Name Change During a Divorce in Missouri

By Jean Henegan

The act of changing one's surname during a divorce is surprisingly simple in the state of Missouri. With the simple check of a box, a request can be made that the requesting spouse may change their name back to their previous name at the close of the divorce case. The process is slightly more complicated if the request is made after a final divorce judgment is entered, but still relatively easy to accomplish.

Obtaining a Name Change During a Divorce

Step 1

Fill out the Missouri form "Petition for Dissolution of Marriage," making sure to check the box on the last page stating "Change my name to my former name of:_______." If you did not check the box when you filed this form, you can still file a petition during the divorce asking to change your name to your former name. This is only an option if the divorce is still pending and hasn't be finalized yet.

Step 2

Ensure the final divorce decree includes a statement from the judge giving you the right to assume your former name once the divorce becomes final. Once the judge signs this decree, it will become a binding legal document authorizing you to change your name to your previous name.

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Step 3

Get a certified copy of your divorce decree from the court. You will need this to take to the Social Security office, the DMV and any other government agency necessary to obtain your official name changes.

Requesting a Name Change After a Divorce

Step 1

File a Name Change petition with the court requesting to change your name. You can find the form and assistance with its competition from an attorney or an online legal document preparation service. This petition will differ from a petition during a divorce in two ways. First, it will be a completely separate legal matter, and will therefore have a different case name and number. Second, you are allowed to petition to change your name to anything you wish as long as it is not done for fraudulent purposes.

Step 2

Get an order from the judge granting your name change. You will likely have to explain to the judge your reasons for the name change prior to getting the order.

Step 3

Publish the order granting you a name change in the local paper for three weeks, beginning no later than 20 days after the order was granted. You will need to obtain an Order of Publication to do so.

Step 4

File the proof of publication with the court no later than 10 days after the last publication. This will allow you to obtain a certified copy of the order, which you can use to finalize your name change with the Social Security office, DMV or other government agency.

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