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Family Law Basics: name change after divorce
Family Law Basics: name change after divorce

Many people struggle with deciding whether to change their names as part of a divorce. The Court will change your name if you request it, but that decision is entirely up to you. Your former spouse has no say in whether or not you change your name.

If you had a long marriage, or if your children have your spouse’s name, it may make sense to keep your married name.  Then again, lots of children have different names than one or both parents.  There shouldn’t be any issue when it comes to schools or doctor’s visits if you have a different last name than your children.  You may find that the only thing holding you back from changing your name is the inconvenience of getting a new Social Security card and driver’s license.

In any case, you may change your mind about changing your name during your divorce.  There are so many decisions to make.  There are a number of people who don’t wish to return to a former name at the time of the divorce, but who realize over time that they no longer wish to keep their former married names. In Colorado, there is a simple process to allow divorced people to change to a former name at any time after a divorce decree is entered.

Even if your divorce was finalized a long time ago, you can still return to your former name by filing a motion and proposed order for Name Restoration with the Court.  The Court just needs to know what your new name will be, and have you attest that you aren’t seeking a name change for any improper purpose.  Once you file the paperwork, the Court will review it and sign off on the name change. You won’t have to see the inside of a courtroom.  The toughest part in the whole process will still be Social Security!

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