How Do I Change My Name After a Divorce in California?

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When your divorce is finalized, you may feel like you have a considerable weight off your shoulders. Unfortunately, there may be one thing holding you back from moving past this chapter – your last name. If you and your spouse share a last name, you may want to change your name back to what it was before your marriage. If this is the case, you’ll want to keep reading to learn more about changing your name and why connecting with a Los Angeles divorce attorney is critical to help you through this process.

Do I Legally Have to Change My Name After a Divorce?

After you file for a divorce, you may be unsure how to take the necessary steps to change your name back to what it was. In many instances, you’ll find that you are not legally required to change your name back unless it is part of your divorce agreement.

If you have just filed and want to change back to your maiden name, you can include this as a stipulation in your divorce petition. This is generally the easiest way to change your name, as the judge can sign the documents that give you the option to check a box to legally change your name following your divorce.

During your divorce, a Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation (form FL-170) and Judgement (for FL-180) allow you to revert your name back to what it was before your marriage.

What Should I Do if My Divorce Is Already Finalized?

If your divorce is already finalized, it can be more complex to change your name. However, it is still possible! Generally, the first thing you must do is locate your divorce paperwork and then file the Ex Patre Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgement and Order (form FL-395). This allows you to inform the court where your divorce was finalized of your decision to change your name back to what it was. You may also need to pay up to $450 to file this form.

Unfortunately, you may find that this can be a complex process as there are many things you’ll need to consider. As such, you may forget to initiate the name change during your divorce, meaning it’s an extra step you must take once the decree is finalized. That’s why it’s important to connect with an experienced attorney who can help you through every step of this process.

At the Zitser Family Law Group, our firm understands how complex these matters can be, which is why we will do everything possible to help you through these stressful times. Connect with us today to learn how we can guide you through these matters to help you close this chapter of your life.

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