ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (Photo credit: Heather Quintal)
Although its origins date back to a time when women had few individual rights, the custom of women taking their husbands’ names at marriage is still popular. (1) It can be a symbol of unity as a couple starts their married life together. If the marriage fails, however, it can be a painful reminder. Resuming one’s maiden name following divorce is a common and relatively simple practice, but it is important to do it correctly in order to avoid difficulties down the road. If, after reading the following, you need the assistance of a Hunterdon County lawyer with a name change or any other aspect of divorce, contact the family law attorneys at The Rotolo Law Firm of Lebanon, N.J.
The process for changing your name is subject to both federal and individual state laws and, as such, can vary from state to state. Familiarizing yourself with the local laws can help simplify the process. (2)
In New Jersey it is possible to change your name without going through legal channels, however, you should be sure the name you use matches the one on any legal documents you have. This is especially important in light of today’s tightened security measures. (3)
While reasons for name changes vary, common ones are marriage and divorce. Following divorce, people often are anxious for a new start and resuming one’s maiden name can be a symbol for that. There are two ways to restore your maiden name following a divorce in New Jersey: request the name change as part of your divorce petition, or file a post-judgment motion, which would amend the divorce decree to reflect your name change. (3)
Once your divorce, including the petition for a change of name, is granted by the court, your next step is to make sure all other legal documents in your possession reflect your new — or restored — name. A copy of your divorce decree will be required to change your name on other legal documents including, but not limited to, your driver’s license, car registration, insurance policies and Social Security insurance. (3)
While the process of changing your name is easy, the decision of whether to do so may not be. A family law attorney can help you evaluate the impact a name change can have on various aspects of your life, such as business affairs or matters concerning your children. For assistance with name changes and other aspects of divorce in Hunterdon County, contact the family law attorneys at The Rotolo Law Firm of Lebanon, located just minutes from both Clinton and Flemington.