How to Go Back to a Maiden Name After a Divorce

Maybe you’ve already been through the divorce process in Virginia, or maybe you’re just looking into your options for a divorce and trying to wrap your head around the sometimes overwhelming list of issues you’ll need to deal with if you decide to move forward with a divorce. For women who have taken their husband’s last name in a marriage, one issue is this: “What happens to my last name following a divorce?”

The Legal Process for Returning to Your Maiden Name in Virginia

Unlike other more adversarial aspects of divorce such as dividing property and obtaining spousal support, changing your name back to your maiden name in Virginia doesn’t require you to reach an agreement or prevail in court over your ex-spouse. Instead, if you have been living in your Virginia residence for at least six months, all you need to do is follow a set of procedures:

  • Fill out Virginia’s “Application for Name Change” (available here).
  • Notarize your application.
  • Gathering relevant documentation supporting your name change, including your birth certificate, marriage certificate, and divorce certificate,
  • Bring copies of your application and supporting material (along with a fee) to the Virginia Circuit Court for the area in which you reside. File the necessary documents with the Clerk of Court.
  • If the court is satisfied with your filing, your name change will be granted automatically. Otherwise, you may be instructed to attend a hearing.

If you have been convicted of a felony, are currently incarcerated, or are a registered sex offender, you may face complications in getting your name changed. Virginia will also not let you change your name to defraud creditors. But, barring those circumstances, changing back to your maiden name should be straightforward, assuming you’ve followed the procedures as summarized above.

What to Do After You’ve Changed Your Name

Once you’ve completed the process of legally changing your name in Virginia, you’ll want to inform interested parties of your name change so you don’t have any delay or conflict in receiving legal benefits and fulfilling your obligations, either through private contracts (e.g. your bank account) or government sources (e.g. social security or income tax refunds). Obviously, you don’t need to inform every single person in your life of your name change, but the parties you should definitely make a point to quickly inform include:

  • The DMV
  • The IRS
  • The Social Security Administration
  • Your bank, retirement fund providers, and credit card companies
  • Your health, auto, and home insurers
  • Utilities (gas, electric, water, cable)

Get Answers to All of Your Virginia Family Law Questions

While changing your name to your maiden name should be a relatively straightforward process, you may need assistance with this or any of the other more challenging issues you will face in a divorce, including asset and debt division, spousal support, child support, custody, visitation, and so on. For guidance with any of your Virginia family law questions, contact the family law attorneys at Select Law Partners at 540-642-1766.

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Matt Kurylo

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