What if I Didn't Request a Name Change in Divorce Papers in Maryland?

By Elizabeth Stock

In a divorce, you may want to change your last name back to your maiden name. However, if you forgot to request a name change in your divorce papers, or you simply changed your mind after your divorce became final, you can still request a name change in Maryland. You must complete the appropriate form and receive a court order for the name change to be recognized legally.

Requesting a Name Change During Divorce

The easiest way to have your name changed is to request the name change as part of your divorce filings. However, whether you request a name change during the divorce proceeding or after, you must complete and file Domestic Relations Form 60, Petition for Name Change. If you file the form during your divorce, file the form with either your divorce complaint or answer pleadings. In addition, you can file the form after your divorce is final and request a name change by filing the form along with a copy of your divorce judgment.

Completing Form DR60

To complete Form DR60, Petition for Change of Name, you will be asked to provide basic information about yourself including your current name and the reasons why your name has been changed from your original birth name. You will also provide your birthdate and birthplace.The form also requests that you attach a copy of your birth certificate to the form. To complete Form DR60, sign the bottom using your current name.

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Submitting the Form to the Court

File Form DR60 in your county of residence with the circuit court clerk's office. This may be a different county than the one in which you obtained your divorce. You will need to pay a filing fee when you submit the form, so contact the court clerk to determine the fee for your county.

Notice Requirement

After you file the request for name change with the circuit court, you must fulfill a notice requirement by publishing the request in a widely circulated newspaper. Whether you or the court is responsible for ensuring publication varies by county, so ask the circuit court clerk whether you must arrange for publication and any fees associated with publication. Anyone who opposes your name change may submit an objection to the name request and a hearing will be held to address the objection.

Using Maiden Name Without Court Order

You also have the option of reverting to your maiden name after the divorce without legally changing your name. You can do this by simply using your maiden name again when completing applications for new accounts. However, many entities may want to see proof of the legality of your name change before they will recognize the name. In addition, the Social Security Administration and Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles will want to see a court-issued order before they provide you with new identification.

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How to Change Your Last Name in Maryland

People seek to change their last names for a variety of reasons. You may have gotten married or divorced, or simply found a new name you like better than your old one. Although Maryland allows you to legally change your last name simply by using it, you will not be able to change your name on your identity documents without either a marriage certificate or a court order, depending on the reason you changed your name.

How to Change Your First Name Legally

The process for legally changing your first name is the same as for legally changing your last name. It differs somewhat from state to state, but in all states you need to ask permission from the court and obtain an order from a judge. This order allows you to change your birth certificate and other documents. In some states, you must also undergo a police check before beginning the name change process, as some people are prohibited from legally changing their name, for example, people on the sex offenders register.

How to Change Your Last Name Without the Court

Whatever your reasons for changing your last name, state laws offer several ways for you to do it. Often people want to change their names because of marriage or divorce, and states offer relatively simple name change procedures as part of these legal events. Otherwise, going to court specifically for a legal name change may be a good option, but you can change your name without a separate court process.

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