Does a Woman Have to Change Her Name After Divorce?

A woman who divorces may resume her unmarried name or keep her married name as she wishes. She can even change her name to something completely new, as long as she is not doing so for fraudulent purposes. Court proceedings generally are not necessary to change a name. 

If a woman is changing her name, she should notify government agencies and private companies that have her name records. Examples of places to notify: the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, Passport Agency (within U.S. State Department), Post Office, state tax agencies, driver’s license bureau, voter registration bureau, professional licensing agencies, professional societies, unions, mortgage companies, landlord, banks, charge card companies, telephone companies, other utilities, magazines and newspapers to which she subscribes, doctors and dentists, and schools and colleges that she attended or that her children attend. 

It can be useful to have the divorce decree state that the wife will resume her unmarried name, but generally, it is not necessary to do so for a woman to make a valid name change. 

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