Name Change After Divorce
During a divorce, it is not uncommon for a spouse to want to change their last name, especially if they changed their last name when they were married. In many cases, a woman will go from having her husband’s last name back to her maiden name.
In Texas, the process for this name change can be simplified by having it built into the divorce decree. However, the only name change that can be built into the divorce decree is a spouse returning to their pre-marriage last name.
If the spouse desires a whole new last name or the name change is otherwise not a part of the divorce decree, an individual can still change their name by filing a petition for a change of name. This petition will need to be filed in the county where the person resides.
Changing a last name outside of a divorce decree requires many steps, including:
- Filling out a petition to change the name of an adult
- Getting a fingerprint card
- Paying filing fees (these fees vary by county but are generally around $200)
- Appearing before a judge to explain why they want to change their name (this is to make sure the name change is not for an invalid reason, such as trying to avoid creditors or criminal prosecution)
- Getting a change of name certificate from the county clerk’s office
- Letting various government agencies know about the change
Texas Name Change After Divorce Lawyer
If you are preparing to file for divorce or are currently in a pending one, you might be wondering about the process for changing your name back after it is finalized. You probably have several questions. This is why you should retain the assistance of knowledgeable Texas divorce attorney to help you through this difficult process.
Matthew Horak and his legal team at Horak Law have over a decade of experience in family law. Call (713) 225-8000 to schedule a free consultation.
Horak Law has offices in Houston and The Woodlands, but we accept clients throughout the State of Texas including Harris County, Fort Bend County, Liberty County, Waller County, Galveston County, Montgomery County, and Brazoria County.
- Can A Judge Deny A Request To Change A Last Name As Part Of A Divorce Decree?
- Can A Child’s Last Name Be Changed During A Divorce?
- What Needs To Be Done After A Name Change In Texas?
- Can An Individual Force Their Ex-Spouse To Change Their Last Name?
- Additional Resources
Can A Judge Deny A Request To Change A Last Name As Part Of A Divorce Decree?
Yes. A judge can deny a request for a name change as part of a divorce decree if the judge suspects that the name change request is being made to:
- Avoid creditors or someone that is owed a debt
- Evade prosecution for a crime
- Increase the difficulty for people to locate the name changer for an illegitimate reason
Generally, people cannot change their names to mislead, confuse, or offend others.
In most cases, the request will be denied to individuals with felony convictions and registered sex offenders.
Can A Child’s Last Name Be Changed During A Divorce?
No. A child’s last name cannot be changed in the divorce decree. However, a child’s name may be filed independently. If the child is ten years old or older, the child must consent to the change in writing. As with an adult change of name, this petition must be filed in the county where the child resides.
What Needs To Be Done After A Name Change In Texas?
After a legal name change occurs in Texas, many official documents will need to be updated. These documents include the following:
- Driver’s license
- Social security card
- Bank accounts
- Credit cards
- Insurance policies
- House deed
- Voter registration
- Professional licensing boards (if applicable)
- United States Post Office
- Utility and other service providers
Most of these changes will be relatively easy to make. If the name change is part of the divorce decree, it is likely that the divorce document is all that will be needed to make the changes.
Various government agencies will also need to be alerted to the change, including:
- Social Security Administration
- Bureau of Vital Statistics
- Texas Department of Public Safety
Can An Individual Force Their Ex-Spouse To Change Their Last Name?
No, a person cannot force their former spouse to change their last name, even if the spouse took their last name during the marriage. Once their name is legally changed, the spouse has a right to keep their last name regardless of divorce.
Petition For Change Of Name Of An Adult – Texas Law Help, a non-profit organization, provides a form for a petition for an adult to change their name.
Petition For Change Of Name Of A Child – This is the form provided by Texas Law Help for a petition for a child to change their name.
Houston Name Change After Divorce Attorney | Harris County, TX
If you are ready to start a new chapter under a new name, Horak Law is here here to help. Securing the help of an experienced legal professional can be instrumental in easing the process and reducing your stress Houston divorce attorney Matthew Horak can help you with all of the necessary legal steps to make sure you are in compliance with the law.
Call our office at (713) 225-8000 to learn more about your legal options. Horak Law has offices in The Woodlands and Houston, TX.