Going back to your maiden name after divorce

I’ve finally decided to go back to using my maiden name since my divorce. I’m just not sure what to do first. What documents (if any) will I need to change the name on my drivers licence, SS card etc. Not to mention changing it with all my prescriptions, doctors offices and for employment purposes. The task seems daunting! Any advice on how to begin and what steps to take would be helpful from you doper ladies with this experience.

NOTE: this is all from memory and some details may be off a bit, plus I’m in Chicago, your area might be different, call your county clerk office and ask for their Chancery Dept. or Public Records if they don’t have that.

Did your divorce decree contain language such as “XXXXX is now free to use their maiden name”? My ex’s did and she just recently started the process of going back to her maiden name. That saved her a separate filing fee.

I am in the process of changing my name as well as my kids’ names and here is what I have to do:

File a notice with the paper, in Chicago the most common one is the Chicago Law Bulletin. It cost $95.00 I also set up a court date at that time which has to be within 6 weeks.

Court costs are $271.00, the judge will ask some questions to make sure I’m not doing it for fraudulent reasons and then it’s rubber stamped. At that point I get a decree ( copies are $15) that I can take to get the DL, SS card, etc. changed. Revised birth certificates are like $9.

For me and my two kids it will end up running around $425.00 It’ll be a pain in the ass but well worth it to get rid of my useless stepdad’s last name:)

On my divorce papers, there was a box I checked which said that I wanted to revert to my maiden name when the divorce was final.

I carried a copy of that around to show the various banks, SS, whomever needed it - usually they made a photocopy of it for their records, and I never had anyone hassle me over it.

So, if you had a provision in your papers for that, a copy of the paperwork should be sufficient.

If you don’t, maybe you need to go the route MikeG refers to.

Good for you. I wish my ex had gone back to her’s.

Wow, MikeG, that seems like a lot of hassle. I guess it’s different with kids involved. I’ve never been married, but I changed my name legally and it took less than a week and exactly $20, court-wise. It then took me less than six months to get all my stuff changed over. I started with the Social Security administration, who simply required a copy of my Name Change Order form. Of course, this is KY and, as always, YMMV.

Good luck Fluffy.

Go to the SS office first with a copy of your divorce decree and your birth cert. You’ll need to do this first to get your driver’s liscence changed (at least you do in California). Then let your bank know your paychecks and such will be in your former name, and, of course, new checks!
Cyn, who married Drachillix this past August and loved him enough to take his name.

Thanks for the replies! In my dissolution decree there is a box checked that I requested to use my maiden name. The decree is stamped so I hope that’s all I need to provide to the bank or pharmacy or places like that.

Wow, I’d been thinking about starting a thread asking almost exactly the same thing Fluffy. So I’m just going to use yours, okay? :slight_smile:

I’m looking to get divorced as soon as I can round up the money to do so, but in the meantime I’m 8 months pregnant and have been considering giving the sprout my own name rather than the absent, worthless fathers. I also have a two year old, and if I do give the new one my name, I’d like to change the toddler’s to match. Can I do this, even though I’m still technically married? Or will I have to wait for the divorce to finalize before the toddler’s name can be changed? Will I have to get “permission” from the father, whose name he currently has?

As for me, I never “officially” changed my own name–my SS card/licence/tax documents still list my maiden name. I do use my married name at work though, and for my insurance and banking stuff and household bills. So to sum it up, it’s a mess. I don’t even know where to start. Can I simply revert back to my maiden name and leave it at that? Or do I need to go file papers somewhere despite the fact that it was never changed on a govt. level to begin with?

And with the new baby, is it allowable to have my maiden name on the birth certificate as his official name while still listing the father as the father (for child support purposes should he ever resurface?) Aaaacck! Anyone with a clue, please chime in.

I had to go through a similar thing when I got divorced, but it was compounded by the fact that I did NOT revert to my maiden name, but rather assumed my middle name (a family name) as my last name. The judge had no idea how to handle it within the context of the decree, so I had to handle it seperately - which meant (as stated above) putting an ad in the newspaper for 2 weeks (which only cost me $12!) and then going to the courthouse and having a totally different judge rule on it, then on to the DMV, bank, etc

To be honest, it was a bigger pain in the butt (in terms of time and effort, not emotionally, of course) than getting divorced was, but it was totally worth it to finally be addressed as ME rather than “daughter of X” or “Wife of X”.

Good luck!


I went back to my maiden name, and it was easy. I’ve never had to show anyone any paper. Pharmacies set me up as I asked them to, got a new driver’s license, etc.

I’ve never once had to provide proof that my name was back to its original. It was a lot harder to change everything to my married name.

I did the divorce paper name-change thingie too. The only thing that gets tricky is the fact that my son’s name is different, but most people are friendly and helpful about that.