Name Change After Divorce

Interestingly, name change after divorce is one of the least expensive and most simple processes associated with divorce. Your divorce attorney can prepare a one page, notarized document to file called a Notice of Intention to Resume a Prior Surname. You can assume any surname which you have used previously with no hearing required.

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The process of legally changing your last name after divorce usually takes less than 1 week.  It can be done before the Divorce is finalized. There is no deadline by which this must be done. So, even if you elect not to do so now, it can be done in the future.

We encourage clients to obtain at least 10 certified documents because they will be needed to change your name on other important documents such as:

  • Social Security
  • Passport
  • Drivers’ licenses
  • Health insurance
  • Financial institutions
  • Retirement plans

I have the certified Notice of Intention to Resume Prior Surname back from the court, what do I do next?

The process is the same as when changing your name after you got married, only instead of providing your certified marriage license, you take your certified divorce documents to the Social Security Administration, Department of Transportation, financial institutions and any other institution where you need to change your name.

Can my spouse or former spouse make me drop his/her name?


Can I change my children’s last name?

Until the child is 18, if the parents are in agreement, both parents can sign the back of the child’s birth certificate and change the child’s name, following the instructions on the back of the birth certificate.

Without the other parent’s consent, you could file a Petition for a hearing before a Common Pleas judge, who would make a decision based on the best interests of the child.  The child’s name can also be changed in the context of a step-parent adoption.

Need the guidance of an experienced divorce attorney in Harrisburg, PA? Contact the team at Johnson Duffie.

Author: Melissa P. Greevy, JD
Part of the Johnson Duffie Family Law Team

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