Name Changes After Divorce & Remarriage in Georgia

By Terry White

Changing your status to “single” on Facebook is a snap. But in real life, you can’t simply click “divorced.” In Georgia, those who want to restore their name upon divorce must take additional action. A child’s name, however, cannot be changed through divorce. Don’t worry. If you forget to change your name during your divorce, you can do it anytime in Georgia.

Restoring Your Previous Name

Georgia allows a couple, upon marriage, to choose their surnames. Each spouse can keep his or her own name, take the other's surname or keep a combination of both. It naturally follows that both spouses can restore their previous name upon divorce. The most efficient way to accomplish this is within the divorce petition. Since a name change is part of the divorce, there is no additional cost.

Name Change Upon Remarriage

A divorced person, upon remarriage in Georgia, can adopt her maiden name, take her new spouse’s surname, or keep the name used during a previous marriage. For instance, Betty Smith Jones, who is divorced but planning to remarry, can keep her married name Jones if she chooses. She also has the options of taking her new spouse’s surname, combining her new spouse’s surname with Jones or reverting to her maiden name of Smith.

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Changing a Child's Name

Georgia law does not allow a child’s name to be changed as part of a divorce proceeding. It must be done in Superior Court by filing a Petition to Change Name of Minor Child and both parents must consent. The only exceptions to the requirement of mutual consent are if one parent is deceased, abandoned the child or has not supported the child for five years. Once consent is complete, you must place notice of the name change petition in a local newspaper. If both parents live in Georgia, there is a waiting period of 30 days. If a parent lives outside Georgia, the waiting period doubles.

Going to Court for a Child

Take all legal papers with you, including your petition, proof of consent, affidavit from newspaper confirming publication of notice, and a final order for name change. The judge will usually handle your case in chambers, where you will be placed under oath. The judge will ask your reasons for requesting the name change. If approved, the judge will sign the final order. Once you have a certified copy of the final order, you can amend the child’s name on his or her birth certificate.

Tell the Bureaucrats

It is critical after marriage or divorce to inform the Driver Services Department and Social Security Administration of your new name. Georgia requires that the name on your Social Security card match the name on your driver’s license. If not, the state can cancel your driver’s license.

Oops!

If you forget to change your name during a divorce, you can change it at any time by filing a petition for a name change. The steps involved are similar to those required for changing the name of a minor.

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Can a Woman Take Back Her First Husband's Name After Divorcing a Second Husband?
 

References

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Laws Regarding Children's Names After a Divorce in Oregon

After a divorce, you may want to change your child's name. In Oregon, the procedure for changing a child's name can be found in section 33.420 of the state's statutes. In the 21st century, a growing number of courts have abandoned the historical tradition of allowing a father to insist a child retain his name. A mother may change her child's name if it is in the best interests of the child. However, a divorce in and of itself is not sufficient to establish that a name change is in the best interests of the child.

How do I Change a Child's Name on Vital Records in Georgia?

Vital records include items such as birth, death and marriage certificates. For children, the most significant — and typically the only — vital record is the birth certificate, and this certificate is important for establishing identity. There are several reasons why a parent might want to change his child's name on her birth certificate. An error on the certificate and newly established paternity are common reasons for changing the name on a child's vital records, and these name changes are typically simple. Other reasons for a name change can be more complicated.

Can You Change Your Name When You Enlist in the Army?

Just because you enlisted in the army with a particular name doesn't mean that you're stuck with that name for your entire service period. If your name changes due to marriage, divorce or another reason, you simply need to submit a name change request to your commanding officer and supply the relevant supporting documents. Once approved, your military records will reflect your new name. However, if you change your name after you leave the army, you will not be able to make these changes on your military records.

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