For many people, getting a divorce is a fresh start. It is a chance to leave the past behind, and to begin anew without the stresses and burdens that held them back over the years or decades past. While there will always be certain reminders, changing your name is one way to help facilitate moving on and transitioning into a new, independent life.

Fortunately, in Texas, the process of changing your name in connection with a divorce is fairly straightforward – especially if you are seeking to restore your maiden name.

Changing Your Legal Name During or After a Divorce

There are two primary ways to change your legal name when you get divorced in Texas. You can change your name either: (i) as part of your divorce, or (ii) after your divorce is final.

Changing Your Legal Name During a Divorce

If you know that you want to restore your maiden name, then you can include a name change request in your divorce filings with the divorce court. You can include this in your initial divorce petition if you are the one who files for divorce, you can include it in your response to your spouse’s petition, and you can include it in certain other filings as well. Then, once the divorce process is over, your Final Decree of Divorce will serve as proof that you have restored your maiden name.

Note that you can only restore your maiden name through the divorce process. If you wish to adopt a new name, you will need to file for a name change separately from your divorce.

Changing Your Legal Name After a Divorce

If you are undecided about changing your name, or if you wish to adopt a new last name, you can file a Petition for Change of Name in county court after your divorce is final. The Petition for Change of Name must include several pieces of information, including:

  • Your reason for requesting a name change;
  • Whether you have been convicted of a felony or charged with a misdemeanor graded Class C or above; and,
  • Your driver’s license number(s) for the last 10 years.

Your filing must also include a copy of your fingerprints in acceptable format.

While there are certain additional requirements for changing your name after (as opposed to during) a divorce, the process is not difficult, and you can confidently change your name with the help of an experienced attorney.

Once Your Legal Name Change is Complete

Don’t forget, when changing your legal name, obtaining the court’s approval is just the first step. You will need to notify the Social Security Administration, the Texas Department of Public Safety (for your driver’s license), your bank, your utility companies and likely a number of other authorities and offices as well. When collecting records for your divorce, make a list of everywhere your last name appears, and this should provide a good starting point for updating your name once you receive court approval.

Nordhaus Walpole PLLC | Family Lawyers in McKinney, TX

The McKinney family lawyers at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC provide personal and attentive legal representation for spouses before, during and after divorce. If you would like to speak with an attorney about changing your name or any other divorce-related legal matter, call (214) 726-1450 or contact us online for a free consultation today.