It is not uncommon for women to want to change their legal name after a divorce in Texas. Often, they will go back to their maiden name, and the reasons for changing their name vary.
Other times, a divorced woman will prefer to keep her married name because she likes it better than her maiden name, because she wants to have the same last name as her children, or because she does not want to hassle with changing her name on all of her credit cards, loans, and utility bills. The decision to keep or lose a married name is individual.
How Do I Change My Last Name After Divorce?
The actual process of changing a legal name in Texas is simple, but you have to complete all the requirements first. When one changes their legal name as a part of a marriage, the change occurs when the marriage license is obtained. When a name change is desired because of a divorce, it should be incorporated in the spouses’ Final Decree of Divorce. If the name change is made after the divorce, the divorced individual must file a petition with the court and the court has to grant the applicant a new name through a court order.
For a divorcée to obtain a name change after the divorce, he or she must file an Original Petition for Change of Name in the county where he or she resides.
Do You Have to Legally Change Your Name After Divorce?
No. You are not required by law to change your name after a divorce. This is simply an option for those who wish to revert their name back to their maiden name or the name they had prior to the marriage.
Can the Court Deny a Request for a Name Change in Texas?
The judge will want to make sure that you don't want to change your name to avoid creditors or to prevent people from finding you (for example, if you have an arrest warrant or are doing something illegal). If you are convicted of a felony, your request may also be denied unless you can demonstrate:
- You have been pardoned.
- A minimum of two years have passed since you were released from prison and/or completed probation.
- You have requested a new name which is the primary name on your criminal records.
Unless you can demonstrate you notified local law enforcement of your name change request, a judge may deny your request if you have been required to register as a sex offender. Consult your divorce attorney if these guidelines apply to you.
Can I Change My Child’s Last Name During Divorce?
A divorce petition cannot directly change a child's last name in Texas. In order to legally change your child's last name after divorce in Texas, you will need to submit a Petition to Change the Name of a Child, request a hearing, and appear before a judge.
Name changes aren't complicated if both parents (and any other legally interested parties, like a non-parent or managing conservator such as a grandparent) agree. You will also need the child's written consent to change the name if he or she is over the age of 10.
A child's last name must be changed when all parties are not in agreement. To prove that the name change is in the child's best interest, you will also have to make a compelling case to the judge.
You should consult a family law attorney to help you through the process of changing a child's last name after divorce, no matter whether everyone is on board or not.
Texas Name Change Guidelines
It is important to update your name with government and financial institutions after you have legally changed your name.
You can change your name after divorce by following the steps below:
- Are You Requesting a Name Change During a Divorce? When you file for divorce, include a name change request. Request a certified copy of your Final Decree of Divorce from the County Clerk's office in the county where you divorced and ensure the name change is included in your Final Decree of Divorce.
- Are You Requesting a Name Change After a Divorce? File a petition for name change after divorce. Make sure the approved name change is included in your Final Decree of Divorce and request a certified copy of your Final Decree of Divorce from the County Clerk’s office in the County where you divorced. Depending on the County where the request was granted, you will need to request either a certification of name change OR certified copt of the Order Granting Name Change from the County Clerk in the County where the request was approved.
For further details about changing your name as a part of your divorce, contact Hunt Law Firm, PLLC today.