As part of your divorce, you can ask the court for an order to resume your prior name. You can request the right to resume the use of your maiden name in the complaint for divorce. The courts normally grants these requests as long as you are not trying to hide from your creditors or defraud someone. It is best to request a name change at the time of divorce, because if you don't, it is much more time consuming and expensive to do it later.
If you have already filed for your divorce, you can amend the divorce papers within 30 days of being filed. Typically, the judge will ask you in the divorce proceeding if you want to return to your former name. There is no form to amend the divorce order.
Even the divorce papers do not show the name change, you can still use your former name without going to court. In Maryland, just using your former name regularly and changing all your personal records is enough to change your name to your former name. If you’re changing to a name you had before marriage, it is unlikely you will have any trouble.
Questions and Answers about Marriage and Name Changes
Q. I’m a woman and I’m planning to be married soon. Must I take my husband’s name?
A. No. In Maryland, a woman has the legal right to keep her birth name.
Q. Can my spouse and I both change our names to a hyphenated version of our two names or to a new name?
A. You can make either change. More men are changing their names for marriage. In Maryland, any person may choose any name, as long as s/he does so consistently and is not acting illegally.
Q. What if I do want to take my spouse’s name? How do I make the change?
A. Just start using your spouse's name as soon as you are married. Use your new name consistently. Change your name on all important documents and identification papers. To change some of your papers, you’ll need a certified copy of your marriage certificate, which you should receive shortly after you are married.
Edited by Laure Ruth