Categories :: Family Law > Name Change

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 former name in the complaint for divorce. The court 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 up to 30 days prior to your divorce hearing to ask to return to your former name. Typically, the Judge or Master will ask you in the divorce hearing if you want to return to your former name. The Judgment of Absolute Divorce, which is your divorce decree, will likely state that a spouse has been returned to his or her former name and the actual name.  The former name should be a name that you actually used in the past, it cannot be an entirely new name you wish to use.  If you wish to change to an entirely new name, you should review the materials on “Name Change for an Adult”.

A spouse cannot force the other to change back to a former name when the divorce is granted.  This is a choice made by the spouse who changed his or her name.

You will likely need to show a copy of your Judgment of Absolute Divorce to change your name on all important documents, identification papers, and financial accounts.

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 the other spouse’s last name?
A. You can make either change. More men are changing their names for marriage.

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 Lindsay Parvis, Esq.

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Is this legal advice?

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