The divorce process can be complicated, lengthy, and emotional. When you search online for “divorce lawyers near me,” you’ll likely find overwhelming information about child custody, marital property, alimony, court hearings, mediation, name changes, and confusing paperwork that needs to be filled out and filed with the court.
At The Drake Law Firm, P.C., our experienced Golden, Colorado, divorce lawyers understand that family law issues can be emotional and challenging, so we want to help make the process as smooth and pain-free as possible. Below, we discuss the process of changing your name after a divorce.
Whether you’re at the beginning of the divorce process or you’ve already completed it, you can change your last name back to your pre-marital name by following the steps in this article.
When Can I Change My Name? A Divorce Attorney Answers
When the JDF 1101 (Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation) is filed with the Court, the Petitioner or Co-Petitioner can ask the Court to restore their previous full name to what it was before the marriage. You can indicate this change by checking the appropriate box from No. 20 on the petition. A divorce attorney can help you cover all your bases when completing this paperwork. Likewise, if you are the Respondent in the matter, you can request a name change in your Response.
What if you skipped this step but still want to change your name after the divorce is finalized? In that case, you can file JDF 1824 (Verified Motion and Affidavit for Name Restoration After Dissolution of Marriage/Civil Union or Legal Separation) in the court where the divorce/civil union/legal separation decree was entered.
You’ll also need to file JDF 1825 (Order for Name Restoration After Dissolution of Marriage/Civil Union or Legal Separation) in addition to JDF 1824. Only the caption box’s information needs to be completed. The rest will be filled in by the Court.
You cannot change your name if:
- You and your spouse signed an agreement to keep your current name.
- You want to change your name for criminal purposes.
Unlike other name changes, you do not need a background check to change your name in Colorado if it’s related to your divorce. You can avoid the legal fee by filing within 60 days of your divorce signing. If you wait more than 60 days, you can still change your name, though you must pay the legal fee.
A Divorce Lawyer Explains How to Update Your Name
The most time-consuming aspect of changing your name is notifying the government and other organizations. After filing the paperwork, your name will not automatically be changed across all your identifications. You must make each of these changes indicated below yourself.
Your Social Security Card
After changing your name, you should first notify the Social Security Association. You can apply for a new card for free in person or by mail. For your application, you will need:
- Your birth certificate to prove your citizenship or immigration status and age
- Proof of identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
- Legal documents outlining your name change (divorce decree)
After submitting your application, you will receive the card with your new name in the mail. You will need this card before completing the next notifications on our list.
Your Driver’s License, Car Title, and Registration
Your next stop should be at your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to change your driver’s license, car title, and vehicle registration name. To complete this process, you will need the following documents:
- Legal documents outlining your name change (divorce decree)
- Your new social security card or application confirmation
- Proof of address from mortgage or rent fees, utility bills, or bank statements
- Your car’s VIN or title number
- A finalized Duplicate Title and Request Receipt Form
- Payment for the new driver’s license card and vehicle title
You may need additional paperwork or tax payments for vehicle registration, depending on your county. Visit your local DMV to ensure that you cover every base.
Your United States Passport
Changing your name on your passport varies depending on your situation. Please see the chart here to find the process that applies to you.
After updating your government identifications, consider what other places may need your new name information, like:
- Schools and universities
- Bank accounts
- United States Postal Service
- Voter registration
- Taxing organizations
- Veterans Administration
- Department of Records
- Phone company
- Other billing companies
Please note that changing your name during a divorce will only restore your name to what it was prior to marriage. If you are trying to change your name to something other than what it was prior to marriage, you can still feel free to contact an experienced attorney at The Drake Law Firm, P.C. and one of our attorneys can guide you through that process as well.
Do I Need a Divorce Attorney Near Me in the Golden, Colorado Area?
If you are doing an online search for “Divorce lawyers near me,” consider The Drake Law Firm, P.C. for your legal needs. Our goal is to provide you with the most commonsense approach so that you can avoid unnecessary court fees, drama, and headaches. If you’ve already finalized your divorce, we can assist you with any post-divorce or post-decree modifications you may have.
To schedule your consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer, call (303) 261-8111 today or fill out our online form here. For your convenience, we can consult over the phone or Zoom. We also offer Saturday consults by appointment.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.