Topics on this page
Divorce and Name Changes
As part of your divorce, you can ask the court for an order to resume your prior name. 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.
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, review the materials on Name Change for an Adult.
A spouse cannot force the other spouse 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 can request the right to resume the use of your former name in the complaint for divorce. 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.
The court normally grants these requests as long as you are not trying to hide from your creditors or defraud someone. Typically, the Judge or Magistrate will ask you in the divorce hearing if you want to return to your former name. The Judgment of Absolute Divorce (divorce decree) will likely state that a spouse has been returned to his or her former name and the actual name.
If you did not request to be restored to your former name during the divorce proceeding, you can make this request separately for up to 18 months after the final decree of absolute divorce. You are not required to post or publish to obtain this name change.
After you have been restored to your former 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.
Read the law: MD Code, Family Law Article §7–105
Marriage and Name Changes
In Maryland, upon marriage, each spouse can choose to take the other spouses's name. They can choose to use a hyphenated version of the two names or choose any name after they are married, as long as it is done consistently and not for an illegal purpose.
To change your name after marriage, just start using your new name as soon as you are married. Use your new name consistently. Change your name on all important documents and identification papers, such as your Social Security Card and driver's license. To change some of your papers, you will need a certified copy of your marriage certificate, which you should receive shortly after you are married.