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Ann Arbor, Michigan

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Should You Change Your Name After a Divorce?

By Wendy Alton – A small but important question is always asked of the wife during divorce proceedings: Do you want to keep your married name, or go back to your maiden name? If the attorney fails to ask the wife this question, the Judge may ask the question at the final hearing.

Some women have a difficult time making this decision—especially if they have children from their marriage. Most women are concerned that if they go back to their maiden name, that their name will be different from their children’s’ name, and that this may cause problems. Some women, on the other hand, are concerned that if they don’t go back to their maiden name, and their soon to be ex-husband remarries, it will be too confusing altogether. Others who have established a professional reputation during their marriage are concerned that changing their name back to their maiden name will have a detrimental effect on their business. There are obviously a host of reasons that make this decision potentially a difficult one.

To clarify, just having a provision in the Divorce Judgment changing a woman’s name doesn’t make the name change automatic. In order to legally change your name after your divorce you must take that Divorce Judgment to the Michigan Secretary of State and the Social Security Office to officially change it.

What happens if you don’t have this type of provision in the Divorce Judgment, but want to change it later? If there is no name change provision in the Divorce Judgment, then you must file a petition with the Court for a name change, and follow all of the necessary procedures. It should be that there can be significant costs included in a name change petition. There are filing fees, fingerprinting fees, publishing fees, and order fees. These fees will exceed $300.00. You also have to be fingerprinted, and your fingerprints must be sent to the Michigan State Police and the FBI. Both agencies must report to the Court about any pending charges or convictions. The process is time-consuming and expensive.

If you are interested in learning more about divorce, or have a question about divorce, please call Wendy Alton at 734-665- 4441 or email her at walton@psedlaw.com.