Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 201 • Houston, Texas 77027-3139

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Changing Your Name In A Divorce

Among the many trials and tribulations that come with divorce, the problem of changing your legal last name often comes up. While some women choose to keep their married name, a great many more go through the process of switching back to their former, or maiden names.

Surely one reason that many divorced women choose to keep their married names is to avoid the annoyance that comes with trips to the DMV and Social Security Office, among others. It seems quite unfair that men get to avoid this extra step in the journey towards independence.

There are several basic steps that one can take in order to simply (and relatively quickly) change your name back to what it was. First of all, ask your attorney to include your request for a name change in with your divorce petition or answer to divorce if the divorce was filed by your husband. Your divorce attorney can help you with this. While it might seem like an unnecessary step, it actually can expedite the process when it is included as one of the divorce conditions.

If you wait until after you are divorced then decide to change your name the process becomes cumbersome — a separate lawsuit has to be filed, you have to be fingerprinted, they have to run a criminal background check on you, and then the court has to hold a hearing to approve your name change.

Next is the dreaded trip to the Social Security Office. Houston residents can always plan to spend a full morning or afternoon waiting for their name and number to be called to get their forms filled out and signed. While the act of getting a new Social Security card cannot be bypassed if you want to go back to your former name, the process itself can be somewhat simplified. The quickest and easiest way to complete this step is to do it online. The SSA website contains all the necessary forms you will need to send in. Once you have mailed everything off, expect to get your new Social Security card in the mail in one to two weeks.

Of course, your driver’s license will need to be updated as well. Contact the DMV and see what forms they need to be filled out around the time you issue your divorce petition. Typically, the DMV will let you handle this process by mail, thus avoiding the long office wait. Additionally, with the change of name to the driver’s license, you will need to contact your credit card company, electric provider, cable company, and all other entities that have your married name on file. Make sure to check your car title as well. Most of these places just require some information verification before switching your name back over, but if one requires an additional step, better to handle it early.

Use these steps as a guide, and before you know it, you will be back to your former name with minimal stress and time expended. For more on the legal steps necessary in divorce, and for current Houston divorce information, go to www.johnkgrubb.com and www.houstondivorce.info

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