensure your children are safe, healthy, and have the brightest future possible. If you or a loved one is in need of a divorce, separation, name change, or child custody determination, hire a Jefferson City Divorce Attorney from Call & Gentry Law Group that will cater to your personal goals and achieve the individualized results you deserve.