In California, it is relatively easy to change your name at the time the divorce Judgment is entered. Family Code Section 2080 provides that the Court shall restore the birth name or former name of a party upon request. It is your choice. Your soon-to-be ex-spouse has no say about this.
In the event you decide to do this after entry of the final divorce Judgment, the procedure is also quite simple. It can be accomplished by filing a form called an Ex-Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order.
You should notify the following offices of your name change:
- Social Security
- Passport office
- U.S. Post Office
- Voter registration office
- Insurance companies (auto, home, life)
- Electric and other utility companies
- Credit card companies
- Landlord or mortgage company
- Pension and Retirement Funds
- Doctors’ offices
- Your attorney (to update all legal documents, including your will and trust)
Some things to consider:
- If you are planning to remarry in the near future, do you want to go through this process again?
- If your children will have a different last name then you as a result of this change, you may want to explain to them why you are doing this. Your name change cannot be used against you in a custody case.