One of the more personal decisions many people make at the end of their marriage in Florida is whether to change their name legally. If you feel that a name change is right for you, one of the smoother options for making this happen is to file a name change request with your divorce petition. The final divorce decree should then include your name change.
You can file to return to your name before the marriage, or to a new name. If you use your prior name, you’ll be able to use your old birth certificate and other documents, which can simplify some parts of the process. You’ll still need to file to change your name in many important places, like with the social security administration.
If you decide to change your name after the divorce you still have the option to file for a name change with the court. This is a separate process with a few more steps, so doing it along with your divorce petition is often easier. However, you can petition the court to change your name at any time.
Once you have your divorce decree (or divorce certificate) with your name change on it, you’ll need to take steps to change your name with important government agencies first. The Social Security Administration is one of the most important steps with the most work. You will not be able to do this online and need to go into the office to fill out an application for a name change. Bring your divorce decree or name change order with you, as well as proof of residency and identity.
Once you have taken care of the Social Security Administration, you’ll need to change your information in many other places. Many recently divorced people have also changed their addresses. It’s often a good idea to change your name and address simultaneously. Consider making a list of organizations or businesses you’ll need to contact including schools, medical offices, banks and government agencies.
While less vital than the above examples, you’ll also want to change your name and address with magazine subscriptions, club memberships and online streaming subscriptions. One way to catch more of these accounts is to go through the past month’s bank statement to find any services you may have forgotten.
At some point, you will also want to notify your friends and family of your legal name change. Many people choose to tell those closest to them privately. They then change their name on their social media accounts as a way of notifying others. With enough time, everyone eventually catches up to the change.