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How to Reclaim Your Maiden Name After Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

How to Reclaim Your Maiden Name After DivorceMany women going through a divorce must decide whether they will revert to their maiden name if they took their spouse’s last name during the marriage. There may be many factors to consider other than whether they want to continue being identified by their former marriage. Some women in Illinois must weigh whether it is worth their effort or expense to go through the legal process of changing their name. A proposed law awaiting the governor’s signature would simplify the process by getting rid of the newspaper publication requirement.

Changing Your Name

The easiest way to change your last name after a divorce is to request it as part of your divorce agreement. The divorce court will approve the change as long as you are reverting back to your previous name. However, some women are unaware that they can include the request in their agreement or change their mind about keeping their married name after the divorce. The standard petition to change your name in Illinois requires you to publish a notice of your petition in a newspaper within your county. The notice must be published for three consecutive weeks and at least six weeks before your hearing on the petition. The requirement exists in order to prevent identity theft if someone is trying to take another person’s name. Illinois law waives the publication requirement after marriage as long as the petitioner presents their marriage license. The proposed law would create the same exception for divorces if the person is reverting to her maiden name.

Why Would You Keep Your Married Name?

Some divorced women choose not to reclaim their maiden name for personal reasons, such as:

  • Wanting to have the same last name as their children;
  • Having built a professional identity around that last name; or
  • Not wanting to change every account and document that has their married name on it.

Legally changing your last name will publicly announce that you have divorced. Some women wish to avoid potential questions or comments about their name change. Changing your name also requires you to update your name on your driver’s license, social security card, passport, bank accounts, credit card accounts, and other important accounts.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Lawyer

What to do with your last name after a divorce is a personal decision with no wrong answers. You can choose to change your name immediately or wait until you are better prepared for the change. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can include a request to change your last name as part of your divorce agreement. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.



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