When you’re finally out of a toxic relationship, there are a number of paths you can take. Do you keep a last name? Sometimes it can be easier that way. It can be simpler when you don’t have to go make a list of all the websites and companies and institutions that have your married name on record in order to make the necessary changes. It can be less confusing for young children. If you choose to go back to your old surname, then you might forget about everything you have to do. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about changing your name after a divorce.
Do I need to notify Social Security of my name change?
Yes. If you opt to change your name, then you must acquire a new card to reflect the new name–and that means alerting Social Security of the change. Keep in mind that this isn’t a process that can be completed online. In order to make the needed changes, you need to fill out an application for a new card, and then mail that application and other necessary documentation (such as identification) to whichever Social Security office services your locale. An in-person visit will serve just as well.
What do I need to do in order to get my name changed back?
Although there are a lot of minor nuisances and notifications you’re likely to forget, you probably don’t have to venture into court to make the change. Most people just start using the name! When you take your spouse’s surname after marriage, you can usually get away with simply using the name as long as you have a marriage certificate handy. Similarly, you can start using your old name again as long as you have a divorce decree. Eventually, it sorts itself out without any legal mumbo-jumbo. The only reason you would need an actual court order is if you’re changing to an entirely new name that you’ve never used before.
What am I forgetting?
There are a lot of things to update after you make the change. Be sure to get new checks issued, then alert USPS, credit card companies, billing companies and utilities, government institutions and affiliations, and order new identification cards. You need to update your driver’s license and passport immediately, because your name needs to match databases and travel itineraries exactly in order to avoid any trouble. A lot of travel plans have been squashed because of these minor missteps. You might also forget to notify friends or family, employers, your children’s school, the DMV, and the Department of Records or Vital Statistics.