On your wedding day, you probably promised “until death do us part.” But life is always changing, and marriages can end. For women, getting divorced adds an additional wrinkle, as they must also consider whether they want to change their name.
The name change process can be tedious, but if you know the right steps, it is certainly manageable. So here are some tips on how to change your name after a divorce in Texas, and a checklist to help guide you along the way.
Consider Your Name Change Decision Carefully
If your marriage ended poorly, you may be very ready to change your name. While your anger is understandable, it probably is not wise to make the decision solely out of spite. It’s also not a good idea to decide impulsively to change your name.
Include the Change Request in Your Divorce Decree
If you know in advance you want to make the change, you can have this included as part of the divorce settlement. Having a certified copy of your divorce decree affirming the decision to change your name can make the process go much quicker. It also can save you some money in legal fees.
Changing Your Name After the Divorce is Finalized
If you did not include the change as part of the divorce, you can still get it done by requesting an amendment to your divorce settlement. Be aware you probably will have to pay an additional fee for this service. In addition, The Texas State Law Library has some name change tool kits to help you.
The Top Seven Things on Your Divorce Name Change Checklist
- Social Security card
- Driver’s License
- Bank accounts and credit cards
- Investment accounts
- Retirement and/or pension accounts
- Creditors, mortgages, and loans
- Insurance policies—auto, health, life, and homeowner’s or renter’s
As you might guess, the most important of these is your Social Security card. Once you have that changed, you can use the new card (and your divorce decree) to change the other documents.
The rest of your post-divorce name change checklist:
- Your employer
- Will and other legal documents
- Deeds and trusts
- Medical and dental records
- Vehicle registration and title
- Utility companies and phone service provider
- Post Office
- Voter registration card
- Email addresses and social media accounts
- Library card, gym memberships and other memberships
You Don’t Have to Make the Changes all at Once
While it is a long list, remember you don’t have to do everything at once. Just work your way down the list a little at a time.
Let Others Know About the New Name After Your Divorce
Your closest friends probably will already know about your plans. But don’t forget to let people in your wider circle know as well. You could mail out a formal announcement, send an email or just do a (tasteful) post on your social media.
Name Changes Can Be Awkward
If you do change your name, be prepared for some mildly awkward moments. Some people–casual friends, co-workers, your children’s teacher–are likely to still call you by your married name. You should probably handle these case-by-case, in some cases correcting people, and other times just letting it slide. And don’t forget that if you do have children, they are likely to mess up from time to time as well.
We Are Experts in Family Law—and Much More
Don’t allow legal issues to hold you back. The Maynard Law Firm, PLLC, has more than 25 years of experience serving Tarrant County and surrounding areas. Our attorneys are experts in family law and many other legal areas, and we are committed to providing compassionate, effective representation, helping you attain the fulfilling life YOU deserve. Call us today at 817-335-9600.